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Re-Storying Our Lives | Chris Bruno #641

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Chris Bruno joins me today as we dive into the world of re-storying, also could be termed restoring, our past and our lives.

What exactly does this idea mean?

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Corey Allan: So in some ways, Chris, there's gonna be, I think some kindred spirits here, even though we've never officially met until now. But

Chris Bruno: Yes,

Corey Allan: not...

Chris Bruno: absolutely. I know. I feel it also.

Corey Allan: Yeah, so not only is it two really good looking bald guys on the screen, but the work of story, the work of family, the work of bestowing things, I think there's a lot of, I think there's a lot of similarity and synergy in the way we do our work, it's just the wording is gonna be different. Is that fair to

Chris Bruno: Yeah,

Corey Allan: say?

Chris Bruno: yeah, for sure. Yes, all of those places, the bestowing, the marriages, the family legacies, the whole idea of who we are as men, as women, and what do we do for our families, all of that is a passion of mine, and I know

Corey Allan: Perfect.

Chris Bruno: of yours as well. So I'm looking

Corey Allan: Yeah,

Chris Bruno: forward

Corey Allan: absolutely.

Chris Bruno: to this.

Corey Allan: So let's start with if you were to kind of just high level how you got into this and what it is with where your passion is being focused right now. That way we can kind of

Chris Bruno: Yeah.

Corey Allan: get a vernacular with the conversation we can have as it unfolds.

Chris Bruno: Yeah, well, to be honest, I feel like I backed into this by accident. It was just my own personal journey of really kind of coming awake to some of the realities of my own life and my own story. My wife and I, we were living overseas. We were involved in Christian ministry in the Middle East, which is a hard combination. And we were there for about a decade. And I was leading several teams of young people who were just graduating from college. I myself was a young husband and father. At the time, I was only slightly older than the people that I was leading, and yet they were looking to me for guidance and care and parenting. It was their first foray into adulting. And I, like, there were some things happening inside of me. We had some young children, and there was, I came awake to the reality of Like I don't know what I am doing, period. And then I also don't know what I am doing with my children, how I am raising them and growing them to be the kind of people that I would love them to be. And then I also don't know like, how am I leading these other people through a journey of their own? And so I needed to do some of my own work and was reading voraciously. Like I said, we were overseas, so I couldn't like. run to the bookstore or buy off of Amazon. It was a little bit harder to get access to resources. But anytime someone came over the ocean, I had them courier some things over with me, some books and stuff. And I basically just read everything I possibly could. And then when we came back to the States, I was very clear, like, when I come back, I wanna retool and retrain for another season of my life. And that is going to include some of this deeper heart work, some of this deeper soul work. that involves me as a man and then also the stories of the people that I'm with so that's where I stepped into getting some further training and And then here I am, you know a couple decades later. So that's the journey I backed into it mostly because I went to get a divinity Degree and then decided to get a counseling degree instead because I felt like the counseling program fit me better than the divinity program and all that and Here I am.

Corey Allan: Right. And so when you're talking about the idea of the story,

Chris Bruno: Yeah.

Corey Allan: how does that apply in the way you're working with people and the people they do life with?

Chris Bruno: Yeah, well, so I think we can think about story in a couple different levels, and I would say even different altitudes. So when you have like the general overarching story of someone, it's more like the itinerary of their lives, and that would be at the highest level, highest altitude, right? Where it's just, I grew up in Colorado, I got married at this age, we had these kids, we do this job, like that's

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: the general itinerary. And maybe there are some parts of that feel a little bit more important. You know, like I lost my father when I was young or I lost my mother when I was young. Or there was

Corey Allan: Right.

Chris Bruno: an car accident. Like those kinds of things kind of fill the narrative, but generally it just gives the structure of what a story actually holds, like the outline. But then deeper down, there's gonna be the things that are the shaping moments, the shaping experiences, the shaping beliefs and interpretations of what we come to understand about ourselves and the world and relationships and connections with other people and marriage and children and God, like all those kinds of things, those come into play how we are then shaped. So that's the next level down. And I think a lot of us can go like, yeah, that was a significantly impactful moment or experience, but then I wanna go one level deeper and that is to the actual moments. And just like when you read a book, It is the chapters, the book is broken down into chapters and the chapters

