When to “not” meet the Dalai Lama…

Published on:
Thursday August 7, 2014
by Nick Ortner

Just over a year ago, I wrote a blog post called, “When to “not” meet the Dalai Lama”.    It received a ton of comments and inspired a wonderful discussion about the choices we make in our lives.  To sum it up, I had a chance to meet the Dalai Lama, but passed on it in order to take better care of myself and particularly in order to spend some more time with my uncle from Argentina whom I only got to see every 5 years or so.

Little did I know then, when I made that decision, that my uncle would pass away just a year later, and that that evening would be the last chance I had to spend time with him.  So while I’m sad to share that he passed away last week, I feel gratitude for the time we spent together, and for making that choice.  I’ve re-shared the blog post below; I think it’s a powerful reminder of how important it is to spend time with family, to take care of ourselves and to savor every moment…

When to “not” meet the Dalai Lama…

As you probably figured or know, I’m passionate about personal growth and healing- finding ways to improve my life, the lives of those I love and now people around the world. That passion is what drives me on a daily basis.

The other day, however, I asked myself…”Are there times when you can have too much personal growth and healing?”

I’ve been into this world, and by this world I’m referring to the broad category of personal growth/development/self-help/alternative healing for a long time. I have to credit my parents for my initial exposure, probably in early high school (or it might even have been middle school!) I still distinctly remember my Dad’s Nightingale-Conant tape sets. About the size of a large binder, with a big picture of the expert on the cover (Earl Nightingale, Zig Ziglair, Brian Tracy and others) and an enticing subject matter, “Lead the Field”, “A View from The Top” and others. My dad would buy them, I would borrow them and start filling my brain with this amazing information.

My mom played a big part with one purchase in particular. She is often lovingly teased in the family about her love of QVC and the Home Shopping Network, and while I find a few of her TV purchases questionable, when she bought one of Tony Robbins’ courses, she made the right move. :) I “borrowed” it as I did my father’s tapes and was hooked. And thus the road to a lifelong thirst for information that could improve my life was paved. One of my roommates after college joked that I should just have my headphones surgically implanted, since they were constantly in my ears!

All that to say, “I love this stuff” I love listening to Wayne Dyer, and Carolyn Myss and Louise Hay… when I come home from the “I Can Do It’s” that I speak at, I listen to the other speakers. This is my life.

Dalai LamaSo the other day, when faced with an amazing opportunity to join my friend Scarlett Lewis to visit with the Dalai Lama, the choice seemed an obvious one. The Dalai Lama! What an opportunity- what an honor! I would be accompanying Scarlett (along with Dr. Lori Leyden), so this wasn’t a meeting for me personally, but still… to hear him speak, to learn from him, to be in his presence.

Initially, I said “Yes! I’ll be there!” but as the date neared, something stirred inside me that was telling me otherwise.

That stirring said, “You’re tired…” (I had just spent the weekend speaking in Atlanta at an ‘I Can Do It’ conference and had some very early morning flights)

That stirring said, “There are no missed opportunities…”

That stirring said, “Your uncle is coming to visit from Argentina, someone you only see every 5 years or so at most…”

That stirring said, “Stay home”

Of course, my passionate impulses wanted to reject all those stirrings. I wanted to keep moving forward, at breakneck speed, meeting people, connecting with them. “What if I can share tapping with the Dalai Lama?” “How great would it be to get a picture with him?” “What might I learn from him?”

And while there’s nothing wrong with those thoughts or moving forward, something told me it was time to slow down.

Something said to me, “What might your uncle have to teach you?” “What might those extra precious hours with your family be like?” “What would the Dalai Lama do?!?” :)

I’m sure you can guess the choice I made: I politely declined the invitation and stayed home. Of course there was a part of me that tugged and said, “What if you made a mistake?!?” But when I did some tapping on it, I got real clarity and comfort that this was the right decision.

The result?

