Welcome to Cowboy Dharma! 

What's it all about? In short, the "Cowboy" (western) side is about celebrating the best of contemporary western thought: Twelve Step Recovery, psychology, Eckhart Tolle, Brene Brown, Joseph Campbell, Erik Erikson, and others. Some European influences are honored as well. Dharma's oldest definition is "the right way of living." This side celebrates thousands of years of eastern wisdom through various spiritual and philosophical paths. Middle eastern sages are honored as well.

Tell Me Where It Hurts

These paths are where we find true help, hope, healing, and happiness in an often sad, sick, and insane life and world. Our suffering is not only of a physical nature, but on a mental and spiritual level as well, and sometimes severe or horrific. Heart and mind, body and soul may feel broken, torn, and shattered, as we face our personal and collective trauma, abandonment, and loss. We may take on a myriad of distractions and addictions in an attempt to deaden the pain, bind up the brokenness and wounds, and soldier on as best we can. 

It's Simple

Yet as we recover, we go from having bad years, months, or weeks to perhaps just bad days, hours, or moments. It is actually simple. We simply need to stop blindly running around in the same old circles. It's time to open up our eyes and ears, hearts and minds, and look up to the light of a new day and new way of living in awareness of our habitual thinking and behaving learned long ago in dysfunctional families, societies, cultures, and so forth. 

It may be simple, but healing won't be fast, easy, or painless, as it will take time, hard work, and suffering, but you are worth!. This process is similar to cleaning and treating an deep, infected, and festering wound, as it may hurt like hell, much more than ignoring it and soldiering on, but necessary to effect real and long term health and healing. yet have no doubt, if you look and listen deeply, and do the work, you and your life will heal, grow, and transform. 

From Hurting to Healing to Helping

The purpose of Cowboy Dharma is to acknowledge the pain and suffering as necessary, even vital to a full life and experience, as we learn to heal, grow, and prosper from that very same pain and suffering. "We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means for inspiration and survival" (Sir Winston Churchill). We seek and utilize any and all skillful means to enable our healing, recovery, and renewal with our Higher Power, ourselves, and others. We leave toxic persons and situations behind to find positive and life affirming relationships are not only possible, but deeply satisfying.

All Roads Lead to Home

The Sanity Files help us make sense of this crazy world. They start with the basics of a Higher Power, Nature, The Inner Child, and Adult States. Other Sanity Files are also included because so many things  affect us deeply in life such as music, art and beauty, prayer and meditation, wise masters, and others.  The main question to keep in mind through-out this journey is what areas make sense of your world, give you peace and joy, and help you find happiness. 

Sanity in a Crazy World

After many years, books, recovery meetings, discussions, retreats, workshops, and much soul searching, we gathered clarity, wisdom, and peace we want to share with you here. We sorted what we have learned into categories that have evolved and expanded over the years. We find these paths to be not only powerful, but truly life changing, and more than able to transcend the rush and craziness of modern life. These are the "Sanity Files" listed to the right. The posts are often from first person viewpoint as we believe that "What is most personal is most universal" (Carl Rogers). 

Your Beautiful Future Awaits You

Whatever your past and the pain and suffering you have faced, the problems of the past can't compare to the adventures and healing ahead if you are willing become aware of difficult and dysfunctional thinking and behaviors and work to understand them completely. You will then gain the wisdom to transcend and transform them and find the freedom, joy, and happiness you deserve. We have found this truth to be self evident, as we have seen thousands of everyday folks turn their lives around in great and meaningful ways. 

An Attitude of Gratitude

Our lives have improved so much that we believe we are outrageously blessed despite the troubles we have in our personal lives and see in the world everyday. In fact practicing gratitude is so beneficial and worthy that it is one of the Sanity Files you will see further on. Just looking at the big picture of the abundance, beauty, diversity, and intelligence of life across the world and time is enough to steady the soul amidst the trouble of life. Add in the wonderful endeavors of humanity such as symphonies, dance, music, and all the other arts and sciences and thankfulness becomes very natural and true. 

Adventures Ahead! 

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." Similarly, John Wesley said "Set yourself on fire with passion, and people will come from miles around to watch you burn!" When you see first hand the life changing and life saving changes that people can make when they have the right support persons and tools it is truly exciting and inspiring. The problems of the past are small in comparison to the big, bold, bright, and beautiful  adventures ahead, so don't  afraid to get enthusiastic and fired up about your recovery and future. 

Filling Your Toolbox 

The Sanity Files are like a toolbox for us, and these are our front line most important and valuable tools. Like auto repair we use these tools to "stay tuned up" to deal with daily life, as well as for repairs when life gets difficult, especially if we have a breakdown. The really important thing for you is to set up your own set of tools to deal with your daily life and challenging situations. This can be modified over time as various tools become more useful and others less. 

Also, there is a lot of tools and content here, and if you find ours helpful great, but again it is what works for you that is important. Hopefully some of our suggestions resonate for you and find their way into your "toolbox", but don't hesitate to add plenty of your own. You can and should add or delete content anytime as you find what has value, meaning, and usefulness for you.
Exponential Synergy

All of these work together in what we call exponential synergy. Synergistic as they work together to achieve much more than they could alone, and exponentially as the power of each is multiplied by the others. Try one or all to see what resonates and works for you. We sincerely hope you find peace, love, joy, and beauty for yourself and your world, if not here, then elsewhere.

