Rev. Jesse Brune-Horan has been a celebrity chef and a personal trainer, appearing on both Bravo and Oprah. But his true calling is his spiritual work and mission. On this episode, he shows us how celebrating his authenticity as a gay man is key to his spiritual growth.
Rev. Jesse has a deep sense of personal dignity, a no-nonsense realness toward embracing spirituality, and an ability to give white people concrete advice on advancing social justice for black Americans.
Jesse is a gay man whose connection to his spirituality is his key to true freedom and getting what he really wants
Now, getting what we want is the easy part. Figuring out what that is - is the challenge. Jesse's advice: listen. For the answers are already inside you.
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Episode full transcript:
Mike Gerle 0:00
This is the GerleMen podcast. My name is Mike Gerle, and I am the host and founder of GerleMen.com, a community of gay men and anyone self identified as the other, designed to help you own your personal dignity, strengthen your connection to your chosen families and thrive in general society. Today I talk with Jesse Brune. I want to Jesse on the show because of his deep sense of personal dignity. The no nonsense realness he evokes while embracing spirituality, but mostly because of his ability to give white people concrete advice on advancing social justice for black Americans. He's been a celebrity chef and a personal trainer, which placed him on Bravo and Oprah but his spiritual work is his true calling. He shows us how celebrating his authenticity as a gay man is key to his spiritual growth. Enjoy the show.
Mike Gerle 0:51
The moment you realized you were a gay man, you were forced onto the path of the other so you know oppression inside and out. Calling of otherness has led you on your own hero's journey. And that journey has prepared you for greatness. You were a man entering the cult of brotherhood to conscious sex into heart centered connection. Welcome home brother.
Mike Gerle 1:16
Thank you, Jesse Brune for being on the girly men podcast. We're excited to have you here.
Jesse Brune 1:22
Mike Gerle 1:22
Before we dive in, can you encapsulate maybe where you are today? Like how did you get here? In 30 seconds. Just Just make it interesting.
Jesse Brune 1:37
All right. I'm the founder and spiritual director of active love ministries, which is a metaphysical spiritual community. Our main focus is sort of supporting those on a spiritual path and especially those that feel call to become spiritual leaders, any leader and mindful activists through programming especial classes and things like that. 10 years ago I co founded inspire spiritual community, which was an independent New Thought spiritual community for LGBTQ+ peoples and allies. And I was the spiritual director there for seven years, 2013 to 2020. That was, I wasn't supposed to be administered. I'm an accidental minister, right? Like, I thought I was just doing something nice for the community. Because I just loved like, I was really into my spiritual practice and meditation and all those things. At the time, I was like volunteering at a Buddhist bookstore. I was just really interested in how my thoughts created the experiences of my life. And I thought at the time, everyone was into that, but I was wrong. Really.
Mike Gerle 2:46
Were you in West Hollywood when you were doing that?
Jesse Brune 2:49
Oh, we started in gay bars. We started out in gay bars.
Mike Gerle 2:53
Well, I love that you're in that environment and you and you and you thought that you're everybody was into that.
Jesse Brune 2:59
Well You know, it...
Mike Gerle 3:00
That is so sweet.
Jesse Brune 3:03
Well, that was kind of that wasn't an unintentional location, you know. So I remember when we were at it's not the chapel but it was here bar at the time. We would like come on Sunday mornings and sage this space because it smelled like I always said it smelled like bad decisions and broken dreams. But it was like, smells like booty and vomit and all that stuff. So we would say change it and then I would offer a spiritual teaching. Next to a poster of just like crotch but it was a nice it was sort of like a fun juxtaposition.
Mike Gerle 3:40
That is amazing. Especially since, Did you do that revolver too?
Jesse Brune 3:44
It was East West at the time. So we started at West lounge for a year, and then it closed down and then we went here and in both scenarios, interestingly, like the owners of the bars just gave me the geese. Sure, do it.
Mike Gerle 3:59
I realized thought I needed a blessing.
Jesse Brune 4:04
We believe blessed it we busted the best because
Mike Gerle 4:06
Yeah, well so that leads me into a question your family man, now you're a parent, you're married you how do you reconcile family, faith and sexuality especially like being gay and literally being in the community? A lot of us, people like me who come from a challenging religious background, I can't imagine reconciling those. So how do you be you?
Jesse Brune 4:30
Gosh, okay, so I came from I was raised Southern Baptist. And there came that moment, as many LGBTQ+ people can relate to when I felt as though that I had to choose between the God of my understanding and living an authentic life. And one thing that I've been blessed with and probably why I can do this might have been able to do this is that I've had a very loving family. I've had a family that supported me and never chastised me or told me, I mean, I think they used it as an opportunity to grow themselves and look at their own limiting ideas and beliefs. My mother is a fierce mother so she was there was not a moment where she she left the church when I did cuz she's like, well, if you there's no place for him, no place for me. But I was deeply religious, I had a very deep connection to God and that never left but I will say that when I left, there was something missing. And I didn't I wasn't aware that I felt like something was missing but it was and how that manifested in my life was addiction as I was tried to fill that void with substance, right. And so sobriety is part of my story for sure. I've been sober for almost 13 years, but you said reconcile.
Mike Gerle 5:54
By when I say reconcile, I mean, how does it all fit together? It's a puzzle piece right? You know, and And those are all amazing things. I felt the same void. When I walked away from the faith I grew up which was being Mormon, I missed all the ritual and the community, you know that.
