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Where  Have  All  the Cowboys Gone?

(a perspective of mature male masculinity)

By Dakota Windancer

The title of this article suggests, through metaphor, the question many women are asking of their men in relationships and of men in general. If the noun King is substituted for Cowboy it may reveal the question that women really want answered, and that is “Where has mature masculinity gone?” “Where is it hiding?”

As a man among men who continues his daily struggle to live in beauty and balance, in proper relationship to all living things, I can say for myself, and for many men, that the way we love our women, the way we view women, and the choices we make to prove our devotion are often reflected in the shadow wounds (anything we hide from, repress or deny) we carry from our Fathers, and their Fathers before them. I am not projecting blame, I am suggesting only that perhaps a mature modeling of masculine energy has not been available to many men, past or present, in integration for living.

When a man stays late at the office night after night, he does so out of love, unaware that what his wife really desires is authentic connection with him. Material rewards are appreciated, along with other comforts he may be providing through long hours away, but his expression of love has a sideways interpretation in regard to her satisfaction in their relationship. Providing distraction and temporary relief from boredom are no replacement for the depths of intimacy. Only authentic communication and time spent together can bring this.

Most men are “hard wired” with an abundance of “warrior energy.” After all, since primitive times men have been the hunters and women the gatherers. Working together they co-create community in living, the men using aggression and strength to hunt, the women using nurturing qualities for child-raising and home stabilization.

Modern living and the complexities of western society have all but eliminated ritual elders needed for boys to transition from  immaturity to masculinity, to the mature masculinity required for world building and blessing energies. Fragmentation of the current family unit leaves boys to figure out for themselves, unguided, what masculinity is. In many cases there’s no role model to show the proper integration of warrior energy in its fullness. Live-in boyfriends or stepfathers who model abuse and dysfunction further confuse young minds about appropriate warrior behaviors. This immature modeling provides fertile ground for young men to grow up aggressive and angry, learning that bullying is a tool for getting what they want. It doesn’t occur to this man that the qualities of compassion, kindness and gentleness can produce blessings to all, rather than the carnage of mistrust and fear. Patriarchy is born out of immature masculinity, causing deeper fragmentation and rifts between the genders.

What is needed is to clear the shadows, or misconceptions, that men and women have toward each other, bringing balance and understanding to male – female relationships. When a man or woman says “I have fallen in love”, they may not realize that they have projected a shadow, as that statement serves to objectify the man or woman identified as “Golden God” or “Golden Goddess,” an image which neither can live up to for the other!

Perhaps it’s time for all men and women to put down the shields and swords of defensiveness and aggression, and create together some authentic transparency concerning the feelings and perceptions we have toward one another.

I have lived long enough to know that the relative truth for me in my relationship to women is that when I am living in mature masculinity, I am able to love all women through my wife. For me that means sometimes my true power and strength are shown through the qualities of yielding in my listening to her, and sharing my truth, so she knows how I feel. I rely on her feedback so she knows I can trust her truth to be honest. That for me is the definition of strength through gentleness.

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