A lovely evening with my family, on a beautiful Connecticut night, drinking some great wine and hearing stories from my uncle from decades past. Stories of how my parents met (I knew the basics but got more details), stories about my grandfather who I didn’t know, stories about me as a kid, stories that nourished a part of my soul like nothing else could. Connection with those I love and a memory that will last a lifetime.

And guess what? If I had gone and seen the Dalai Lama, and had a chance to chat with him, he probably would have said, “What are you doing here? You should be with your family…” haha! But seriously, I think his advice would be to do what I did, to slow down, to connect with my family, to drink some great wine, enjoy a beautiful May evening in Connecticut and just BE.

So what did I learn from this, a few simple lessons:

1. There are no missed opportunities. If something doesn’t feel right, trust that. You’ve got to make sure that it’s not just fear or self-sabotage holding you back (and you can tap on that), but oftentimes, you simply need to say “No” or “Not now”

2. Let that Inner Knowing guide you. When you know, you KNOW. I’ve been more and more surprised on a daily basis just how strong and wise my intuition can be. But you’ve got to listen to it. Again, tapping can help you gain that clarity. When you can’t make a decision or feel stuck… “Even though I can’t make this decision…” Just a few minutes of tapping and you’ll be surprised about the clarity you experience.

3. Don’t take yourself, or others, too seriously. One of my favorite parts about my evening with my family? We laughed. Deep, hearty chuckles at great stories, old jokes and being together. That nourishes the soul in the deepest of ways. That evening wasn’t about the next big thing, or spiritual growth or improving myself, it was just about BEING.

Of course, I’m just as passionate today about personal growth, about finding ways to improve my life. I’m busy at work today, moving forward, learning, helping, healing. And because I took that time, to just “BE”, I can bring more of myself, my best self, to this work.

So take some time to find that balance for yourself. When is it time to slow down? When do you need to recharge? When are you pushing just a little too hard? Or when are you reaching for things that seem “spiritual” or about “personal growth” but in fact disconnect you from the essence of your life.

And remember, the answer to all these questions is deep inside you. You KNOW.

Do you agree with my decision to stay home or do you think I’m crazy for missing the meeting? :) Where do you need to slow down? What did you learn from this story? Share your comments below.



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342 Comments on this post

  1. Vivian Franck says:

    Nick, I absolutely LOVED this article! Thank you so much for sharing . . . I was not fortunate enough to have the lovely family that you were blessed with, but have become very close to my nieces and nephews and their children, especially since my nearly catastrophic accident in 2006 at the age of 75. They came out of the woodwork! And we’ve become real family . . .

    Something in your article really hit home with me this morning: I’ve had off and on insomnia for years and used various mantras and also meditation to get back to my inner peace and easily fall asleep. But then I listened to what a famous teacher said about “not using something as a means to an end”; I would’ve done better to ignore this but mistrusted my own intuition and own inner knowing . . . something I’ve been working on for years.

    So, the idea of tapping to clarify what method to use to get to the answer within seems the most logical and practical way of getting the answer. I realize, of course, that the REAL ISSUE here is to finally LEARN TO TRUST MY OWN INNER WISDOM!

    Thank you thank you thank you, Nick Love and blessings,

  2. Esther says:

    Nick,if you are meant to meet the Dalai Lama,you will. I think that decisions are just decisions,there is no good or bad.You did the right thing,staying at home.
    If you are happy with the decision you made,tht is the right thing to do at that moment in time .
    Thank you so much to you and Jessica for the tapping solution,I love it and it has helped me a lot
    In my everyday journey.Thank you!

  3. ANN says:

    You were completely right to follow your inner knowing… blessings on having the wisdom to be in the right place and…. God speed to your Uncle

    Love and hugs

  4. satya says:

    i was moved by your story. so true. .Such wisdom – to trust yourself, when there seems to be no reason why you should make the choice such as you did. It is so hard to do. that is why the inner voice is often called ‘the still small voice’.