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: are broken down into sections and the sections are broken down into paragraphs and the paragraphs are broken down into sentences and the sentences are broken down into words. And in the same way, like I feel like our stories as humans, we have the overall book and we might even have some chapters, but we can actually get in and do some really important work around the words and the sentences that we lived. because we are all of those things on all those different levels.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: And when we enter into the story of how were the words forming the sentences of your life and not just the overall theme, that's I think where we actually get down to ground level. So sorry for mixing metaphors with ground level and books and all that kind of stuff,

Corey Allan: No,

Chris Bruno: but that's

Corey Allan: I think

Chris Bruno: what

Corey Allan: it's

Chris Bruno: I

Corey Allan: perfect

Chris Bruno: mean.

Corey Allan: because I think a lot of what people need in just navigating life is understanding something bigger going on, but then breaking it down into the tangible, what do I do with that bigger?

Chris Bruno: Yeah.

Corey Allan: Because I think, I mean, my experience with clients in my own life has been when I become the culmination of my life. I'm the center cog of my life and that's, I'm the end all be all of my life. It goes disastrously

Chris Bruno: Yep.

Corey Allan: wrong. You know, I gotta be a part of something bigger

Chris Bruno: Mm-hmm.

Corey Allan: to make sense of my role. But then even in that, I've gotta break down my role into the smaller, tangible thoughts, feelings, actions, you know,

Chris Bruno: Yes, 100%.

Corey Allan: behaviors, habits, et cetera.

Chris Bruno: Yeah, I feel like people are constantly searching for meaning. What is

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: the big existential question is like, what is the meaning of life? And my response to that is, well, then what are the moments of life? How do we actually step into the moments? And it's in the moments that we begin to formulate some sense of why we're here and what our life

Corey Allan: Right.

Chris Bruno: means. And if we don't, if we stay at that meta-narrative and we don't sink down into the moments, then we're not actually gonna be able to do much work there.

Corey Allan: Right, yeah, because it's incredibly difficult to reframe some large thing without, the only way through it is the small, right?

Chris Bruno: Yes, exactly.

Corey Allan: I mean, that's marriage work in itself.

Chris Bruno: Yeah,

Corey Allan: If I wanna

Chris Bruno: it is.

Corey Allan: change my marriage, I don't just change my marriage, I change myself in the dance moves I make within.

Chris Bruno: Exactly. And I love how you just said the dance moves because it's not just the dance. You don't change the

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: dance. You change the moves of the dance in order to change the dance.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: That's what you have to do. And the closer that we get down into those moments, the closer we get down into the words, whatever metaphor, the dance moves, whatever metaphor you want to put, that is where we can actually do some really good work. Because, you know, I might say like my story at a higher good home. My parents are still married. I have a sister, and this is all true, I have a sister who is older than I am, but she's pretty severely mentally and physically disabled and has been since birth. And so I was born into this family system that it was a stable family system. We had everything that we needed. They were good family of faith. You know, they're like I said, still

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: together intact. So that is one thing. And so, but There are parts of that, there are some smaller sentences of that, that I struggled with, and that had an impact on me. And if I begin to break it down more into

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: what those moments were, what those seasons of my life were, then I can actually enter in to not just fly over, but state, name the things that need to be healed in my life.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm. And so talk walk me through some of the different processes you've come up with because I you know, if you look at your work, it's It's a it's counselor meets National Geographic meets

Chris Bruno: Hahaha

Corey Allan: Mountain Guide meets Safari rafter, you know, there's

Chris Bruno: Hahaha

Corey Allan: an element of like I'm incredibly jealous. But, but it's also there's a profoundness. in the way there's more going on than just the prototypical counseling relationship.

Chris Bruno: Yeah, well, okay, so there's several things I would say. So first of all, I mean, I see the swords behind you there on the screen and there's something to, even how we've been speaking, to how our lives are made up, not just the stories we've been talking about, but we understand our lives, we find meaning through narratives. This is where we have, you know, stories that we love, maybe they're, you know, we're... Binging something on Netflix, maybe there's books that we like, there's fairy tales, there's stories that we love and those stories that help us orient into some kind of meaning for ourselves. And

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: the swords in the background of here, I've got all kinds of books on my wall over here, I've got all kinds of things that have meaning to me to help me orient myself. So

