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Today’s guest is Steve Parr.
We talk about:
- Men’s work,
- Men’s groups,
- How to heal and live a better life, and
- What it can look like to be surrounded by supportive men who have your back.
Steve Parr is a leader in men’s work and business. Steve has participated in men’s work for 15 years and been a leader for 7 and is passionate about building community and connecting people with transformative growth work. He is an executive with the Samurai Brotherhood, an international men’s work organization with 500 members. Steve operates a business and estate planning law firm in Vancouver, BC.
Find Steve online at:
Samurai Brotherhood: https://samuraibrotherhood.com/
Curt Storring 0:00
Welcome to the Dad.Work podcast. Today's episode is with my friend Steve Parr. We talk men's work men's groups connection, integration, leadership breathwork, how to heal, how to live a better life, and really importantly, what it looks like to live a life surrounded by men who have your back. Steve Parr is a leader in men's work and business. Steve's participated in men's work for 15 years, and he's been a leader for seven of those. He's passionate about building community and connecting people with transformative growth work. He's an executive with the samurai brotherhood and International Men's work organization with 500 members. And Steve operates a business and estate planning law firm in Vancouver, BC. This is a great one as an introduction to men's work and what that looks like joining a men's group which I highly recommend for all dads, if that is what calls to you. So enjoy and here we go. Steve Barr, welcome to the Dad.Work podcast. Really appreciate having you on man.
Steve Parr 1:05
Yeah, absolutely. Curt, it's great to be here, man.
Curt Storring 1:08
So I wanted to start with a story about you and your father. I like to ask the dads who come on what it is that they love and are challenged with being a father and for men who are not fathers. I want to figure out what their relationship with their fathers was. So could you just walk us through like what's the one thing that you imagine as being the best memory you have with your dad growing up and just walk us through that relationship a little bit?
Steve Parr 1:33
Sure. Yeah. The I was just talking about this the other day with a buddy and yeah, I just remember going to I don't know what game it was but it's like the last game of the regular season with the Canucks Knights were playing the Jets. No idea what year was maybe like 1990 or something, you know, but yeah, the Canucks were like they needed they needed the wind to get into the playoffs. Huge game and, and, you know, we were like, way up in the the nosebleeds right, or whatever. And, yeah, just the excitement, the energy, the game was an incredible experience. Like, I just loved it so much. And just sharing that with my dad was really, really special. Like, we, we didn't do a lot of things together, you know, and like I was, I was very athletic growing up, and like, it was not like, really my dad's thing, but like, we, we got to share that. And like just having him, you know, kind of go out of his way to do that, and like, make it happen. And like, you know, we didn't have much money either. So just even just getting tickets was like, such a special thing. And yeah, I would say like, that's like, that's like a real highlight of just time that I got to spend with him. You know, I just remember like, just screaming like crazy. I was so excited. It was just like the absolute best. Like, I don't really watch many sports these days. But, but hockey is still like one sport that really captivates me. So, yeah.
Curt Storring 3:03
Nice. I feel you a lot on that. And actually, my favorite memory with my father is very much the same. Going to a hockey game. It was an outdoor game in Calgary, it was like minus 30 out against the Canadians. And you know, we'd have the coffee and the Bailey's. I think it was 18 or 19, at the time in Alberta. And it was like, yeah, it's just that atmosphere of being there with your dad doing this thing you're both enjoying. So that's interesting. It's actually my favorite memory with my own brother. So yeah, there's
Steve Parr 3:29
just a couple a couple of Canadians.
Curt Storring 3:31
Bless me. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Well, I wanted to have you on because you are an executive in a men's group that I have been a part of, for the last couple of years called the samurai brotherhood, soon to be called something else. We're not sure what. And you have a lot of experience running. And being a part of men's groups, and doing a lot of healing work both with yourself and with others through breath, work, and coaching. And I just think there's so much that you can help teach us as fathers who are going through this work, what that looks like, how do we do it? And so I wanted to start in just getting your opinion, your view of what men's work even is, let's just start there, because this is like a foundational part of this project of Dad.Work. And I'd love to get your thoughts on, like, what it means to do men's work and why we're even doing it in the first place.
Steve Parr 4:22
Yeah, great question. I mean, it's about connection, it's about connection and challenge. Like those are the really the two elements that I think bring guys to, to our circles. So you know, there's a lot of guys who just really don't have strong male relationships in their lives and whether because that's, you know, maybe they were in university and they have like a bunch of friends there and then that split off or you know, like work cultures these days are often very, not as connected as they used to be. So male relationships are suffering and like, there statistics out there though you know half 50% of males can't name a best friend so they can't pick up the phone and mill the night and be like hey man I need 10 grand like I'm in an emergency or like can you I'm super sick Can you pick me up or you know take care of take care of my wife or my kid or whatever it is like guys don't have that right now and that's that's a big problem and the the so there's this this idea of like the lone wolf right and like the idea that like we can all do it ourselves like we don't need anybody and maybe and often that is born from a lack of trust in other men that's born because we had experiences growing up and I certainly did myself that's why I got into mentor in the first place of yeah just not trusting not having full faith and confidence in other men whether that was because like for me it was because I had challenging experiences with male authorities and with my peers You know, a lot of bullying and yeah, so men's work is about healing that men's work is about healing those relationships, rebuilding that sense of trust so that you can rely on other men ask them for counsel for support for just to be witnessed to enroll them in your life and help you grow and become become a better man.