    The balance between push and flow, riding the Tao as some call it, is most evasive at times. I also an a passionate student of inner work and self development for 50 years now, teacher for 30+ years. I love what is available on the net and thro media now.

    I am a great fan of your work. you and Jessica and the others. thank you.

  5. Sandra Brunvand says:

    I work on listening to my inner guidance daily (and am improving on a daily basis, too :). But using Tapping for clarification had not reached my conscious level yet!! Of course!! How could I have so missed the obvious. An important lesson has been duly recognized and I will begin today to utilize Tapping in this area, too! Thanks, Nick! – – – Sandy Brunvand

  6. Kathleen says:

    I have smiled reading your newsletter…… as I travel through the middle of my life I have come to recognize and feel those inner voices that prompt me to re-think decisions I make in haste sometimes. In the past I would run with my decision and while I would have a great feeling of ‘high’ while doing this, often long afterwards I would say Kathleen you might have had a better result (life) if you did not do this!!
    We are on a journey, we are learning about ourselves all the time. Thank God, the Universe etc for this great opportunity to make a difference to ourselves and to those around us.
    You did the correct thing not meeting the Dalai Lama…….. someday you will.
    Good Luck and thank you for this…… K

  7. France Ogilvy says:

    Nick, if you are happy with the decision that you made, then it’s the right one.

  8. Dell Evett says:

    I can relate to the “personal growth overwhelm”… There are a bombardment of information comes to my email box everyday.. Last night I started listening to yet another webinar.. and in the middle.. I just stopped and shut the program down.. and said to myself.. stop this searching.. go with what you KNOW.. I know that Tapping has helped me… I KNOW that the information in “The Secret” has helped me.. and YES… I too have listened to Earl Nightingale.. Zig Ziggler.. Tony Robbins.. and the book that literally saved my life.. “Grow Rich With Peace of Mind” by Napoleon Hill… I need to just slow down and do what I know.. Thank for the reminder.. Dell Evett..

  9. Marilyn Bos says:

    I LOVED it !!!

  10. Naomi says:

    You were totally right!! And it was such a good question to ask yourself: what would the Dalai Lama have done?”

  11. Lee hartley says:

    I appreciated your waffling back & forth. There are so many times in life when we have to make choices – some small & some huge. I think that trusting & listening your inner self is exactly the “right” thing to do. Also, now that you’ve put it out there that you would like to see/meet the Dali Lama I know you will have another opportunity. It’s that cool – you’ll get both! Enjoy!

  12. Kathy Leonhardt says:

    I think you did exactly the right thing. I can certainly understand not wanting to pass up an opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama. But I think after hearing from your family what a special evening they had together and then hearing about the death of your Uncle not long after that, you would have had a harder time reconciling missing the family gathering than passing on the opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama.

  13. Joni says:

    I do believe you made the right choice. Family is so important and I am sure you felt that way. When your uncle passed on to a more glorious and pain free life, you could recall the conversations and love you shared with him that, what turned out to be, last time you were to see him on this earth. You did well. Joni

  14. Shaelah says:

    I was very moved by this article. It is amazing what our choices often show us. Thanks for sharing this again with us Nick.

  15. April Vendola says:

    I loved your story about meeting with your uncle from Argentina. Your Guardian Angel was probably telling you how important it was to see your uncle, because He knew that this would be your last chance to see him.

  16. Elizabeth says:

    Thankyou I find the tapping relaxing im going to do more and more my best friend passed away and tapping helps so much for me at this sad time Nick you did make the right decision not to go I also made a desion to stay home and my best friend came to visit and spend time and the next day he passed away

  17. Arlene Bascom says:

    Your decision is exactly what you should have done–and what every person needs to learn to do for himself–listen to that inner voice and pay attention to feelings. When I ignore my feelings and push, push, push I always pay a price with my health (or my relationships.) These tips are very wise…and very needed in our stress-filled world. Balance! That is the answer to overcome stress. Good article. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Kassie says:

    That’s way the beestst answer so far!

