When I work with clients, they usually show up feeling overwhelmed, not able to completely shut down, like there are too many demands on their time and energy and that brings a certain unhappiness and confusion. Other clients show up because they are profoundly aware of a disconnect between what they want and like and what they are actually doing.

For most of my clients, we start with their daily habits. Creating connections between your daily routines – sleeping/waking times, exercise, eating – meal planning, bulk cooking etc, creates some automation, which in turns generates free time for the stuff that you need to do and the things you want to do.

When some of these daily habits are under control, that’s when for some people they start to notice that their work is no longer fulfilling, or as one of my clients noticed – she was starting to prioritize her self-care more than her work, which was not possible with her job, so she transitioned to being a consultant, rather than an employee of a large organization. Or maybe it’s your marriage that is struggling and needs some extra attention.

This is when the meaty WHYs start to need some attention.

The Purushartas are the “souls aims” – your big whys! There are 4 of them. The Purushartas are Dharma (life’s purpose), Artha (financial goals), Kama (pleasure) and Moksha (liberation or freedom).

Dharma – we hear that word used in the public domain and it has a number of different connotations. Here is what I mean by the term, in this context: Dharma is your life’s purpose.

What were you put here to do in this lifetime? Get out a piece of paper and pen. Close your eyes for a minute, with the questions: why am I here? What am I really good at? What do I love to do? Then write down, what your dharma is!

If you find it hard to access this, sink it these questions: what do you love doing? What do people tell you you’re good at doing? What is the common thread of all the work you’ve done? What do your friends come to you with?

Artha is the second of the Purushartas – it’s defined as financial aims or goals.

This can be a tough one – some of us are raised that talking about money is tasteless. Others grow up in homes where money is always an issue – not having enough of it, struggling to make ends meet. In some homes people are raised to be super mindful about debt and not accruing it and insuring a solid savings account and retirement account. In other homes people are raised to choose work that is important and meaningful, regardless of the remuneration.

My point is, is that money can be a thorny issue!

However, if you want to have the kind of life that you really want, and especially if you are an entrepreneur, where you have more freedom over how you set the rules about what you charge and what your worth is with respect to time and money, this is really something to face – head on!

So – pull out a piece of paper and write down what financial freedom, wellness, goals are for you? Is it being debt free? Is it having x amount in your savings account? Is it being able to put anything in your grocery cart and not check prices? Is it flying first class, driving a brand new car every 2 years, wearing a Rolex, paying off your home? There is no right answer – we are all different, but the point is you need to identify what this is for you (and your family if that’s applicable).

Money is a tool – it allows you to live in a certain way and when used correctly, is just an energetic exchange, which is why there are so many emotions tied to it. So, don’t let the negativity take over. BUT… do do some work on it. I have found that people create a lot of stories about money, about people who have money and those who don’t. That’s why there are a whole load of money and money mindset coaches out there to help!

SO, I encourage you to face it:

  1. Do a truthful inventory – use a tool like mint, or I just did an old school Excel spreadsheet – your expenses, in each category for a year. You have to know what’s going on, to make any changes.
  2. Commit to donating or tithing 10% of your income to something that is important to you. Get comfortable with money moving through your hands – there’s always more of it
  3. Write out your financial goals. Create positive energy around what you want your financial life to look like!

This is super helpful – I have identified what I want money for – which won’t surprise you if you follow me on Facebook travel, food, experiences. What do you want?

You might recognize the word from the Kama Sutra. Kama means pleasure, so I want you to think about pleasure!

When you say the word pleasure – what do you think about? In contrast to work: work or pleasure? Sexual gratification? Contentment?

This is another “souls aim” to ponder, because, life’s too short not to plan for pleasure, amiright?

Well, I can tell you, that until I really started doing this kind of self-work – looking at what I currently have, getting clarity on what I really want and then taking the steps to get that, pleasure was not on my list. Not that I was into self-flagellating or actively depriving myself, but what I mean is that I did not grow up thinking about planning for pleasure: it was a side effect of making particular choices!

So – what is pleasure for you?

Is it delicious organic food and coffee? Is it weekly massages? Is it a healthy body which is strong and capable? Is it having those amazing conversations where you lose track of time? Is it being in a monogamous relationship with lots of amazing sex and touching and snuggles and hugs? Like the other souls aims – this one is also down to you, baby. What is pleasure for you? Don’t let society or the shoulds tell you what that should look like. Really allow yourself to sink into this!

This is as important as the other goals – we are sensual beings, so ignoring this aspect of ourselves does not bode well, either from a motivational standpoint or a long, fulfilling life standpoint!

What does KAMA mean to you?

So – what is Moksha? The word itself means liberation or freedom. It can manifest in a number of different ways. For some it’s about spiritual freedom – being connected to God, or a spiritual practice. For others it’s about connection to the world, the environment – perhaps volunteering for a local charity that espouses values that are deeply entwined with yours.

For me, Moksha is about freedom with time – one of the reasons I work for myself – and have always been attracted to more independent jobs, is that I love to be able to get up and walk outside, when I want, not when I am told I can! I am deeply sensual and love to to feel the wind on my face, the sun on my back. I can’t work in a cube where I can’t see the weather, the seasons, the time of day. It’s also about being able to pick up my kids from school, take them to Europe to see my family for a few weeks – and still be able to run my business.

Again – as with the other Purushartas – there isn’t a right or wrong answer – it’s about feeling into what YOU want! I am a super nerd. I have a PhD in cognitive neuroscience/psychology and multiple certifications in different fields. I find it very easy to focus on the intellectual aspects of life – what I should or ought to want or like or need.

My life did not follow the exact path I had in mind – my son was diagnosed with cancer when he was 2 (and survived), my cousin-like-a-brother died of leukemia when we were 37, and my marriage ended in divorce. I could step back and just plod on with life. Instead, I took these shitty experiences, and like manure, I used them to fertilize my life, to grow, evolve, face my fears, my truths, what works and what doesn’t and then… create a life of such deep and abiding joy and freedom.

What’s on your list? What is freedom for you?

Copyright Tamsin Astor, Yoga Brained LLC, 2017.