After the Hellfire: Healing Personal and Collective Trauma

Free online presentation to benefit Naropa Community Counseling

Thursday, July 22, 4 pm, MST

Throughout history humankind has turned to the creative arts to record, process and heal the psychological, social and cultural wounds of trauma.  Artists have sung ballads of sorrow, painted canvases of rage and penned novels turning suffering into wisdom.

the short night:

after the hellfire

the day breaks

Kabota Mantaro

In these simple three lines we experience the juxtaposition of a descent into hell with the dawn of a new day.  Client and counselor are asked to make the same creative leap in the work of psychotherapy; between then and now, burning and beauty.  

Sharing poetry and visual imagery, this presentation addresses simple ways to incorporate an appreciation of the arts in addressing ways to heal our personal and shared trauma.  Or in more poetic words we will learn to practice what the black American haiku poet, Sonia Sanchez, suggests:

humming this

earth back

to sanity  


Click Here to Register Now! Free online presentation, Thurs, July 22, at 4 pm

Appreciating Haiku as Active Imagination: Winter session workshop

You are invited to enter into the haiku tradition of writing poetry in the spirit of contemplative practice and small group sharing.  We will appreciate the haiku form through our own efforts as well as the works of ancient and modern poets across the globe.  Understanding the poetic impulse as a form of active imagination, we will explore applicable Jungian concepts and our personal experience of appreciating, writing and sharing haiku. 

In the winter session we will explore seasonal themes of nature, the elements, solitude, reflection, humor, transiency, and the Japanese tradition of the death poem:

Frost on grass:

a fleeting form

that is, and is not!


Deborah will introduce haiku principles, graduated writing exercises and facilitate sharing in a safe online environment. Participants will always have the choice whether to share or receive feedback.  The class will emphasis the central concepts of the haiku form including writing from direct experience in the here and now, focusing on nature and keeping it simple and unpretentious.  A syllabus with recommended readings will be provided.

The group size will be limited to 6 – 12 individuals. Limited sliding scale scholarships will be available.

The winter session will run 6 sessions, each online session will be 2 hours.  

We will meet on Tuesday afternoons, 2:30 – 4:30 MST.  The dates include:

Jan 5 & 19 

Feb 2 & Feb 16 

Mar 2 & Mar 16

Haiku workshop enrollment by Dec 18: $85

Enrollment after Dec 18: $105

Contact Deborah for questions or to enroll at:

Deborah Bowman, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist, certified Gestalt Therapist and has been in private practice for 32 years.  She is a retired Naropa University professor where she founded the Transpersonal Counseling Psychology and Wilderness Therapy programs and initiated the development of the Naropa Community Counseling center.  She served on the board of trustees of the C.G. Jung Society of Colorado for nine years and was a founding member of the Boulder Friends of Jung. She is author of several books including The Female Buddha: Discovering the Heart of Liberation and Love. Deborah enjoys hiking, birdwatching and haiku.

Deborah in temple garden in Vietnam.

“Ego” in Buddhism, Psychology & Slang

bowman photo, naropa.jpg   In-person or webcast participation with Deborah Bowman, Ph.D.

Talk: Fri, Jan 31  7-8:30pm         Workshop: Sat, Feb 1,  9:30am-12:30pm

The Latin term ego was first used by Freud’s original translator to refer to the “I” as a mediator between raw instincts and social norms.  As psychology became popularized “ego” became a slang term to describe attitudes and behaviors considered selfish and inflated.

In the 70’s Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche began utilizing the term ego to describe a neurotic process resulting in a solidified sense of self that is separate, self-referential and the cause of suffering.  Buddhists around the world have embraced this usage of the term ego and use it regularly to describe the illusion of a static, autonomous and self-oriented identity.

In the Friday night presentation, we will tease out the threads of confusion that arise from the different usages of the term ego significant to popular culture, the field of psychology and Buddhist understanding.

On Saturday we will experientially investigate the implications of these multiple understandings of ego – and how we can utilize this knowledge to deconstruct and hold a “lighter” sense of self.

