don kerr

4 years ago · 3 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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The road to nothingness - an experience with mindfulness

The road to nothingness - an experience with mindfulness

Mindfulness is apparently on everyone's radar these days and for good reason. We're increasingly and maddeningly succumbing to the stress we apparently welcome and seek out in our modern-day lives of busyness.

It's crazy really what we're doing to ourselves.

My wife, Kate, was recently interviewed for an article on mindfulness in Success magazine 

( and one of her comments was this,  

“You almost need a black belt in emotion management in today’s volatile, uncertain and ever-changing organizational landscape,” says Kate Kerr, a mindfulness specialist from Canada. “Mindfulness gives us a space between our emotions and our fight-flight-freeze reactions, however brief, and increases our ability to respond more skilfully. This can lead to a reduction in conflicts and an ability to utilize empathy to drive stronger relationships.”
Kate Kerr

There's a chapter in my book, Riding Shotgun - A book for men and the partners they care for

( addresses my attempts to train in mindfulness-based stress reduction . Slight spoiler alert here - it did not go well - at first. 


The road to nothingness is cratered with potholes, surrounded by flashing neon lights and sparkly roadside attractions, fast-food joints, and amusement parks; the hurdy-gurdy man is playing in the back seat while Led Zeppelin screams from the car stereo at volume 10.

Apart from that, my all-day mindfulness meditation course was pretty much perfect.

On January 8, 2013 I embarked on a journey to oblivion. Under the guidance of Dr. Stèphane Treyvaud, I am attempting to embrace the principles and practices of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). Kate undertook this study in 2012 and continues both the study and practice today. It has wrought profound change in her and in witnessing the incredible growth she experienced, it struck me that we would increase the harmony in our lives if I too attempted to incorporate mindfulness in my day-to-day activities.

What I have learned so far is this - Kate is even more remarkable than I thought!

What on the surface appears so simple - reduce stress in one’s life by embracing the notion of transparency, transcendence, curiosity, openness, acceptance, and love - is tremendously difficult.

Treyvaud and the modern pioneer of MBSR, John Kabat-Zinn, suggest that there are seven attitudinal foundations of mindfulness.

Non-judging: being an impartial witness to your own experience.

Patience: understanding and accepting that things must unfold in their own time.

Beginner’s mind: opening to the richness of the present-moment experience.

Trust: it is far better to trust in your own intuitions and your own authority.

Non-striving: meditation is a non-doing; it has no goal other than for you to be yourself.

Acceptance: means seeing things as they actually are in the present; accept yourself as you are.

Letting go: the best way to let go is to stop wanting things to be different than what they are.

While tempted to address many of these items, it is the last that is particularly relevant in this context.

Since Kate’s diagnosis, I have heartily wished that I could change spots with her. That I could unburden her from the fear, the surgeries, the chemo, the radiation, the pills, the innumerable side effects, the uncertainty, the anger, the madness, the bitterness, the rage, the guilt, the disappointment, the loneliness, the sickness, the lingering lassitude, and the unknowing.

I can’t.

We both have to stop wanting things to be different than they are.

This is a key and difficult lesson for those of us riding shotgun.

I am also learning through mindfulness that the entire notion of hard-wired behaviour and attitude is simply not real. We humans are NOT hard-wired beings. There is plenty of quantitative and qualitative research to prove this point. We have the ability to unleash the remarkable capacity of our brains by altering how we enter life each day. For additional insight I recommend you watch this video - In it, Philippe Goldin, a clinical researcher into neuroscience, provides insight into the cognitive neuroscience of meditation. Even better, he does so in a fashion that everyone can understand and to which they can relate.

My fellow Facing Cancer blogger, Bumpyboobs, in her post of February 22, 2013 ( wrote about how she is attempting to manage her worries. She finds house cleaning helpful - among other things.

What Catherine is alluding to is that if we let life’s insidious and unfair moments drive our lives, we are giving up - we are embracing a notion of victimhood that serves no one.

These studies in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and applying them to daily life are immensely difficult and for someone with a profoundly active problem-solving brain, they pose what appear to be insurmountable obstacles.

BUT - every once in a while - I get it. I am able to fully recognize that thoughts are not facts. That amongst all the pebbles on the beach there is one that has particular resonance. That I can accept where I am today and seize the opportunity to live - today!

Let the learning continue and perhaps there will be fewer potholes on the journey.

© Copyright 2017, Don Kerr, Don Kerr Writes - All rights reserved.

