When someone like Anthony Bourdain takes his own life, it shakes us. But, why? He is upheld as a cultural icon of things we believe that should make someone happy.
Rags to riches. Overcomer. Self made. Irreverent. Doesn’t give a rip what others think. We idealize this lifestyle and personalities like Bourdain. The notion that a person who embodies our ideals could be so deeply unhappy is disturbing. It goes against all our narratives.
Bourdain was someone who looked like he had the ideal life. He traveled the world, met interesting people, ate the best foods on the planet and lived in one of the most happening cities in the world. He was famous and well known. And he still didn’t find it.
This goes against everything we tell ourselves in our culture – that traveling helps you find yourself. Traveling is enriching. Finding a new perspective is enriching, but it can never replace inner peace.
It can be found in a Tibetan monastery just as easily as it can be found in an arm chair in the middle of Iowa.
That’s the paradox of inner peace. Its path doesn’t require traveling the world. The hardest criminal can go on this journey. The most unselfish aid worker can go on this journey. It’s not just for the cool guys, the saints or the yogis. The chronically ill paraplegic who never leaves the hospital bed and the guy who climbs Everest have the same access, and perhaps the same need.
I do not claim to have it all figured out, but I believe these conversations are the ones we have within ourselves with our Maker as our guide. It has very little to do with where you go, who you know, or how accomplished you are. It is all about the posture of your heart.
And that is hugely freeing.