We are delighted to open the doors to the Growing Humankindness community! If you know that this offering is for you, you can join by clicking the link below. If you need more information, please read more below about this offering – our intentions, what’s included, and how the membership works.
Membership is renewable, month to month, and is $100 USD per month, with the option to cancel at any time. We’re open for new members from February 3rd, 2023 through Wednesday, March 1, 2023. If your heart says yes, we’d love to have you join us!
The pain of rupture – and the promise of healing
This is a collage I made to express the pain of ‘alarmed aloneness, as teacher and healer Sarah Peyton describes it.
One of the deepest sorrows we experience in life is the pain of separation – especially the separation from our wholeness.
When we experience any vulnerability that’s too much to bear – including experiences like depression, trauma, illness, loss, loneliness, and hardship – we can blame ourselves. We can internalize the pain of these ruptures as, “Something’s wrong with me.”
In the wake of this separation, we develop coping strategies – tactics like overeating, perfectionism, and self criticism – to care for our vulnerability.
These are what Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes calls the ‘not beautiful.’ They may look ‘ugly’ on the outside, but they’re rooted in kindness, wisdom, and self protection.
When shame turns to self blame
When we’re stuck in painful coping strategies like overeating it’s easy to blame ourselves, to think it’s ‘all our fault.’
We may feel anxious about needing to ‘hurry up’ and fix our ‘mess.’ Or we may think that the only way we can change is by ‘bucking up’ and being harsh with ourselves.
This often arises as an inner dialogue that tell us, “You should be doing better!”
When we find ourselves caught in blame and self aggression, our original pain is compounded by the pain of self criticism.
Rather than helping, these fight or flight patterns keep our coping strategies going – all these tender ways we’re trying to numb, soothe, or quiet our internal distress.
These crusted overlays can be painful and frustrating in and of themselves. And as they become more ingrained into our daily lives – as we find ourselves caught in more overeating, or more perfectionism, or more people pleasing – we lose sight of our wholeness and innate goodness.
It’s as if our being itself feels ‘separate,’ like the unwelcome other.
We may isolate ourselves or feel cut off from others. We may feel numb, cut off from our hearts, our loved ones, or our capacity to love. We may feel worthless, like we have nothing to offer.
In my own life, this was when I hid from the world in my basement, trying to recover from my latest binge, embarrassed about the depth of my struggles, and too anxious to connect with others.
Our attempts to reconnect
When we’re facing the ‘not beautiful’ wounds in our lives, it’s helpful to remember what therapist Bonnie Badenoch says about these coping strategies, that “all behavior is adaptive.”
My mentor, Dr. Gordon Neufeld, says it this way: adaptive behaviors like perfectionism and overeating are some of the countless, archetypal ways the human heart tries to bridge the pain of separation.
On an instinctual and bodily level, we’re trying to reconnect! Even though they might appear messy, our coping strategies are based in what we think would help, and in some desire for connection.
With this perspective, we can approach these places of stuckness within ourselves with greater respect, presence, and understanding.
Trusting your capacity to heal
These ruptured places within us – all the places that have been met with harshness – yearn for welcome: safe spaces where they can be witnessed with warmth and curiosity.
Rather than being viewed as parts of ourselves we need to cut out or fix, they long to be invited into a field of belonging and reconnection – even habits like overeating.
As these places are held in wholeness, we come home to ourselves. We can peel back painful stories, peel back the layers. Our adaptations 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.
Why a community?
I’m Karly Randolph Pitman, the steward of Growing Humankindness, and this topic is close to my heart.
For most of my life, food has been the primary way I’ve cared for my sensitivity, overwhelm, and trauma. I’ve ping ponged between depression, overeating, and self harshness, hating myself for the ways I soothed myself in food, and shaming myself for the ways I felt overwhelmed. And yet, in the moment, food was a godsend!
I wanted to understand the needs that drove me to food so I could be gentle with my wounds and find other ways of caring for myself. This yearning led me on a path of understanding that became Growing Humankindness.
What helped – and what you’ll practice in the community – is turning towards your vulnerabilities rather than pushing them away, shaming, or fighting them.
I created my first course in 2008, and 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.
Do you want to join a group of soul divers, tending the hearth fires of this labor?
“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
For over 16 years, I’ve had the honor to sit alongside many sensitive, caring, intentional souls and listen to them speak their food stories aloud.
I’ve heard how food is “a mother,” a refuge, a close friend, a source of comfort and security. One woman said sugar was her “nice girl’s addiction.” Another said that food was the only thing that helped her feel held in a warm hug.