  19. Guin says:

    It’s knowing how and when to listen and you did just that. Excellent

  20. Marilyn says:

    Nick, you DEFINITELY made the right decision–and I agree that the Dali Lama would have supported your choice!! thank you for sharing!!!

  21. Ann says:

    Wise and mature – stepping off your “most important”, and often “professional” tracks, especially with an opportunity as great as meeting the Dalai Lama, confirms how much you have learned and are learning. When you do meet him, as you surely will, you will already be a wiser being than if you had met him on the occasion you chose not to.

  22. Linda Menegaux says:

    I agree with you decision! When we listen to our inner guidance, we are listening to Love, our higher self and we receive Gratitude and Peace! Thank you Nick for sharing your story to remind us! God Bless You!

  23. Connie Williams says:

    Thank you so much Nick for sharing your story about slowing down and enjoying time with your family instead of continuing at a fast pace. I am very inspired because I tend to go, go, go, in hot persuit of the next thing in natural health and sel-improvement. I have subscribed to many programs, Including your wonderful Tappig Solution, and have trouble focusing on things step-by-step because I’m interested in so many things. So, your lesson is a good lesson for me.

    I send my condolences on the passing of your uncle. How wonderful that you had that precious time with him together with your family.

    With much appreciation for your candor and sharing,

  24. Hilda says:

    I agree about trusting the inner voice, our intuition in making choices. Sorry for your loss…enjoyed the article. Thank you. God bless.

  25. Madeleine says:

    Yes, I love this stuff too… but after some time I realized that another yoga retreat doesn’t replace the time I have with my family, doing my own yoga on my own mat, and it doesn’t particularly make me a better person!! That being said, I am hooked in most of the time to self-help/spiritual speakers on my headphones too…… as long as it doesn’t take away from my “now” moments in my real life!

  26. April says:

    Love your decision!

    And this sentence stood out so much…”Or when are you reaching for things that seem “spiritual” or about “personal growth” but in fact disconnect you from the essence of your life.”


  27. iara says:

    I not only like it, but I am glad you used your intuition. I am at this moment working on restoring a broken relationship with a dear family member, and that re-enforce me to continue to try. Thank you

  28. Christine Gross says:

    Yes I believe that you made the right decision to stay home with family.

  29. grace urquhart says:

    You did trust your instincts..you will get another opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama.
    Thank you for telling this. We are all people with feelings. Yes, it is important to catch our breath.

  30. Barbara says:

    THANK YOU for sending me this blog! AND it helped me ON THE SAME DAY, to say NO to somebody, NOT THIS TIME! I’m not quite sure if I had said it without this VERY IMPORTANT REMINDER! Very often it seems so NATURAL to say YES immediately , specially when friends or well known persons want something from me. But it feels really “cool” to say NO when it does not feel right. I express it with the word “cool” because I remember as a child saying NO to my mother sometimes, (probably too seldom.) She always expected to have an obedient child! But never the less the inner guidance is there to decide right, ~yes it is in the feeling~
    I appreciate it more and more when I am able to spend some time with my daughter! TALKING AND BEEING TOGETHER IS EVERY TIME A GIFT TO ME ! I AM VERY PROUD OF HER! She went through many difficulties (and I as her mother- with her) I can see more and more how beautiful she really is from inside! I am very thankful for that!~ it gives me strengh and indeed I need that!

    dear Nick I send You my sympathy, because of the death of your uncle!
    it is a very nice “half- part- family- photo”! AND I liked the summer- photo from the blog before VERY MUCH! showing your wife and your niece sitting on the stone. ~ BEAUTIFUL MOOD ~

  31. Teresa Farrell says:

    Thank you so much for sharing that, Nick. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your uncle. Of course you made the right choice. It was right for you, your uncle and the rest of your family; precious time you could never have regained. Who knows, you may still get to see the Dalai Lama but you couldn’t have got to see your uncle again.

