Sunday, November 5, 2017

Wise Masters

There are a great many teachers we can benefit from. Of those that touch us deeply we like to gather their wisdom by collecting their best books and quotes. These we read and re-read as inspiration comes. I find it very comforting that these individuals have struggled and suffered just as we have but found they could become masters of their destiny just as we can.

So here they are, Einstein, Buddha, John Muir Thic Nhat Hanh, and Winston Churchill. If you don't have a collection of your own this may get you started. Look for wise and kind people, ones that grab your heart and mind. They are still with us through these works, ready to take our hand and guide us onward. Bon Voyage!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Inner Child

Like many things in life, the inner child seems to be of a dual nature; wonder child on one hand, and wounded child on the other. I venture to guess wonder child came first for most of us, found in the loving gaze and arms of parents, caretakers, and others. The world was so very fresh, new, and exciting, with many adventures ahead.

Many left the care and comfort of their parents laps to toddle off on this incredible journey with the tools they needed to face and conquer life's many challenges. To get a good image and understanding of the common obstacles of youth and life and how they are resolved or not, please see Stages of Development. 

There are many fortunate ones who got what they needed to thrive and flourish through-out their lives, but what of those who were rejected,  abandoned, abuse, or otherwise thwarted in their life's quest? What of those who instead learned dis-ease, dysfunction, and insanity? Those are the ones who most need our help. If you are one of the less fortunate ones, you are included.

Not only in at last receiving the loving care, kindness, and guidance you need, but included in the ranks of those who must reach out to others also less fortunate, and in helping them heal, to heal yourself. We find the inner child not only to be the embodiment of all of the losses of our youth, but also the opportunity for recovery of all we could have had, and we should have had. If this resonates with you, you are in the right place, you are home.

What is home? A safe place, a place we feel welcome and comforting. It could be a place, a person, or a practice where we can rest. A twelfth century Tibetan mind training slogan says "Rest in the Essence; Alaya" (home). A Course In Miracles states this simply as; "Rest in God." I attend a twelve step recovery retreat in the spring and fall that feels so welcoming and safe for my adult and inner child I regard it as "The cradle of loving kindness."

But what if the home of our youth was not a safe, welcoming, and comforting place? What if it was a place of stress, abandonment, and abuse? It is often said we have three choices; fight, flight, or freeze. The fighters act out family dysfunction, frustration, and rage they feel in the home and consequently within themselves. The "flyers" run from trouble, unable to deal with it with a child's limited resources. The "freezers" run too, but into themselves as they shut down and close off from the confusion and angst they feel.

These troubled kids are usually mistaken as the source of the problem rather than a symptom. No surprise Jack Kornfield, an eminent psychologist says he has never seen a youngster with a drug problem that came from a healthy family. The point here is that if you feel like you were one of these kids growing up, you have that inner child in you now longing for resolution and rest.

This is vitally important as the unresolved issues of youth tend to poison and infect our thoughts, emotions, and actions through-out our lives unless we find the help we need. Only then can we move forward with the wisdom and intelligence of an adult coupled with the joy, spontaneity, creativity, and energy of youth.

It is hard to communicate just how crucial this connection with our inner child is. perhaps a telling sign is that a large and powerful part of the twelve step brotherhood is Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families (ACA). Many find this meeting and path to expose and heal the core issues of  addictions and issues they were unable to in other twelve step programs, support groups, counseling, and therapy alone. 

If this sounds like something that appeals to you, we would like to suggest the ACA "Big Red Book" and Step Study and Laundry List Workbooks. The workbooks are best done in a group or at least with one other person as isolation is one of our core issues, so community and connection can further healing greatly. Another book that is highly recommended by many in the program and deals directly and effectively with these issues is John Bradshaw's Homecoming.

Understanding and utilizing the impact and effect of the inner child is a life changer for many. The books do a great job but we also like to give a personal shorter taste of how much this means to us personally, so for that story please click here.

In closing we wish to say how much we love and cherish our inner kids, and hope to impress on others the incredible peace and healing available through our naturally sensitive, eager, and loving inner kids. You may find as we have that life is so much more rich and fulfilling when we let our child lead. Good luck and good love!