Curt Storring 6:25
Yeah, and all of those things I've experienced Personally, I totally resonate with the lone wolf mentality because I have done so well by myself and I did a lot of work by myself and yet I can think of multiple inflection points where it was only with other men whether an elder or men's group that serious change and transformation took place and so men's work I think is hard to separate from men's groups and Would you agree with that
Steve Parr 6:56
Yeah, yeah No, I would say that you know you there are lots of things that a man who wants to do his work can and perhaps even should do on his own you know, like that it's very important to have solo time and do retreats and journal and meditating you know all these practices usually occur by yourself but but yeah no man's work you can only get so far on your own you know and you can you can get far but there are like you say there are a lot of things you just can't do without having a group of men around you you know Jim Rohn says like you are the product of the five people that you spend the most time with and so if you insert yourself inside of a group where you are surrounded by other men other other high quality men that you can learn from that you can bond with who can see you in a in a in a clean way then that's just going to be rocket fuel for your growth and like for me like yeah, like I've always been a high achieving oriented you know, like achievement oriented kind of guy and so like I always went after things and and I achieved a lot but there was no like so much that was just a train wreck just a disaster in my life. My ego would convince me of course that I was like doing just fine and that like I didn't really need anything and you know, things are great and I'm better than so and so and you know, all this comparison game going on right? But it wasn't really until I got into a men's group that I sort of is like this exposure of just laying out everything on the table and being like, okay, here's the naked, unvarnished truth of who I am and where I'm at in my life. And you know what, it's not as pretty as I would like to project you know, and there are there are some gaping wounds here right? But until you do that, how are you going to clean those wounds you know, you got to expose them to the light you got to get some air on them some oxygen so yeah,
Curt Storring 8:57
yeah and and what you said there was particularly with the ego and competition brought to mind fear you know, we're often comparing ourselves and competing because we're scared of what's actually there and if we can find a way that we're better than someone then you know, we just latch onto that thing. And so have you had a lot of experience with guys who are skeptical or resistant to doing the work because for me, I had been doing so much my own work and when I found a men's group it was like let's go like all the time I've never missed a meeting other than like being sick once and having a technical problem over zoom lens and like that was it I love it but I hear guys who are like sometimes it's hard to get to meetings you know, you don't want to and I'm going like, what do you mean you don't want to come? So for men who are skeptical about it who haven't joined a men's group or even men who are in there and are not sure about opening up what kind of things have you either observed that push them over the edge where it was like Okay, now I get it, or I guess even got them to take that first step because it seems scary to like lay all these wounds out. Why would I want to do that? Well, yeah. For
Steve Parr 10:00
sure, and first of all, like, I'll say, this isn't for everybody, you know, like there any, it's not like you're not gonna have a great life, just because he tells you men's work or something like that, like there are many roads to Rome. And men's work is a really powerful tool. There's lots of ways to pursue your personal growth, whether it's therapy or whatever it is, you know, whatever your path is, that makes sense for you. So I definitely just first and foremost want to respect and honor whatever path a man chooses in his life. I think men's work is his rocket fuel, though, like it for me, it's like this sort of hidden secret, you know, like, it's something that I have in my back pocket, and it is still it's becoming more popular for sure these days, but it's still a very niche thing. And for me, it's about having a sense of a tribe of village, like, we are fundamentally social creatures, and not just social, like, you know, we bump up against each other in the subway, and happened to be in a sea of people walking down, you know, Broadway or whatever. But we have intimate relationships with other people, and particularly with other you know, for men, I think it's very important to have guys around you that you trust that you respect that, you know, have your back that, you know, are watching out for you, you know, and yeah, I think I think like in, you know, olden days, some imagined past, like, you know, who knows what it actually look like, but I think that was a more common occurrence. You know, like living in a smaller community, everybody just has to know everybody else. It's just the nature of how things are, and you need to work on your relationships in order to survive and thrive inside of that community. And this is, yeah, this this is what we're doing here is we are we are creating, like a more of a village in a in a modern context, you know, for, for city dwellers, for people who, yeah, just don't necessarily have that opportunity otherwise. So yeah, like, going back to why it's such it's rocket fuel, it's rocket fuel for in my life, because I get to, I have an active willing support group for any kind of challenge that comes up in my life, you know, whether it's, you know, being stuck in my business, or it's being stuck in my head, or just not making not making progress in any area of my life, like I can, I can say, like, hey, like, this thing keeps coming up for me, this block keeps coming up for me, what do you guys see, you know, I mean, like, getting some feedback on that, and, or if it's also like, a healthy place to celebrate my wins, and be like, hey, like, I just did that, like this happened this. And, you know, you get to celebrate, you get lifted up, you get boosted. More than anything, I think it's like this subconscious thing that I don't even have in my awareness all the time of like, I have men in my back, I'm literally walking through life. And there are, you know, 12 guys in my immediate circle and 500 in my, in my, the larger tribe of the Brotherhood, that are with me, you know, and there, we have bonds that are based on principle, they're based on values, they're based on, on values that transcend ego, you know, they're their values that we as the those 500 individuals have all subscribed to, and have all said, Yes, like, these things matter. You know, courage matters, connecting with others matter of being vulnerable, sharing your truth, these things matter. So I know there are 500 guys, even if I don't necessarily communicate with them every day, that Yeah, so that that strengthens my own commitment to those values. And just, you know, it just helps me in so many different ways. And in my life, yeah.