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: I say all that, Corey, because experiences, I think are one significant way for us to break down some of the barriers around our lives and hearts and bring into our lives some meaning. So for example, I just recently wrote a book called Sage, A Man's Guide Into His Second Passage.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: Okay, this is about a man stepping into the second half of his life. Now there's the book, there's the content, and that is, I hope people read it, right? That is one way of experiencing the content, but- In a few months, I'm taking a group of 15 guys to Scotland where we're gonna be engaging with the, it's gonna be in January. So the rugged terrain and then the rugged weather mirrors, gives us a metaphor for the rugged terrain of the internal world of our lives in the kind of midlife timeframe of a man's life.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: And so the metaphor of the space and the time and the experience that we're gonna have helps us. orient ourselves to what's happening in our lives. So I am all about creating counseling type experiences

Corey Allan: Right.

Chris Bruno: that are outside the counseling room in order to get to the places that people wanna go, people want healing in, people wanna explore, people wanna know. And so doing that in all those places that you just listed on the river, just got back from a trip in Kenya, taking some fathers and their kids. where we're working on some of that fathering aspect of helping launch these older teens out as they just head out into the world and all that. We do all kinds of experiences like that through Restoration Project. So that is a big passion of mine. And at the same time, I see people one-on-one in a counseling room

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: and we talk through things, we investigate their stories, we do that kind of that work too. So it's not all out on the trail. It is very much sometimes in that counseling office.

Corey Allan: Right, well I think that that's what you're describing is recognizing the importance of, and this is where, you know, if Donald Miller is one of my favorite authors and his whole concept

Chris Bruno: Mm-hmm.

Corey Allan: of story that

Chris Bruno: Yep.

Corey Allan: he helped capture for me in a lot of ways rings true because it's that, it really becomes life for me. The meaning of life is living a better story.

Chris Bruno: Exactly.

Corey Allan: Because that's what it is. And so that's where the markers come into play the experiences the moments you're describing And then even the anchor points if you will mean like the swords So

Chris Bruno: Mm-hmm.

Corey Allan: what they represent if you're just listening on the podcast, I have two Scottish claymore. So they're the William Wallace swords

Chris Bruno: Mm-hmm.

Corey Allan: and then one from Lord of the Rings aowans sword

Chris Bruno: Mm-hmm.

Corey Allan: and They they represent

Chris Bruno: Love it.

Corey Allan: as a meaning to me the role I play in my family Right? One is the sword for fighting for my wife's heart. The other Claymore is fighting for my son's heart. And then the Aowyn sword is fighting for my daughter's heart. And that's the whole point as a father and a husband, I believe is my role is having their. Not not that I'm in charge, but I have a role I play

Chris Bruno: Yes.

Corey Allan: in their life, so it's my charge towards them. Right.

Chris Bruno: Yeah,

Corey Allan: And so

Chris Bruno: absolutely.

Corey Allan: the representation too of the meaning and the bestowing like you're describing, because I think that's that fathering that

Chris Bruno: Hmm

Corey Allan: with the swords, like whenever some young man captures my daughter and then becomes husband as part of that ceremony, I will hand the sword to him. because his job becomes fighting for her heart in that way. My job shifts. I don't know exactly what it looks like at that point because I have not experienced it. But

Chris Bruno: Mm-hmm.

Corey Allan: those are the representations. And the coolest thing about this is since this has been a part of their entire life, because these sorts have been in my household for 15, 17 years now, I got them right after my daughter was born, or the first one at

Chris Bruno: Okay.

Corey Allan: least, they know what they represent. And every so often

Chris Bruno: Uh huh.

Corey Allan: I'll come back and they've got one in their hands. Right.

Chris Bruno: Yeah.

Corey Allan: And so it's just, okay, that's just kind of a cool marker because it's something again, to me, the power of this is kind of what you're describing of the experiences. There's something bigger going on. I'm not the end of the story here. I only play a role,

Chris Bruno: Okay.

Corey Allan: a small one, maybe, but I got to play a hundred percent of my role.

Chris Bruno: Yeah. And I love that, Corey, because it's, we play a role regardless.

Corey Allan: Yes.

Chris Bruno: We play a role regardless. And so whether we choose to play that role or we choose not to play a role, we will be playing a role regardless.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: So I love being able to invite people to a posture of participation in the role that they are playing so that they can, you know, live into be. the person that they were made to be.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: And what you're talking about is in those roles as husband and father and man, like those are important. Own them, own them.

