You may know by now that yoga encourages us to go deeper and deeper inward. It may sound funny, but I know someone’s really latched onto this practice when he or she starts to ask more questions of the Self (yes, with a capital “S”). I can tell when an individual starts to realize that the more she knows about yoga, the more she realizes she doesn’t know; and when she sees that yoga doesn’t end with more flexible hamstrings or a knowledge of how to meditate.
Nope, there isn’t an end point. Yoga continues to prod at us, questioning us to consider our callings. Wait, not consider them, but actually answer them. Some of my private clients recently have asked me how to figure out their purpose, and I notice kid yogis actually talk about this all the time. One kid yogi once put it as, “Miss Leanne, how do you know what your ‘thing’ is? Like, how do I know if art is my thing? Or soccer? Or piano? How do I find the ‘thing?’”
You guys, it’s time for a dharma talk. Do you know dharma? And, no I don’t meet Dharma from that sweet late 90’s show Dharma & Greg, although how cute was it? I digress… On an individual level, dharma means life purpose or calling. It asks the question of “Why am I here?” Dharma is a sense of self-discovery that I’ve seen happen over and over again with yogis, myself included. And, it can totally be scary because living our dharma, our purpose, our calling is often not a clear path in the woods. Instead, it’s winding and twisting, covered with brambles, but with enough light and beauty to help us take the next right step.
Callings often don’t make a whole lot of sense in the moment, aside from this intuitive knowing that whatever has grasped your attention will not let go. For me, I never thought that teaching yoga, let alone starting a studio, would be a calling, but it was. That calling felt so rooted in my soul - I spent early mornings before my former work in fundraising writing out yoga lesson plans and business ideas. On evenings and weekends, I taught. I couldn’t help visualizing a place to share yoga with others - and not just the “fitness” side, but the deep deep deep mental components. And, yes, there was (and still is) fear, but there also was a whole lot of curiosity and faith. I felt like I would never be satisfied until I tried.
So, your dharma, your calling. How do you find it? How do you listen to it? Take time to jot down answers to these Q’s to get started:
- What are your unique talents? What about interests? What do friends call you to get advice about?
- When do you find yourself in a state of flow, where time stops?
- What idea or vision or goal scares the crap out of you, but excites you all at the same time?
- How do you see your Self giving back to this world? What’s the mark that you want to leave?
Remember that you don’t have to have all the answers right now to start to follow your dharma. But, it does require action. And, also remember that dharma isn’t a particular job or a place or an accomplishment. Rather, it’s a lifetime of self-discovery and growth through your service. Tell me, have you figured out your calling? What is it? How are you honoring it? I’d love to hear from you.
P.S. As I write this, it’s around Memorial Day. Many of the men and women who served our country felt a calling, too. And, it might not have made sense to them or their families at the time (and I'm sure there was some fear), but their service protected freedoms we so enjoy. I hope you honored their giving souls over the weekend or pause today to do so.