Curt Storring 13:49
Yeah. And that that's actually where I was gonna go. Next, actually. So I'm glad that you brought that up. And I'd like to touch more on what that looks like. Now, as you step into, as you have been in executive roles. But I just want to jump in here with what you were saying, in terms of the importance of men's groups, because I think a lot of dads listening will go, Well, you know, maybe that sounds nice, I don't really have a lot of friends and seems like a big commitment, you know, and I hope what you just shared was, was enough to sort of help some men realize that this can be so important. And to do things in a community setting is so important, particularly raising kids raising a family, because what I found is that, even with, with media consumption, it used to be you know, you've turned on the TV, you'd have to watch whatever there was, and you just get this broad set of different values, different views, different ideas, and as a kid, it's like, okay, maybe, you know, you watch someone play the guitar on the TV, and suddenly, you know, you're Bruce Springsteen, 20 years later, and he's, you know, ultra famous loves what he's doing. And I think that's a true story. I don't know if it was Bruce Springsteen or not, but these days, you're all very singular focused. Everything you're watching is very much for you with the YouTube algorithm or what Browse. And the same thing happens within family, you've got the mother and father. And those are the only way only places that the kids are often getting this level of influence. And so to bring other men into your own life as a father helps expand your influence, and then your children's influence and the ideas and the values that they share. So that was important for me. And I just want to share it last night, we had our men's group, we actually did a barbecue, and I pulled my truck up because I brought the barbecue, I was doing the dad thing. And I just felt like, you know, these are all my, my, my kids almost as a co captain, I felt like a really supportive leader to do this. And as I pulled out, each man picked up one of the pieces of gear that I brought, and about five men just carried it over to my truck. And I felt so supported. It was just this tiny little act. And it was one of those things where I just went like, wow, I'm so thankful to have this because I'd never felt it before. I didn't know what it was like to have someone to be able to call and be like, Hey, man, something's come up. Can you help? And I know these guys have my back now. So I just wanted to share that because I think if you're on the fence wondering about like, how do I get community? Like, I can't explain how that feels in the heart to be supported like that.
Steve Parr 16:11
Yeah, yeah. 100%? Man, I mean, this really goes to what is our relationship? What do we think is what's our relationship with relationship? You know, do we look at it as something that is, that's going to require a lot of our energy going to demand a lot of us is just going to take a lot, then of course, we're going to go pursue the lone wolf thing, because we think that that's the solution. But the reality is, is like relationships are their sources of abundance, you know, and that's people join the community in order to heal their relationship with what that is, you know, and to, to make that shift from that scarcity mindset to the abundance mindset, you know, if we've had bad, negative experiences with other men, where it hurt to give a lot, or you know, maybe we chose friends that were that just weren't aligned and weren't great uses of our energy or time. Yeah, of course, then it's we're going to be reluctant, there's going to be an inbuilt reluctance to give more you know, but joining a men's group, joining a community of guys where you can receive as much as you can give is, it just changes everything. I think, your example is really good, because I'm sure all the men in your squad are just so grateful to have you in their life, you know, like you are such a plus for them. And, and if they were to ask themselves, like, who's getting more to this relationship? They probably all say, I'm getting more, you know, I get to have Kurt's energies is amazing, but like to hear you speak about last night? it? I would, I would guess you would you would answer in the opposite way. You'd say like, well, I get more out of this, you know, like, totally, I show up and like I get this feeling of support and love and care that I like I wouldn't, I wouldn't necessarily have otherwise. And I and now my kids benefit from this because I have like all these other men who are that I respect that are that are influencing how I'm thinking and in broadening my, my worldview, so it's all of it. Yeah, it's all about cultivating and creating relationships that that give to give everybody involved, you know? Yeah, yeah.
Curt Storring 18:23
And the one one other piece, just a men's group. Before we move on to your experience in executive with Samurai brotherhood, I've observed that it seems like just being in a weekly group, or even less than that, but Samurai meets weekly, obviously, simply showing up week to week with a purpose of who you want to be knowing that you're not there yet, knowing that it might take years knowing that you might never get there. But when you show up and lay your cards on the table, and be like, here's what I really want, guys, here's where I'm struggling, you tend to act more like the person you want to become just by knowing that that's in the back of your head, you know, you got your group of guys, you know, you've got the accountability, you know, you're showing up every Monday or whatever it is to be like, have you done anything yet? How's your life gone? And like, where are you at? Where can we support you? And you just tend to, like, slowly drift towards becoming the man that you're meant to be? So that's another reason why I love men's group, because it's always this like Northstar for me like oh yeah, why am I showing up here? Oh, cuz I want to be like this. I want to be this cat man. So it's just so powerful. So you, I know you answered a little bit with your story and why it's so important to you just to be a men's group. But what was it that drove you enough to commit time, resources, your energy to be part of this executive team of growing a men's group, not just as a leader or a captain, but as someone who sort of sets the stage for what comes next? Because I imagine that's probably a lot of work. I'm sure it's not well paid. So what is it about that level of commitment that drew You win.