    Love and peace to you and your family.

  32. Emily says:

    Our very first “Teachers” are our parents and other close family members, who teach us what it is to be “loved”, and “to love” . The BEST “students” in turn, become the BEST “teachers”, and are able to share their knowledge humbly with anyone open to listening.

    I think, when the “time” is right, both You…..and….Tha Dalai-lama will be in the BEST of Company.

    Bless you for following your intuition, and showing your Family (first), the Love and Respect they surely deserve.
    With Peaceful Intentions for You and Your Family.

  33. Klara Fuhren says:

    I think it was absolutely right at that moment. You would have dragged yourself along, not being able to concentrate to the words of Dalai Lama.
    It was much more essential to be with your family and they are happy that you spend time with them.

  34. Caryl says:

    Sorry about the loss of your uncle Nick and thanks for the powerful share. I so relate because for the past six months I have consciously cut back on my work in the EFT-Matrix Reimprinting arena – books, blogs, sessions – to enjoy boomer life with my beloved husband of six years, focus on uplevelling my health and most recently spend a glorious 10 days of this sunny UK summer enjoying the Isle of Wight (Isle of Delight we call it) with my 9-year-old grandson…Finley.

    Yet I now feel refreshed and reinspired to relaunch my work as a healer and writer because of the break.

    As so many inspirational people have noted…when we pass on it is the LOVE we gave and shared that will be the only thing that matters…so important to find a life balance in what that means.

  35. Des - Australia says:

    It’s always sad to lose a relative. My feelings go out to you. I think it right that you spent time with your family. The Bible say, Exodus 20:12 (NKJV)
    12 “Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”

    Paul writes: Ephesians 6 (NKJV)
    2 “Honour your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

    This is not just honour for our biological father but for the elderly father figures. those who have influence over us. We should respect and honour them. You showed this by your action to your uncle and His’ family.

    Bless you – Des

  36. mary toohey says:

    Nick, thank you for sharing your experience. I absolutely think you made the right decision, It is difficult for families to stay connected from state to state around the country and around the world so an opportunity to do so even at a sacrifice is so worth it.
    Also thank you for sharing discussions with others who are inspirational also to listen to without cost.

    Keep up the good work.


  37. Teri Swanner says:

    I am reading this post 8/7/14 and simply want to convey my condolences on the passing of your Uncle. No doubt you know you did the right thing and thank you for being so real.in your emails. Both you and Jessica share from your hearts and through this process inspire others to live from their hearts.
    Your Uncle no doubt knew what a special young man he had for a nephew. May you find peace in your heart and warmth in the memories of your dear Uncle.
    God’s Peace,

  38. Linda says:


    You made an incredibly important decision about the trip. I think one thing that is VERY HARD to learn is to trust one’s own intuition. I’m working on that but I know it will be quite a while before I’m able to do so.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

  39. fabiana says:

    hello nick very touching article , I love it . We often forgot to be natural and simple . thanks for sharing with us , best regards , fabiana from argentina

  40. Susan says:

    I often regret not spending more time with my brother, whose plane went down in 1999 in the Baja peninsula never to be seen again. I sometimes declined his family dinner invitations because I didn’t feel up to it, only to regret the time lost and memories I’d never have of him. You helped me feel better about it. Better no memory then a bad memory to carry around the rest of my life. Thank you, I now realize there must have been a reason.

  41. Brij says:

    Hello Nick. In LIFE if you always follow your Heart, in other FAMOUS words, ”FOLLOW YOUR BLISS,” after which never look back, ever, with any regrets; because you are truly following your soul/ spirit, which is connected to the UNIVERSAL CONSCIOUSNESS or GOD.
    Your story makes that very point very poignantly

  42. veronica says:

    It is always a pleasure reading your stories. I think you made the right decision of staying with your family. There’s a saying that says ” you can’t leave God for God. Having your priorities in order is what helped you made that decision.