Corey Allan: Right.

Chris Bruno: And if you don't own them, something else will own you. And that will be, you know, and that's the work that I do a lot is that people are like, I don't know what my life is. I'm like, well, who are you? And they're like, I don't know. Well, that's how we find out what your life is, is by discovering who you are.

Corey Allan: Right, and then add to that, if I don't play the role, something else will own me and something else will own that role in those people's lives.

Chris Bruno: Exactly. Yes, exactly.

Corey Allan: Because I think we all are constantly looking for what's the father figure, what's the mother figure, what's the friend figure, what's the sibling figure, all of those things, because we exist in relationships. I mean, I think that's the crux of your work, right? Is we exist

Chris Bruno: We

Corey Allan: in

Chris Bruno: do.

Corey Allan: relationship, and so who I'm in relationship with matters.

Chris Bruno: It does significantly. Relationships shape us. If I mean, and even we can get a geek out a little bit if you want, but like the whole concept of interpersonal neurobiology. Interpersonal neurobiology is like how me as a person and how I am formed neurologically is impacted by you as a person and how you are formed neurologically. And the interweaving of who we are, you talk about your son and your daughter, like they have become who they are by the interactions that they have had with you and your wife.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: Now, of course, there's some aspect of the raw material of who they are and

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: the personality that they were born with and... you know, body that they were born with and all those things. And the interpersonal neurobiology shapes who we are. Our narratives

Corey Allan: Right.

Chris Bruno: are not in isolation. Our narratives

Corey Allan: No.

Chris Bruno: are actually in, you know, just like a chain link fence that there are links to who we are that create the greater narrative of the human story.

Corey Allan: Yeah, and I actually just heard in a book I just finished a week ago, I don't know the study they're referencing, but they are postulating that 40% of personality is what's biological. The rest is the is the nurturing component. It's the it's the filled in by the surroundings and those within.

Chris Bruno: Yes. Fascinating, isn't it? I love this stuff. It's just…

Corey Allan: It is, but that also just flies right into the power of my wife's phrase with our kids all the way through. Show me your friends, I'll show you your future. Right? Because we are,

Chris Bruno: That's a fantastic phrase.

Corey Allan: it absolutely is, because we are, what's the other phrase along those lines? We are the average of the five people we hang around most.

Chris Bruno: Hmm.

Corey Allan: That's, we can't help but be infected by them and impacted by them and influenced.

Chris Bruno: Yeah, and then in the good way, and then also in the difficult way.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: And some of the work that you and I both do is we are helping people unravel some of the harmful, traumatic, tragic experiences that they have had in life, and who they have become has been so marred, so influenced by the trauma that they have lived, that becomes the ruling narrative. That becomes... the narrative by which they live until they realize, like, I don't want to live like that anymore, or I can't live like that anymore, or it's not working for me anymore, and I want to actually write a new narrative. And the part that I love about story work is that you can read your story. We can't go back and change what has happened in the past. But a dear friend of mine, she says that there is still ink in the pen, meaning

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: that the story, those parts of your story have been written, but what would happen if you actually took the pen and began with intention to write a story into your life and own with agency your own sense of self so that you can really live the story that you want to live, that you were designed to live.

Corey Allan: Right, that's the rephrasing it to, I can't change my story, but I can change my relationship to my story

Chris Bruno: my story.

Corey Allan: of what was.

Chris Bruno: Yeah. And, you know, I talk about this a lot. I just mentioned trauma, like, we can't do much in the in the world to prevent tragedy from happening. We can do some things, right?

Corey Allan: Right.

Chris Bruno: We can wear seatbelts, we can wash our hands, we can, you know, try to eat healthy, we can do some things to try to mitigate tragedy. But the reality is, we live in a world where tragedy exists.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: and it will happen to all of us.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: What ends up happening with tragedy is that it transforms into trauma, a soul shaping, narrative shaping event or experience. It transforms into trauma when there is not the presence of kindness, fathering, mothering kind of kindness to help us digest that tragedy. Without kindness, it transforms into a soul shaping trauma. And those are then, the ruling narratives by which we live, the trauma experiences that we have in life.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: The beauty is that we can actually, through this kind of work that we're talking about, transform trauma back into a less powerful tragedy where it doesn't have the rule, the ownership over us anymore. We can transform it back into tragedy. We can't take it away, but we can take away the power of it by... by the process of experiencing kindness in the moment by moment, word by word, kind of experiences of our stories