Growing Humankindness was birthed from these stories, and from the sacred longing underneath. If I had to describe that longing, I would describe it as ‘wholeness:’ a longing to know who we are beyond our protectors and adaptations.
Over the years, as people have joined classes, journeying together for six or eight weeks, a natural desire arose to continue to meet and connect after the class ended. This community is an answer to that longing.
Rather than having a class that starts and stops, this is an ongoing community to support your healing journey.
This community is for you if you relished the themes we’ve explored in our classes – acceptance, self forgiveness, self compassion, wholeness, and befriending emotions – and you’d like ongoing, community support to embody these qualities in your daily relationship with food, sugar, your body and yourself.
We’ll be moving more slowly and more deeply in this community than in our other courses, with built in periods of rest and integration.
How the community works
The Growing Humankindness community is for those who want to deepen presence, compassion and listening to nurture healing, connection, curiosity, and growth in their inner worlds.
We’ll be using the twin lenses of relational neuroscience and compassion based spirituality frame our explorations, to make sense of our behaviors with food and other protectors, and to create more nourishing relationships internally, with ourselves, and with others.
In the community, we’ll use listening/witnessing partners, creative exploration, poetry, stories, ritual, and imagery to access our deeper story, creating narratives that strengthen rather than deplete us.
All our offerings are hosted on an online, private community. This is a warm, private, sacred place – not a Facebook group – where you can connect with others, hear your inner wisdom, and deepen your self trust. (See the preview above.)
It’s my hope and intention that this community will be a place where you can connect with yourself and with others, bringing comfort to the isolated places within. With this connection, protectors like overeating, self judgment and criticism can soften, and you can rest more deeply in self trust and wholeness. Out of brokenness, our wholeness shines.
What’s included in the community
This collage is one I made about group healing.
The community weaves several pieces together to support your healing journey:
- Healing Focuses – 4-6 times a year, we dive more deeply into a topic of healing, like befriending cravings, softening perfectionism, befriending the body, or befriending limits. You’ll receive a combination of audios, meditations, art prompts, journaling prompts, or worksheets for each healing focus.
- You have the option to have a Listening Partner or to create a Listening Partner group, where you meet once every week or every other week to trade listening time (learn more below)
- We have a group sharing/circle forum where you can share about your experience and connect with others
- We’ll meet twice a month for webinars (see more below) where you can ask questions and soul dive
- Rest and integration is built into the community – we rest between webinars and healing focuses, and allow time to integrate
- Collage and art prompts – I offer regular prompts where you can journal, make art, or collage about your experience.
- You can connect with others and create your own groups to go through materials or find a course buddy
- You also get access to The Book of Love class materials
- The principles of relational neuroscience and self compassion are embedded within all our community offerings and structure
For all these offerings, the level of participation is up to you. It it intentionally created with many different ways of approaching the sacred alchemy of healing – a buffet of options, not a mandatory meal.
The pacing of the community is meant to be sustainable, nourishing, and supportive, and to equally honor the other sacred domains of your life that ask for your presence and tending.
How much does it cost to be a member?
Membership in the Growing Humankindness community is month to month, renewable each month, for $100 USD. You may cancel your membership for any reason at any time, although we don’t offer refunds for past dues.
For more questions about refunds and fees, please see the frequently asked questions below.
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. She found that one of the key supports that parents need in order to meet the needs of their children was listening: a place where they could receive emotional support, care, and be listened to with warmth by another adult.
So she created listening partnerships: a regular, structured space where parents could take turns listening to each other with warmth and care.
We’ve adopted listening partners here in the Growing Humankindness community and in our group classes. People have shared how helpful it is to have a place to share, build connections, be heard and be listened to.
Listening partnerships are not therapy – while they’re therapeutic and healing, there’s no advice giving or pressure to have answers, for either the listener or the sharer. It’s just listening – one of the most precious things we can give each other.
This image is of a collage I made about my yearnings for healing.
We offer two different kinds of webinars in the Growing Humankindness community:
- Q&A webinars – where we answer your questions and practice exercises and meditation together
- and Soul Circles- where we go soul diving and explore various themes with poetry, collage, stories, and small and large group sharing
We host one of each kind of webinar each month, and we vary between two times (2 pm and 6 pm Central) to care for our international community. Webinars are on Thursdays and are 90 minutes long.
To convert these times to your time zone, try the world clock converter here. I’m in Austin, Texas.
Webinars are recorded if you can’t make them, with the exception of the breakout sharing in the Soul Circles – these are not recorded.