Steve Parr 20:02
Yeah, I mean, I just believe so strongly in what we are doing, you know, I believe that this is something that really needs to be shared with a much broader audience. You know, there are there were times when like, you know, 30 30% of men were in men's, some form of men's groups, you know, and like, granted, there's, you know, there's this sort of the narratives of patriarchy, and yada yada that likely informed some of those groups. And so I'm not like harkening back to that, but I am, I do believe that, like, men really need to have these relationships in a in a much deeper way. And now we're at a precipice in our society where there's a lot of, we're seeing the dark side of this, you know, we're seeing the dark side of a lack of relationship. mental illness is up, you know, out of control these days, like depressions, anxieties, and even worse things. And it's, we need this, this is a medicine for this time, you know, like the medicine is that connection is the sense of brotherhood, this sense of, yeah, it's, it's just absolutely fundamental. And I can't really think of too much else that which is more important to promote, and to encourage and invite other people into in my lifetime, so yeah, it's kind of an odd, it's, it's a no brainer to participate in this and to, and it's very exciting as well, because it's it, you know, going back to your earlier question about, you know, guys who were like, ah, sounds interesting. And I just don't all the time, you know, yeah, yeah, like, yeah, fair enough. Like, of course, and especially as a dad, you know, and I'm not a father, so I, but like, especially as a dad, like a lot of my friends are, there's way more pressures on your time, like you're, you're, you've got to be very discerning very clear about where you, where you invest your time. And as well, you should, so I think it's very important to sort of do your due diligence and be a little bit skeptical. And that's, that's, there's nothing wrong with that. So as an executive, and in this organization, like, it's, it's my job, and all of our jobs to do a really good job of communicating what the benefits are, do a good job of breaking down any kind of like, I suppose myths that people might have about men's groups, like, I mean, there are, yeah, just certain judgments that people have and like, and, and, you know, I would just like to break all that down. And like, really, in the same way that, you know, yoga was made more mainstream, you know, it was an esoteric practice. And, and I think right now, men's groups are sort of still in that esoteric camp of like, Oh, this is something that you do if you are different, or weird or whatever, like, you're just, you're something of like a misfit or something like that, then you might find yourself inside of a men's group, because, oh, you didn't, you didn't find the community that you need in the normal conventional routes in life. And I think like, that's actually the weird thing is like, these, these so called normal pathways to connection, you know, through work or bars, or this or that, like, yeah, like, you can find it there. And I believe that it's rare, it's rare that that people actually find the intimacy, the depth, the realness, the authenticity, that they crave. I just haven't met a whole lot of people who have found it, you know, and I've met a whole lot more people who are craving it who want it and they don't know where to get it, you know, and so you know, what, why don't we create an intentional, deliberate pathway to this, you know, inside of a structure so, so yeah, no, it's not well paid. And it does take a lot of time. But uh, but I, you know, I get to work with some of the best men that I know and it's, it's really fun. Yeah,
Curt Storring 23:52
no, I love what you said there about finding the places to have these relationships and it's not at work typically. And it's about usually for me a shared experience. So you have identify something in yourself that maybe you need other men to fill, you come to a men's group and it was a lot like I lived in Thailand for almost two years. And just being an English speaking foreigner there was a common enough experience to usually bond over. And so um, I have experienced a sort of outside men's group where I was able to make really good friends simply by having a shared experience. I think the same holds true within the men's group. It's just a different level that if you've never had it before, it's almost it's almost shocking it's almost unbelievable to a lot of the guys who come in without these relationships. And it takes them months sometimes to trust that this is real. And it always is, which is so beautiful. One thing about your your work and leadership here I wanted to ask about like when I became a captain, sometime the last year, I realized that like, my work didn't end. This was the next work for me, you know, leadership as the work so what has your work looked like stepping out into, you've been captains you've led online squads you're now an executive, what is the work look like for you as a leader? Or how has that even been something that you've noticed as well?