Jesse Brune 6:11
That is really beautiful ritual is really beautiful and done mindfully, you know, okay, so all of it, like how you do things, I do everything. So I came to terms with my spirituality, my calling the same way I came to terms with my sexuality, and it was a process of acceptance. Because for a long time, those wounds of religion and the wounds of the religious guilt, were still there, even as I was developing a community, spiritual community and standing in a leadership role, and I remember it was sort of like in my daily life, I would keep dating these guys that had no interest in talking about it whatsoever. And I had a very rich spiritual life. I was I mean, I was in practice. At that time I was a practicing under my mentor. I was in spiritual practice three, four hours a day, like meditation contemplation, studying, it was like I was like a mad scientist coming up with a formulation. But I would date these guys that I was attracted to, but we're not interested in talking about it at all. And what I realized was that pattern was my own judgment. It was a it was a reflection of my own judgment or a fear of being rejected. A fear that people would see me as some weird zealot or like a hippie, you know, like, some new agey, wacky person not being taken seriously and all of those things. So what...
Mike Gerle 7:38
Did you do just say that something about you got you in those situations with those kinds of guys?
Jesse Brune 7:44
Always. I mean, listen
Mike Gerle 7:45
Well, I think that's a big deal. That truth that you have, I think is something that a lot of us need to learn.
Jesse Brune 7:51
Part of the spiritual path is taking full responsibility for the world around you. Realizing that you create it, whether it be your individual experience or how you're contributing to the collective experience, it's about taking ownership of that. And so it's moving out of what I would call like the spiritual evolutionary stage of victimhood, right, where everything is happening to me, it's out of control. So take responsibility for it. So yeah, I take responsibility for putting men in my life, that reflected a fear I had, but then I was able to once taking responsibility for it once you became aware of it, I took responsibility for it and saw it as an invitation to love that part of myself to celebrate that part of myself in monitoring. And shortly after that, I met my husband, who loved the fact that I was a spiritual teacher and the minister and had this, you know, he didn't understand it. But he appreciated it. He showed up every Sunday. He was burning sage. He was I mean, he's, he's a writer. He's written about his experiences in doing that because it is sort of a tall order sometimes a little more abstract. Yeah. So I had to do my own healing work my own forgiveness work around organized religion and things to that. So I could stand in a place where I feel like I am in integrity, as in my position of being a spiritual teacher as being a minister and a community leader.
Mike Gerle 9:22
How do you describe your personal spiritual center
Jesse Brune 9:25
I identify kind of lightly as a modern mystic and so active love ministries, which is my organization is a metaphysical spiritual center. And so metaphysical, very simply meaning beyond the physical. So how does everything connect and unite. Mysticism being an experience of God, right, or love or the divine however you want to say it so through your practice, removing the blocks, blocks been beliefs, thoughts on living habits, anything that causes stress, removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence. So the main text that I use because it was what I got my ministerial license in is A Course in Miracles. And A Course in Miracles is made very famous by Marianne Williamson. I think she's probably the biggest base of a lot of people think she wrote A Course in Miracles. But she didn't, but she's a teacher of it. Yeah. And so that's how I identify myself.
Mike Gerle 10:26
That is amazing. I mean, it's, it's very what I create, in my mind when we talk about a lot of traditions used to celebrate queer people as they were the shamans, they were in touch with the other side and that's what you just described. Do you think that we have any particular propensity to be spiritual leaders or mystics or alchemists or anything queer people?
Jesse Brune 10:48
Sure. I mean, I would say that's our natural state is one of love. I think that the queer experience of self acceptance and I would say so celebration of our unique expression inspires people. It's very inspiring. I think that our brothers and sisters who are moving through the trans experience are teachers in their own right. Because I always say we teach through our demonstration. So to be able to courageously own your own expression is confronting for a lot of people like we see it's so confronting for a lot of people, that they try to diminish it distinguish it.
Mike Gerle 11:30
People get murdered for authentic expression for celebrating who they are.
Jesse Brune 11:34
Yeah, it's wild. I mean, I think so...
Mike Gerle 11:37
So they are teachers. I mean, that shows the courage it takes to be authentic. And
Jesse Brune 11:43
yeah, I mean, and teaching in a I think it's in a more abstract way than we are familiar with, because there is that idea like I it's not my job to teach you. So again, the responsibility to learn is ours. Yes. Demonstrating something very powerful. And so what I mean by the responsibility to learn is if there is anything triggered within you, that is causing upset or stress, that's an opportunity to do inquiry. Ask yourself, why am I upset? So the whole foundation, the whole principle that I teach is that since your, your natural state is one of love, your natural state is one of peace. If you are upset, that's fabulous. Great. Ask yourself, why. And in that inquiry, are you going to find freedom? Because if you start to question your thoughts, question your belief systems, then you can be free of them.
Mike Gerle 12:40
Well, I would just like to take a second and let that sink in. Because that's where the work is. That's where the real work, especially right now, with all this focus on social justice, the work is dealing especially for white men like me, it's what you're talking about, that uncovered comfortableness is where there is growth and leaning into that is where there is growth, as opposed to just saying, I have to turn the channel, this is too hard. I'm not going to have this conversation because I don't talk politics, the kind of things that especially that white people can do that cisgendered people can do. But every time a non white person or an on a trans person walks out into the street, it's every day, they can't turn it off.
