Join our sangha of the heart
Welcome to our sangha of the heart! The Growing Humankindness community is a gathering space for heart centered seekers who self soothe with food and who want to nurture wholeness, connect with soul, and deepen healing.
If you overeat to care for stress, suffer from body shame, or have a compulsive relationship with food and want gentle, healing support, we invite you to join our community of soul divers.
Our members are seekers and mystics, poets and elementary school teachers, ministers and yoga teachers, healers and therapists, artists and parents, musicians and writers, nurses and doctors, midwives and doulas.
What we share in common is a desire to deepen presence, compassion, and healing in our relationship with food and in our relationship with ourselves.
Why a community?
I’m Karly Randolph Pitman, the founder and facilitator here, and this topic is close to my heart. Throughout my life, food has been the primary way I’ve cared for my sensitivity, overwhelm, and trauma.
I was one of those kids who was constantly told to ‘stop being so sensitive.’ A typical HSP, I felt everything – and often confused and terrified by what I was feeling. Food was my refuge: a constant, reliable place of comfort, security and care that quieted my internal distress.
As a young – and not so young – adult, I ping ponged between depression, anxiety, overeating, and self harshness. I felt so much shame about the ways I soothed myself in food – and shame about the ways I’m so easily overwhelmed. And yet, in the moment, food worked!
What made the journey more complex for me was my seeker’s heart. Why did I struggle with so much trauma when my heart ached for the Holy One?
I began my recovery in my 20s, trying to understand the needs that drove me to food and how this connected to my spiritual path. During this time, I was also a young mother. Something clicked when I began studying parenting and child development – I started becoming aware of the trauma that lay underneath my overeating.
It was more and more clear that my compulsive relationship with sugar, my anxiety and fear about nourishment and food, and my shame about my body were pointing to something else. And so I began studying relational neuroscience, attachment theory, and to better understand what these struggles were pointing to.
Over the years, I saw that surrendering to this healing journey and becoming more fully human was my spiritual path, and not an exception to it. This yearning became Growing Humankindness.
I began writing about my journey online in 2006, and created my first course two years later. I love weaving the insights of relational neuroscience, self compassion, soul, and spirituality into a place of safety and healing, where the painful places in our being can unfold.
Along the way, I’ve had the honor to sit alongside thousands of sensitive, caring, intentional souls as they speak their food stories aloud: where food is “a mother,” a refuge, or “a bad boyfriend I can’t let go.” One woman said sugar was her “nice girl’s addiction.” Another said that junk food was the only thing that helped her feel safe and warm. Healthy food was like a skeletal ‘wire monkey.’
Over the years, as people joined classes, people naturally wanted to continue to meet and connect after the class had ended. This community is an answer to that longing. Rather than a class that starts and stops, the community offers an ongoing oasis of support to cradle your healing.
Above and beyond healing with food, we’re here to heal the pain of separation, our sense of falling short and being outside the circle of love. We bring connection to what has been severed, homecoming to what has been outcast, and rest to what has had to work too hard.
We’re here to support the journey of our transformation – to let our souls unfurl and unfold, to love and give freely, and to soften the isolation that so often accompanies the suffering of eating disorders.
What’s included in the community
This is a collage I made about my dreams of healing.
In the community, you receive support in several complementary ways to nourish your healing. We use relational neuroscience, compassion based spirituality, creative exploration, poetry, stories, ritual, and imagery to nourish our ‘deeper story’ – the deeper truth that lies below our wounds and traumas.
- Unlimited access to our entire library of courses – Align: Heal the Battle with Your Inner Rebel, The Book of Love, Emerge: Create a New Habit, Listen: Gentle Ways to Support Your Healing with Food, and When Food is Your Mother
- Group support for courses: we regularly go through courses together, as a cohort, so you have the structure and support you need to see it through
- A warm, private forum (not Facebook) where you can share your experience and connect with others
- The option to have a Listening Partner, where you meet regularly to give and receive emotional support. (Learn more below.)
- Webinars where you can connect, share, listen, ask questions, and have creative play with others
- Art prompts for inquiry, journaling, collage and creative play to nurture healing and care for implicit memory
- Rest and integration to nurture your healing
The community intentionally offers many ways of approaching the sacred alchemy of healing. They’re offered as a buffet, not a 6 course meal, and we encourage you to create the meal that’s right for you.
