“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau
Growing human(kind)ness is a womb of healing.
She holds three things in the chambers of her Heart:
to grow into the fullness of our humanity,
to foster kindness for our vulnerability,
and to deepen our inner and outer connectedness.
We help highly sensitive people who self soothe with food and who struggle with shame, self criticism, and being hard on themselves.
You’re probably someone who cares deeply about compassion and who is generously compassionate with others. Yet you may struggle to bring this same compassion to yourself.
We’re here to help you turn your compassionate heart towards you own being. In our courses and group offerings, you’ll learn how to transform your inner ‘mother’ from a place of shame or criticism into a place of warmth and unconditional welcome. With this inner refuge, habits of self soothing with food, isolation, and self judgment can gently fall away.
There’s a deeper story that lives underneath the surface story of your struggles,
and this story is both more true and more merciful.
Together, we sing this story into being.
The suffering of separation
When we experience pain, stuckness, trauma, and loss, we often blame ourselves, internalizing these ruptures as, “It’s all my fault.” We start to believe, on some level, that “Something’s wrong with me.”
In the wake of this soul rupture, we begin turning to messy coping strategies and erect self protections to care for ourselves – things like overeating, sugar, overdoing, seeking approval, overachievement, appeasing others, and perfectionism, to name a few common ones.
These coping strategies preserve our functioning. They’re based in wise instincts to nurture, protect, and connect. For this may they be praised.
Feeling stuck in compulsive habits
But when we get stuck in our coping strategies, they carry a high cost. There’s the suffering of the coping strategies themselves – the pain of overeating, perfectionism, or overdoing.
And there’s the additional pain when our sense of self becomes entwined with our strategies. We may feel like an imposter or a failing self. We may feel stuck in a perception that we’re falling short, that we’re too much or not enough, broken and damaged.
Over time, these refuges become our secret shames. We may fear them, and fight to ‘heal’ them. We may work to overcome them.
We may identify with them, and this becomes the small story we inhabit.
Listening for the deeper story
While it’s true that we can get stuck in the surface story of our shame – especially when there’s trauma – there’s a deeper story that lives underneath. This story is both more true and more merciful.
This deeper story asks us to look again at what we label as bad, or wrong abour ourselves, at what we blame and shame ourselves for.
For here is what’s true: wherever you’re struggling is holy, where, as Rumi said, ‘the light enters you.’ It may be dark, yes, but it’s not a battleground. As Sikh activist Valarie Kaur says, ‘it’s a womb,’ a place of birth.
How we help
When we’re giving birth, we long for support at our side.
We’re here to accompany you, a midwife and companion as you birth your deeper story into being.
If you feel frustrated and stuck in compulsive, painful coping strategies, and you want a compassionate way of growing out of them, you’re in the right place.
We offer compassion based practices to soften self blame, self criticism, and shame so that you can gently companion the painful coping strategies that have you feeling so stuck. In addition to softening painful habits, this inner accompaniment helps you deepen self trust so you can love, connect and give freely to yourself, others, and to our shared world.
All transformation, wisdom, insight, and freedom arises from having a connected and compassionate relationship with your inner life. We’ll help you nurture that relationship so you can connect with your path, embody your inner wisdom, and live your deeper story.
What is growing human(kind)ness?
Growing Human(kind)ness means three things: to grow into the fullness of our humanity, to foster kindness for our vulnerability, and to deepen our inner and outer connectedness.
Kindness is a change of heart – a new way of seeing and relating – to our struggles. This change in relationship manifests inward and outward as safety, courage, new life, compassion, understanding, strength, and softness.
It is fundamentally a place of mercy, a fiercely loving space that is the womb of growth.
The heart over hand is a symbol of this mercy, of bowing the thinking mind to the knowing heart.
What you’ll learn
At growing human(kind)ness, you’ll receive help in three key areas:
Compulsions like overeating can be outgrown, and here you’ll learn a relational, developmental approach to support this transformation.
Change how you relate, and how you see – rather than seeing your struggles as personal failures, we’ll help you see them for what they are: an opportunity, a privilege, and a necessary and beautiful labor – how the most human aspects of you come into form. Learn how to respond to this call from the soul, the invitation to grow into a full, rich, deep human being.
Move from shame, isolation, and separation into relationship, community, and connection. Your journey with your vulnerability offers profound ways to foster intimacy with yourself and others – a pathway to becoming deeply connected to life, and to the greater human family.