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Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #24

Thanks Don \ud83d\udc1d Kerr and as always, sending good thoughts and best of luck to you too!

don kerr

4 years ago #23

Lisa \ud83d\udc1d Gallagher Good luck with your practice and thanks for your comments here.

don kerr

4 years ago #22

Debasish Majumder Thanks so much and so happy to see you back here with us!

don kerr

4 years ago #21

Pascal Derrien You always find a way to pump me up friend. Thank you.

don kerr

4 years ago #20

Jerry Fletcher The . body scan practice can be deadly v.v. falling to sleep. I'm with you on that front!

don kerr

4 years ago #19

Alan Culler That's the great thing about it. So many people think it requires a major reshuffling of ones priorities but we can in fact be mindful and meditative in wee little chunks. Thanks for your observations.

don kerr

4 years ago #18

Jim Murray Thanks for this Beezer Buddy.

don kerr

4 years ago #17

Praveen Raj Gullepalli A valuable and worthy addition to the discussion. Thank you.

don kerr

4 years ago #16

It is one method to help make sense of the nonsense that life throws at us. Thanks for your contributions Nicole Chardenet

don kerr

4 years ago #15

Appreciate the additional insight Ian Weinberg

Jim Murray

4 years ago #14

Nicely done my fellow Beezer. Over the past while I have started to spend more time trying to just start at myself through my mind's eye. So far it has produced an idea that I can work on during the long winter months, a lessening of tension and definitely more clarity of thought, or mindfulness. I don't call this meditation although I suppose that's what it is. It's nice to see the elements laid out the way you have done here, through. I will print them out and stare at them for a while. Thanks for the wisdom.

Alan Culler

4 years ago #13

Don \ud83d\udc1d Kerr "The road to nothingness is cratered with potholes, surrounded by flashing neon lights and sparkly roadside attractions, fast-food joints, and amusement parks; the hurdy-gurdy man is playing in the back seat while Led Zeppelin screams from the car stereo at volume 10." LOL I surely have days like that . I've been meditating for about 10 years -this round -just about 20 minutes each morning. I've tried to add an afternoon session, but usually about that time my five-year-old-lab-who-still-thinks-she's-a-puppy finds me to let me know that I am not being mindful enough of her. I will say that my journeys to the void have made me more focused and present on the good days. The bad days -potholes grab me and push me towards the abyss. On balance there are more good than bad days. My wife, Billie, has meditated on and off since the 70s too, though she is off now and I'm not going to suggest a return -all things in their time.

Jerry Fletcher

4 years ago #12

Don, Thanks for that. One day when I have time I'll try to get into this thing again. Every time I've tried in the past I've wound up falling asleep. I've had multiple conversations with guides and find I'm much to "high on living" to spend the time required.

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #11

there are posts and there are posts this one is a post :-)

Debasish Majumder

4 years ago #10

wonderful shareDon \ud83d\udc1d Kerr! enjoyed read and shared. thank you for the post.

Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #9

Wonderful buzz Don \ud83d\udc1d Kerr. I began watching the video but it's almost 3 am, so I left the youtube page open so I can finish watching it tomorrow. You and Kate are very smart people who've been through a lot together. I read the article linked to Kate, much admiration for her and she's very wise like her husband! Thank you for this. I have been working with a therapist certified in EMDR and mindfulness but once every week or two isn't enough. He's going to give me more tools so I can work from home too. Acceptance is so important. Thanks for this, it was a very helpful read!

👍 nice

Ian Weinberg

4 years ago #7

Indeed I con-Kerr with all that you've mentioned in this buzz Don \ud83d\udc1d Kerr. Thanks for the value contribution. Having been a facilitator of mindful retreats at a Buddhist Retreat Centre for several years,I can attest to the great benefits of mindful practices. I emphasize 'practices' rather than merely the meditation, to highlight the importance of applying the principles of meditation into our daily lives. Therefore adding to the non-judgemental acceptance and trust I would also mention sensitivity and connectiveness as well as clarity, to the mix. This combination goes a long way to assisting us in 'minding the gap' in daily life. Best wishes to you and your wife.

don kerr

4 years ago #6

Very kind of you Franci\ud83d\udc1dEugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador

don kerr

4 years ago #5

Thanks so much Savvy Raj

This is a wonderful post-Don \ud83d\udc1d Kerr. You and Kate are amazing and I wish you a fulfilling and harmonious journey as you travel through life.

don kerr

4 years ago #3

Thanks so much Bill Stankiewicz, \ud83d\udc1d Brand Ambassador How's the summer in Savannah?

Cool buzz😎👍👍👍🐝🐝🐝

don kerr

4 years ago #1

Patrick Scullin Maybe this will help?

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