Sunday, December 18, 2016


You have no doubt heard Mother Earth is in serious trouble. Actually, it is life as we know it that is in big trouble, as Mother Earth will surely clean up our mess in due time. We are gravely concerned, so hope to inform others of the great dangers we face. Due to the reality of feedback loops inherent in the environment that will multiply the problems and are near or past their tipping points we must act quickly if we and our descendants are to thrive, or even survive. The following is general information on climate change and links to news articles culled from various sources that highlight the urgency of the threats. Read one or all, but please look with compassion and forgiveness on our shared plight.

Fast Facts on Global Warming/Climate Change
The industrial age started in 1750. Glacier retreat was first noted in the early 1800's. An increase of 2000 billion tons of CO2 have been added to the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution. Carbon dioxide is up 36%, since 1750. 3/4 from burning fossil fuels: 43% from coal, 34% oil, 18% natural gas. Methane also up 148% since 1750. Positive feedback loops make it much worse due to ice, cloud, tundra loss, and CO2 and methane gains.

The "global ocean conveyor belt" (see thermohaline circulation) will eventually fail to circulate ocean water and cause major cooling  in the North Atlantic, North America, and Europe, and likely causing ice ages in some areas. This would also cause the oceans to become stagnant and loose vital oxygen levels due to lack of circulation and cause major extinction events.

Co2 passed 400 parts per million in May of 2013. The last time it was this high was 4.5 million years ago and the oceans were 50-85 feet higher as a result. It may go to 540-970 ppm by 2100. 30-40% of the carbon dioxide has been soaked up by the oceans but that causes ocean warming and creates carbonic acid so crustaceans can't make shells and corals reefs bleach and die. 

Warming since the 1950's is unprecedented over thousands of years. Global temps are expected to rise 3.1-8.6 by 2100 and cause rising seas, floods and changing rain and snow patterns, expanding deserts, extreme weather, heat waves, extinctions, crop failures, and droughts. Climate "inertia" slows change but is persistent for better or worse lasting tens of thousands of years. 16 of 17 warmest years have occurred since 2000. 

2016 was the warmest ever. The last 39 years have consecutively been above average. Greenhouse gases, cloud cover, and other factors also effect temps. Global warming was first discovered in 1950 and first noted in print in 1952. In 1986 and 87 NASA scientists went before congress so the term was widely adopted and awareness was raised significantly. One fifth of plants face Extinction. They are the lungs of the earth providing a huge carbon sink.
Arctic temps rise twice as fast. The West Antarctic is melting fast due to warm ocean water below. If it melts it will add 10 foot ocean rise. If Greenland melts it will also be 10 feet, but if the East Antarctic melts it will add 200 feet to the oceans. Warmer oceans put more water vapor into the atmosphere creating killer waves and storms. 

Of the 500 reefs coral reefs in the Northern Great Barrier Reef only four show no signs of bleaching. Most have severe bleaching. The arctic ice cap used to be solid but is now fractured and vulnerable. It is in crisis and also affects weather around the globe. Deep sea life diversity is highly susceptible due to acidification and low oxygen. Current ocean warming is unprecedented in human history.

Fifty four percent of people worldwide consider warming a very serious problem but the Chinese and Americans who are the worst offenders and are concerned the least. Climate change causes extreme storms, heat waves,  fires, ocean acidification, wind storms, hurricanes, coral death, droughts, and mass extinctions. Donald Trump and much of the Republican party consider human driven climate change to be over rated or a hoax (as of 1/17)
Starting with clouds, oceans, and aquifers: 
New NASA data shows how the world is running out of water

Next The story of ice:

Marine and land life:

California news: 

And lastly climate change overall:
You may (and please do) further research any of these subjects on the internet through Google, Wikipedia, etc. Personally the problems became up close and personal on a trip to the high sierra mountains in 2016. The sight of thousands of trees, and many of them that were young and healthy that had turned a deathly yellow/orange was devastating.

A live one man show in Yosemite featuring a spot on manifestation of the spirit of John Muir cemented the urgency into place. If he were here he would be pounding on the doors of capital hill and every heart and mind willing to listen to save the gentle giants that are the trees and in so doing save ourselves.

