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


Thanks for the help

Wash Day by Grandma Moses

Wash Day by Grandma Moses


Nine days ago, I had the mother of all panic attacks. (Not a good mother. A very, very bad mother.) We had just turned out the lights to go to sleep. It started. I turned to Gregory and said, “I’m having a panic attack.” He said, “Go get a Klonopin.” I did. And then I grabbed a tape of guided imagery and affirmations that had been given to me just several days before by a dear friend in program. Within minutes I was at peace. Once again, my help arrived from outside my self.

New levels of understanding keep coming to me that I cannot do everything for myself. It’s a lesson I began learning in January 2007 when I came into a 12-step program for food addiction. It has been offered many, many times since then and especially in the last two years since experiencing multi-trauma injuries and their aftermath. I am not self-sufficient and life is much better when I don’t try to be self-sufficient.

In order to be happy, joyous and free, I am learning that G-d can do for me what I cannot do for myself. Help is always there when I ask for it. Trouble is not inevitable. There is another side and a way through it. I don’t have to go through it alone. And it’s up to me to notice that I’m in trouble, ask for help, and accept help as soon as possible.

I always used to believe “It is what it is and it’s not so bad.” Anxiety would creep up and up. The alarms would go off. Danger! Danger! And I would go to the food. It didn’t help the problem. It just numbed me enough so that I could keep functioning in the world.

By the Grace of G-d, there was a moment in January 2007 when my heart cracked open and I let Light walk in. Abstinence from my drugs (flour, sugar and quantities) was the beginning of Recovery. I stopped turning to the food and I started reorienting towards G-d… through prayer and meditation, yoga, readings, and fellowship.

In January 2011, through the Serenity Prayer, by the Grace of G-d, I eventually let others take over my every bodily function. For a long time, I didn’t want to let go of control. I was furious that no one could understand me. I couldn’t speak and I couldn’t write. I was desperately trying to tell everyone what to do. I fought them… until I accepted what I could not change. There were tubes and machines and strange people re-building my body and making me breathe, pee, poop, turn and heal. (There was one great moment where I did take over. I clearly remember being taken off the ventilator to go for a scan. There was a kindly tech who was bagging me — breathing for me by squeezing air into my trachea via an Ambu bag. He let go for a moment as I was transferred to a table. I grabbed the bag and started breathing for myself. The tech laughed and said, “Look! She’s bagging herself!” I was so proud.)

For two months in Shock Trauma and two months in National Rehab Hospital, while hundreds of workers did the heavy lifting of repairing me physically, I experienced my greatest help through the companionship of family and friends. The appearance of a person next to me made my heart so happy. I felt this wave of Love. Every person looked Divine!

There’s some kind of alchemy here. In the crucible of injury, help turns into love. I accept help, I love more. I love myself… which is still SO hard to say. I love others.

Now, the more I understand that there is help, the more I’m available to help others as one fellow, cracked, imperfect, insecure, vulnerable person to another.

As one small way to pay it forward, there is an amazing resource that helped me and might help you. (Once you try it for yourself, you may then be able to offer it to someone else.) The tapes my friend gave me are by Belleruth Naparstek. I’ve known of her for years, but finally was desperate enough to receive her help. Here’s her website and here’s her online store where you can order CDs to help with pain, depression, childbirth, chemo, surgery, post traumatic stress, sleep, and much more.

Thank you, everyone, for the help you give and receive.

Love & Light,


Illustration: Dan – ah Kim at http://dkim-art.com/illustration/

10 Comments to Thanks for the help

  1. Myra TAte's Gravatar Myra TAte
    January 13, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    You put into perspective what life is about – dealing with the pain that life throws at you, and learning to accept limitations and then learning to overcome them, and accepting the love and help you are offered, and finally, coming to a place in your life where you can return the favor. Thank you for pointing all these things out to me. Mom

  2. Terri's Gravatar Terri
    January 13, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Valerie, thanks for sharing. I can’t always relate, however, I can become more enlightened and do. You and your story has enlightened me in so many ways. Help, gratitude and love are always a work in progress for me. Trying, as I do, to grow spirtually and emotionally, you help put life in perspective.

    I really struggle to ask for help or even acknowledge that I can’t always deal with everything life throws at me. I feel so incredibly blessed with the love and support of family and friends like you! I have not known the physical pain that you have had to deal with, I have had life struggles and have not always dealt with them in the most appropriate way. I will continue striving to learn and grow. You, without even realizing how much you help, do help!

    Thoughts and prayers are with you! Love you my friend.

  3. Theolyn's Gravatar Theolyn
    January 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing your struggles and successes. Your writing helps put so much in perspective for me. Thank you.


  4. January 13, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    ditto. And the art work has you in it, rather, an amazing likeness. Love it.

  5. Sandra's Gravatar Sandra
    January 16, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Just the right message at just the right time. Thank you so much. 🙂

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