Personal Text: Ellen McMahill, Sacramento, CA

Ellen McMahill
Sacramento, CA USA

In the last few months since the stock market took a dive and the world economies have changed radically, I have thought more about what that could mean to us all. We are all connected and if we did not believe that before, it is apparent now.

With all that has happened including the steady deterioration of our world environment, I believe that we are giving ourselves the opportunity to change the way we perceive our lives and how we go about living on a daily basis. In the last few years many were building their futures on the steady rise of values in the stock market and were delaying what they really wanted to do with their lives until they retired. I would say from experience that most people work at the jobs they have because they need to survive and pay for what they think they want in life (a house, car, etc.) and not because they love what they are doing, which is a denial of the possible beauty of each day of our lives.

In the past this was acceptable, but now I think that people want more because as always, we are evolving and evolution is about change and making everything better. Evolution is also struggle and learning and awareness. Without the struggle of our present situations we could not evolve into a world populated by people who understand more about themselves and therefore others. Human beings do not learn when everything is easy and comfortable and happy all the time. Whether or not we realize it, we are happiest (in a deep down satisfying way) when we are learning and have challenges to meet. By having challenges, we use our creative minds to find solutions and feel genuinely joyous when the challenges are overcome and we have succeeded in doing what seemed impossible before.

Now is that time in the lives of most people. We have the opportunity to reevaluate the value of material things, to understand the transient and flimsy happiness that material goods bring us. Good questions to ask ourselves at times like this are – What is important to me? What can I live without and still be happy? What am I thankful for? What is good in my life? What do I want to change and how can I change it? What will make me happy really and over a long period of time?

We may think we know the answers to these questions until we begin to answer them honestly to ourselves and then the truth may really set us free and on to a different road than the one we’ve previously been going down.

I personally know that if you want to change your life into the one you want it is possible and the changes are never ending and an adventure not to be missed. You can develop new attitudes and perspectives with your own determination and desire to be who you really are.

I have moved several times in the last few years, paring my possessions down to what can fit into a van in order to pursue my desire to paint and to see the world in ways I never thought of before. Since 1977 I have been through two divorces, had a family of two children (grown up now), been through a house foreclosure after the second, messy divorce, terrible debt, worked many hours at jobs I didn’t particularly liked in order to survive, sold my truck and bought a bike, moved from Florida to Los Angeles and rode my bicycle as my only transportation while working a decent job and continuing to learn more about everything, especially art and painting (I have a degree in art from Florida State University). I’ve been through terrible heartache, and joyous, beautiful moments. I started as a nervous, shy child and extremely emotional young adult and older adult until mediation and a desire to change my perspectives about life led me into a more peaceful place of more understanding and learning though I will always have more to learn. I’m 58 years old and still riding my bicycle as my transportation, painting every day and enjoying every minute and paying attention to the world and those around me.

I have great hopes for everyone in the world to grow and love more as we all struggle to understand that the more we understand ourselves and are honest with ourselves, the more we will feel compassion and goodwill towards all others in the world and towards this place where we live.

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