Jesse Brune 13:25
I think you're having right now we just entered is the only conversation we should be having right now.
Mike Gerle 13:30
Jesse Brune 13:30
I mean, it's a conversation about accountability. And I feel as though accountability and judgment are two very different things. holding ourselves and others accountable for a vision of unity is a very loving thing. Now we are addicted to nice, and we think that it's something's not nice, it's not loving, but that's bullshit. You know, it's like I was just used this example if my kids are running with scissors, I take the scissors out of their hand, I might even put them in timeout. That doesn't seem nice, but it's a loving Now if your particular set of scissors happens to be an elected position and you are causing harm from that elected position, we will remove you from that position because that's it, we're going to take it out and that's very loving. So holding yourself and others accountable to inspire growth does inspire evolution is loving, it might be uncomfortable. And yeah, we're talking white fragility here, why people aren't used to being held accountable, so they feel attacked. Well, it's time to grow and I'm sorry that you feel that way. I'll extend my hand if there's too much resistance I'll continue forward. But like do your work keep your side of the street clean? I'm turning 40 soon in like a couple days I'll be 40. I've been thinking you know, like, okay, for the best decade yet. What am I going to do you know, what's what's new. And one thing that came to my mind was I like to really explore homelessness in everything that I do, like really about homelessness, and one thing that kept popping up in my mind is okay diet, look at your food. Look how you're causing harm in your food. And so I was like, okay, am I really ready to go vegan? I've been resisting for a long time. Am I ready to go vegan. And so I started to explore it and research a little bit as like, if I'm going to do it, I need a coach, I need a group because I need support. And I found this one coach, this lady and I talked with her in the consultation for like half an hour. And she was really a big advocate of owning it. Like watch those documentaries, look at what you're doing, know where your food is coming from. If you're going to eat it, at least have the integrity to know where it's coming from, and you don't get to be blind anymore by it. And then after you watch these documentaries, if you choose to continue to eat it that's on you. You are choosing to have a blind eye there. And so the same thing goes for the equality movements that we're seeing right now. Black Lives Matter, you know, know what your vote is doing. I mean, I had a conversation with a family member last week where I got hated I called the republican party a hate group. But I was like, you don't get it like, you know, as gay men, we have that best little boy syndrome. You know, I have the dust of it to where I don't want to upset anybody. I want everyone to love me. I'm going to be as successful and lovely and hadsome, and kind as I possibly can. You know, I've heard it called oppression, sickness.
Mike Gerle 16:28
Yeah, internalized oppression.
Jesse Brune 16:29
Yeah, I will be I will be the version of a gay person that's palpable for you. So I'm not going to talk politics with you. I like you said I'm gonna be nice and all those things, but I just had had it and I was talking to my family member who I didn't realize was Republican, but she tried to say, How can you say that it's a hate group? Your family votes that way? Yeah, they do. And if you're upset because it goes in a group, imagine how upset I am that my family who I love that loves me votes for, empowers these people and you know, they tried to make it well, it's not all bad and I think that you're having a skewed perception and I just advise like, no hate group, sorry, look at what they're doing. You know, you don't get to be pro life, but then be okay with brown babies being disappearing at the border being separated from their families being able to get you don't get that luxury anymore. Right, right nation. And then like, you don't get to say like, but we came to your wedding, we support you. That's like saying, Well, I have a black friend. How can I be racist? Yeah, yeah, yeah. And by within a week, within a week of that conversation Trump's administration sent like, it was like a letter of support for Catholic organization that gets taxpayer dollars to allow them to discriminate by religious freedom bullshit. And then that took away that that whole health care thing with the people of trans experience like it's taking away their their protection for getting the medical care they need. It's insanity. I was like, that is it right? They are that's in the put like, that is what you are empowering by voting that way and your vote me even if it's just a symbolic gesture, it's a symbolic gesture saying this is what I am going to tolerate. Well, that day is done. We're done with that. Now it's time to look at our side of the street. What are we empowering? Who are we empowering? Who are we being? What is my silence allowing?
Mike Gerle 18:23
Well, I would like to take this moment then to actually address that, address the the people who are open, we're open to making the change, but are completely blind to our white privilege and how we keep the systematic racism going with our silence. And it's interesting what you said about being vegan because watching these documentaries, like I'm not your Negro, and this other even John Oliver, his last episode was very, very detailed on like how the police forces in the United States were developed. They were developed to catch runaway slaves and then to keep like people under control, it was not that the police system has gone bad. It's just what it was designed this way. And those are all new things to me, new information to me. And it has changed that. And I only watched that because I heard a number of black people say that they don't want to educate white people anymore. And I listened to that, and I've taken it on and I think this is a white person problem. Racism is a white person's most particularly white men's problem and so that's the reason I'm glad that you are discussing this now and I'm supporting that discussion.
