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Dharma not Dopamine

What motivates you to get out of bed?

For many it's the little vibrating, glowing box that they grab upon waking. Not their thoughts. Not their prayers. Not their breath or their loved ones.

So what is it that gets you out of bed? Not the 'have tos" but the "want tos". What is it that you are looking forward to that day?? Have you really asked yourself this lately, or is it just following an ingrained routine that just keeps cycling? These answers come easy to children, they follow their instincts and needs yet as adults many struggle with the answers. The answers go beyond feeding the dog, dressing for work or sweating on the Peloton. So how to get there then ... Enter: Dharma, the purpose of your life. Ever changing. Yogic philosophy believes that the dharma of an individual is inherited from the universe and we are all born with a unique dharmic path. "Your soul’s purpose.” Your dharma is your big why, the reason you’re here with all these thoughts, needs, and desires. Once our actions align with this path, that's when we are REALLY living our best life. We were each born with a unique purpose. The human experience is about remembering ours. Everyone’s journey to discover and embody their dharma will be different. Unfortunately we live in a tech driven world, full of dopamine hits that confuse our path. Though scrolling through tik-tok, buying the latest trend or ordering a pizza with the swipe of finger may make an individual feel good for that moment ... that's not dharma, none of that is your calling or the actions aligned with your calling. The cases of depression have gone up due to the many who have lost the way to their unique path. Many lost souls out there, wandering around with faces stuck in phones, emptying pockets for the next dopamine hit at Target or running to the gym again and again to fit that size zero. Watching others live their life you become an observer, a consumer rather than an engager, a connector. The feeling that life is happening to you and instead realize that life is happening for you. Finding your dharma starts with silence, stillness and listening. Ask ... "What is motivating my prana? My energy for life? What makes me radiate with the light of life rather than stifling?" Each a spiritual being that radiates an inner light that should be glowing bright rather than flickering until it goes out. Therefore start asking and listening to that inner light. Start every morning asking yourself what it is that you find exciting that day, it could be the simplest answer like the smile of your child, the taste of your favorite coffee or an over the top answer like your trip to Italy or running a class for a new company. But find it and sit with it, feel gratitude for your why, devote your dharma and your day to that why. Feel alive. The change doesn't happen overnight, but becomes habitual after daily practice. This is where the seed of dharma is watered. Rather than what you are supposed to be motivated by, REALLY ask yourself what is it that you find exciting or engaging today? Listen, acknowledge, get out of bed and follow that path. I did just that and found that every day it was different but one consistent note through each was that I wanted to nurture ... I'm a nurturer (no wonder I became a yoga teacher :)) One day it was making my house a home. Another nurturing my kids. Another connecting with my friends. On other days it was caring for myself and accepting me just for me, not what I weighed that day, the exercises I did, what I ate or the way I looked, just knowing that I was worthy of care for just being born. One day it was to focus on my husband and making sure he felt loved. Another was really giving my all to the classes and students that day with the knowledge and talent I held. The list goes on but you get the drift. In turn, by identifying these daily motivators I was thinking positively and with gratitude --- a soul nourishing side effect as well. Below are prompts to either get you started in the direction of your dharma when you first open your eyes to the day or maybe within a journal through your written hand: If you had all the time, money, and energy you wanted, what would you do? If you were dying, what would you wish you had done that you are not doing now? Why aren’t you doing it? What is that you need in your heart TODAY not yesterday or tomorrow but this moment right now? Are you following YOUR path, or the path of someone else or what our society deems as happiness or perfection? What isn't serving you ? What isn't honoring your body? What just doesn't feel right? What can you do or engage in that is the opposite? Written by Brooke Halperin.

Join Brooke on Tuesdays at 4:30pm at Good Juju Lombard. Check out our schedule at

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