If you have a painful relationship with food or sugar, if you care for depression and anxiety, or if you feel shame about the suffering that you experience, please make yourself at home here at Growing Humankindness.
We help people who self soothe with food and who want to feel less judgment, anxiety, and shame about their struggles. Here, you’ll learn about the relational needs that drive food seeking so you can understand your behaviors with wisdom and empathy.
We don’t offer tools on what to eat – there are others who offer this kind of support – but help you heal your relationship with the wounds that drive the overeating.
With respect, empathy and care, we’ll help you ease the pain of these vulnerable places within. We’ll help you support places of frozenness and stuckness so that healing and growth can unfold. And we’ll support you in ‘coming alongside’ yourself in softness and strength so overeating and self judgment can gently fall away.
Connecting with our offerings
If you feel at home here and want more support, there are several ways you can work with us. We primarily offer group classes as we believe in the power of journeying with others. You can find dates for upcoming classes on the calendar here.
We offer 2-3 classes throughout the year, such as Listen: Gentle Ways to Support Your Healing with Food, The Book of Love, and When Food is Your Mother. These classes are filled with generous, kind, soulful women (and often a few men.) The best way to learn about new classes is to stay tuned to the newsletter.
In addition to group classes, we offer online courses that you can take at any time: Emerge: Create a New Habit and Align: Heal Your Relationship with Your Inner Rebel. I share more about these offerings below.
The primary difference between group classes and do at home courses is that do at home courses don’t include interactivity like webinars, group forums, a place to ask questions, and a place to connect with others. Both options nourish and support your journey, but in different ways.
Individual support and companioning
Many people ask if I work with people 1 on 1. I offer a wee bit of individual support in the form of zoom calls. Most of these calls are for students who are working their way through a course or for alumni who want additional support.
These spots are limited as my primary attention is devoted to our group offerings. You can see my availability and sign up for 1 on 1 calls with me here.
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 monthly letters here.
Popular tools include the Sugar Addiction 101 video course; The Binge Rescue worksheet, our most popular tool for binge eating; and The Inner Rebel worksheet, a way to care for feelings of resistance and ‘I don’t want to.’
Do at home courses
If you overuse sugar or food for stress relief, to care for your emotions, or to self regulate, this course will help you soften self criticism, set nourishing limits, and change your eating habits with a gentle, compassion based approach. You’ll receive daily emotional support and learn how to apply self compassion to the process of habit change, so you can create more nourishing self talk and build resilience, that internal sense of, “I trust myself to move through this.”
This course is our most popular and has been taken by thousands from around the world since 2012. *Note – this course used to be called The 30 Day Lift. It was renamed and revised in 2019 as Emerge: Create a New Habit.
When you attempt to make changes in how you eat, care for your body, or care for your self, you may bump into your Inner Rebel – the part of you that strongly says “No!” The result? You may get stuck in collapse, resistance or inner conflict – fighting amongst these various parts and needs.
In this course, you’ll learn how to soften this inner conflict, understand the needs underneath the inner rebel, and playfully work with this part of you rather than against it. This will help you follow through on the changes you want to make and express a greater sense of power in your life.
If you’re wanting group support, we offer 2-3 group classes a year. Course materials are delivered online along with a private, closed forum on Mighty Networks. We also meet regularly for Q&A webinars to connect, share insights, ask questions, and practice the exercises together. To learn about upcoming classes, check the calendar or stay tuned to the newsletter.
For many people, overeating and binge eating are not just “bad” habits but emotional bonds – a well intentioned protector to feel safe, secure and connected in the face of isolation, intense emotions, powerlessness, or pain.
In moments of overwhelm, this emotional bond with food – and the needs that drive it – can override other needs, such as a need for health or nurturing limits. In When Food is Your Mother, you’ll learn how to nurture the internal and external safety that enables you to soften your bond with food.
Listen is our newest offering. In this class you’ll learn how to care for seven common areas of vulnerability, tension and stuckness that challenge nearly everyone in healing their relationship with food.
Each week you’ll explore one of these doorways – befriending cravings, embracing neediness, caring for collapse, becoming more comfortable with the ebb and flow of satiation, softening perfectionism, leaning into limits, and receiving care rather than caretaking – with listening, compassion, warmth and curiosity.
When we experience heartache, hardship, or pain, or when we struggle with something long term like illness or trauma, it’s easy to feel like ‘damaged goods.’
Our struggles can become the lens through which we see ourselves, coloring our perceptions and beliefs about who we are. In the wake of this separation, we often lose our connection with ourselves: our hopes and dreams, abiding goodness, capability, and trustworthiness.
The Book of Love is a playful, art based class to reconnect to your wholeness: to birth the deeper story that lives underneath disconnection.
In this class you’ll be crafting a journal – using a blank book that you fill with images, stories, symbols and more – to create a book of connection, a chronicle and witness to your soul’s story. Through this creation and through sharing a space with others, you’ll reconnect with your deepest self, soften shame, and embolden courage.
We offer continued support and connection for our students in the Growing Humankindness alumni community. This membership offering is an ongoing space of support where you can connect with others, deepen your understanding, receive help and coaching in a group setting, and nurture your healing and recovery.
The community includes an online group forum, twice monthly webinars, Listening partners, and Healing focuses throughout the year, where we go more deeply into a common area of challenge.
Healing focus topics include: understanding the role of frustration, blessing the body, nurturing a working ‘power’ center, softening perfectionism, inner hospitality, asking for help, and more.
The Growing Humankindness community is open to any student who’s taken a class or do at home course with us.
The roots of our approach
Our approach at Growing Humankindness is grounded in and woven from three threads:
- IPNB (interpersonal neurobiology), attachment theory and developmental psychology
- self compassion
- and Loving Presence, something that is supported by contemplative practices from many traditions.
We incorporate collage, journaling, and creative expression into our classes, as these are gentle and powerful doorways that support every part of ourselves in feeling seen, known, and integrated. We also use Listening Partners in our classes and alumni community, something that was inspired by the work of Patty Wipfler and Hand in Hand Parenting.
People who align best with our approach are those who feel comfortable with meditation/contemplative practices and psychological tools.
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 (Interal 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 protectors like 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.
How long does it take to heal?
One of the most common questions we hear is, How long does it take to heal? It’s a good question – and one that tends to arise when we’re feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, or at our wit’s end. We long for relief, and to know that healing is possible.
While each person’s journey is unique – filled with its own timing, heart, and wisdom – we’ve found it takes 2-4 years to nurture and support the healing process that softens protectors like food. It’s a developmental process, and it needs patience, support, gentleness, and time.
During this window, several important things are happening. You’re supporting your body, nervous system, heart and mind in:
- feeling safe, the foundational need for healing
- softening self attack, perfectionism, shame and self blame
- cultivating the compassion, patience, and curiosity that supports healing
- moving out of isolation and into connection with others
- pruning out what doesn’t work
- grieving the losses that live underneath overeating
- strengthening your capacity to be with discomfort and feel uncomfortable emotions
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.
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 youngs 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.
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.
We respect your time, money, energy, and dreams of healing, your heart and your longings. We want you to get the support you need. We also want you to get the right fit for you. If you have any questions if one of our offerings is right for you, please reach out. We’re here to help, whether you work with us or with someone else.
We bow our hearts, bend our knees, and tune our ears to the beauty in your journey, to the longings in your heart, and to the mercy that holds us all. As many have said, “the work of one is the work of all.” Your care to ease your suffering eases the suffering of all of us. For that, we thank you.
With warmth and sincerity, Karly and the Growing Humankindness team