Steve Parr 25:11
Yeah, for sure. Yeah, yeah. I mean, there's definitely a ton of work that comes up and, you know, that, like the, I mean, the ego can get inflamed easily enough, when you're in a leadership position, like, all of a sudden, you have this, like power, or at least the, like, the appearance of power, right. And then, you know, in I think, particularly within the structure of leadership that we have within the Brotherhood, there's, you know, there's four of us there's, there's fear there who created the community, founded it, and then there's Nick soul check Ben gorecki. Myself, and yeah, we all have fairly different personalities, you know, like we all are, yeah, quite unique. And so there's a lot and strong willed. And so there's just like, a lot of, there's a healthy friction, you know, there's some, like healthy tension and like, and different ways of thinking about problems and how to advance and you know, how to grow our community, and, you know, it brings up stuff and, and because we're all very passionate and very invested into it, it's there. It's a continual invitation to like, look at like, Well, okay, you know, am I just being stubborn? Am I just being is my ego, my desire to, like, have it my way to like, control tendencies, etc, all that stuff gets checked continuously, you know, and if it didn't, like, the relationships just wouldn't work. So it's actually it has taught me a lot about compromise and respect for other ways of going about things and learning to Yeah, see the value in having a team driven approach to leadership, you know, like, I have a, I have a business that I run in my professional life, and I make all those decisions, you know, and like, and it's, it's, I like it that way. Of course, it's very, it's, it's easy that way. But, but it doesn't necessarily provide me with that same level of objects balances. So yeah, like, I think eventually, like, probably the healthiest expression of my leadership within my professional life will, will I, I think, will eventually look closer to what I'm experiencing now the Brotherhood, you know, in within that leadership team, whether it's bringing on a co partner, or whatever it looks like, but I do think that having that kind of integrated path is Yeah, I think it's very useful. So kind of a long winded answer, but yeah,
Curt Storring 27:33
yeah, no, I brought that up. Because it was so interesting to me going like well, should I? If I get out of group, then does my work stop? like where do I get the work? And it's like, oh, no, all of the work is now like that next level of leadership. And that actually, is the same with parenting To be honest, you know, you you have this thing and it's in front of you and you're really in it. But if you have the awareness to step back, it's like wow, there's so much work here for me to be doing to continue and it's just like this obviously, never ending lifelong pursuit and just any sort of leadership position whether it's in the family partnership or like you know, we've experienced in a men's group it's just more work anything I like to say the process is the process like whatever you take from the process, that's the process and we do you know, some processes within men's group and it's like whether you hated it whether it didn't work for you whether you were apathetic it's like there's a lesson in there no matter what you took away from it even if the process wasn't the actual learning. So I think it's it's great to hear that like as you continue to progress and even in the leadership role where you're building an organization there's always lessons there's always checks on the ego and it's so nice like being in men's group like this when you're just so self aware that you know, like oh there's my ego again, just like everything so much easier. You know, it feels a little bit hard in the moment because it's like feels bad you're working through it. But knowing that you have that you know, 30,000 foot view of your own life men's group is a big part of that so I'm glad to hear that thank you
Steve Parr 29:00
do have a stand like yeah, I don't know if you're ready to jump to another question but just like something that came to mind is I remember when I was going through law school there was like an advertisement for some law firm and it was like some big law firm and their their ad copy read. Your reward for hard work is more hard work. At the time, I was like, Oh my God is so depressing. But it's not it's like actually true like and the work will never end there will always be more and yeah, the more you apply yourself, you will have more opportunities to work on just bigger things. And it just becomes more pleasurable like in my experience more pleasurable over time because the the the grip that the ego has on you know, and the ego serves for finance with a sense of safety and security. They just let's learn to let go they're instantly attached learns to release and start trusting into life. You know, and And the relationships that we have with other men help in that process. So much, you know, in in learning like, okay, I can let go I don't need my stick my persona my story in order to feel safe. I can I can actually just trust in life and then and then it's just fun to do that work you know it's fun to jump up to that 20,000 foot perspective and look at Okay, what am I? What am I running here? Exactly? You know, is there other? Are there other ways to do it? Can I be flexible in my thinking? Yeah, yeah,
Curt Storring 30:37
no, that's, that's perfect. One of my favorite quotes, I'm probably gonna butcher it. It's, as the island of knowledge grows, so too does the shore of ignorance. And it's like, it's so right in somebody's cases, and especially in doing the work it's like, once I get here, once I stop suffering for x reason, that'll be good. And you get there and it's like, oh, this is great. But oh, no, no, I can see from this vantage point, like more work to be done. And you're totally right again, at this point where you're like, Yes, I get to see more I get to do more, I get to go into the trenches, and I get to feel better. And it becomes I mean, I don't know what else would be a better addiction than doing the work I mean, sometimes it can get overblown and you can get really like in the weeds and connected a story but if you have a healthy relationship with doing the work and healing, it's just so rewarding. And you just continue to level up and level up and level up and you're building on this wonderful scaffolding of like a whole life now this integrated person this integrate itself, so exciting. I just wanna I want all dads to have this experience whether or not it's in a men's group just doing the work on themselves to heal because so many of us need that healing work and it's so hard to talk about an access
Steve Parr 31:46
I like that you brought up that point about like sometimes you can get in the weeds with the work because I've definitely had that experience myself of just being you know, I used to really describe myself a lot as like a self help junkie, you know and like my bookshelf is just covered in like like 5500 books on self help right and and I know a lot of my close friends can identify with with this and yeah for me like it was it was too much it was definitely too much and it was definitely like me trying to like relentlessly fix myself and work on myself and improve myself and of course if if that's your orientation the underlying belief is there's something wrong with me there's something that I need to fix there's something broken and I'm not good enough I'm not worthy enough right? And that's definitely you know, that's not what we want to foster that's not the kind of that's definitely not the set of beliefs that are going to really carry you the distance and yeah, and so like men's work can be a very helpful tool for that because you're gonna have men around there and like I had I had this experience myself for like two years inside of one of the groups that I was in you know and I've been in groups for but eight now but like yeah, two years the guys were just like constantly mirroring back to me like Oh, you're you're really working on yourself really hard they're a but you know, and and it took a while to finally it sort of started to set in like that. Okay, maybe I'm not as like broken as I think I am, you know. So yeah, like I do find that it's really helpful just to do this kind of work inside of a community because if you're on your own, you might not that clarity may not come as quickly you know, it can take a lot longer to integrate and get these lessons
Curt Storring 33:27
Yeah, getting the mirror is so helpful within group and even doing things like like we did last night we just didn't do a meeting we had a barbecue so that we could just be together that's all it was there was no process there's no work done it was just like we're going to break bread and be together and I'm really glad that you tugged on that that thread because that's a huge thing that I have really only recently learned is that doing the work is like only a part of the battle because then you have to be you have to integrate you have to like let all this work sit I would go through and I would like get up in the morning and stretch so that I could meditate like a journal so that I could go to the gym so I could come home and like crush my work so that I could do XYZ like mindfulness techniques and I never stopped there was like years of all this doing and doing and doing it I thought it was getting somewhere and the same patterns were still there even though I'd read like you said like 500 bucks like meditated for like three years straight. I had a streak going like yeah, crushing it. And only when I like came across a big failure for the first time. Did I actually take the time to be like, Well, how do I feel? And then it all just came like oof it just sunk into my like core of being that I hadn't stopped to integrate any of this. So has that been a has been something that's come up for you as well integration and what does that what does that look like? I guess like I know you you know what I'm talking about my say integration. So what does that stillness look like in your experience?
