When I take on new clients for coaching, I give them a short questionnaire to complete prior to our first session. This gives us a place to begin and gives them a taste of the kind of work I will ask of them. One question I ask is, “What is one thing you want to invite more of into your life right now?” Balance is the number one answer I see.
Humans are in a constant search for balance. Balancing home and work life, balancing diet/exercise and busy schedules, balancing time between romantic relationships and friends, etc. As humans we are always searching for a balance that makes life more seamless, and we are often disappointed. I work with clients to shift their mindset from looking for balance to living their dharma.
Dharma is our life calling, or our intended life path. Dharma is different for every person and is not specifically related to career, it is often times more abstract and requires some inner work to dissect and give it purpose. When we are living our dharma, things naturally feel balanced.
Balance has nothing to do with having enough time in our day or money in our pockets. Feeling a lack of balance is our dharma unfulfilled. When we are living our life through our dharma there is a natural feeling of balance. There are 3 elements to look at in fulfilling dharma:
personal, professional and relationships.
As we move through these three areas I will refer to my dharma to draw examples. My dharma is to help people; this is very broad and is constantly taking on new forms in my life.
To feel fulfilled personally, helping people translates to helping myself, meaning self-care. Even if you have a different dharma, if you don’t take care of yourself you cannot fulfill your dharma.
The components of self-care related to my coaching framework are routine, movement and nutrition.
Routine in its simplest form is having a set bedtime and wake up time. It is crucial because without it, we will lack that natural feeling of balance. Without it we throw off everything else in our lives. This is foundational; other parts of our routine will fall in place once our sleep schedule becomes regular.
Moving your body in a way that feels empowering to you. Everyone can move their body in someway, it could look like walking three house lengths and walking back, it could look like using cans of soup as weights to do bicep curls, it could also look like taking a yoga class or running 10 miles. It will look different for every person, find a way to move that best empowers and challenges you.
Putting food into the body for the purpose of fueling it. There are so many different kinds of diets, vegetarian, vegan, low fat, low salt, gluten free, lactose free, keto, paleo, etc.. There is no one diet that fits all. Our bodies all work differently. Do your own research, work with a nutritionist or a doctor that recognizes that different people need different things. For some this could also mean recognizing an eating disorder, eating too much, too little, purging food, taking diet pills, laxatives, and any other substance for the purpose of weight loss. Doing these things stress the body and prohibit your body from feeling a natural sense of balance.
To feel fulfilled professionally, personally I write these blogs, I teach yoga and I am a mindset & accountability coach. In doing this I find a natural balance. I did not figure this out overnight. I started on my path in college and moved though an array of career choices that technically fulfilled my dharma of helping people. A big part following your dharma is listening to your intuition for
what feels right, that natural feeling of balance. While working in these jobs I did not feel that natural sense of balance, so I kept searching. I know now that these jobs were necessary stepping-stones to finding my way to fulfilling my dharma. It has taken over a decade to figure this out and my vision for my dharma. Still it is constantly evolving and shifting. If your dharma is specific to childrearing or your dharma is related to something more personal, your professional fulfillment would also live here.
To feel fulfilled in relationships I look to the 5 Love Languages. If you have no experience with these, you can take a quiz by clicking here to find out what your most valued Love Language is. They are quality time, acts of service, gifts, words of affirmation and physical touch.
It is no surprise that the Love Language I find most important is acts of service, given my dharma of helping people. I feel most loved and valued when people preform acts of service for me. And I feel by completing acts of service for others I am showing my love for them and their value to me. It is also important for me to know what my loved ones Love Languages are, because if for example their Love Language is physical touch, they will feel more love and value if give them a hug rather then by picking up their dry cleaning or making a meal. By recognizing and satisfying their Love Language I am also feeling fulfilled in my dharma.
Many of us even if we haven’t ever heard the word dharma have an idea of what is most important to us. Writing down a list of the things that are most important to you personally, professionally and within your relationships is a good starting point to finding your dharma.
If you are inspired to work on finding your dharma, or working through finding that natural inner balance, I hope you feel empowered to do some more research on the topic or reach out to me and we can do this work together.