How do I know if the community’s for me?
The community is for you if….
- You enjoy the company of other soulful, heart centered beings and want to engage and connect with others
- You have a painful relationship with food and long for peace
- You’re comfortable in an online learning environment
- You enjoy exploring your ‘inscape’ and the domain of soul
- You’re open to meditative or inquiry based practices
A few more signs that the community might be especially helpful…
- You do best with warm, gentle support
- You like using art, journaling, imagery or inquiry to go within
- You have good intentions but struggle to implement changes on your own
- You want to emerge more authentically and fully in your life
- You want to use your relationship with food to deepen self knowledge, self compassion, and forgiveness
Here are some signs that the community isn’t a good fit for you:
- You dislike zoom or an online environment
- You’re uncomfortable with spirituality and soul
- You want personal or group therapy – therapy’s wonderful, but not what we’re offering
- You’re looking for nutritional advice, meal plans, or suggestions on what to eat – helpful support, but not what we’re offering
- You want to dip in and out. A home study course is a better option if you want to come and go
- You’re looking for trauma healing. We offer suggestions to find a trauma therapist here.
In the Growing Humankindness community, you have the option to pair with a listening partner or two. Listening partners came about through the work of parenting coach and Hand in Hand Parenting founder Patty Wipfler. We’ve adopted listening partners here because we’ve seen how they soften isolation, nurture healing, and grow courage. People love having a regular place where they can connect with another, be heard, and receive emotional support.
We offer regular webinars where you can ask questions, connect and share with others. We’ll also spend time doing inquiry and creative play together – journaling, collage, creating art, etc. No artistic skill is needed to participate.
Webinars vary between 2 pm and 6 pm Central to care for our international community. They’re 90 minutes long and are recorded if you can’t make it.
Dates for the 2023 gatherings
- Thursday, September 14, 6:00 pm
- Thursday, September 28, 2:00 pm *
- Thursday, October 5, 6:00 pm *
- Thursday, October 12, 2:00 pm *
- Thursday, October 19, 6:00 pm *
- Thursday, October 26, 2:00 pm *
- Thursday, November 2, 6:00 pm *
- Thursday, November 9, 2:00 pm *
- Thursday, November 16, 6:00 pm *
- Thursday, December 7, 2:00 pm
- Thursday, December 21, 6:00 pm
* These webinars are for the When Food is Your Mother class. See below.
The next cohort class – When Food is Your Mother
The community goes through courses together throughout the year, as a group. This can be really helpful if you find it difficult to go through courses on your own. Our next group class is When Food is Your Mother.
This beautiful class offers a helpful understanding of food compulsions as emotional bonds that bring our nervous system to rest. From this perspective, we don’t try to control the overeating but help our nervous systems come down. Gradually, we organically let go of food as we replace the way food holds and keeps us with other sources of refuge.
If you want to join us in this class, you’ll need to join the membership community.
Webinars for When Food is Your Mother will be on Thursdays, starting September 28th through November 16th. They alternate between 2 and 6 pm central. Friday, September 22nd is the last day to sign up for the community and join this year’s When Food is Your Mother class.
How a community differs from self study
If you spend a lot of time reading, studying or listening to podcasts about healing, and yet struggle to have these ideas ‘take root’ in your daily life, joining a group of like minded souls can help you cross the divide.
In facilitating 15 years of group spaces, and in my own journey, I’ve found that having a safe, warm, regular container of support is essential for any healing to unfold.
Whether this is a therapist, listening partner, 12 step group, spiritual group, or a community, these nurturing spaces are the foundation of healing, growth and transformation.
We need safe spaces to stretch, take risks, and face vulnerable feelings.
In a community, you’re also joining others in a group intention. The energy of the group intention supports everyone and amplifies our individual efforts.
Practicing with others also helps us implement new practices into our daily lives. These practices become living rituals that ground into our bodies and beings.
An intentional group container creates more nourishing and powerful effects than self study. It’s easier, and more fun! By joining forces, our labor is eased and nurtured by each other.