Steve Parr 34:58
You Yeah I mean it's an ongoing journey of course you know but that's I can definitely absolutely resonate with what your with your story there and like have had my version of that for sure and that's because that's like such a this this heady approach this like intellectualize you know there are a set of practices and if you just do them every day no matter what without fails and you know I'm going to be good I'm going to be healed. I'm integrating, I mean integrating for me just looks like yeah, just letting go you know and like not necessarily like doing the work all the time and just learning to enjoy and connect with the body and feel pleasure. You know, like in few days time I'm going to go on a hike with you know, eight guys all of whom I fit Yeah, all of them are or were members of the Brotherhood and, um, but yeah, we're it's not a men's group thing you know, like we're just hanging we're hanging in for like a week and we're just like, going, going to connect and like just laugh and play and enjoy, you know. And yeah, I mean, I think that's what, like what I those are the qualities that I look for in my male relationships now well all my relationships are somebody that I can be deep with and like, you know, have those like real conversations with but in the very next moment, like be cracking jokes, you know, and, and just be totally light about it. And it just like, the range of things. My buddy Josh and I were talking about, like, just the range of humor of jokes just goes so much deeper, because nothing's off limits, you know, like you can talk about your daddy wounds your mommy wounds, you're this you're that like this, the sexual things that this that, you know, all the it's just there's no limits, because is that it does just make life more enjoyable and more fun and more pleasurable. So I think ultimately, that's like the, the, one of the objects of the work is just you expand your range of how just out dynamic human being you can be, you know, because you're uncovering all these parts of yourself, your shadow, you know, your, your insecurities, the judgments that you have over yourself over other people. And when you start to shine the light on those things, then they're, hey, you realize everybody else around has those things, too. You're not alone, you're not special. But be they're just not as scary anymore, you know, and you can start to make those jokes. And so yeah, I would say humor is very good medicine on the path to integration.
Curt Storring 37:26
Yeah, that's amazing. I love that the point is not to do the work. The point is to live a better life. And yes, that that's not living life that's like, Oh, yeah, right, I should like, get my nose out of this book and go do something now. Because in those moments of being in those moments of stillness, it's like, that's when things sort of settle in. And if you've continually moving, none of this stuff can catch up to you. In my experience, it's all dragging behind. And if you just stop and let it slam into you, even if it takes, you know, forever, like just being still with that is so important. And I love the Broughton, the Huber and just like playground because I getting into this work. I was like, oh, now I've got to have these really deep conversations every time I'm with someone. And it's not like that. It's like, like you said, it's about like now I can do the most ridiculous humor or jokes or stories just because I'm so open. And that feeling of openness and that feeling of fullness that comes from having such like deep integrated relationships. Oh man, it's like, it expands my heart space so much even to think about having that. And for someone who comes from extreme anxiety really tight, almost no headspace, I always felt like to have this like freedom to be, oh, man, it just like opens me right up. So that's an amazing, I love the humor aspect. Speaking of esoteric ways to get out of the head and into the body, I know that you also are breathwork practitioner. And I want to talk to you a little bit about that as well, just because the point of the show is to help dads suffer less love more and parent more confidently. And if we can help them with modalities with healing, just with other even weird ways, like I love the weird stuff, man. And unfortunately, like men's work, this is still kind of weird, even though it's just working with the body. So could you give us a quick rundown of breathwork what it is and why you do it. Why was important for you to become a facilitator?