Dates for the 2023 gatherings
Q&A webinars –
- Thursday, February 20 (Orientation)
- Thursday, March 16
- Thursday, April 13
- Thursday, May 11
- Thursday, June 15
- Thursday, July 13
- Thursday, August 10
- Thursday, September 14
- Thursday, October 12
- Thursday, November 16
- Thursday, December 7
Soul circles –
- Thursday, February 23
- Thursday, March 30
- Thursday, April 27
- Thursday, May 25
- Thursday, June 29
- Thursday, July 27
- Thursday, August 24
- Thursday, September 28
- Thursday, October 26
- Thursday, November 30
- Thursday, December 21
How a community differs from self study
If you spend a lot of time reading, studying or listening to podcasts about self compassion and inner nurturing, and yet you struggle to have these ideas ‘take root’ in your daily life, you may find that joining a group of like minded souls helps you cross this divide.
In facilitating 14 years of group spaces, I’ve found that when we build a safe, warm container, practice together, and when we have sufficient time, rest and spaciousness, we can integrate these ideas into our daily life.
They become a living practice that is regularly ‘watered’ and fed, something grounded into our bodies and being.
There’s something alchemical about being in a container with others that often 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.
Singing the song that longs to be born
Image from The Three Ages of Woman by Gustav Klimt
The journey of healing is one of ally and companion, where we serve as the midwife to our inner being. As Maria Montessori once said, “We nurture the spiritual embryo.” We listen to the sweet song that longs to be born, and help carry the tune.
As manger, we cradle what longs to be born, holding all that is new and newborn and tender, singing the ‘soul of her worth,’ and celebrating each tendril, root, and shoot of growth.
When we join and meet and greet our vulnerability we uncover our deeper story. We bring connection to what has been severed, holding to what has been outcast, and rest to what has had to work too hard.
We come to inhabit and embody the Love that we are – what’s stronger than the separation – and what rises to meet and greet all the messy emotions, cravings, and the tender needs and vulnerability we feel around our ‘brokenness,’ holding our hurt in compassion and wisdom, a fierce embrace.
It is to this deeper story that lives in you – and all of us – and to this Mothering Presence that holds the All that this community bends her knee and bows her heart. 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 do I know if this community is for me?
Our community is for soul divers – deep feeling, deep thinking people who are comfortable in the realms of soul, science, and spirit. If you like bridging the worlds of healing, soul, relational science (attachment theory and neuroscience) and compassion based spirituality, then you’re in the right place!
Our people are poets and teachers, ministers and yoga teachers, healers and therapists, artists and parents, musicians and writers, nurses and doctors, midwives and doulas. We’re mostly women, but we enjoy and welcome the soulful men who join us.
It helps if you’re comfortable in an online learning environment, and if you want to engage with and connect with others.
It also helps if you’re open to or have a meditation practice of some sort, as we practice meditative exercises together.
Mostly, if you’re curious, and something in you says yes, we’d love to have you.
How do I know if it’s not for me?
If you’re someone who dislikes an online environment, the community may be more frustrating than helpful to you, as our offerings are online or delivered through an online format.
If you’re looking for nuts and bolts help about what to eat, nutritional advice about meal plans or eating less sugar, it’s best to look elsewhere, as this isn’t our area of expertise.
If you’re looking for therapy, it’s also best to look elsewhere. While the community is therapeutic, it’s not therapy or a substitute for trauma support or healing. We’re trauma aware, but we’re not trained therapists, and we want to honor the limits of our training and expertise – both for ourselves, and for you.
We offer suggestions to find a trauma therapist here.
What’s your refund policy? Can I cancel my membership?
The Growing Humankindness community is an ongoing, monthly membership, so membership is paid month to month. You may cancel at any time, although we don’t offer refunds for any past fees.
We understand that membership may ebb and flow as your needs, finances, and other commitments change. For example, if you cancel because you’ve gotten all you need for the time being, and you want to return at a later date, you could rejoin the next time we open the community and when it’s right for you.
When can I join?
We open the community three times a year for new members. For 2023, we will open the community for new members in February, May and September.
What if I stop my membership and want to come back?
You are always welcome to come back should you want to rejoin in the future – there are no hard feelings. We understand community ebbs and flows.
What if I don’t want a community?
That’s okay! We continue to offer home study courses and lots of free articles on our website for those who don’t want to join a community offering. A community is not the only way to receive help, and may not be the best fit for you. There is more than one way to meet your needs.
What if I want help elsewhere?
There are so many people doing good work today – which means there are so many ways to get help and support. 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 be glad to share that information with you.
Any other questions?
If you have any questions on whether or not this offering is the right fit for you, please reach out to us by email. We want you to have all the information you need so you can make an informed decision.