Self Development

When to “not” meet the Dalai Lama…

Written 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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359 Comments on this post

  1. Jody says:

    Thank you Nick, for continually sharing real, helping, healing insight! I appreciate your work! And the light you shine!! Thanks!! Shine on!!!

  2. Mary says:

    Oh my…..this article spoke so clearly to my condition! I want it all! I want to absorb the teachings of those whom I admire and trust; I want to do my own work; I want to be there for others. When I make one decision, I leave another behind. But, was it the right decision, I stress? It is when I realize the ‘rightness’ of my decision, I learn to trust my gut, once again. Thank you for a great article!

  3. Anne says:

    You made a choice that nourished your soul and your families. The Dali Lama is such a beloved spiritual teacher and so wise. I think he would have agreed you made the right choice. When my Dad was dying of cancer he called and asked me to come home and go sailing with him. I was living a 5 hour drive away and had a very demanding job. I made the choice to take a few days off to spend with him. He had leukemia for many years and lived a very good life despite all the treatments he endured. We sailed across the Chesapeake bay and spent the night moored in the harbor of St Michael MD. A water taxi picked us up and we had a great time cracking crabs, drinking beer, and watching the sunset. It was a magical weekend and the last time I saw my dad. He died the next week and the memory of our last weekend, which was so beautiful, still fills my soul with JOY.

  4. Vicky muthu says:

    I think you made the right choice because for you family is more important that anything else…..but for a person who places spirituality above any other attachment in life……meeting dalai lama would have been the up most choice. Om Sakhti. God bless you.

  5. Alice says:

    I think you made the right decision.

  6. Kurt says:

    1) Listen to your feelings/instincts/intuition
    2) If in doubt, clarify with tapping
    3) Heed it

    Thanks for the lesson, Nick

  7. Stephanie says:

    Dear Nick,
    there are times when 2 or 3 things/ events important for oneself are happening at the same time. I am experiencing this one or two times a year and I always find this “mean” 😉 because I have to make a decision between several great things. Your story gives me the feedback that I needed to then ask myself what I really want and then go ahead and enjoy myself. And yes, there are times when I feel overwhelmed by my own wish to grow and heal and serve the world. Then those time-outs of sharing laughs with friends (or family) are wonder-full. I also love to be in nature to come down and recharge. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Kararaina Poa says:

    Best decision. U trusted your instinct

  9. Iona says:

    In each moment there is a healing opportunity, to express our true essence. What a great experience and i am sure the Dalai lama would agree. Thanks for sharing.

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