Steve Parr 39:23
Yeah, for sure. I counter breathwork, five years ago when I was first working with teertha, who started this community, and he was teaching us how to do rebirthing. So rebirthing was like a technique. I don't actually recall why it's called rebirthing. But yeah, it was like a technique where you just breathing really rapidly on your back for a prolonged period of time, like maybe 3040 minutes. 40 minutes, is very intense, and I definitely produce like some really strong emotional experiences and releases, and there's A lot of like crying and yelling and this and that. And it was powerful, it was amazing. And I was I was hooked right away, I was like, this is, this is incredible. This is like, you know, I don't know that this is like 10 hours of therapy compressed into a 40 minute, like, Workout, you know, it kind of this sort of extremists that likes to go to CrossFit all the time, and whatever was sort of was drawn in by that, right. So, um, yeah, and then later on, I found another teacher who introduced me to a more gentle form of breathwork. And a guy named Robin Clements and yeah, so I studied with him for for several years and attend a lot of his trainings and help support them. And yeah, and I gained a lot from working with Robin. And he, his technique was much more just gentle, you know, and, and just allowing you to just drop in with your body. So breath work, for me is a really, it's just like, one of the best resets, you can have, you know, like, we all have our go twos, or at least I hope we all have our go twos for relieving stress and anxiety and, you know, dropping out of the head and getting into the body, you know, running etc. Like, I really like running, but um, yeah, breath work is like, for me if I really want to get into my heart, but I really feel disconnected, blocked up, and I just can't get out of there. Nothing better than 15 minutes of breath work, you know, and it's so simple and accessible. You know, you you just literally lie back, you lie back on the ground. I'll show you right now. I don't know, are we on video? Are we just doing audio? Just audio? All right. Well, I'll show you later.
Curt Storring 41:46
Imagine Steve's lying on the ground right now. Yeah,
Steve Parr 41:48
I'm laying on the ground. And I'm breathing. And it's really easy. Like, honestly, you know, like, there are definitely there's specific techniques, and there are things you can do that are going to help you but honestly, if you just like, doesn't think much, you know, like, do that, like a continuous breath, or 15 minutes. And you will feel significantly different, you know, put on some music, some nice, gentle yoga type music, and yeah, you're off to the races. So yeah,
Curt Storring 42:20
yeah, there's, there's so many ways to get into the body. And I that came up because of what you said about getting out of the head and into the body earlier. And there's just so much integration that can be done like that. And it's just, yeah, if you notice your body, if you notice your mind before you go into a breathwork session, even if it's 10, deep belly breaths, even if it's five minutes of box breathing, even if it's like five minutes of alternate nostril breathing, you observe the mind before and then you just feel into the body afterward. And you go like, why don't I do this, like every hour, because it's so healing, it's so amazing. And then obviously, like you said, you can go in and do the the full on, you know, 45 to an hour session, which has ended up for me almost being psychedelic in a way in some sessions. And in other sessions, relaxing, and you just come out of it with with no worries in the world, all the stress has evaporated. I was just interested to talk to you about it, because I'm also now going through my own training to become a facilitator doing conscious, connected breathing. And it's just such a simple accessible healing method. And I think like, even less popular than men's work if that's, if that's possible, unfortunately. And so I just want this podcast to be partially a way to spread these modalities because there's so much we can do to heal ourselves. And I'm very, very big proponent of using the body and the self to heal the self rather than relying on you know, maybe medical interventions or pharmaceuticals or something like that. It's worth putting the work in to use the body and the breath to heal. So are there anything else? I see you want to say some What's up?
Steve Parr 44:03
Yeah, I mean, just like, and I think breath work goes hand in hand with men's work in that it's like, these are such simple practices. You're getting together in a circle of men, you're getting on a circle, man, you're sharing your mind you're exposing you're like you're talking, you know, like we Yeah, we have some structures and like, but as you know, as a facilitator of a men's group, it's not rocket science, you know, what we're doing? Like, yes, there are things that come up that need to be handled with skill and with care. And that comes over time. But it's, it's in the natural evolution of participating in a group and just caring about another human being and paying attention. You know, these are not you don't need to go to Harvard for this stuff. You need to like open your heart and care about other people and just stay in the game long enough and you you will develop an amazing ability to work with people through this practice. breathwork is very similar. It's a it's a very, very accessible practice. And it's something anybody can do and Yes, our bodies are already most of us are carrying so much tension in our bodies. So that can get in the way of being able to access your breath in like a really full and expansive way. And so that's why there are facilitators out there. Because it's so much easier when you have somebody there to guide you and be like, hey, like, slowed down a little bit, or, you know, like, breathe a little bit deeper or tried dry, breathe into your belly, you know, whether they're there with you in person or over zoom, all that stuff is like, really, really helpful. So I think it's wonderful, you're doing your training, that's, that's why I did mine, you know, just to deepen my own ability to work with my body and, and learn from from working with other people as well. So yeah, we don't need drugs, we don't need these, all these other sort of fancy interventions, you know, like, there's a time and a place for any type of medicine. But I think we, as a society lean far too heavily on very processed solutions, you know, very heavy, overly complicated things. And I think we need to return to the elegance of these more primal ways of healing and connecting and relating. Yeah,
Curt Storring 46:12