Easy Does It

The scope of the offerings may seem a bit large and intimidating. Please try not to be overwhelmed. Take small bites and baby steps if need be. The point is to find something, anything of value that works for you. Also it may be best to focus on the first seven Sanity Files (after introduction) in the beginning, as we find these are the most important, and where the most healing occurs, but as the welcome says, start wherever you like. It is your healing and happiness that count, so follow your heart.
The "I" of the Storm

It seems many, if not most of us are suffering from a case of mistaken identity, as we mistake ourselves for the problems, negativity, and brokenness of our families, societies, cultures, and the world. We may have been shattered and lost key parts of our essential self. In response to this we have been living through a false self for years, perhaps decades. Cowboy Dharma is a response to this identity crisis, as we try to mend and heal our brokenness to return to our whole and True Self to rise again in the health, wholeness, and happiness that is our birthright.

Embracing the Light and Dark Parts

Love and fear, life and death, light and dark, light and heavy, embrace it all! It's all life, it's all you, and it's all Higher Power, but it still gives us power.  Like a judgmental and condemning Higher Power or inner parent or wounded inner child these powers are often difficult and demanding, but they are actually trying to help us however sick and twisted they become. 

It is like the image of a devil (demon or dragon) on one shoulder and an angel (guardians or protector) on the other. Yet the dark parts are us too, and have a lot to teach us. The question is who is in the driver’s seat, who are you going to follow, and what energies are you going to feed? Odd as it seems, it is only when we accept, welcome, and embrace the dark, negative, and difficult parts of ourselves that they relax their grip on us and become willing to help. 

Heart Over Head

Similarly, we have been living from our heads, letting thoughts, ideas, opinions, and beliefs run our world while matters of the heart take a backseat. We seek to turn this orientation upside down and lead with the heart whenever possible. Reasoning definitely is necessary and has it's place, but we love, kindness, and compassion should be first and foremost. For instance, if you head tells you one thing, but your heart and body says another, it’s almost always better to go with your gut. Our heads too often take precedence over our hearts, yet we find it wiser to live heart first. The most powerful and effective results come when head and heart are in alignment, and the "heart-mind" takes the lead.

Feelings First

As the the industrial and scientific revolutions, and the age of reason spread across the world it seems the feeling and passions of the renaissance had given way to colder, rational, and heartless human viewpoint, yet “I think, therefore I am” leaves tends to leave us empty and bitter. In response, romanticism arose in Europe, but it seems as if it didn't have as much effect here in the "wild" west. The woman's, civil rights, and peace movements got us going in the right direction, but it looks like there is much more work to do, and this is part of it, and hopefully you are too. 

Feel It to Heal It

Ask yourself now, do you really feel the love of your Higher Power, inner child and teen, and other internal personas deeply? If not, why not!? How could you further that kindness, caring, and compassion for yourself and others? That’s your job now, to find the ways to really feel the love - of God, inner child, teen, inner parent, teacher, leader, as well as nature, music, science, art, and so forth with all of your heart and mind, body and soul.

Another, and perhaps our most dysfunctional orientation is I, me. mine. The infant sees rightly, as one with it's mother (WE), it's eyes focus perfectly suited from breast to mothers face, and what adoring gazes pass between! But soon enough come the terrible twos with "no ,no, no", and "me, me, me", and the often lifelong journey of self-absorption and self-serving. "WE" became "ME". But turn the word ME upside down and it returns, as we should, to WE. 

Living Inside Out

Unfortunately, we have also been living backwards in many ways by focusing all of our energies and worthiness on the outside world. Eastern philosophy has a very accurate concept of this dynamic with the "Eight Worldly Winds" of loss/gain, praise/blame, fame/shame, and pleasure/pain (all same, just game!). Here we can now learn to live "inside out" as we look deeply into ourselves as our primary reality through our internal and intentional orientations of Higher Power, inner child, teen, and adult states. From this viewpoint we now live as actors rather than reactors. 

Freedom is at Hand

Morris Massey said "What you are is where you were when", and in many ways this is true, as early life experiences and relationships leave deep and often unconscious patterns in our psyches that can cause habitual thinking and behaviors through-out our lives - IF we don't seek awareness and understanding. Yet focus and work on our deeply rooted beliefs can allow an understanding that brings wisdom, freedom, and transformation. We are not doomed to reliving a dysfunctional past if we so choose (again, and again, and again). 

We believe it is true that "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" (George Santayana), therefore we find it worthwhile to go to great lengths to discover, work through, and let go of our upbringing and later struggles. We are determined to "face it, feel it, and heal it". As a Mary-Mary world-wide hit song of 2000 states; "Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance!, you broke the chains so I can lift my hands!  

Whatever it Takes!

We are willing to (and recommend to) dance, laugh, play, cry, walk, run, swim, rest, eat, drink. Whatever it takes to melt a frozen heart or shatter a heart of stone and break free from the log jam and dam of fear, bitterness, resentment, anger, rage, jealousy, depression, anxiety, regret, loneliness, addiction, isolation, or whatever the hell it is to be open, honest, authentic, and real for ourselves and others. 

All this may sound revolutionary because it is, and perhaps a little crazy, but many, perhaps most people need a revolution right now, as well as the hope, help, healing, and happiness this sea change provides. Are you ready to stop living backwards, and turn yourself upside down and  inside out to start living the full, authentic, and meaningful life you deserve? Then read on, as the greatest heroic and revolutionary adventure ever awaits you; recovering your True Self!  

What Do You Think and Feel?
Feel free to email us at dharmacowboy@gmail.com with things you have found helpful. All of us at Cowboy Dharma want to thank you very much for stopping by, and wish you all the best on your hero's journey to True Self!