Deborah Bowman, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist, certified Gestalt therapist and has been in private practice for 32 years.  She retired after serving 28 years as a Naropa University professor where she founded Transpersonal Counseling Psychology, Wilderness Therapy and the Naropa Community Counseling center.  Deborah is author of several books including The Female Buddha: Discovering the Heart of Liberation and Love. 

Friday $10, Weekend Full Program $25 

Nalandabodhi Boulder, 100 Arapahoe Ave #6, Boulder 80302

sign up at!

TedX Boulder: Falling into Grace



Deborah Bowman presents lessons learned from a climbing accident.

Some nights, stay up until dawn, like the moon does for the sun.Be a full bucket, pulled up the dark way of a well, then lifted into the light.                     Rumi

After my fall, I was lifted up by the grace of presence itself. Yet I recognize this lifting up as something we must do daily to stay awake to the gifts we are given.

There is no way to come up the well but the dark way.  We blow it, in big ways and small, and we suffer real consequences. We need examine our failings and our fears and then let them go.  May all of us, you and I, be a bucket full of lessons, overflowing with wisdom and love.

Click here to listen to Deborah’s 2014 TedX talk!

Click here to read more of Deborah’s articles about psychotherapy and healing.

Click here to learn about the Journey of the Feminine retreat in Costa Rica.

Finding Healing in Pain


Lotus Bud at the Bangkok Market           Photo: D. Bowman

“Don’t you know that afflictions are nothing more than wisdom?  And that the purest of blossoms emerges from the mire?”                                                                                                                                                                                   Benming

The 10th century Buddhist nun, Benming, captures a striking human truth in her poetic question —that wisdom and affliction are intimately related.  If we had no afflictions, no pain, no struggle, no hard decisions; how could wisdom ever blossom?

Wisdom is the ability to see clearly into the most difficult of situations and imagine the least harmful intervention. This wisdom is born out of the mire of one’s own suffering and mistakes.  We only learn to free others of pain from having learned to free ourselves.  

A wise person waits patiently when submerged in the mire until a clear vision arises. Feeling her roots spread out in the mud and reaching her tendrils towards the light, wisdom arises gracefully like a lotus bud in a healing gesture.  

Waiting for that moment when mind and heart arise together in spontaneous repair can feel like watching mud settle; it works, but waiting can feel like forever when we are hurting.  Patience is often something we learn because we have so very little choice and impatience will just heap suffering on top of suffering.  

We remember how the purest of blossoms and the mud are inter-mixed when we are seriously afflicted and a friend bring us flowers at the hospital. Friends, like the lotus blooming from the mire, are there for us at times of need. In the same way, we can learn to befriend ourselves and others when there is suffering.

Learn about the Journey of the Feminine Retreat in Costa Rica, December 2019.

Click here to see Deborah’s psychotherapy and event website.

Guardians of the Mind

“Learning to discover the treasure within you is the most worthwhile thing in the world.  If you can put this into practice, you can live freshly, with a mind open like the sky, always overflowing with compassion.”        Daehaeng Sunim

IMG_4216 tiff.jpg

Asuras, temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia    photo: D. Bowman

In Buddhist philosophy and poetry, the sky is often a stunning metaphor for mind; infinitely spacious, clear and compassionate. These figures, Apsuras, are protectors of the sky and in the image appear to be standing in guard of the temple and the secrets to the treasure of mind that the temple represents

The secret is actually no secret at all.  It’s just so close to our nose that we don’t see it at all.  Like the sky, the mind is transparent yet all-pervasive.  The depth of understanding that the mind affords us leads directly to a compassionate view of all of life, including ourselves and every human being.  

Yet mind’s clarity is often obscured by the clouds of our confusion.  Clouds we inherit from the prejudice of our culture and clouds we pile on through our habitual patterns and personal prejudice.  We pre-judge all of experience through the overcast lens of our past experience and foggy hopes for the future.   

The temple of the mind needs to be continually blown clean for us to see clearly, to see reality just as it is and to open our hearts with overflowing compassion for both life suffering and and life beauty.   The practice of mindfulness is like the wind, helping us see clearly what is right under our nose.  And noticing the breath, like a gentle wind, can be a companion guardian of the temple.   