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: when we bring kindness into that. And so that is what all of the trail things, all the Scotland things, all the therapy, all the counseling room, that is my hope because I believe that kindness is actually the greatest weapon on earth to combat darkness, come back brokenness, come back trauma so that... we can transform it back into tragedy. That's what gives me hope. That's where you actually are taking up the pen to write the story differently. And my counseling practice is called the Restore Counseling. That's what we do. We're helping people restore their lives in a different way so that they can live more out of that, or live differently, not out of trauma, but out of just a less powerful place of not having that trauma over.

Corey Allan: Right, because that's what's also so fascinating, just continuing the geek out section of our conversation,

Chris Bruno: Yeah.

Corey Allan: is most of the time, trauma happens in relationship. There was another component in there. There's another person in there that creates the trauma. Whatever inciting event or experience, that's what creates it. But our path to healing. is in relationship.

Chris Bruno: Yes, 100%.

Corey Allan: And I think it's J. Stringer. I don't remember if I remember his exact phraseology, but it's almost like it's a compassionate witness that we have to have to help pull ourselves through it better so it no longer rules us as much.

Chris Bruno: Yes, yes, compassionate witness. I like the word with-ness, that there is something about being with another person, the connectedness

Corey Allan: Yeah.

Chris Bruno: of being with another person. And

Corey Allan: Well, that's

Chris Bruno: I would even...

Corey Allan: Irvin Yalem's work right there where he believes so much in just the power of human to human relationship was the restorative thing.

Chris Bruno: Yes, it is restorative. Because we don't stop, the interpersonal neurobiology doesn't stop when you're a child and you suddenly become adult, it still has an impact. We still can and do, we are formed by our relationships. And I would go one step even further, you said almost, I would say that every trauma that we experience is the result of some kind of brokenness in relationship. And

Corey Allan: There

Chris Bruno: I

Corey Allan: you

Chris Bruno: wanna

Corey Allan: go.

Chris Bruno: say whether that is an active, someone acting out of, causing harm,

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: trauma, or the absence of someone in the moment of harm. there is some aspect of the relationality of trauma. It is everywhere in every trauma.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: Now,

Corey Allan: OK, so let's.

Chris Bruno: ask me to fully prove that. I don't have a research study that I can show you

Corey Allan: I

Chris Bruno: to prove that.

Corey Allan: got,

Chris Bruno: And

Corey Allan: I,

Chris Bruno: my life

Corey Allan: but

Chris Bruno: experience

Corey Allan: it,

Chris Bruno: tells me that.

Corey Allan: well, but it makes sense because we, we constantly are in relationship to something every moment of the day, whether it's in, in real physical form or historical form or imaginative form or whatever it may be. And so we don't, cause we don't live, we don't live and exist in vacuums. And that's part of the reason why there will constantly be, there will be pain, there will be struggle, there will be crises and trauma that happens.

Chris Bruno: Yeah, well, we can't not live in story.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: And story is all about the relationships that we have or don't.

Corey Allan: Okay, so let's pivot this for a second, or maybe for the rest. Let's talk to the two sides of this equation. Those that need to restory and those of us that can help people we care about restory, because

Chris Bruno: Sure,

Corey Allan: I imagine

Chris Bruno: yes.

Corey Allan: there's a synergy here for sure. If I kind of get an idea of where you go with people,

Chris Bruno: Yep.

Corey Allan: but Let's talk about first the idea of, I'm seeing the importance of, I can't change my story, but I need to change how, there's still ink in the pen, so let's start using that ink.

Chris Bruno: Yeah, yeah. Well, there's so many directions we could go with that. I mean, it's not because I want job security, but there is, I believe that every one of us, every single one of us, just by nature of being human on earth, has both the need and the potential to do some of this work. We need to recognize that something has come against us. That something about who we were created to be has been, I used the word earlier, marred, has been wounded, has been traumatized, has experienced some level of this is not how things should be. This is not what I was created to be. There's some harm that we have walked through and experienced. And because most of that harm, I believe the most impactful aspect of that harm has occurred in our most innocent. years of our lives, in the years where we didn't have the adult resources to be able to think through it, navigate it, you know, figure

Corey Allan: Right.

