The Passion Phenomenon: Live Long, Be Happy

                           “…Keeps me living. Keeps me going.”

Beverly Guitar Watkins has lived her passion as a phenomenal, pioneer rhythm & blues guitarist for the last six decades.  Recognized as “Queen of the Blues”, Ms. Watkins continues to tour and play concerts at age 77. She provides an important inspirational lesson on longevity, quality of life and the pursuit of passion.

It is interesting to note that over the course of her lifetime, Ms. Watkins labored in some tough and physically demanding jobs cleaning houses and working car washes. Notwithstanding decades of bodily stress and toil, her hard classic blues style continued to evolve. Most importantly throughout her lifetime, Ms. Watkins never stopped the pursuit of her passion–music.

The pursuit of one’s passion has long been recognized as a driving force to lifelong happiness.  I recently learned of another life affecting derivative related to the pursuit of passion from a study published in the November 2015 Journal of Psychosomatic Research entitled, “Purpose in Life Predicts Allostatic Load Ten Years Later”.   The scientific term allostatic load” describes wear and tear on the body that occurs over time with exposure to chronic stress.

This study has significant implications to life span and quality of life. Greater life purpose predicted lower levels of allostatic load in 985 subjects evaluated at their ten-year follow-up.  Researchers concluded that living a purposeful life correlates to better mental and physical health including longevity.  Mounting evidence of these associations might be explained by the connection between life purpose and our body’s ability to regulate physiological systems related to stress response.

It makes infinite sense. As we pursue our passion, internal mechanisms mobilize our body’s ability to withstand exposure to chronic stress. In turn, our pursuit of passion drives sustainable happiness and reinforces our will to live.  Ms. Beverly Guitar Watkins is a brilliant example of the “Passion Phenomenon”.  Bottom line: Pursue your passion. Live Long. Be Happy.

“Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.  Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.  You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart.”  ~Steve Jobs

 

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