Jesse Brune 19:38
Well, that's good because you're, you're curious, and your will and I think that is the first step with anything. I think the first step in transformation is acknowledging that something ain't right. That you can see the examples of what you are not interested in anymore. The contrast, you see the contrast. And then the second step, which is so vitally important is you become willing to try a new approach. And it's in your willingness, like A Course in Miracles would say, a mustard seed size of willingness is all that's required to allow the Holy Spirit and to start supporting you in shifting your perception right to start changing your mind, Holy Spirit can be translated to the divine quality of compassion, like the aspect of yourself, your mind that knows the truth, but also understands that you're having this human experience of separation, right? So how can we apply this even if what I said has absolutely no interest to you whatsoever? Fine. We become willing to try a new approach. And in our willingness is the way shown and it might just be the next step. But can you be courageous enough to take that next step? And that's what we can do and we're going to mess up and we're going to fall down and we're going to make mistakes, we're gonna say the wrong thing. We're gonna, whatever, whatever whatever, we can't allow that fear of saying the wrong thing, of not looking PC enough to prevent us from continuing forward anyway, and then again, we take responsibility. If we fuck up, we take responsibility for it, we own it, and then we do better. And it's that's gonna be the process of healing. You know, we have as again, like the white privilege, we have to be willing to do that without getting the accolades for it without being acknowledged for it. Yes. For this, like everything that we're doing, like that's what we're talking about is like, do it to do it, do it. Because I mean, if you truly, I mean, in this age of social media, where everything has to be recorded or just doesn't really happen, are you willing to just do it to do it? If we are if you can meet yourself there, then I really truly feel the path will be shown because I don't have any answers for this. Like, I can I mean, I can't sit here as like the...
Mike Gerle 22:02
I disagree. I totally disagree. I think all the answers were in there if anybody wanted had had their ears open, and I like how you say it just starts with that teensy tiny bit of willingness.
Jesse Brune 22:14
Just be willing and the way it will be shown. And listen, having faith takes a lot of balls, because you're putting your trust into an intuitive feeling something that doesn't seem to be tangible, something that's in the invisible, however, my experience, and if you can just ride on my coattails, until you experience it yourself is if you continue to go forward in faith, you will have the opportunity to transform that faith into knowing this. And then you stand from a very powerful space of knowing and so but you can't get to knowing until you are willing to walk the path of faith for a while. And so if your gut is telling you listen to your gut more than your heart, your gut is telling you that there change needs to happen, I need to take responsibility for my part in it. I'm willing to do what it takes. I don't know what that is but I'm willing, I'm going to stay curious. I'm going to listen, I'm just going to follow my intuition, the way will be shown your contribution matters.
Mike Gerle 23:10
Absolutely. And I would add to that it's a vulnerable position. And that's what American macho culture tells men don't be vulnerable. And it's not manly, when it is actually the biggest act of courage that you can do is I can put myself out there and say, I'm here to support it and I don't know what's going on. But I know my intuition, like you said, I have the faith that this is the right place to be and I have the vulnerability to say, I don't have the answers. Yeah. That's, that's not a way for men to show up in society with that attitude.
Jesse Brune 23:42
Mike Gerle 23:43
Jesse Brune 23:43
Well, yes. And...
Mike Gerle 23:45
I don't care how gay you think you are, you're still conditioned by male attitudes.
Jesse Brune 23:50
Of course. Well, that's the spiritual path is tying the knots of conditioning and tying the knot. Gotcha. And I mean, that's also spiritual teacher on you but well, that's exactly.
Mike Gerle 24:03
That's who you are. That's why booked you on this call.
Jesse Brune 24:06
I would say it's even time to transcend the idea of vulnerability. Because vulnerability suggests that there's an enemy out there and that you can be harmed. But knowing if when you start really understanding courage, you realize that in the eternal landscape of everything that doesn't exist. And so I say celebrate instead, the words I've been using certain vulnerability lately are transparency and authenticity. be transparent. You know, I don't know be it's okay to not know, you know, it's okay to not have the answers. Yeah, so it's okay to be like, let's all I mean, and if anything, the gift of being LGBTQ a member of the community is that we've learned how to be more authentic. We've learned how to express authentically, if not, we've at least seen people that have, like, really embrace their queerness I mean, I've been I was so late to the RuPaul drag race game. I can't, I feel ashamed to tell you how late I was his RuPaul drag race game and it was my sister that turned me off to it. And now I'm happy to say that my children my sons know every word to sissy, that walk. Like, again, opportunity to take responsibility to heal. At first was like, oh, should I be doing this? I don't want people to think that I'm pushing gay on them. And then I was like, this is a home they're in. I want to love this about this. I want to celebrate this. I want this to be a beautiful, fun, gorgeous thing. And I don't know what the trajectory of their life is going to be, how they're going to identify in the future, but I want them to at least feel free to express themselves and know that there's nothing wrong with that. And so my sister and I started watching we're Here on HBO. Oh my god, such a great show. But I just love how like Bob the drag queen is just so queer and just loves it and and he just is just this beautiful authentic him and or them? I don't know that.
Mike Gerle 26:04
Right? Yeah. That's another example. I've watched that show to where the queer people are going in as these magicians, these, you know, shamans, these transformers, creating magic with that authenticity that you're talking about. And I call that authenticity, intuition spirit. It's all the same thing. Atman and yoga, you know, it's all divine.
Jesse Brune 26:26
And they're so unapologetic about it. Yeah. And I saw like, my own legs, things arise about that as Wow, I'm still healing. And you know, I mean, the roots of it. Where do you want to look at the broad picture the roots of homophobia are in misogyny. Because about I mean, it's about my God, God forbid, masculine presenting man has any ounce of femininity in there. We have to crush that femininity out of them, because that is the worst thing possible, right to race, the feminine.
