Anthony Bourdain: A Tribute & A Wake Up Call

"He was an ambassador of the Soul"

It's true. My husband Mike hit the nail on the head when the tragic news of Anthony Bourdain ending his life flooded our social media feed.

Like many folks, Mike and I became fans of Anthony Bourdain during his "No Reservation" days - loving his raw, honest, sometimes rough (always tell-it-like-it-is), completely heart-connecting way of being. He opened our eyes to different cultures, he made us excited about the potential to follow his footsteps in our future travels, spotlighting completely pedestrian yet delicious diamond-in-the-rough places to eat. Screw the reviews from hoity toity know-it-all food critics, if the meal was delicious, that's all that mattered. Whether it be from street carts to a hut in the middle of the Amazon, dumpling houses to finding out what your neighbor is REALLY GOOD at making, connection was Bourdain's mission and food was his love language.

Observing the outpouring of love for this tower of a human being after his passing made me realize something pretty huge and profound about his purpose. He made each and every one of us feel like his friend, like we were the only ones getting in on these secret, divey, hole in the wall eateries all over the world. He opened our eyes to the politics, misgivings and misrepresentations of so many different cultures - and the way he showed us through his gift of revealing and honest conversation made us feel like we had a seat at the table or around the campfire; We were his personally invited company to each of his adventures. He asked the hard questions and because of his incredible deep listening skills, curiosity and open heart, humanity was revealed in every individual he was breaking bread with.

I don't think I will ever forget his recent venture to West Virginia for CNN's "Parts Unknown" that literally left me in tears. With judgements that I didn't even realize I had, until he unveiled his own and I saw my reflection in him, to witness the duality of this extremely open-hearted culture of kind human beings with staunch beliefs that would normally make the hair on the back of my neck stand straight up; Again, the conversations, the connection, his willingness to hear their perspectives and to share why his and my progressive world can't stomach them, was an art. When he asked why this previously very democratic state voted red for the most "city-slicker, anti working-man, 3x married president," they earnestly answered: because they didn't feel heard in the plight of coal-mining. They were told by the left that their jobs would be lost when most don't have anything but 7 generations of coal-mining history behind them with no higher education. Alternately, Bourdain ingeniously then asked, "Would you tell your kids to work in the mines?" and the response was a collective "NO" - he looked for the gap, so we could see the gap. The understanding and humanity was felt. These are good people who see the argument of the environmental problem with coal-mining but don't feel like they have any other way to turn, so with every last penny earned they will send their kids to college with the pride of a black-smudged dime.

This was the Bourdain we knew, the feeling we held for him when we brought him up over dinner with friends. His heart extending beyond himself to others, to have empathy, to see, feel and make US feel, that we are all one - in search of a delicious soul-hugging meal. As I was reminded by his dear friend Helen Rosner in her beautifully written tribute in the New Yorker, Bourdain was effortlessly honest with his audience about the shadows of his depression as well.

In a 2016 episode of “Parts Unknown,” set in Buenos Aires, he held an on-camera therapy session. “I will find myself in an airport, for instance, and I’ll order an airport hamburger,” he says, lying on a leather couch. “It’s an insignificant thing, it’s a small thing, it’s a hamburger, but it’s not a good one. Suddenly, I look at the hamburger and I find myself in a spiral of depression that can last for days.”

I know what the beginning of this spiral feels like, as I'm sure you do. That triggering thought or that triggering experience that begins the thoughts that lead you to your habitual thinking that feels 6 feet deep. I don't care if you're experiencing depression for the first time, if you feel like you just deal with 'low days,' or if you find yourself under so many layers of chaotic thinking that you can't even remember how to breathe - any whirlwind in your mind that leads you to feel like the ground is literally no longer beneath you and that your inner compass won't stop spinning, can make you feel lost in the most profound of ways, I've been there.

To this day I can feel the flutter of those triggering thoughts arise, like when you feel like you're about to hiccup... Before I actually have the thought that can send me down a spiral or into a storm, I sense it first... like the hiccup. This is the energy of Thought - this is the gift of Thought - this is the principle of Thought - this is where the power of understanding Thought can change your life. When I read the news about Bourdain, I literally yelled "NO!" out loud, before fact checking the internet. I couldn't believe what I was reading. As soon as I saw that his death was confirmed, I was thrown into a complete and utter sadness that overwhelmed me for the rest of the day. Why? Because I wish I was there to speak with him, I wish he knew what I know.