Time is short. You might say the bomb has already gone off, and our job now is to limit the damage as the shock waves roll across the world. We like to say climate change is our first priority at Cowboy Dharma, but it is the climate of fear and denial we personally have that is first and foremost in need of attention. We must break through to the best part of us and others that we may come together in hope, help and healing to save life as we know it.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Power Paths

There are many ways in which western thought is making a difference across the world in beneficial ways. Non Violent Communication is taking groups that have been enemies for decades if not centuries and helping them find common ground where they can at last work together towards peace and freedom for all. It is so revolutionary and very effective.

It is also called Compassionate Communication. Another "path" we find very powerful and useful is Eckhart Tolles' work; The Power of Now. It takes Buddhism, psychology, A Course in Miracles, and other paths and melds them into a seemingly new way of thinking, feeling, and living. This one is really worth a good look, and the books well worth reading.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's work on processing losses and grief can be a pivotal part of recovery and living a full and complete life so we have included our take on it with a Twelve Step focus here. Another very powerful and useful bit of wisdom is Erick Erickson and others work on the stages of development. This also has a Twelve Step flavor and can be viewed here.

Joseph Campbell's work on the mythic archetypes of personality gives great depth and meaning to how we process and live out our lives. This helps us understand Who We Are. Campbell also inspires us to take a Hero's Journey to find wisdom and healing for our selves and others. We have also found there is a  Twelve Step Hero's Journey .

More Power Paths to come, please email us your suggestions at 

Rumi's Ecstasy

Mevlana Rumi was a thirteenth century Persian poet, scholar, theologian, and mystic. He is described as an "ecstatic" poet as he celebrated a relationship with God that dwelled in ecstacy. He is considered the most popular and best selling poet in America. Read some of his works and you will know why. There are some really nice short selections attached to serene images on the internet easily found by searching "Rumi" through the Images tab. Here are a couple of examples: Quotes   Poetry

Wise Masters

There are a great many teachers we can benefit from. Of those that touch me deeply I like to gather their wisdom by collecting their best books and quotes. These I read and re-read as inspiration comes. I find it very comforting that these individuals have struggled and suffered just as I have but found they could become masters of their destiny just as we can. So here they are, Einstein, Buddha, John Muir Thic Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron and Eckhart Tolle. If you don't have a collection of your own this may get you started. Look for wise and kind people, ones that grab your heart and mind. They are still with us through these works, ready to take our hand and guide us onward. Bon Voyage!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Verbal Communicative Relating

Poor communication is one of the "character defects" of co-dependence. Personally, troubles here have prompted adding this to the Essential Disciplines list of late as I find myself shutting down and shutting up all too often. My preference is to consider things awhile before commenting, but it gets frustrating for others and ultimately myself. I'm afraid I'll say the wrong thing or just plain don't know what to say. Yet in reality, we don't have to all the answers right away, we can simply respond, "I see," or "I understand," or "Okay, let me get back to you on that." The important thing is to respond, relate, communicate! After all, communication is derived from communion, relating intimately with others, so cutting others off undermines trust by breaking that important bond. The dark side here is closing down and isolating, checking out, particularly in times of trouble when we all most need to know others are going to be there for us, we aren't trapped and alone. Even when the dust settles it's important to stay in touch, to check in regularly, whether during a conversation or even as days, months, and years pass. This is my commitment, to "commune" with others, openly, honestly,and consistently. You also may want to check out the post and notes on very helpful Non Violent Communication.

Simplicity Basics Necessities

I used to have a poster with an Emerson quote of "Simplify, simplify, simplify". Great advice for this day and age. I recently heard that "The prosperity of today is the empty consumerism of tomorrow". It seems tomorrow is here, and if we're not careful, we may get buried under the complexity and sheer quantity of acquizitions and information of modern life. The simple life is so much less stressful and onerous simplicity should definitely be kept in mind and practice. For a fun take on this, check out the Disney song Bare Necessities. I don't expect anyone to cut back their baggage to a robe and begging bowl like a monk, but keeping "things" down closer to what is really important can be very helpful. Personally, I try to "clean house" on a regular basis to help me focus on what is important rather than waste a lot of time wading through superfluous items and information. This goes way beyond just things to what I think about, places I go, what I eat, and how I exercise. I know what works for me and tend towards those most of the time. It is a real adventure when something new gets my attention and go exploring. Music is a good example as I research my favorite bands and musicians and follow the links on YouTube. I also make note of good music from the radio to add to my music list. Again, though, I try to find the best of the best and add that rather than flood my files, mind, and life with every little thing of interest. The best advice on this topic, as you have probably heard is, "Live simply, that others may simply live".

