Nothing Left Unsaid

Goals and Dreams, Simplicity

A member of a MoHW Mastermind Group published a new book … Nothing Left Unsaid, by Joe DeBruin, PhD

The premise of this book is to speak to those who have be influential in his life, and to encourage others to do the same.

What follows is a chapter written to the men in his group (used with permission).

“The unexamined life is not worth living. Socrates “The unlived life is not worth examining.” Sheldon Kopp

Sometimes the best things come unsuspecting and end up life altering. In 2013, Camille tells me she has been listening to this awesome podcast on sex and marriage (Sexy Marriage Radio) by some dude in Texas named Dr. Corey Allan. I of course didn’t change the topic. So we both started binge listening to Sexy Marriage Radio, like thousands of other people. Next thing I know we are sitting in your office, Corey, in metropolitan Dallas having a series of very vulnerable conversations over three days in a marriage enrichment intensive with just yourself. You had an interesting therapy style best described as blunt, Texas blunt, and Texas blunt on steroids. Or even better stated; part smart ass, part swagger, and part humble servant. Camille and I purchased this multi-session package of therapy conversations with you which really helped increase intimacy in our relationship and also spur on better self-management in each of us. Basically, your podcast and your marriage intensive was not really just about sex and marriage but essentially about a better framework to pursue life as a whole. That can be summed up as each person merely managing themself and letting other people manage themselves. Later I heard you were also moving into creating groups for men and I knew that I could benefit from building further on that framework.

So six years ago the six of us (James, Bob, Wayne, Sampie, David, and myself) started in our mens’ group as a self-improvement project led by Dr. Corey Allan. One guy lives in London, one just moved to Spain, one lives in Nashville, myself in California, and three are unable to live in California so are stuck in Dallas. All are long-term married with kids, very senior in their careers, all on a journey into deep authenticity, and all have a strong Christian faith. After a while a real friendship broke out between all seven of us. Then it later ballooned into a deep brotherhood. I can’t imagine our group ending anymore than I can imagine my arms being gone after a night’s sleep.

We text on a social media app almost every day in order to stay in touch. We talk as a group for two hours on an internet video platform twice per month. We spend three nights on a group retreat at a large house on a lake outside of Dallas every January. While at our retreat we talk almost endlessly about everything deep and real in our personal lives from marriage to kids to faith to sex to money to career to family of origin. We have some great food, cigars one night for those inclined, share a few beers or whiskeys over the weekend, play some card games with lots of smack talk, sing some Christian worship songs in the evening, jump into the freezing cold lake as an annual tradition, and then prior to leaving have a group prayer with everyone teary-eyed. You are my brotherhood. You are my adopted brothers.

I have been part of various personal or professional groups in my life and after no time there is a subgrouping that you tend to feel more comfortable with, a portion of the group that you have more affinity for and for whom you tend to navigate towards. Our group is very unusual, we have no subgroupings. There is no ‘B’ team in our group. Any man leaving our group would be felt as devastating. And to make it even more surreal – we’re only just beginning. Every year we have more depth. Every year each of you is growing and changing your life in significant ways.

If I was scheduled to die in the next year and needed some highly important or delicate tasks done after my passing I would have absolute trust in any of you to carry out the tasks in my absence. We have logged a lot of precious time with each other. We have each allowed the other men in our group to see inside the deeper recesses of our lives. We have journeyed into the abyss together and we have also scaled many peaks. We have learned to taste what a good life is meant to include – a close network of friends that you trust and feel safe with. A circle where everyone has a seat. It’s a place of trust and a place of belonging. For me it’s the brothers I always craved.

We have succeeded at creating a context that not only provides some degree of empathy and support, but maybe even more importantly, provides heartfelt encouragement, bullshit detection, and accountability. So each man in our group functions as a coach, leader, teacher, role model, and fellow traveler. We push each other to become better men. More loving husbands. More active fathers. We advocate for creativity, balance, fitness, spiritual growth, and authenticity. Standing on our own two feet and managing ourselves is our ongoing basic mantra.

There is always the backdrop of our shared Christian faith. If it isn’t there in the shadows being coaxed by the group into whispering into all the corners of our life, it’s front and center as a platform for ultimate meaning and purpose. All of us have little zeal for religious games and phoney pretense. We have all decided to tell the world to take us as we are. We see no dichotomy between passion for following Jesus and freedom to be real men. We all cling to the belief that our standing with God is through the prism of grace – unconditional favor for us, even though we realize that we are filled with contradictions, inconsistencies, and failures. Yes, we all push each other to attempt moving through those human limitations but never at the expense of feeling God’s closeness or our own sense of self. In other words, we spur each other toward God while realizing that whether change happens in our lives we can always experience the blessing of God and the sense of being a unique and valuable person.

I am proud to be associated with the six of you. You have fostered a zeal to not only live life more fully but also examine the life I am living. I wouldn’t be writing this book without your ongoing persistence in pushing me toward fulfilling my hearts’ desire to share my story.