Chris Bruno: it out. We were kids. Most of the harm that has happened to us has occurred before we were age 10. Okay?

Corey Allan: Right.

Chris Bruno: And I say that and people are like, well, I've lived, I'm 50 years old. I have 40 years after I was 10 years old. There's so much more that's happened. And I would say yes to that and how you lived through those other 40 years. was the result of how you found out how you learned

Corey Allan: Right.

Chris Bruno: how to survive as a 10 year old.

Corey Allan: Right.

Chris Bruno: So, so much of like every single one of us has to kind of reckon with the reality that there are some things that have impacted who I am

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: and that has been harmful. So every one of us needs to do some of this work. And the more that we do this kind of work, I believe the more that we can come back to who we were designed to be. who we were shaped, who we were intended to be, the life that we were intended to live. Parker Palmer talks about in his book, Let Your Life Speak, he says that the life living within me is not the life that wants to live in me. That there is a life inside of each one of us that wants to live. And even, you know, C.S. Lewis, everybody kind of talks about this aspect of who I am on the inside is not who I am on the outside. And the integration

Corey Allan: Thank you.

Chris Bruno: of my inside and outside, my internal, my external. That I think is really the ultimate work of what we're called to do, regardless of your belief systems or faith background or personal awareness, whatever it is, that I think is really what we were designed to be and actually makes us human.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: We are the only creatures on earth who have the ability to reflect.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: And I think that is a gift that we are given in order for us to be and become, like I'm saying, the person we were designed to be. So... If you're wondering, should I do this or not? Is there something about me? I'm living a fine life. I wanna bless you. Call me. If

Corey Allan: Right.

Chris Bruno: there's nothing that feels like has been difficult in your life. Now I talk about it too, like there's big T tragedies and there's little T tragedies. There's

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: the big T traumas and little T traumas. There are the big moments that are like earth shattering, life shaping moments, but then there's also death by a thousand paper cuts. And so those little T traumas have just as much of a shaping influence. The words that were spoken or not spoken, the like

Corey Allan: Right.

Chris Bruno: those kinds of things still shape who we are. So that's where, and the work then is not every counselor, coach, therapist is created equal because I think so many people focus on just, hey, if there's a problem, if there's a symptom, if there's a behavior that's not working for you, change the behavior. And they're not getting at the deeper narratives. They're not getting at the deeper things of what is driving that behavior? What is the why behind the what? What is the issue that is really going on for you that is driving that? So if you're struggling with an addiction of some kind, for example, it's not about the addiction. It's about what's driving the addiction, what's happening in the background. And so I would ask those that are listening, say, hey, I wanna grow, I wanna change, I wanna become that. Make sure that you're thinking through, is the person that I'm gonna be seeking or looking for someone who will actually take me to the deeper places?

Corey Allan: Right.

Chris Bruno: Someone who will drop down from 30,000 foot down to ground level with me and be with me in the moments. Back to that compassionate witness, the witness.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: Will someone actually be able to be with me in those moments of my story and of my life?

Corey Allan: Right. And that's good because I think there's that element of recognizing the importance of, every, we are shaped by little things and big things. And the more I can see that and recognize it, because the work I believe in will align perfectly in the sense that the stuff like the big T traumas that yeah, I can, I can label those. But I still in a lot of ways have probably Disneyland them and tried to make her lighter than they really are, right? And I don't have the strength or the ability at times to see what they really are. And

Chris Bruno: Well,

Corey Allan: then...

Chris Bruno: it's terrifying to see what they really are.

Corey Allan: Absolutely.

Chris Bruno: If

Corey Allan: I

Chris Bruno: we

Corey Allan: mean, that's.

Chris Bruno: were actually really going to name what is going on here, the trauma and the tragedy is far deeper and far darker than we ever want to admit.

Corey Allan: Absolutely, Schnarch would use the phrase of, many of us would rather stay asleep than wake up because what we wake up to is a nightmare.

Chris Bruno: Yes.

Corey Allan: It's like, that is a lot of truth in what goes on in our world because the world's not for us in a lot of ways, right? So

Chris Bruno: Yeah.

Corey Allan: when I can orient to that, it's better. on using that ink well, it's kind of to use your terminology. It's the heading out into something, which then I think

Chris Bruno: Mm-hmm.

Corey Allan: leads us to, okay, now let's be a partner in the restoring with somebody.