Our approach is grounded in a few key areas:
- IPNB, interpersonal neurobiology
- attachment theory and developmental psychology, especially the work of Dr. Gordon Neufeld
- the trauma work of Bonnie Badenoch
- self compassion and mindfulness, including RAIN practice
- and contemplative spiritual practices from many wisdom and indigineous traditions, especially Sufism, Buddhism, the Divine Feminine, and contemplative Christianity
We’re a good fit for people who want a soulful, spiritual and psychological approach to healing and who welcome all paths and faiths.
Where to start
We’d love to get to know you! Here are some ways you can get to know us better.
- Go here to find our free resources, where you can get a taste of our approach and see if we’re a good fit for you.
- Sign up for our mailing list here. You’ll receive newsletters 2-4 times a month as well as notifications of upcoming classes, course offerings, and special events.
- Go here to see all our courses, including two do at home courses that you can take any time.
How growing human(kind)ness began
I’m Karly Randolph Pitman, the steward of this adventure. It was birthed through two things: my own experience with multiple eating disorders, chronic anxiety and depression, and from listening to other peoples’ stories of loss, courage, and renewal.
I struggled with eating disorders for decades, from my teens to my thirties. Depression and anxiety has been an even longer bedfellow on my journey, something I continue to care for daily.
I’ve also been a life long seeker, and the entertwining of these two realities – my aspirations and my human struggles – never seemed to fit. When I found myself caring for years of chronic mental and emotional health challenges, I felt such shame that my heart – so filled by the mystical and wanting to understand the human condition – couldn’t prevent my suffering.
I consumed a lot of spirituality, psychology, and self help, trying to find the ‘right’ spiritual and psychological teachings to help me ‘overcome my struggles.’ I’m naturally conscientious and earnest, and oh, I tried so hard!
While many of these teachings carry tremendous gifts and grace within them, and while they gave me helpful tools and practices, there was a subtle way I was using these teachings to silence the shame I felt about my sensitivity, reactivity, and trauma in the first place.
Over the years – decades – through many, many rounds of frustration, I began to feel the futility that my attempts to ‘fix’ myself – no matter how transcendent the means – didn’t work.
I remember the day when I felt a gentleness stir in my being: what if my neediness is something that will never be filled?
What if doesn’t need to be?
And what if my ego self never receives the healing she thinks she needs to be ‘whole?’
These questions can sound harsh or complacent. But that January day I felt them as pure love, pure mercy. My body softened in utter, deep, relief.
I didn’t have to keep working so hard. What if, instead, what was needed was a different relationship with my suffering?
Over time, I began to see my vulnerability differently. Rather than getting rid of my pain, I began turning towards it. I learned how to be with my shame. I grieved. I became more comfortable being ‘incomplete’ and clumsy in my mistakes.
And I found safety in the very place I didn’t think it existed: in the mess itself. As they say in the Sufi path, I leaned into ‘the arms that I could never fall out of,’ the Rahman, the arms of the beloved that hold us all.
I came to see that my most vulnerable struggles were the very place where the ‘unloved life’ within me longed to be heard, held, and cared for. I didn’t have to get rid of it. And I didn’t have to be scared of it, either.
The gift of embracing your struggles
It is from the feet of my personal journey that I greet you, my fellow wayfarer, in yours.
I appreciate how we can see our messy habits as proof that we’ve done something wrong, or that they’re something we should’ve averted. One wise man described it this way: ‘we often feel like we got on the wrong bus!’
But what if what we see as ‘failure’ is, in fact, a profound and deep compassion, a way to belong to our shared human experience?
Through embracing your vulnerability, and through facing grief, you join both those who’ve walked before you and those who come after who also wrestle with this task of being human, who failed to live up to their expectations and who become better for it.
Through “failure” you come to rest, abiding in a deeper belonging.
Learn how to open to the gifts of your journey, trust the deeper mystery that is being writ through your struggles, and allow growth to unfold through you, at its own timing, its own pace, and guided by your heart’s wisdom.
Find the ease that comes with letting go of control of the healing process and trusting Her mystery.
Since 2006, thousands of students from around the world have journeyed through our doors.
May your heart be nourished here.
With warmth, Karly Randolph Pitman and the Growing Humankindness team