Mike Gerle 26:58
And that's just outright masoginy.
Jesse Brune 27:00
Just straight up. All right, masoginy.
Mike Gerle 27:03
Jesse Brune 27:04
Mike Gerle 27:04
I don't want to cut you off. But I wanted to ask you, you said that during watching that show that you still felt some of your own growth happening. Can you maybe talk about that as like an example for other people when they have that twins when they? What was that? What was the process even though like you are where you are, you're the man you're speaking like today, and you still say that you have work to do? How did that what was that internal process for you? And was did it last like two seconds? Did it last? Like a few days? What was the process like?
Jesse Brune 27:34
Well, I think it was when they like would go into these small towns in drag. And I'd be like, Oh my god, forget like, first and be like, well, you're gonna get yourself killed. And then second, I was thinking, Oh, my God, guys, like a bit much. Don't you think it's a bit much, but then I thought, Why? Why here are people that are just being themselves. They're artists expressing their art, where they go and they're corageous Just enough to do it in a place where it might be rejected, or where historically acts of violence. I mean, they had the cops called on them for just being on the streets, you know, like they we saw like that as well. But um, I just, I just noticed that like, feeling of uncomfortable ness in myself, when I see displays of queerness like that, you know, and I realized, like, I just so wanted to be the palatable gay man for so long in my life. I remember when I finally like, got hip to the idea when someone would said, Well, I'm not typically gay. I'm like, not typically gay. I remember I was dating this guy, who would say, Oh, I'm not typically gay, you know, and like, or like, he really would pride himself on being able to pass as hetero. And I thought I was like, What does that even mean? Like, do you sleep with men? Well, then that's pretty typically gay. Like...
Mike Gerle 28:55
That's pretty gay.
Jesse Brune 28:56
That's pretty gay. But like, realizing that that was a two like reflection of myself, I want to demonstrate what absolute self acceptance and self love is for my kids. I want them to see what that looks like. And I mean, even listen as a parent, if there's some bullshit that you do on your kids, same thing. I remember I had a friend come over to visit my oldest at the time, he was like, still like two and a half, something like that. The youngest was just a baby. But he wouldn't pay attention wouldn't look at my friend, you want to acknowledge him. He didn't want to talk to him, nothing like that. And after he left, I chastised him. I was like, Listen, that was so rude. What you did. If someone's here, you did it. And then it's like, almost I left my body and I observed myself doing that. I'm like, Whoa, I want everybody to like my kids. That's me. Wanting everybody to like me, and so trying to become a version that I think they want that's oppression sickness that we're talking about again, you know, and I'm projecting that right onto my kid. And the truth is, let him ignore them. Let them like whatever. Like I teach them through my demonstration that it's important to acknowledge the humanity in the room, we have to acknowledge the life in the room, it is no longer acceptable to ignore people that are in our facility. Like we should really it goes humanity in the room, but allow him to ignore that, ignore it, and see how that feels. Yeah, people respond to him. Let me demonstrate what it looks like when you're kind and you see people and you acknowledge people, and then he can have that contrast. And he can make that decision because I'm not in control of his personality, you know, that's up to you. But if he wants to act unkindly, he'll have the experience of what how people respond to someone that acts on kindly
Mike Gerle 30:51
You're talking about your own internalized oppression coming out expenses on another person on your child, you know, and that's, that's where I hope we can all get, I hope that we can step back and just have that sensitivity. And I know what happens through meditation and mindfulness practices for me. I don't know how else how else to get people to do that. It's a tall order to ask. I mean, it's why I taught yoga for a while, which is just like, this is it, this is what's happening right now. And all the answers are in you, if you just open up your intuition get out of your head and into your body. But I think that's a big risk. A lot of people don't want to take
Jesse Brune 31:29
Listen, we're not bred to do this. Like, you know, taking those internal glances it's something you have to look you have to learn yourself. And I mean, it's interesting like I was really thinking like you have enough like Facebook and all this stuff now and there's that saying, never meet your heroes, right? Because they'll disappoint you. But the same is don't meet those guys that seems so perfect on Facebook because you realize many of them are miserable, but they're great at taking a good picture. You know what I mean? I remember before I met my husband, I was sort of like chatting with this guy that I met online. He was like Facebook, we were sort of back and forth texting. He was like, beautiful. Just john is gorgeous guy look like get everything together. And we were talking, he's like, Well, what do you want out of a relationship? And he goes, I want a partner that's gonna make me feel safe. It's like, What? What do you mean? You want a partner that's gonna make you feel? No one's gonna make you feel safe on it ain't anybody else's job. That's your job when I was like, oh, wow, this is a really great.
Mike Gerle 32:32
Do you watch Hallmark? Jessie? Oh, that's what that's what they tell us and every one of those, those love stories and all those movies.
Jesse Brune 32:39
Oh, awful. And so I guess that's just an example of like, we have been...
Mike Gerle 32:47
Well, I don't want to step on that idea. It's really, really important idea. this other person was saying he wants another person to make him feel a certain way.