Enthusiastic Inspired Passionate

Winston Churchill said "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." Thanks to all the work in recovery by myself and others, my recovery is really kicking in! I feel like a kid who is getting a new bike for Christmas (for me that's BIG), I am ecstatic! Emerson said "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." I can certainly relate to that, great things are happening! It's not all great by any means, life is still difficult and unfair on a regular basis, but even the challenges have taken on a new, lighter, brighter understanding. In twelve step we say, "It works if you work it," and I find this to be very true, it's working! I don't know how to inspire you, you have to do it. All I can do is be an example of someone who is inspired. Look at this blog history, It languished for two years until I was inspired to share my recovery, "my experience, strength and hope." Then came fifty plus posts in two months time, and that's writing just two or three days a week. It feels good I can tell you. What inspires you? Where would you go if you followed your bliss? If you want great things to happen in your life, if you want to really feel passionate and live out loud, now is the time to start. Cut out magazine pictures and make a vision board, find quotes on enthusiasm and passion and put them up, make a passionate songlist and play it everyday. I do them all, why don't you?! "Whatever it takes," I like to say.

Brave Bold Daring

Wow, this topic brings up some energy for me. Passive, fearful, afraid, scared, worried: some energy there too, not good. The "other" side (I won't say dark) is what I learned growing up as I was quite shy, reticent, introverted. There is certainly value in that also as I have a calm, still, reflective nature and personality that helps me not get so caught up and lost in the high energy drama so prevalent in the world and some people. But there is also great value in being bold, brave, courageous, and daring too. This I have learned and now express in good measure. It is a good counterbalance, and necessary for a full and rich life. I think it is through mastery in certain areas of life that my boldness has surfaced. For example: I can wheelie like crazy. And (on a bicycle) not just pedaling to keep the front wheel up like most people do, but I can tilt back beyond the balance point and tap the rear brake to keep me upright and from falling over backwards. This is called a "coaster wheelie". It is a wonder to see and do, especially at the level I do where I am barely moving as if suspended by an invisible string from the heavens. It may sound crazy and it is, especially for a 50 year old dude like me. My mastery allows me to boldly coaster wheelie down the hill at the top of the Santa Monica pier where I live. There are lots of people walking up and down the sidewalks on either side that are witness, but I don't care. They are witness to an amazing feat of skill, ballet, poetry, boldness, and daring that would have otherwise been a simple trudge up or down the hill. There is an awesome view I must admit as I usually stop a while to soak it in. The point is, that we should sing, dance, paint, work, learn, and live with all the boldness and daring we can. Life is a beautiful and awesome thing when done well, let's make the most of it.

Faith Belief Trust

It seems faith has gotten a bad rap, likely due to "blind faith." I don't believe in blind faith. Do I have blind faith the sun will come up each morning? No, it's confidence based on experience. The same with other "big" subjects like God. Do I blindly believe God is causing every blade of grass to grow, (most) parents to love their children, and the rain to fall? Again, no, it is a proven fact I can expect with certainty. You can look for exceptions and base your belief on that if you choose, but does it serve you? That is really the point, to choose to focus on and believe what serves life and build a faith, a confidence, an assurance that supports and nourishes that point of view, the best in us all. That's something worth believing. True, it is "selective," belief, but aren't all our belief's ingrained into us through our upbringing, culture, media, and so on? There's an old saying, "I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it myself!" Now turn that around to "I wouldn't have seen it if I hadn't believed it myself." What do you want to see? Then you must ask yourself,what do you believe? I want to see and believe that although life (and people) certainly isn't always fair or easy, it is basically good, in fact wonderful (for more on a wonderful life, see my post on gratitude).