Hello friend, I’m Karly, the co-founder and steward of this labor of love, what my husband named ‘Growing Humankindness’ one afternoon in a flash of inspiration.
I help people who self soothe with food bring compassion and rest into their relationship with themselves, in those places where they feel that they’ve ‘fallen short.’ When we experience trauma, rupture, or loss, we need support and holding to process our fear and pain. Without this holding, our brains and nervous systems move in to protect us.
These protections, rooted in goodness, become the ‘not beautiful’ coping strategies – the overeating, addictions, defenses, compulsions, and obsessions – that fill us with shame and suffering. In my own life, my primary harbors have been food and depression.
I’ve found that there’s a deeper story that lives underneath the surface story of our struggles, and this story is both more true and more merciful. I help people understand the wisdom beneath their coping strategies so they can come into a softer relationship with them.
Growing human(kind)ness arose from two things: from my own journey of vulnerability through multiple eating disorders and chronic depression and anxiety.
This work also arose from bearing witness to the beauty, courage, and persistent love of other people’s journeys through addiction, shame, loss, grief, eating disorders, depression, abuse, anxiety, and more.
If I had to describe in a sentence how Growing Humankindness offers her particular medicine to the world, it would be thus: may we soften our hearts towards what we fear, misunderstand, and shame, in ourselves and in one another.
May we hold our human vulnerability within our hearts.
May we see our noble beauty.
The word that best conveys this softening is respect, a word whose origins are rooted in ‘seeing again, to regard in a new way, or to see with new eyes.’ As poet John O’ Donohue so beautifully said, ‘when we approach things with reverence, they have powerful ways of approaching us.’
And so I wonder: what rises to meet us when we offer reverence to those things that we most fear in ourselves, and in others?
Our hearts are so thirsty for dignity. May we be tender towards our pain, forgiving towards our human stumbling, and open to the ground underneath our feet.
Breath by breath, my wish is that we may embody our wholeness – our deeper story – and live from this knowing.
I believe that listening to each other’s stories and witnessing the vulnerable courage of each other is one of the most powerful ways we can soften what divides us, both within and without. And so I bend my knee towards these stories in many forms.
I write essays about healing and connection at O Nobly Born, write books and courses, and offer group classes. All of these carry my gratitude for attachment theory and interpersonal neurobiology and my yearning for compassion.
My spiritual journey began as a child in Catholicism and Christianity, and has been enjoined these past few decades by the perfume of Sufism, the wisdom of our Indigineous brothers and sisters, Buddhist compassion, and a devotion to the Mother. All of these paths have their way with me, and I am their grateful student.
I offer this home here in service to all who’ve felt the shame of human stumbling and who yearn for wholeness, to a desire for a more just and loving world, and to deepen our shared connectedness. Underneath all my work you’ll find a love for the human heart.
I live in Austin, Texas – the land of the Tonkawa, Apache, and Comanche people – with my husband Patrick and our family, two dogs, a very frisky cat, and radiantly gnarled oak trees. I love poetry, good stories, good music, good food, good words, lifting heavy things, and long walks.
My dreams are rooted in the hearts of my mothers and fathers, both those of blood and those of kinship who’ve taught me what it means to be human: to grow things in the soil, to make things with my hands, to live in community, to live simply, to serve life, to love fiercely, to offer freely, to receive joyfully, to protect what is vulnerable, to ask for help, to write and speak what we care about, to create beauty, to forgive often, to laugh, to grieve, and to celebrate life.
Their eldering has helped me through both my darkest hours and my joys, and has helped me reclaim my love of life through many rounds of depression, crippling anxiety and despair. Bless them. Their companionship and wisdom is seeded throughout Growing Humankindness, the soil that feeds us here.
I hope you feel their footfalls.
Connecting with my offerings
If you have a painful relationship with food or sugar, or if you feel shame about the depression, anxiety, or suffering that you experience, please, make yourself at home here at Growing Humankindness. I’ve gathered all our free resources on this page here. It’s a great place to start.
If you feel at home here and want more support, I offer do at home and group classes. You can take The Heart of Food, Emerge: Create a New Habit and Align: Heal Your Relationship with Your Inner Rebel, at home, on your own, at any time.
My teachers + the foundation of my approach
Lastly, I offer a bow of gratitude to my lineage and to those who’ve blessed me with their teaching and wisdom. My approach draws from three primary wells:
- Self compassion
- Attachment theory and IPNB (interpersonal neurobiology), including my beloved mentor, Dr. Gordon Neufeld
- Presence – I primarily drink from Sufism, RAIN meditation, Indigineous wisdom, contemplative Christianity, and service to the Divine Mother
I’m especially moved by the intermingling, healing waters of interpersonal neurobiology and Divine Love.
Many have blessed me with their offerings, but a few stand out in how their work has impacted me, shaped my thinking and perceiving, and touched me. I honor their great hearts.
- Bonnie Badenoch, trauma trainer, therapist and teacher, author, The Heart of Trauma
- Tara Brach, meditation teacher, therapist, and author, Radical Compassion, True Refuge and Radical Acceptance
- Dr. Gordon Neufeld, theorist, developmental psychologist, man of great wisdom, and all my teachers at the Neufeld Institute
- Sarah Peyton’s gorgeous work with resonance – understanding how our brains heal with warmth and understanding
- Abby Seixas, one of my first mentors, therapist, meditation teacher, and author of Finding the Deep River Within
- My Sufi teachers, Mark Silver and Holly Glaser, and my Sufi teacher from afar, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
- My teachers on grief, culture, and human making, Francis Weller and Stephen Jenkinson
- And Patty Wipfler, the founder of Hand in Hand Parenting and creator of Listening Partnerships
I’ve also been moved and helped by the founders of the field of IPNB, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Eugene Gendlin, Matt Licata‘s beautiful writing and compassion, Richard Schwartz and Internal Family Systems, all the researchers, scientists, and seekers who’ve helped us understand trauma, including Peter Levine, Gabor Maté, Stephen Porges and polyvagal theory, and Bessel van der Kolk, and the poets, story tellers, and artists of all forms. Bless you all.
May you feel their wisdom and guidance here.