Jesse Brune 32:56
Yeah. Well, that's the thing, we have I think you and I had this discussion earlier that we have the creative process backwards. So we have been told, and it's reinforced into our minds through marketing and advertising, all the ads, we are inundated with ads. It's all that you can't do anything without ads, ads, ads everywhere, telling us that there's something missing. And if we get with that thing, then we're going to feel a certain way. I mean, look at what we have been taught, since we were little. I mean, you know, if you get a good college degree, you're going to get a good job, and then you're going to be responsible person, or having their voice heard, right. If you have that good job, you're going to get a lot of money and then you're going to be respectable. You have a place at the table, you're going to feel free. And if you get that card, they're going to know that you have that you're worth your weight in salt, you know, and if right, if you get the title, then you're going to be you're worthy of respect. If you have a hot partner, that means that you're you know, you have things together. You have a hot body, that means that you love yourself, you got in your in you take care of yourself, you're more valuable. So all of this stuff that we've been told, and then we get a lot of the stuff and it doesn't work. And we're like, well, what the fuck? That's not fair. You know, I, I worked really hard.
Mike Gerle 34:19
Jesse Brune 34:20
That's tough. And what we can do, if you're tired of that, if it's run its course and you're ready for a new approach. And again, we come back to willingness, willing to reverse the creative process a little bit. And you look at all of the goals you have the tangible goals you have for your life, and then ask yourself one by one, what do I believe this goal is going to do for me? How do I believe this is going to make me feel? Then that really indicates what your heart's true desire is? It's the feeling of freedom of desire. It's the feeling of worthiness. It's the feeling of abundance. It's the feeling of respect. This is what you desire. And all of these things are pre installed in you already. So it's not about getting it, it's about allowing it. It's about allowing what has always been to come out and expresses your life. And then once you feel free once you feel content, once you feel loved, then see what arises as far as inspired ideas that you like to create. And I always say that the life of your dreams rarely looks like you think it's going to look. In fact, there are moments in my life today. Like I had it the other day, I've been going to the beach a lot because there's nowhere else to take the kids so we take him to the beach, and I was swimming in the ocean and I just looked at the beach. It was my husband with two kids and they're just playing with each other and my heart. Like I just felt so full in my heart. It was like so deeply appreciative of what we've created with this family and the love are half of those boys, the love I have for that man. I just felt so deeply grateful for that. And that all is a result of my ability to love myself. Because if I didn't do the work, the inner work that I needed to do, I wouldn't have been able to hold on to that if I still believed that my value lies and how I'm desired. You know how many people desire me, I would have cheated on my husband years ago. And listen, that is not a judgment in any way to a relationship that is polyamorous or anything like that. Whatever is your thing, whatever you feel, feeds you or support you the best, do that. But my husband and I are in a monogamous relationship. But I would not have been able to stick with that commitment with him had I not done that work because I was always looking for outside validation. I needed someone to prove to me that I was worthy. And it's a fruitless, fruitless task, you know, you know, it's the residue of daddy see me, you know, daddy.
Mike Gerle 36:56
Yeah, well, I like what you said at the beginning of this and I was just I like that whole example that you gave there is it's not about like reaching out grasping to get what you want. It's about allowing what's already inside of you to come out. I think that's profound.
Jesse Brune 37:12
Well, I think that the spiritual path is actually, I mean, you always you hear the word seeker. I'm a spiritual seeker. And I mean, if you identify as a seeker, then you're going to keep looking, you know, I think it's much more fulfilling to explore and discover and allow, like that book, The Alchemist. It's a great story about a guy that goes on your hero's journey, only to discover that what he was looking for was where he started, right? And that sort of the path, the spiritual path, is to realize that all of this was always here. You know, I thought I had to get something approved, introduce something to prove something and even a lot of spiritual students will, Alright, I'm willing to take the spiritual path if it means I'm going to get the cash and prizes. We're looking forthat secret. I mean, isn't that like, look at all the coaching programs out there these days, they have the secret. And we think that there's something that we don't know that if we get that little nugget, then it's gonna change everything.
Mike Gerle 38:13
It's about letting the programming go. It's about letting all that go. It's what I say and GerleMen a lot is, you know, doing the inner work is great because you get what you want. But first, you have to figure out what you want. That's the hardest part, with all of getting what you want, as far as I'm concerned, is figuring out what you want. Because we have all these programming telling us what we want.