yeah, I love that I, obviously non trained psychologists, non trained, whatever, but I'm so certain that trauma is the base of almost all the afflictions, mental health afflictions, and if we just understood the way the traumas stored in the body, the way to express that, like I shook out before we did this podcast just to like release any stress, any tension, any worry for my body. And it's so like, not cool to do that. Like nobody talks about that. Now we talked about the breath, as this way to heal and like on unveil this trauma, the store trauma in our bodies, which is where it's kept. So yeah, I'm just so thankful that we have any opportunity to discuss this because it's such important work to get in the body and to feel because all these things in our minds, the way that we feel often impacts the way that we think and the way we think often impacts vice versa, the way we feel and there's this like connectivity that a lot of us are missing either living too much in the body, feeling anxious or too much in the mind thinking about anxiety, for example. So it's just a wonderful way to connect both of those things. Are there any other mindfulness practices that you have found extremely helpful beyond men's work Beyonds? breathwork What do you do to stay grounded
Steve Parr 47:31
I did two things so one I journal you know i journal and I I started this this is actually a practice that was given to me by a coach that I'm working with and he he said write about yourself in third person you know, so Steve is dead Steve wakes up Steve woke up in a funk this morning and he was busy thinking about work and you know this and that and just doing that like helps give me that distance that space between between myself in you know my ego Yeah, so that I can actually like observe what's going on and detach from it a little bit like that I found that to be enormously useful I do think of that as like i mean i think it's one of the objects of meditation is to be able to create that space and not be so identified with with what the mind is thinking you know, like yeah so that that's one that I do and yeah, and the other one is like just working is actually just working with a coach like it's been super super helpful for me particularly as I've been taking on bigger challenges in my life where I feel a little bit daunted to have somebody in my corner who has been there done that you know, and I think that's a really good you know, if you're some if you're out there you considering hiring a coach, you know, look for somebody who has integrated what you are seeking to integrate yourself, you know, and yeah, I he's, he's wonderful to work with and wonderful to speak with because he he has been there done that for some things that I'm looking to achieve and create in my life. And while he can't give me the answers, what he can do is like, give me like, instill confidence and be like, well, if you apply yourself to x y&z things will occur, things will unfold. So I find that to be enormously helpful. You don't necessarily have to hire a coach of course to have that experience that can come through like a mentorship relationship. But I think it is very important to surround yourself with to connect with people who in whatever way possible, who are, you know, frankly, further along on the path further along on the path and then you might be or that's fine your peers might be. That's been like a huge, huge growth out for me inside of my life and, and, and my business for sure.
Curt Storring 49:59
Yeah, and I Again, for men's work to go check, it all comes back to connection. I would love to have a society where people have a coaching budget or a you know, self growth budget. Because often you know, there's these life changing modalities that you know might cost $100 per session or $200 per session. And we'll spend that on whatever going to the movies going out to eat, you know, beer, or whatever it is, and this life changing work medicine that you could be giving yourself, we just don't budget for it. So I'd love to hear those two things are very active, you know, getting shit done, which, of course goes back to you know that, that needing to get shut down. I'm also like that I love to get things done quickly and get things done effectively. And it's just so helpful to find, especially someone who's already integrated the work. So I say on on leaving that note with connection, this is probably a great place to wrap up. And are you still practicing as a breathwork facilitator right now? And a coach.
Steve Parr 51:00
I mean, I breathe on myself. I do my own practice, but I'm not seeing your clients at the moment. So yeah, I we are putting together a few different retreats for within the samurai brotherhood community. So we'll I'll share more details in another in another forum. But we have Yeah, we were going to have some retreats coming up in October. So but and there will be opportunities to do breath work there. So yeah, I'm I mean, I'm interested in sharing more breath work inside of those sort of containers. But yeah, I mean, if any of your listeners are looking for breathwork coach, Hunter was that I mean, it sounds like you're a great person, a great resource to hit up on that Kurt. And, and they can also reach out to me, I know a ton of different practitioners like, who, who are wonderful. So yeah,
Curt Storring 51:50
amazing. So where can people find more if they want to follow you? If they want to follow Samurai? Where should we go?
Steve Parr 51:57
Yeah, so Instagram at Samurai brotherhood. Samurai brotherhood.com is our website. If you like to connect with me, you can you can find my contact information there. Or you can hit up my personal website, which is Steve par.ca. And I haven't updated in some time, but but I am there. And yeah, I love connecting with people. So if anybody has any questions at all, please hit me up.
Curt Storring 52:23
Amazing. Steve, thank you so much for sharing all your wisdom with men's work men's groups. breathwork and leadership. I really appreciate it. And I think there's a lot of growth. A lot of gold here. Yeah, this is super fun. Thanks so much for the interview. All right, that's great. Yeah, okay, take care, man. Dads, I hope you learned a ton from this podcast, particularly the importance of inviting other men into your life. And whether that is through simply being more vulnerable and opening conversations with the men already in your life, or by joining a men's group that aligns with your values and your purpose. I think we touched a lot today on just the importance of having those connections and what that can mean for you as a man. And of course, once you continue your work as being a better man, you become a better father. So I'm very grateful for Steve coming on today and sharing his experience with men's group breathwork and other modalities particularly liked his journal prompt, and the fact that he invests in coaching. If you want to learn more, check out Steve par.ca that's with two R's, or Samurai brotherhood.com to join a men's group. And if you enjoyed this podcast, please follow us on Spotify. Subscribe on Apple podcasts, and leave a review. Whatever you think of the show, how it's going for you anything you've learned, we'd love to hear and of course shownotes anything else mentioned ways to connect with us ways to follow us. Ways to work with Dad.Work will be available at the URL, dad.work/pod. That's dad.work/pod type that into your browser. You'll find everything you need there. Thank you so much for listening. Hope you learned something today and carry on being an awesome dad.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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