What do we always say about people who are, or have considered, ending their life? They have suicidal thoughts... read that again... they have suicidal thoughts. As a culture, we are innocently calling out the issue without recognizing that the answer is right in front of us. The energy of Thought is transitory, it doesn't EVER stop, and the quality of our thinking goes up and down all day, every day. We, as humans, have the gift of turning that formless energy (that feeling that I sense when my depressive thoughts are on the horizon like the feeling of a hiccup), into FORM (pictures in our mind). It is literally the superpower of our personal thinking minds - WE are the thinkers, WE create those pictures. Imagine stepping outside and feeling a beautiful breeze surrounding you, and you reach out to grab the breeze then open your palm to reveal sand - like magic, you grabbed the formless but energetic air and turned it into something. That is what we do as thinkers. We take the energy of Thought and turn into the form of pictures in our mind.

By way of the principle of Consciousness (awareness), these pictures become VERY REAL to us because our feelings come from our thinking 100% OF THE TIME - no exception. It doesn't matter what your circumstances outside of you are, you are feeling your thinking every moment of every day. You are creating your outside reality by way of your inside thinking, and being aware of this, is the gift of Consciousness. So as you can imagine when you are in the middle of a thought storm, with so many thoughts that you can't even keep up with how fast they're firing in your mind, you feel like you can't breathe, you feel like you're not worthy, you feel like the love you receive from others isn't real, you feel like the world is closing in on you - that is your body telling you that you are believing your thinking that ISN'T REAL. It isn't true for you. Plain and simple. And when we are honoring ourselves, when we have the understanding that our thinking can be taken less seriously when it makes us feel like shit - those moments where we think we can't take it anymore and need to do something about it, we know we have the choice to sit it out. We choose to call a friend, a partner, a loved one, knowing that this current reality is not permanent. It will pass. Because it is an energy that is constantly shifting and will most definitely autocorrect to a neutral and peaceful state, with time. Or rather, the moment you choose to live a different reality.

I understand if this seems like I've over-simplified a state of being that seems much more complex - but it isn't. The difference between you being in a low mood this morning and naturally being lifted out of it versus Anthony Bourdain is the layers and layers of thinking that is being believed so that it doesn't feel like there's a way out. Spiritually, the more shitty thinking that is believed, the more habitual it is (and this can go on for YEARS), the emptier the self-love cup. When we've believed lies that we tell ourselves in our own little reality, we find evidence in our life to support it, then we feel justified in our thinking and our light shines a little less than it did before. And the smaller we feel, the lower our mood, the more we believe our thinking, the more we can't pull ourselves out if it. But it all starts with the above understanding. Simple but not easy sometimes, and I understand. I've been there. I haven't been to the end of my rope, but I've experienced the dizzyness that begins to make you feel like you're crazy and you can't cope. There is ALWAYS a voice inside that will tell you what to do instead, telling you what you need to come back to a peaceful place - this is your wisdom. It is with you all of the time. But it's like a quiet flute being played behind the band of the shitty thinking, and the band needs to be turned down to hear it.

The nature of energy is to flow. That's all Thought is. So maybe it'll take you talking out loud to your shitty thinking and saying "Oh, hello again," to put distance between you and the pictures. But having this understanding will at least give you the opportunity to see that you always have the freedom to choose your next thought; The freedom to choose your next action. You're not at will of the freeloading thought turds that are floating in the beautiful abyss that is your mind. Knowing that you have the power to create your own reality through the lens of whatever thinking you're believing at any moment in time, allows the triggering, depressive thinking to melt away. And just this awareness in itself will begin to shift your thinking, which shifts your feelings, which shifts your behaviors. It's an amazing experience.

When Bourdain passed, all of this information was swirling around my mind. I was desperate to write a post for social media, but I couldn't think of a way to concisely share my tribute along with my outrage for how many lives could be saved by knowing a simple understanding. If you're reading this and you've considered ending your life or still consider doing so now - please know that you have a purpose that is meant to be shared, and if you don't feel that right now, it's because the noise in your head is too loud to hear it. But it's there. It may take time to quiet the band upstairs, but like anything worth doing, the reward on the other side is living your life in your truest form while being able to help others understand themselves like you have learned from your own battle.

In closing, astronaut Scott Kelly's tribute to Bourdain took the words right out of my mouth...

"... I watched his show when I was in space. It made me feel more connected to the planet, it's people and cultures and made my time there more palatable. He inspired me to see the world up close."

Tony, thank you for conquering your battles as often as you did. Thank you for not allowing them to keep you from us, because what brings me peace is knowing that you knew on some gut level that you were touching lives and changing them for the better. How lucky are we that you won that battle as long as you did. I always had a feeling I'd meet you one day and give you the biggest hug as appreciation for all that you taught me...

Until we meet again...

All my love and see you next week~


Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain

Urges Or Habits You Can't Break? This One's For You... And All Of Us

We ALL have something, if not multiple things, that we habitually do or have urges for throughout our days. We're human and it's how we've been taught to cope with the stressors of life. For example, do you zone out to TV for too long? Smoke, drink, bite your nails? Mindlessly eat? Do you ever get caught up in your phone? Do you mindlessly scroll through social media?

