Having purpose and passion in your life transforms you psychologically and emotionally- but it needs to be Your purpose, Your passion. Not someone else’s hand me down purpose, that like a first child who gets all the attention when you get none, is a distraction from being in the moment. So for a person with a substance use disorder, whose purpose in life has been getting the next fix or the next joint, bottle or pill, it may feel empty to be without that driven passion.
That’s why it’s important to create space for insight and delight, for pure enjoyment and creativity, for exploration of that primal urge from the mind of a five year old: what do you want to do when you grow up? In Empatharian Circles, space and time is alloted in the group for exploration, using methods to access the subconscious and unconscious mind. Done safely, with a journal and coloring pencils, no one needs to share, but feedback from others can sometimes spark a flame of recognition, something we hadn’t seen until someone saw it with kindness and empathy, without judgement, just seeking.
And we are seeking that inner joy, wisdom and heart connection that puts us in the Zone. The Zone where we are perfectly in sync with ourselves, body, mind and spirit expressed jubilantly! We are connected to ourselves and all of life, and allow wellness to be our realization of this purpose.
And the results with having a true authentic purpose are more than emotional and psychological. Yes, there are real physical benefits as well, that have been corroborated with research studies done all over the world. Having a strong sense of purpose you will:
- Live longer. A 2009 study of over 73,000 Japanese men and women found that those who had a strong connection to their sense of purpose (which they call ikigai) tended to live longer than those who didn’t. Additionally, in his study of “Blue Zones” (communities in the world in which people are more likely to live past 100), Dan Buettner identified the factors that most centenarians share, one of them being a strong sense of purpose. In 2014, researchers used data that tracked adults over 14 years and found that “having a purpose in life appears to widely buffer against mortality risk across the adult years.
- Protect against heart disease. Another study in 2008 found that a lower level of purpose in Japanese men was associated with earlier death and cardiovascular disease. More research in this area showed that “purpose is a possible protective factor against near-future myocardial infarction among those with coronary heart disease.”
- Prevent Alzheimer’s disease. In studies of thousands of elderly subjects, Dr. Patricia Boyle, a neuropsychologist at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, found that people with a low sense of life purpose were 2.4 times more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease than those with a strong purpose. Further, people with purpose were less likely to develop impairments in daily living and mobility disabilities.
- Handle pain better. Purpose can also positively affect pain management—a study in The Journal of Pain found that women with a stronger sense of purpose were better able to withstand heat and cold stimuli applied to their skin. – https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/why-life-purpose-important, B.Meltzer, Ph.D., R.N., M.J. Skinner, Ph.D., R.N.
- In Short, having a strong sense of purpose is an innoculation against life’s ups and downs, and for a person with substance use disorder, this is major. With time and practice, when you’ve developed and honed in on that strong passion- a new resilience emerges which becomes a support for the community around you, as well as you.
Empatharian Movement for Peace has a purpose in its title: Peace. It’s about peace-building personally and worldwide universally, inner and outer. Through empathy and empathic connections with people around the world, our purpose is to create a world community of Empatharians, doing the practice, participating in circles, no one lonely or left out. Can you dig it? In your heart of hearts what is your purpose!?