This is the kitchen where we talk about food, life, and recovery—a spiritual path to healing and peace.

You are invited to keep coming back to A Cup of Kindness to share your experience, strength and hope; fears, doubts and insecurities; and to pick up information, inspiration … and have a little fun!

My story
In January 2007, at the age of 51, I joined a 12-step program and began my recovery from food addiction, losing 75 pounds in the process. Read more…

In January 2011, at the age of 55, I began my recovery from a multi-trauma accident, 36 fractures, damaged lungs, and post traumatic stress. Read more…

I am deeply grateful for all the kindnesses, large and small, offered to me in recovery. Here I am... alive… still making progress … still not perfect … finding a new way forward in a growing community of women and men who share a lot in common around food and life.

I hope you'll join me in this kitchen and let me know what's cooking with you.

A Cup of Kindness

Open Heart Project


Progress not perfection

young girl


Sometimes photos can be misleading.

When I was a little girl, people used to say about me, “She’s so poised,”… and “She’s so mature.”

As I grew up people told me, “You’re so peaceful,”… and “You’re so serene.”

I knew that their assessments of my outside didn’t really match my inside. Inside I was often a mess. I was desperately trying to scope out the next disaster around the corner, telling myself I wouldn’t be up to the challenge, knowing that I was less creative, less strategic, less attractive, less than, less than, less than… But I soldiered on with a smile on my face.

In some ways, my ability to pretend to myself and others that I was “fine” helped me to cope with difficult situations. It helped me to lead and participate in good works.

In other ways, masking my interior feelings, even from myself, kept me from growing up. It was easy for me to disassociate. I was sleep-walking my way through life. My relationships with friends and family were superficial. If something threatened to wake me up, I would find something to take me under, such as food, alcohol, and  overworking.

Then, 18 years ago I met Gregory. He used to look into my eyes and say, “Hi Valerie.” It made me incredibly uncomfortable. He would sometimes say to me, “You are really angry. Aren’t you?” And I would say, “No! I’m not angry!”

Over time, I was less able to obliterate my emotions. It took more food and more alcohol to put me to sleep. Finally, in January of 2007 it took me into a 12-step recovery program for food addiction, thank you G-d.

The program is a design for living consciously. 30 minutes of Quiet Time, spiritual readings, prayer, conversations with fellows, meetings where we share our experience, strength and hope, three weighed and measured abstinent meals a day and I’m more likely to be present than I ever have been in life. So I feel my discomfort. I feel my dissatisfaction. I can tell what makes me truly happy — and it’s not sugar. I am aware enough that I can turn towards kindness rather then going back again and again to the old, familiar self-destructive patterns.

I’ve come to understand that I can choose my posture, like a yoga asana, a pose in which I can intentionally, consciously notice and be faithful to my own experience. I can be in a beautiful, peaceful posture, practicing the controlled ocean waves of ujjayi breathing; while noticing and being faithful to my own experience as it presents and changes. My experience may be restlessness, agitation, fear, anxiety, anger, irritation, confusion, or depression. As I watch my experience, inevitably it changes. It transforms into understanding, concern, compassion, joy, pleasure, serenity, and even wild abandon.

My experience teaches me what to do next. I’m learning to be more honest. I have more confidence because I have more integrity. My actions match my intentions more often than not.

And every so often I can say to Gregory, “I’m angry.” Progress not perfection!

Love & Light,


6 Comments to Progress not perfection

  1. September 15, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Yes, beloved yogi, this is the truth.
    With it, we do what we can,where we are, right now.
    We call it Practice, not Perfect.
    I love hearing you tell this. And I love this photo- I think it is very much a beautiful expression of who you are, face turned to the light, full of life living and yet to come…Om shanthi

  2. Theolyn's Gravatar Theolyn
    September 15, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Valerie, for sharing your beautiful story of “you” through many of the trials that have beset you in your journey thru life.Your perserverence to eliminate the trials is remarkable! Keep it up.


  3. Myra TAte's Gravatar Myra TAte
    September 19, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    So full of understanding – glad to be able to read it – even tho’ a bit late. xoxom

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