Our approach is grounded in and woven from these key threads:
- Deep listening – listening to ourselves and others with empathy and presence
- Mindful self compassion – resting in and deepening presence and awareness
- Relational neuroscience – IPNB (interpersonal neurobiology), attachment theory and developmental psychology
- Soul work – images, stories, collage, poetry, journaling, and creative expression as doorways to insight, intimacy, and integration
Teachers that have influenced and shaped me include Bonnie Badenoch, my teacher of interpersonal neurobiology, meditation teacher Tara Brach, and Dr. Gordon Neufeld, my teacher of attachment theory and developmental psychology.
People who align best with our approach are those who feel comfortable with meditation/contemplative practices and psychological tools and who want to embody compassion in their relationship with food.
From these disciplines and our teachers, we hold these things dear, the bedrock for all we offer:
- That our brains are shaped in and wired for relationship – what we’ve learned from IPNB (interpersonal neurobiology) and attachment theory.
- That all our internal parts are valuable and worthy of compassion, respect, warmth and curiosity – what we’ve learned from systems like Focusing, non violent communication, and IFS (Internal Family Systems.)
- That we’re fundamentally resilient, created in goodness, and rooted in love – what we’ve learned from our contemplative and wisdom traditions and from trauma research.
- That we heal in connection, community and compassion – what we’ve learned from all of the above.
- That we are beheld in a bond of Love that is sung throughout all of creation – what we’ve learned from attachment theory and our Wisdom traditions.
- And that the safety we seek outside of ourselves can be found within, in the Womb of Love that cradles us all, the ‘arms we can never fall out of.’
Our offerings are here to help you create inner hospitality for the ‘not beautiful’ parts of your journey so you can care for the vulnerability that lies underneath overeating.
Being tender with our pain grows our love for ourselves, for each other, for life, and for all of humanity. It softens the tendency to blame or scapegoat, and deepens forgiveness, an understanding and an embrace of the complexity of being human.
Softening the pressure to ‘fix ourselves’
The shame of overeating can create a lot of anxiety and internal drivenness that has us rushing to try and ‘fix’ the overeating. If you feel like you’ve just had it with the weight gain and the mental anguish, the underlying frustration can create a lot of urgency to be in a different place.
It helps to remember: our body and psyche have their own wisdom, timing and pacing. The more kindness and acceptance we bring to where we’re at, the more the healing process can ‘hold’ us.
Acceptance changes the way we relate to our overeating, our vulnerability, and our pain itself. We ‘come alongside ourselves,’ as Dr. Neufeld puts it, as ally and support, rather than coming ‘at ourselves’ as the judge, frightened young one, or frustrated seeker.
At the same time, those places in us that are frightened, that judge, that are frustrated and that want to ‘push the river’ are also welcome and held within. We can comfort and companion those places so they don’t feel so frantic and alone.
Surrendering to our journey is what softens our hearts so we become the midwifes to our healing rather than feeling caught in criticism, shame, contempt, or demands. Each moment of the journey, rather than something to be endured or gotten over with as quickly as possible, becomes a moment of reconnection, of holding those young ones inside.
We invite you to bow your head and heart to what is being asked of you in facing your relationship with food for it is for you – from a desire to help you – not something being done to you.
Writing and poetry
In addition to stewarding our group offerings, I write poems and essays about healing, motherhood, gratitude, grief, community, and beauty in my reader supported newsletter, O Nobly Born: The Letters of Growing Humankindness. You can sign up for these letters here.
Our yearning for a ‘Beloved Community’
We believe that vulnerability is a catalyst for nurturing economic, social, racial and environmental justice, equality, healing, and peace in our outer communities, something that we feel called to learn, support and nurture.
The pain and suffering of racism, sexism, sexual discrimination, poverty, and other forms of prejudice is a searing wound of separation that impacts individuals, families, communities, other species and life forms, and our precious earth. For many of us, this pain came to a head in the summer of 2020 with the horrific murder of George Floyd.
Here at Growing Humankindness we care deeply about nurturing and supporting a more just world of interbeing, where all can thrive and all are cared for. In our own small circle of influence, we yearn to create a space in our offerings where all colors, bodies, and beings are welcome. As stewards, we open ourselves to the humility, grief, presence, and willingness to grow and make mistakes that this learning requires.