Chris Bruno: Mm-hmm.

Corey Allan: What does that look like for somebody that you get to walk alongside with the witness as you're describing it? What does that look like? Not just us as professionals, because I think this is something we do, I do as a father, I do as a husband, I do as a friend. So what does that

Chris Bruno: Mm-hmm.

Corey Allan: look like as you see it?

Chris Bruno: Well, again, so many directions we could go with that question, but the element that I think is the most important for us is to recognize just in the simplicity of presence, the simplicity of presence, and so quickly, we run to... fixing, we run to judgment, we run to condemnation, we run to issues of shame, like those are the kinds, and whether it's me in telling you about what's happening for me or you, try, you know, being so uncomfortable with what I'm saying that you need to fix me, like,

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: or advise me, or give me some, you know, hallmark card answer, or pray for me, whatever it is that there is, that there's some kind of uncomfortableness with where we're going. And And I just wanna encourage people to have a posture of presence and a posture of just like, I love how Brene Prown says this, like, I don't even know what to say right now, but I'm just so glad you told me. Like if you don't know

Corey Allan: Right.

Chris Bruno: what to say, if you don't know what to do, right, just stay present to the person

Corey Allan: Right.

Chris Bruno: and allow for your heart to be broken about their brokenheartedness. Allow for you to be sad and angry and confused as they are sad and angry and confused. That is what I'm talking about with witness, witness with witnessing. Those

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: are hard words to say, right? In just being with someone else. Cause ultimately, Kurt Thompson, he puts it this way, that we were all born into the world looking for someone looking for us.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: I love that phrase because can you be a person who is looking to find another person take them out of where they're at, not fix them, not try to remove the tension or resolve the dynamic, just be with. That

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: I think is what we're all looking for. And so if you're a father, a mother, a friend, if you're a pastor, a coach, whatever it is, those are the most powerful places that you can be with somebody. And then professionally, that is where, let's not move to behavior management and symptom relief. Some of those things can be helpful right at first, but let's not give handout Tylenol and ibuprofen for the cancer or the heart, right? We

Corey Allan: Right.

Chris Bruno: might need to relieve some pain at first and help people walk through some things at first, but that's not actually diving in and helping them with their real the why behind the what, as I said before.

Corey Allan: Right. Yeah. And that's, that's so good. Cause I think that's just the importance of the power of presence of another human that'll give room for both existences so that you are being felt and is, but more importantly, the person you're alongside is felt

Chris Bruno: Yes.

Corey Allan: because typically we run up against, uh, I'm trying to keep my anxieties at the level that's comfortable. regardless of what's going on with you. And so you share something that heightens my anxiety, I will react from that state to try to get you to calm down so that I feel more comfortable rather than

Chris Bruno: Yes.

Corey Allan: wait. What matters actually is the room for both to exist

Chris Bruno: Mm-hmm.

Corey Allan: and neither dominate or, but just to both be felt.

Chris Bruno: Yes, and that work in order to be able to do that is your own personal work.

Corey Allan: Absolutely.

Chris Bruno: Right. It's your own personal work. And, you know, the,

Corey Allan: Yeah,

Chris Bruno: Dan

Corey Allan: it's incredibly

Chris Bruno: Allen who says

Corey Allan: hard

Chris Bruno: you

Corey Allan: to

Chris Bruno: can

Corey Allan: not

Chris Bruno: only

Corey Allan: stay the center of attention with people, isn't it? It's humanness. It's humanness here. Like, wait, I thought we were talking about me as you were sharing what's going on with you.