*Raises hand*

*Raises hand*

I have fallen pray to the mindless scrolling on social media, as many of us have, and I recently recognized that I do this out of a need for a comforting feeling when I'm in my thoughts about life. Sound familiar? You may be experiencing it with a different form of urge or habit, but the lessons are the same. For me, I've been wanting to override the urge, because my wisdom has been telling me to "back away from the phone" for quite some time now. So of course, as the Universe provides when you're open and curious about something, I came across an audio from 3 Principles practitioner George Pransky that got my insights going.

What is the nature of an urge? It is a thought with a great special effects system. My Consciousness (which provides all of the special effects) makes the urge look really enticing, so my thoughts begin saying "Oh, I'll just look at it for 10 minutes" or "I'll look up this one thing then put it down," because no matter if it's 'good' for me or not, in that moment with all things considered, my reasoning makes it look like the best idea. AND HERE'S THE KICKER - this actually kind of blew my mind because it made so much sense. You will always have thoughts to support the urge because the intelligence behind life follows your lead - the ever-flowing energy that keeps our thoughts moving is a servant to our current thinking, not necessarily what we would consider to be best for us (<--- that last bit is what made my jaw drop).

I see your furrowed brow... keep reading.

*Let all of this sink in like music, don't overthink... just reading through it will begin the awakening within you and you'll see examples pop up in your life to deepen the understanding...

Let me ask you this: Have you ever done something where you look back and go "What was I thinking?" Like speeding to work because you're late, you know cops don't normally hang around your route and you don't want to get in trouble at work - then you get pulled over - DOH! That is exactly like me picking up my phone and here's why - if in the moment I have the urge to pick up my phone (like speeding to work) and my thinking supports it (ie: the reasons as to why it's a good idea), the intelligence behind life will be of service to that thinking and continue to provide more thinking to support it (this is how we get caught up in thought storms!)

So how do you break the habit or the urge, you ask? Well, there is a resolve that exists within us when we no longer want to engage in a habit or urge, however large or small. The larger the resolve, the more the intelligence behind life will support THAT thinking. Since I've had this insight that my phone provides false comfort that keeps me disengaged, I've hit my limit and my resolve has become incredibly strong. If I were to quantify it, I would say that I am 75% not wanting to get caught up on my phone, and 25% willing to do so. So when I pick up my phone for work, the intelligence behind life, that energy, supports the thinking going through my mind in that moment which is now just to do my post or engage with whatever I need to, and put it down. And here's the thing, it isn't about having a strong will to overcome the urge anymore, the resolve in itself has shifted my thinking and the energy is spiritually supporting it. This goes for any type of urge - eating, smoking, drinking, nail biting, etc.

Pransky made a great point - if you look back on any urges/habits/addictions that you've overcome, you'll notice that your resolve existed from the first time you gave in to the urge, but as time passed, your resolve got deeper. And your resolve can change, it can grow stronger and weaker, it isn't something that only grows stronger (or maybe it never grows stronger at all). Need an example? My husband Mike was a smoker since before we were together, and for most of his smoking years, didn't think much about it - I would say for the first two years of our relationship, there was no talk of quitting. But then something shifted and he decided to switch to American Spirits because they don't have any chemical additives, therefore making it a bit easier (as far as the physical side effects) to drop the habit. Though he didn't have any intention of quitting at that point, in hindsight, this was the resolve growing without him even being aware of it. From there he quit about a year or two later, but his resolve wasn't strong enough - just one more was enough reason to keep it going. Then one day he heard about a famous study that showed that if you quit smoking by age 30, scientists couldn't show a statistically significant difference in mortality rate from non-smokers. That was it. He decided that no matter what, he would have his last cigarette on the last day of his 29th year. And guess what? He did it. Cold turkey. 9 years have gone by and he doesn't even have the slightest urge to pick up the habit again. Now, I also have friends who have quit and still feel the urge to pick one up when others are smoking around them, but the resolve is so strong to not pick up the habit again, that the intelligence behind life supports it!

So what to do now, you ask? Truly, nothing. Your awareness has already been engaged. Re-read above when you feel the need to get a little more clear on the understanding, but having the understanding of how the nature of urges work in and of itself, naturally creates a buffer between you and the urge. Just like the rest of my work, as soon as the understanding clicks, even the slightest bit, there is literally a cognitive shift that permanently changes your perspective on life. That's why I can see someone for one or two sessions and they see life differently in all aspects. The beauty of this work and why I call it the understanding, is because once you see it clearly, the insights keep coming and coming, your understanding gets deeper and you become more peaceful - it's absolutely incredible to watch.

As always, I hope this brings some insight into the way you tick as a human being and brings you some peace of mind. Feel free to comment below with any questions or observations and share it with your friends and family to spread the word - urges and unwanted habits are the pits!

All my love and see you next week,