I find life constantly a challenge, a fine line between doing what is necessary and what gives me more pleasure. Placing time, effort and energy towards what is needed, versus cruising within the realm of what is wanted.
In the old ancient scripture, Bhagavad Gita, it speaks in detail about dharma.There is no equivalent single word translation for dharma in western languages, but it can be translated as a life purpose, a right way of living. A way to exist in this world, to your fullest potential and purpose. In Bhagavad Gita we are told that it is better to do your own dharma poorly than to do someone else's well. Only when you figure out what you are uniquely able to do, and carry it out as well as you can, can you truly feel fulfilled in this life. Your dharma need not be lofty, but it should be something that feels right to you, and something that in one way or another makes a contribution to not only yourself, but to your community or even bigger, to the world.
We all need to have a purpose, a meaning to living our life. This dharma is constantly changing, depending on what is going on around us. It can vary from year to year, month to month or day by day. In just a second your dharma may change, depending on the circumstances in your life. So we need to be open and ready to change and not cling to our purpose. A purpose is not always something we want to do, but that no one else can do in our place. One day I booked myself to live in a monastery in Nepal, and the next day I found out I was pregnant. So my Dharma changed very quickly. Accept-adjust-accomodate.
A good question to help you see what you need to do or not, is to ask your self if there is someone else that can do that "you are thinking of" or not. So when I have the chance to attend a lovely super yoga teacher workshop on the Sunday my son is playing in a soccer tournament, I simply just ask myself the question: Can someone else attend Meghan Curries workshop? Can someone else attend the tournament and watch my son being his mom? So the choice becomes easy and your dharma is clear.
When you find your meaning and purpose, you need to assure you have the right tools to fullfill it. A wondering monk living of other peoples kindness, need to have two changes of clothes and a begging bowl. A real estate agent in Beverly Hills need to have a nice car and the newest cell phone. A yoga teacher needs to have a few mats and blocks. (well, a car is very helpful too :-))
If we are not living aligned with what we are meant to be doing, sometimes if not all the times, we feel unhappy, nervous, stressed and we might even get ill. It is very important to get back on track, listen within and make an action plan with baby steps how to get towards the dharma. If you can´t find it on your own, there are many tools and teachers that can help you, but most importantly the best teacher is within. For really hearing the wisdom from within, we need to return to silence, to stillness and move away from stimulations of the senses. Just long enough, so we can not just listen with our ears, but hear with our hearts of what we really should be doing. It is not just a luxury, a bonus, it is our responsability to do so. Just as the red blood cells and white bloodcells have their own dharma/purpose to exist in our body, we have a purpose to exist in this body of the universe. The liver never tries to do the work of the lungs. Liver can help with some of the functions when an organ is ill, but it continues to do "its own thing". We need to do the same.
Find your thing, your way! Listen with your ears, but hear with your heart.