About Rick Cowley
I like looking back and remembering the highs and lows because it reminds me that every day on this adventure of life is a gift and every curse is a blessing in disguise.

And somehow, despite my shortcomings, my self-doubts, my little bit of laziness, and even my lack of business skillz :) the life I’m living now was an “impossible” dream to me 8 years ago. 
I LOVE helping people who are READY like I was.
You've lived enough life to know that it doesn't matter how much you achieve, how many dollars you rack up, or how nice you or your family look on Instagram... if what you are doing with your precious days ISN'T in alignment with what you were really put on Earth to do, you'll NEVER feel quite right. 

You won't really enjoy those achievements or people. You won't feel truly happy. You will miss out on the magic and meaning that's swirling just below the surface of life.

And that sucks!

BUT you've got to trust that this frustration you're feeling right now is a blessing.

Because even worse would be getting to the end of your life and having to admit to yourself that you didn't do what you REALLY wanted to do with it. 

I was LUCKY. 

When I was only 21 years old I was so out of alignment with myself that I got sick with leukemia. What a wake up call. Super scary but turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. 

Since that time I knew I wanted to help others wake up to how precious their lives are and to their true purpose

The question was how to do it without putting a gun to their head (a la Brad Pitt in Fight Club... SUCH a good scene.)

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me back up.
A few basics about me
My favorite testimonial

I've used a lot of testimonials on my site because I think my clients can tell you about the VysionQuest better than I can. But here's the one I like the most:
“Rick, thank you for your rare combination of soul piercing depth and total goofiness.” 
(Thank YOU, Jeanette!)
I’m a father

To two amazing kids who were born at home. They have an amazing mother Pia. We’re not together anymore, and it took a few years, but the peaceful relationship and loving, expanding, definition-less family that we’ve co-created is one of the proudest things in my life.

And now my kids have two little brothers. So fun. I love kids. (Don't need more of my own though, so it's perfect that I get to be "uncle Rick" for these little guys.)
Where I live

I was raised in San Diego, California and now live between Bali (where I run retreats) and Australia (where my kids live with their Mom). 

I’m a surfer

It’s been my obsession since I was 13. I had a business teaching surfing for 5 years in Malibu. Today I’m STILL a surf teacher, helping people understand and catch and ride the waves of life.

My life's work

I did my first retreat in 2010 and since then I’ve run 40+ week-long VysionQuest Retreats. Guiding people through the VysionQuest process on retreats is the absolute best part of my life (along with my kids). It’s because of the participants of course, connecting with them, seeing their revelations, watching them come ALIVE. It connects me to life. It connects me to other people. It fills me up in every way. I’m so grateful for this work. Words can’t say.
Three Key Phases of my life that led to the VysionQuest
There were three key turning points or phases in my life that led to me being able to live my purpose. As you read I want you to reflect on where YOU are in terms of these phases of life.
Phase 1) Receiving life's lessons
For me this was when I had leukemia when I was 21 years old.

It turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me, that’s for sure.

At the time I’d just finished a year long study abroad program on Java in Indonesia.

The quick story is after the school year finished I was on surf trip to a remote island with my friend Brien. I woke up in the middle of the night with a crazy sore throat and fever, it didn’t get better, over 12 days we island hopped across 4 islands back to Java, an ulcer opened up in my throat, I could barely eat or drink because of the pain, I was in a continual sweat from the high fever, Brien and I left Indonesia early and flew to Hawaii where my parents met me and took me straight to a hospital. 

I stayed in that hospital in Honolulu and was diagnosed with leukemia. I was in so sick and in so much pain at the time that it didn’t really compute. I just wanted more demerol. 

Then after a week of initial treatment I got just well enough to fly with my parents back to my home town of San Diego. They nursed me back to health. I was in and out of the hospital for 8 months of chemotherapy treatment, and bunch of alternative treatments too. 

It sucked. It was scary. 

Did you know that moments after chemo enters your blood stream you get a metallic taste in your mouth? And the bone marrow biopsies (where they drill a big old needle deep into the back of your hip bone — had about 7 of those)… I had to use every jedi mind trick I know to take me to a happy place.

And all that time in the hospital. I think it was 63 days in total. As a 21 year old. Not easy mentally. 

But man did I wake up. 

It was the worst and best period of my life.

And I got better. 

I got better than better. 

Most people don’t get this SHOCK, they don’t get to see how fragile and temporary our lives really are, how precious this life is. But I did. And at a young age too, with most of my life still ahead of me.

I owe a huge thanks to Dr. Ted Orcutt, a psychologist in San Diego, who counseled me during my treatment. He called himself a spiritual broker because he helps you find the spiritual path that works for you. 