Is this a therapy group?
The community is a place of warmth, connection and safety. It offers some things that may feel similar to a therapy group, such as psychoeducation. But it’s not a ‘process’ group or group therapy.
In the community you’ll receive:
- Psychoeducation – you’ll learn some basic principles of relational neuroscience and healing to soften anxiety and orient you
- Skill development – we’ll practice self compassion, listening, and developing the capacity to be with uncomfortable sensations and emotions
- Support – you’ll get lots of warm emotional support
- Creative play – we use creativity and play to safely explore and care for those places inside that hold pockets of fear, aloneness, pain, and suffering
- Soul nurturance – you’ll receive poems, images, and stories to nurture your connection with soul, inner wisdom, and inner guidance: that place of richness that’s deeper than any loss or trauma you experience
You won’t receive:
- Private coaching
- Trauma support (so important but not something we can safely offer)
- Individual or group therapy (again important but not what we’re offering)
- Nutritional support about what to eat, meal prep, or food guidelines
While this help is worthy of care, it’s not our area of expertise and it’s best to seek this support elsewhere.
Nurturing the ‘spiritual embryo’
Image from The Three Ages of Woman by Gustav Klimt
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it – and to embrace them.” – Rumi
If there’s anything we want you to take away from the community, it’s trusting your capacity to heal. All the ruptured places within us yearn for welcome: for safe spaces where they can be witnessed with warmth and curiosity.
Rather than viewing these places as parts of ourselves we need to cut out or fix, we invite them into a field of belonging and reconnection – even habits like overeating.
As these places are held in wholeness, we come home to ourselves. We peel back painful stories. Our compulsive habits soften and come to rest.
We rest in a greater sense of who we are, something greater than the ruptures, hardships, and separations of our lives. I call this Living Your Deeper Story – and the Growing Humankindness community is here to help you write that story into being.
As education pioneer Maria Montessori said, “We’re here to nurture the spiritual embryo.”
The community is here to support this story, and to serve this nurturance. If you feel moved to join us, we’d love to have you. We wait, and listen, and prepare a place for you.
Frequently asked questions
How much does it cost to be a member?
Membership in the Growing Humankindness community is $135 USD a month. (If you’re in Texas you also pay sales tax.) Your fees run month to month.
How many people are in the community?
The community is designed to be intimate and nourishing. We currently have 25 members and cap the community membership at 50.
How long should I plan on being a member in order to see changes?
Healing takes time, isn’t a quick fix, and can’t be rushed. Transformation has its own mystery and grace.
The community is designed to be a holding space where you’re supported during this process. To receive the most benefit, we encourage people to commit to the community for 6-12 months. This gives you time to settle in, build relationships, and use the community resources.
After this time, we hope that you continue your membership in the community (0r receive help elsewhere) for as long as it’s helpful to you. We’ve found that those who commit to a group or healing process for a longer period of time – 1-2 years – start to see changes in their lives.
Another pivotal period is the 4-5 year mark. In my own life, this is when I saw the positive accrual of small changes and began to heal some of the deeper trauma and grief with my therapist.
What if I don’t want a community?
A community isn’t the only way to receive help, and may not be the best fit for you. We continue to offer home study courses for those who don’t want to join a community.
What’s your refund policy? Can I cancel my membership?
The Growing Humankindness community is an ongoing, monthly membership, where membership is paid month to month. You may easily cancel at any time by clicking on a link on your monthly billing receipt or by emailing us.
We don’t offer refunds for past fees.
We understand that your membership may end as your needs, finances, and other commitments change. If you want to return at a later date, you’re welcome to rejoin the next time we open the community, which is twice a year.
When can I join?
We open the community twice a year for new members, every six months-ish.
What if I stop my membership and want to come back?
You’re always welcome to come back should you want to rejoin in the future.
What if I want help elsewhere?
If we’re not the right fit for you, we sincerely hope you find the help you need elsewhere. You’re welcome to ask us for referrals. If we know someone else who might be a better fit, we’ll gladly share this with you.
Any other questions?
If you have any questions on whether or not the community is right for you, please reach out to us by email or call us at 888-297-7076. We want you to have all the information you need so you can make an informed decision.