Another Mass Killing: Time for a Heart Check

I don’t know how you responded to the killings in San Bernardino yesterday, but I can only imagine that it was with the same initial horror that I did. More bloodshed on our own soil, and this time a greater number of people slaughtered — while enjoying a holiday gathering at that.

What do we make of all this? What do we say when we are told that there have been 355 mass shootings in 336 days in 2015, and that this latest shooting was the sixth in less than a week, according to 

Perhaps you feel a well of emotions starting with sadness, disappointment, frustration, and fear. All of these are normal human responses to such tragedy. But, it is at times like these that we all could use a heart check.

How are you dealing with your emotions? Who are you talking to? We all need an outlet during difficult and frightening times; even if we are not personally affiliated, tragedies like this touch all of us.

I have read several news reports that state that we have become numb to such killings. That we are at risk, as individuals, as communities, and as a nation, of becoming apathetic to deadly massacres in our backyard.

I don’t think that we should let our humanness take us there. We should not bury our feelings and become silent. We should not retreat, we should not back down, and we should not live in fear.

So, how do we approach daily living? How do we muster up the courage to live life to its fullest when we may walk in fear of death daily? All of this starts with a heart check. It starts with being in touch with yourself first, and those around you second.

How we live life, and approach each day, really matters. It matters to our family, to our friends, to our communities, and to our country. Most of all, it matters to us as individuals. If we let mass shootings and other horrific events that steal human life rob us of our joy, we deny ourselves the very pleasures that living life to its fullest has to offer. 

AnotherMassKillingTimeHeartCheck_640x359A time of mourning is necessary, a time of sadness is expected. Where you don’t want to go with your feelings is towards anger and hatred. Both of these emotions destroy your heart and inevitably suck the life from you and those around you.

In light of this recent tragedy, I encourage you to live your life in the moment. To be grateful and to celebrate all of the wonderful things you have been given. To cling fast to each day, as if it were your last, and to be aware of how you feel with each passing minute. 

Mindfulness is what will keep you in touch with reality, and help you to give your best to each new day. Here are some tips to keep your heart in check. 

  • Life is a gift. Tell yourself this daily.
  • Be aware that each day is a fresh start to approach all things in your life with renewed joy.
  • Live for others. Don’t ever forget the impact that you have on those around you.
  • Ignore what you can’t change, and change what you can — starting with your attitude.
  • Take care of your body. Eat right, exercise, get plenty of rest, and have an outlet for stress.
  • Make future plans, lots of them.
  • Be your best each and every day.
  • Don’t be scared. Overcome your fears, no matter what they are.
  • Do what you love most.
  • Celebrate the little victories in your life.
  • Smile and laugh.
  • Embrace new ideas.
  • Accept criticism as an opportunity to grow.
  • Surround yourself with people you love, and tell them daily how you feel.
  • Don’t complain.
  • Create a bucket list… and do it!
  • Forgive daily.
  • Connect with nature.
  • Help those in need.
  • Keep learning.
  • Don’t give up.

And most of all, remember that although the circle of life ends in death, you don’t have to live in fear. Fear drives out joy and without joy, there is no meaning to life.

It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.

Marcus Aurelius

-Susan Patterson

Susan is the Content Director at The Alternative Daily, a Certified Health Coach, Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor and Master Gardener. With an extensive knowledge of whole foods and wellness, Susan enjoys educating others on how to live healthy and sustainable lives. She presently lives off grid in the middle of the New Mexican high desert with her three children and numerous animals.

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