He got me to practice being still, asking my Inner Guidance for answers, and listening... and HEAR answers. What a gift.

Facing my mortality was a huge gift in itself.

I became PRESENT. (I would sneak out of the hospital and go for long walks to just breathe and move outside.)

I became FEARLESS. (I stopped being so shy with women.)

I started to EXPRESS MYSELF (and say what I was really thinking and feeling). 

I started to pursue MY DREAMS. (I dropped out of university to pursue acting in Los Angeles, which led me to start teaching surfing in Malibu for 4 years to fund my surf travel obsession.)

But something funny started to happen after I’d been healthy for about two years. 

I started to go to sleep again in my life. I started to sweat the small stuff again. I started to lose touch with the deeper part of myself. I felt lost.

I went about my life, which was an awesome life, but it’s like I still didn’t quite know who I was. I didn’t have the clarity or courage to take my life to the next level. 

13 years went by.

I moved to Australia. Got married. Had two kids. Started a couple businesses. Closed a couple businesses. Had some unfulfilling jobs. Surfed a bit. Traveled a bit. Struggled in marriage. You know, the usual.

But I was missing something important in my life and I could feel it as a sense of frustration. Even anger at myself.

I knew I was capable of more. I knew I had more to give.

There was a dream in my heart. I wanted to run a “spiritual surf trip” for people. It was a calling.

Since my adventure with leukemia I knew that I wanted to help people have a similar awakening experience, but the question was HOW (without a life threatening illness or accident or putting a gun to their head?) 

Over the years whenever this dream started to surface in my mind and I would get excited about planning it, my self-doubt would surface too:

- Who are you to lead this? 
- Why would people listen to you
- You need more qualifications? 
- What if no one comes?
- What if it doesn’t work?
- What will people think of you?
- Your life needs to be more perfect before you can guide others.

And my dream would sink back down somewhere deep inside of me.
Phase 2) Discovering my purpose
One day I was in a used book store in Sydney and I thought, “Okay if there’s a good book for me, let me find it.” Then this thick old yellowed paperback caught my eye and I pulled it off the shelf and thumbed through it. It looked really interesting so I bought it. I read it. And it changed my life. 


I discovered my purpose. As a way of BEING and a way of DOING. No matter what I was actually doing or who I was with or what I was working on. This was something I could bring into any moment to make it better.

This was the missing key. I’d done so much work on myself, I’d had spiritual teachers, I did many personal growth courses and seminars, I’d read the books. 

But this was like the missing piece in the center of the puzzle of my vision for my life, that tied everything together. 

The change didn’t happen overnight, but this deeper clarity wouldn’t leave me alone, until...
Phase 3) Fulfilling my purpose
Until I finally f*cking ran my first retreat.

About a year after my purpose revelation I was still frustrated, feeling trapped by my life, and feeling really really PISSED OFF at myself for not just putting a retreat together and trying it.

Even if it failed, at least I would have tried it and I would know it’s not for me and I could let it go.

I couldn’t stand myself anymore and the pain of NOT doing it was greater than my fear of failure. So I did it. I ran my first retreat.

It was a yoga surf retreat for young adult cancer survivors. 5 people flew in from around Australia to Coolangatta. And I guided them through a very rough version of the lessons and exercises that have since become the VysionQuest process.

And it was awesome. It worked. It was more powerful and magical than I could have ever hoped for. 

And it was confirmation that this was my path.

So I ran 5 more retreats for young adult cancer survivors.

Then when Pia and I separated in 2012 I relocated from Australia to Bali and started running retreats here for anyone — it mostly appeals to entrepreneurs and professionals — to reconnect with themselves and clarify their vision for the next phase of life.

One of my coolest moments on these retreats happened on about my 15th retreat when we’d just finished the life purpose exercise. People are lit up after this. It’s the most amazing feeling to see who you are destined to be in this life.

One of the participants asked me, “Rick, what’s YOUR purpose?" 

Btw I suggest you don't tell your life purpose to anyone who hasn’t done this work. It’s sacred, it’s private. It’s like a fuel source that you keep to yourself. 

Because we were in the context of the retreat, I told her my purpose. 

And she said, “Cool, that’s exactly what you’re getting paid to do now with us.”

It was the first time that I’d realized that. My purpose had gone from 5 words on a page to retreats that change lives and countless deep, loving, fun, connected, magical moments along the way.

A few years ago I created the online program so that more people around the world could go through this process. 

Even though I've been at this work for 9 years now, I really am just at the beginning of the journey. I look forward to working with thousands more people and watching the ripples spread into their families, businesses and communities.

If you think the VysionQuest may be the right next step for you, I hope to hear from you soon.

Lots of love,
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