Jesse Brune 38:32
I'll make it very simple. So grab your pen and papers, listeners, here it is, what you want is happiness. That's not mean. What you want is happiness. Now, the big question is, are you willing? Are you willing to be happy now? Can you like process that? No, I'm not telling you that you have to, I'm not trying to glamorize poverty. I'm not trying to do any of that. Whenever a teacher would say this to me, I'd be like, Honey, you're trying to tell me they have to live in like a studio apartment in Hollywood, and drive a roll. And I'm not gonna, that's not gonna be my life. I'm going to be successful. I'm going to be a law. But I was still operating under this idea that I had to prove my worth, I did prove something in order to be loved. Even with developing my career as a spiritual teacher. I thought if I'm not Oprah's best friend, if I'm not all of these things, and why am I even doing this, and I still operating from that idea that I had to prove my worthiness to be loved, instead of doing this because it's what I love. And also, it brings benefit because the more people who are at peace, the more peace we're going to see manifest on the planet. Because what we're seeing out here in the world is it's an outward reflection of an inward condition. So whatever you're feeling in here is what you're going to create out there. So if you feel afraid, you're going to create situations that are going to make you scared, you're gonna find proof that there's something to be afraid of. If you think that all republicans are fucked up, and bla bla bla bla bla, you're going to go and find proof that that is true. So are you willing to again reverse that creative process? Do take an inward glance and say, am I willing to feel peaceful now? And then the kicker is, are you willing to release your hostages and tear down your aisles? a hostage is anyone that you expect to act a certain way? So you can be okay, who in your life do you need to act a certain way so you can be happy? Really take stock in that? That's a big, like, Ah! moment. How do you think your partner's supposed to act so you can be happy? How do you think your parents should act so you can be happy? How does your boss need to act so you can feel happy? How does the barista at Starbucks have to actually you can be happy? Are you willing to release all those people And take full responsibility for your peace of mind. And then the idols you create. Do you believe that you have to be in perfect health in order to be happy? Do you believe that you have to have the right job in order to be happy? I mean, if anything that this COVID-19 crazy experience has taught us that those things come and go, you know, like, Are you willing to feel happy now? Like, are you willing to pull the blessings from every experience and, and listen, it's possible. Three years ago, my son died very unexpectedly. We were in the process of adopting him. We brought him home from the hospital. When he was two days old. He was eight months. He's beautiful. Couldn't be a more gorgeous, lovely little baby boy. And he had what we thought was a stomach virus. We took him to the doctor this in his home, we went to Urgent Care this in his home, we went to the emergency room, they sent us home. Like he just wants his daddy's just make sure he has liquids and all this stuff. And then two days later, I brought him to the hospital and said you have to look at this kid, something's not right. And within two hours, he died in my arms and his heart gave out. And he had an undiagnosed heart condition called Kawasaki disease, where the blood vessels around his heart were 10 times the size they were supposed to be. And what happened was he did get a stomach virus, but his heart couldn't handle summit virus. And so we had to go through this experience of grief. And now I teach a lot of classes on grieving, because I learned a lot because I was willing to and I, I didn't know why. Like, I rarely know what anything is for. But I remained willing even in the most that like, you know, my husband, I were talking about it. Your child dying isn't an excuse to be miserable the rest of your life. We could relapse it with drugs or alcohol and be completely justifiable, everyone would understand. We can act out sexually, we could do whatever we wanted to do. And it was a perfect excuse to do that. But we didn't But we stayed with each other and we allowed ourselves to have a grieving process. But we paid attention during it. And a couple things occurred during that experience that, like I said, helped me, I mean, I, I always call him the little guru now because I feel like he was an enlightened little master that came to this planet for seven and a half months, knew nothing but absolute unconditional love, was just enveloped in love. So much so that his little heart can even take all the love that was being directed at him. And then he transitioned to go into another experience, you know, and left us with the opportunity to learn so much. And he walked me across the bridge from faith to knowing on a lot of things because I would teach like I teach spiritual teachers. That's what I do. I educate those that feel called spiritual leadership. And one of the courses I teach it's a form of course on what happens when you die. What happened like that's something that you need to be able to talk about as a spiritual teacher is what happens when you die. And I taught that course for years. But it wasn't until I went through this experience of losing my own son that some things clicked into place. And I realized, Oh, this isn't just a nice idea. This isn't just a really lovely text. This is real. This is true. I remember. It was like four days after he had passed away. My family had come into town. We were congregating at my house. My mom was such a mess that she could not drive she couldn't she just couldn't drive. So I went to go pick her up one morning and on the way back to my house, we passed a hospital where our friend Barbara had died two years prior. And Barbara was this cool woman she was in her 70s. She was at the time like years ago I was a fitness instructor. She was one of my clients. She would take my spin classes. She was just like, you don't mess with Barbara. She's dope. She's got your back. She really helped my mom and my mom moved to LA. Just got her help get her integrate and set up. That acclimated, and she died very suddenly like she had a breathing thing and I went to visit her the hospital day before she died is like, you're fine. You're gonna walk out of here. She's like, I'm going, I'm leaving. I was like, No, don't be silly. And I got a call that night that she died is like shit, okay. Anyway, so Barb has been dead two years, I pick up my mom, we're going to my house. I'm sitting on the couch, my family's there. Everybody's mourning. Everyone's kind of quiet. Talking, whatever. And my phone rings and I look at it, and it's Barbara's number. I literally just talked about her half an hour ago. She's been dead two years, and she's calling my cellphone. And I remember looking at my phone thinking, am I ready to pick up this?
Jesse Brune 45:45
Am I ready to answer this call? right? Exactly prepared for what's on the other side of it. So I picked it up and it was just some static and then it clicked off. But like a second later just clicked to me. I was like Barbara has Kayden she's got him. She's like, no, that's all good. She's got him. And I went into the kitchen where my mom was. And I was like, Mom, look at my phone call. She goes, Barbara, she has that. She just said to me, she goes, Barbara has Caden, and I was like, Barbara as Caden, it's all good. And she was totally be her personality to be like, me have this baby. This is my baby. Thank you very much. What else get out of here, I got this. So some people might be like, well, that's just a coincidence. You can't say bla bla bla bla. But when you're open and willing, then the universe responds to that you'll get the messages that you need to support you in continuing forward. And what that proved to me was life is eternal. Life doesn't start at birth. And it doesn't end it that there's something so much more going on here than when we can see our eyes and this is why I do this work and I believe it, but those experiences help buoy me to a space of knowingness so I can speak with authority on this stuff. Do I feel called to do it, and I remain willing. And so let's circle back around to our whole conversation. This is what we get to do as people that are interested in being conscious and conscientious members of our society is we stay open and willing to do what is required so that we can stand as conduits of change and transformation so we can support the evolution of our culture. So we don't fall into the frickin sea from stagnation. This is what we get to do. And it requires the willingness to do the inner work to ask ourselves Wow, I'm feeling really upset here. Why? Why am I this? And the most powerful phrase we can include into our vocabulary and ask ourselves is, Is this true? So when you think something, ask yourself, Is it true? And here's the kicker, something that can set you free is just because you think it doesn't mean that it's true. group. And so here we are. And the invitation is here and what are you? What? Who are you interested in being? What do you aspire to be more than just your career and your money and your body and your all that shit? Because here's the thing, the body is going to go one day, the career is going to end one day, the money, I don't know. And perhaps you'll be fortunate enough to just like swim in it the rest of your life, and maybe you won't, but if you have built a house on that foundation, it's flimsy. It's a flimsy foundation.