Chris Bruno: It is. Yeah, Dan Elender says you can only take someone as far as you yourself have gone. And so if there is something about the work that you're wanting to do with people, whether it's, you know, as a, as a father, mother, friend, coach, whatever it is, or as a professional, like you have to do that at your own personal work, which is. back to where we started in the whole conversation was, I kind of woke up to the reality, like I need to do some of my own work here first before I can actually father my children and do this work with other people. And again, back in the Sage book, one of the things that I talk about in Rites of Passage, and the reason that I talk about passage at all is that there are, I believe there's two main passages, specifically of a man's life. The first passage is when he goes from being a boy and he transforms into becoming a man. We can talk about that. And the way I like to talk about that, first of all, is just the task of the first passage is for the father to see within the boy, to find the man who's already existing inside the boy and to call him forth. That's the rite of passage into manhood. The passage into, but then we just like, generally culturally we believe that once we become a man, that's kind of it until we die.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: And the reality is that there is a whole nother passage. There's a whole nother season that we have as men and women both, but I'm speaking specifically to men, that passage is to go from a man into a sage. And if the task of the first passage is for the father to find the man within the boy, and to call him forth. The task of the second passage is to find the boy within the man and bring him home. Bring us home to ourselves. Bring us home to who we were meant to be. We've lived this entire life, like, and this is usually what happens in midlife is, oh, I wake up to the reality that the life I'm living, as we talked about, is not the life I'm actually designed to live, and the job I have, the family, those things, like those things are not filling me the way that I had hoped they would.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: Where do I go? Well, it's actually inside, not outside anymore. It's to bring that boy home. Let him come home to you. My whole point in saying this is that spaciousness, when the boy inside of me comes home, or the boy inside comes home to me, he then, we then, the man in me, the boy in me, provides this spaciousness for other people to be. That is one of the hallmarks of a sage. is that other people have the space in my presence to be who they are because I'm no longer jockeying for space in the room. I can

Corey Allan: Right.

Chris Bruno: actually sit down inside of myself and be who I am so that you can be who you are.

Corey Allan: And that's so important and lacking in our world.

Chris Bruno: Yeah.

Corey Allan: Sadly, it's like there's

Chris Bruno: It

Corey Allan: not

Chris Bruno: is.

Corey Allan: room for other people. It's all about who dominates, who's on top. And

Chris Bruno: who's on top.

Corey Allan: there's a negative to that, absolutely.

Chris Bruno: And there is a season, I wanna be honest, like there is a season

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: of a man's life where he needs to be the warrior, where he

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: is seeking to dominate and he is seeking to battle and be competitive and find his way up the ladder. And I would hope that would be in a kind way that you're not decimating people and leaving debris behind you. And there is also a season where that comes to an end and

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: that warrior can sit down and he can... sit, you know, lean like in your background, lean the sword up against the wall because it's no longer needing to be unsheathed. It can

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: now be sheathed. It can now be put away. It's still present. At

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: any moment, you could pull it out, but it doesn't need to be in every moment anymore.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm. That's so good, man. We could talk about this for hours and hours, but tell people that are intrigued with what you do

Chris Bruno: Yeah.

Corey Allan: and how they can find you and learn more.

Chris Bruno: So I'll direct you to kind of three simple places. One is, if you're curious about any of the books I mentioned or the book, you can find those on Amazon. Just search Sage, Chris Bruno on Amazon, you can find it. And there's a couple other books they have there too. is this men's space of providing experiences. I mentioned the Scotland trip. I mentioned

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Chris Bruno: some of the fathering trips and stuff. All that is on And then the counseling work that we do is intensives and one-on-one counseling. And I have a whole team of people across the country that do that. That's Restory.Life is where you can find us there.

Corey Allan: Chris, thank you so much for the dialogue today and the conversation,

Chris Bruno: Yeah.

Corey Allan: but also man, thank you for the work because this is the kind of things that are lasting. It's like when somebody gets it, I have found as I'm, cause I'm gonna probably put myself kind of transitioning to the Sage, right? I'm 52

Chris Bruno: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Corey Allan: and kids

Chris Bruno: Yep.

Corey Allan: are getting ready to launch and there's just some demonstrative differences coming. And one of the things Pam and I have have dedicated ourselves to as far as our story goes on a larger meaning is we want to be a part of hundred year missions, which is the

Chris Bruno: Yes.

Corey Allan: idea of you change one person or you impact one person in relationship. That relationship has kids that are impacted who have kids get married that have kids that are impacted.

Chris Bruno: Yes.

Corey Allan: And so that one input could last a hundred years. And that's

Chris Bruno: Yes.

Corey Allan: a worthwhile thing to me. For sure.

Chris Bruno: It is absolutely.

Corey Allan: But that's the power of what you're describing, is one person hearing this and doing a step towards it is a lasting legacy in some way. We don't know, we maybe won't even see it, but it is an impact of those that come behind. And that's so worth

Chris Bruno: Yes.

Corey Allan: it. So, man, thank you so much.

Chris Bruno: Absolutely, it's been so great to be with you today and just really appreciate it.