Visit my website to learn about mindfulness in psychotherapy and the Journey of the Feminine retreat in Costa Rica.

Journey of the Feminine: Creativity, Community & Compassionate Action

The feminine is understood as healing and embracing the whole; the whole our ourselves, our community and our planet. We invite you to join our small circle of creative healing so that you may bring your whole self into healing the larger circles of our world.   

Click here to learn more this workshop!


Together we will create a container of safety and discovery to re-member the inherent gifts of the feminine in our lives.  Your guides will facilitate sharing, guided meditations, sacred ritual and expressive exercises.

Join Sue Wallingford and Deborah Bowman in Costa Rica for this workshop! December 8 – 14, 2019

Deborah Bowman, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist, certified Gestalt therapist and has been in private practice for 32 years.  She is a retired Naropa University professor where she founded Transpersonal Counseling Psychology, Wilderness Therapy and the Naropa Community Counseling center.  She was a founding member of the Boulder Friends of Jung and facilitates the dream-painting process. Deborah is author of several books including The Female Buddha: Discovering the Heart of Liberation and Love. She enjoys hiking, birdwatching, photography and haiku.

Sue Wallingford, MA, LPC, ATR is licensed professional counselor, registered art therapist and associate professor in the Mindfulness-based Transpersonal Counseling Program, in the Graduate School of Psychology at Naropa University. She founded Boulder Art Therapy Collective and Naropa’s Community Art Studio-International, most recently known as Partners for Social Justice, where the aim is to collaborate with other socially minded organizations to inspire creativity, healing and compassionate action in the world. Sue is an artist and lover of the outdoors and nature. She is a part time resident of Tamarindo.

Click here to learn more about this workshop!


Client Access Fund – Naropa Community Counseling

You can help someone in need by sharing and/or giving to the Client Access Fund at the Naropa Community counseling center.

Click on this link – NCC Client Access Fund – to find out how a small donation can make the difference in someone’s life by giving them access to counseling sessions that they could not afford.

Share this link – NCC Client Access Fund – with your friends and contacts to help spread the word.

Currently all donations are doubled by a matching grant.  Because of this match each donation of $15 offers someone an additional psychotherapy session that could help them complete therapy.

Be a Boddhisattva Now!


Year of the Earth Pig 2019 – Completing a Cycle

I love Mommy Mystic’s yearly commentary on the lunar cycle. This year it is the Earth Pig. She references mythology from around the world as well as children’s stories!

Mommy Mystic

Feb 5 2019 through through Jan 24 2020 is the year of the earth pig

Welcome to the year of the Earth Pig! Conventional interpretations of pig years within Eastern astrological systems are mostly very positive – pig years are considered to be times of abundance and good fortune (which we could all use.) Individuals born in the year of the pig are generally considered responsible, fortunate, and friendly. Of course, there are subtler messages to be gleaned within this general reading, so here is my annual intuitive exploration, using the pig as it is represented across many different cultures as a guide. Enjoy!

Tibetan astrology cycle – although the animal symbols are not all the same as the Chinese system, the pig/boar is the last of the 12 year cycle in both

The pig is the last of the 12 signs in the Eastern astrological systems that adhere…

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Deborah Bowman: Naropa’s Transpersonal Therapy Program

Share more history at Naropa, Passing the Torch, June 2 event!

The Pilot Light


The newest episode of our university podcast, ‘Mindful U at Naropa University,’ is out on iTunes, Stitcher, and Fireside now! We are excited to announce this week’s episode features Naropa faculty Deborah Bowman, Dean of the Graduate School of Counseling and Psychologyand founder of theTranspersonal Counseling Psychology and theWilderness Therapyprograms at Naropa.

play-icon Episode 28: Deborah Bowman: Naropa’s Transpersonal Therapy Program

“The work of Carl Jung and of Stanislav Grof – as well as many others – have been under an umbrella of “transpersonal psychology,” a field that was developed in the ’50s as an extension of humanistic psychology. Abraham Maslow first developed humanistic psychology – a framework around many other professionals who were developing that branch of psychology, such as Fritz Perls and Carl Rogers, but Maslow defined the field. However, when Maslow studied individuals who were exceptional, he found that they all…

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