Mike Gerle 48:32
One of the things that we have to give up is I'm speaking from experience, I needed to give up my own sense of victim superiority. I'm a victim because and I can just count all kinds of reasons, you know, and then I get to live as a victim but a victim isn't getting me any towards that one thing that we all want that you talked about it well, it's antithetical to happiness, you know, and I think that you're talking about a path that creates It's a little more demanding, because we need to be present. We need to be conscious. But the rewards are freakin happiness.
Jesse Brune 49:12
It's demanding until it isn't. Right? It's demanding until it isn't. And I like you said the rewards of it far surpass.
Mike Gerle 49:22
In other words of being a victim.
Jesse Brune 49:23
Mike Gerle 49:24
Jesse Brune 49:25
And you said something about like, sort of righteous victimization, we're addicted to specialness, because we believe that our survival rests on our specialness. So whether it be I'm going to be the most successful, I'm going to be the best looking, I'm going to be the wealthiest, I'm going to be the funniest, I'm going to be whatever, whatever makes me special, or I'm going to be the sickest. I'm going to be the most victimized. I'm going to be that whatever. You know.
Mike Gerle 49:54
That's in the very first part of the the book about white fragility is our individualism. We are really addicted to individualism.
Jesse Brune 50:02
It's time now to look towards the collective to look towards. So we can celebrate our unique expression as we explore the common threads that connect us all. That is the mandate here. And I think that when you're willing to do that, you begin to realize that our most valuable form of currency is our relationships. And if our tribe is healthy, if our community is healthy, then you will never be in need. But we have to be able and willing to take care of those that are in our community and let's throw out the idea of coincidence again like let's just get rid of that and say that it is in front of you. It's in front of you for a reason. Now what are you going to do about it? If it's in front of you, it's there for a reason. And so just work with what's in front of you. Don't, you don't have to get like so locked in because you get so locked in you look at like larger pictures. You get overwhelmed. And then that overwhelm induces burnout and you can't do anything. So just work with what is in front of you now. And then again, the next step will be shown. Just remain willing.
Mike Gerle 51:15
Awesome. Well, this is so much. I'm feeling really jazzed from our conversation today. How do people get in touch with active love ministries and what's there for us?
Jesse Brune 51:27
So ActiveLoveMinistries.org that is the website everything you need to know is there. I really believe in giving away as much as possible. I really am committed to having resources available for people who are interested in them, so a lot of what we how we operate is through donation and things like that. But we I have a 21 day radical self love challenge, totally free on the website. And when you sign up for it, you get three weeks of , you have a different practice every day sometimes is meditation. Sometimes it's a little challenge for you. Sometimes it's a writing practice. But it's 21 days of practices to inspire a deeper sense of self appreciation and peace. So that's there. And then every Saturday at 10am, I do a live interactive teaching. So it's a it's on zoom, I teach and then there's a q&a portion. And there's an opportunity for people to break off into little groups and discuss. So it's just about building a virtual community, which I'm really passionate about right now. I'm really interested in so yeah, so just go there and if you want to get a hold of me go there. You'll you'll find me.
Mike Gerle 52:41
Awesome. Well, thank you for adding your voice to all the other voices here it early GerleMen and encouraging us to, you know, be ourselves and come from love and do the work that will get us to happiness. So with that, I just say thank you and we'll sign off.
Jesse Brune 53:00
Mike Gerle 53:01
Mike Gerle 53:01
And that, gentleman, was Jesse Brune, a gay man whose connection to spirituality is the key to true freedom and getting what he really wants, not what the world tells him what to want, but what he really wants. And may you brother, find time in your life to sort out what you really want. That's the hard part. Knowing what you want, getting what you want is the easy part. But I believe that the answers to our own happiness are inside each of us. We just need to as Jesse said, Make room by letting go of the advertising hype, and simply letting the knowledge that is already inside of us to come forth. Until next time, this is Mike Gerle with the GerleMen podcast.
Mike Gerle 53:46
Thanks for listening to the show, my friend. Now stay connected by subscribing to GerleMen podcast and sharing with your friends on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or anywhere else podcasts can be found. Visit the web page at GerleMen.com. Sign up for the newsletter and find more details about each episode. Let's make this a conversation because I'd really like to hear from you. Join us on Facebook at GerleMen. Submit your questions, suggest topics or just chat with your brothers. Want to add your own two cents? Use the voice memo feature on your smartphone, ask a question or say anything. We just might play it on the podcast. Email the file to [email protected] Until next time.