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Do you have a Bruno in Your Head?

Updated: 6 days ago

In the brilliant Disney film Luca, the title character is a sea being having a human experience. He's full of curiosity tempered with trepidation -- much as we are as we navigate all this world has to offer. He makes friends with Alberto, a sea being in human form, like him, who is full of optimistic adventure and confident advice that he employs to urge Luca on to try new things.

The two build a bike and Alberto rides it with gusto but Luca hangs back, reluctant to climb aboard. In a wonderful cameo, Alberto tells him that he has a Bruno in his head who keeps telling him he can’t do it. ‘I have one too sometimes’, he admits, ‘and you must say, Silenzio Bruno!’

‘Silenzio Bruno!’

Somewhat taken aback, Luca nonetheless jumps on the bike and they hurtle into the sea together.

Silenzio Bruno! Silenzio Bruno!

Luca is not alone. The inner critic accompanies most of us on our walk through life. He feeds on shame, secrets and unresolved loss. Sometimes it’s important to be stern and tell him to be quiet. At other times his nagging is too raucous and we’re so overcome with doubts and insecurity that we become stuck in unhealthy habitual patterns or turn to alcohol or drugs to medicate the pain of living.

This is when we must tend to our hearts kindly, bringing into the light the pain that’s there and gently applying effective tools. There are many tools that can help us.

I have a memory of my 8 year old self singing at Sunday School, when the Sunday School teacher walked around the singers and made a big show of selecting the ‘lucky’ person who was going to have to mouth the words. I still cringe to remember how utterly humiliating it was to be singled out in this way. My mum reassured me later, ‘don’t worry, I can’t sing either,’ and nothing else was ever said about it and I never opened my mouth to sing again. In fact, it amplified my intense shyness so much so that I barely ever spoke in class or any kind of group after that.

Fast forward forty years, and listening to my second daughter sing, I am struck by what a beautiful voice she has. My oldest daughter has an extraordinary voice that she could earn her living with if she chose. I attributed this quality to her father. I’d never heard him sing, but a beautiful, lyrical voice certainly didn’t come from me. As she was growing up I was in awe of her ability to sing. It filled my heart with so much joy to hear her. What confused me as I listened to her sister sing, is that the two girls don’t share a father. Now, I don’t know anything about how voices are inherited, but the realisation that it was me that connected my daughters, made me re-evaluate the absolute certainty I had that I couldn’t sing.

I took myself off to a singing teacher and, in addition to listening to me sing and guiding me on some technicalities, she helped me re-enact the whole awful moment when I was told not to sing. She had me play each part in turn and interact, as my adult self, with the Sunday School teacher so I could let her know what it had meant to me and how detrimental its impact on me had been for decades into the future. It was a tearful and momentous experience.

After forty years, I discovered that with a little bit of tuition, I could sing in tune. I felt elated. Bruno had been silenziod! But I also felt angry with the Sunday School teacher, confused by my mum’s response, distressed that I had allowed myself to be muted for all these years under the misguided belief that I would embarrass myself if I attempted to sing in public. This is where the Grief Recovery Method has come in to help me find peace in my heart again. In just a few weeks of small, effective steps, I am able to identify exactly what needs to be done to bring this whole experience to completion.

Over the last few days, I’ve been practicing a couple of songs for a story telling gig. I am singing in public! I can do so with confidence and an open heart because Bruno has been gently and kindly quieted.

If you have a Bruno in your head and you are ready for him to be silenziod, please book a free call with me to find out how the Grief Recovery Method can help you.

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