Important Lessons From The Survivors Of The Oregon Shooting

We can all learn from Ana Boylan, a survivor of the recent massacre in Oregon. Her reaction is powerful.

“I will never, ever take for granted a second, a minute, an hour in the day,” she said.

You can read the full article here: Oregon Shooting Survivor Says Gunman Was Deranged And Laughed After Shooting Teacher.

So often it takes something horrific for us to realize how precious our lives are. We get stuck in the pain of today.  We tend to focus only on the times we didn’t get the love we wanted. We don’t realize the value of the love we do get. We remember the pain of our rejections, and we struggle to embrace love from the people who have accepted us. We waste time wishing the past were different, rather than learning from it and trying to make the future better. We worry, endlessly, about what the future will be, and miss the lessons of the past and the opportunities in the present.

Our lives have so much potential when we stop hating the past and fearing the future. Anna Boylan reminds me of the importance of practicing being present, breathing, self-care, and reinforcing thought patterns that serve me, rather than those which cause me pain.

Changing takes practice and a willingness to be uncomfortable. It requires us to do things we’re not good at, and patiently wait until we get better at those things. We must keep trying, even though we can never be perfect.

To all who are practicing building these skills, I am doing it with you. It’s not easy, but we can keep trying! We can all strengthen these mind-body muscles. Eventually, it gets easier to be present and mindful, and to love and be loved.

Copyright © Caitlin Cantor 2015

The information contained on Caitlin’s Couch, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and any other material thereon, is for entertainment and informational purposes only. It is not intended to (and does not), provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to the reader or to any other individual. The sole purpose of Caitlin’s Couch is to promote discussion, dialogue and awareness of various topics relating to lifestyle and mental health. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment, and before undertaking a new health care regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on Caitlin’s Couch.


  1. All great points. If you can stay in the present, it is possible to experience things as they really are which sounds scary but offers considerable relief from agony. Pain, it turns out, is a construct. In the present moment there is only sensation–pain is a construct we use to describe the sensation. I once meditated through a dental procedure without novocaine. Maybe you can’t live pain free, but it’s possible to live in the present moment where pain doesn’t have to run our lives.

    In everything written about these massacres, discussion zooms towards gun control and psychiatric illness and skips a critical point about the United States. Our contry has an extremely violent character. Violence and fear grow from excessive use of violence by the state. People will not give up their guns as long as the state solves all of its problems with war and more violence. The state teaches people that walking around armed with assault rifles is entirely reasonable and that these rifles solve security and law enforcement problems when they clearly do not.

    Let’s have the gun control discussion with the govt disarming its massive police and paramilitary units. We don’t need SWAT teams everywhere or police cruisers mounted with M-16s. It’s no wonder some groups continue to arm themselves to the sky.. Lead by example.

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