Sometimes, it takes a totally different experience to prompt you to rethink about what you currently have in life. Tony Lister shares how his world transformed by getting deep into the world of another human being, in this case, an orphan. As part of his Legendary Spiritual Adventure Retreat, Tony stayed the night at the Mountain Children Home Dadagaun orphanage high in the Himalayas in Nepal. A boy named Yurad offered to let him sleep in his bed while he slept on the floor. He gave it a five-star review on Airbnb.
This is the"Airbnb" review he left regarding his stay:
Orphanage in Dadagaun
The dinner of rice and cooked spinach was delicious, but there were no utensils - which turned out to be fine as everyone here just uses their fingers. The steel doors to the shared room didn’t seal, so it was quite cold, even with several blankets. I had to wear my jacket and wool hat all night. It had a shared bathroom. Very shared- with fifty other people. The view of the Himalayas was spectacular, but since two tigers had been spotted on the property, a chainlink fence had been built, and it was hard to get a good selfie with that fence in the way.
But I’m really giving it five stars because of the bed. The bed possessed magical properties. Maybe it had been blessed by one of the monks next door or something... I’m not sure exactly how, but it rid me of all of my complaints. It was quite simple in design—a steel bunk bed with a mattress made of a plywood board with what felt like an inch or two of cardboard on it. It was very firm and supportive.
But as I laid there, something very unusual happened—everything that seemed to be a problem in my life evaporated. Don’t get me wrong—the bills still need to be paid.My five kids still need to be fed. The physical realities of my life remain the same. But all of my complaints magically disappeared.
I’ve heard that walking in another man’s shoes for a mile does wonders for the soul. But a night in a guru’s bed cleansed me of my self-pity.
I highly recommend it.
Thank you Gerald Rogers for inviting me into the Legendary playground of the gods.
This episode is going to be about exercises and getting out of your story in your world. I'm starting this in the room where I slept at the orphanage in Nepal in the Himalayas. I'm here as part of a program that I helped co-facilitate called the Legendary Spiritual Retreat. Sunlight hasn't quite come in yet. It's pretty early. The boys are waking up, but this is where I slept. These little guys were gracious enough to share their beds and they make beds on the floor. Thank you for sharing your beds. It was very kind. We're cleaning up. This is where I slept. The two guys above me shared a bed and let me use theirs down below.This was an experience unlike anything I've ever had. I'm a big fan of experiences.
I’ll take a little tour of the place. I’ll try and describe it. They’ve got some bathhouses, little blow bathrooms and showers. We’re overlooking a little like soccer area, a flat parking lot area where we had our dance party for these kids. Behind the bathroom area overlooking the most magnificent valley. On the other side, the Himalayas, this hillside. The chicken coop is here behind me all covered with enormous boulders. There's a chain-link fence that they built because they've had a couple of tigers come up. There’s a national parks and wildlife reserve. You have to drive through to get to the orphanage that was up at the top of the hill. They've had a couple of tigers come, if you can imagine. Walking up the hill just a way above where they have their water tanks and their storage is this beautiful prayer field where they have, for the morning sunrise, strings and banners of Himalayan flags that blow in the wind.It's a pretty magnificent place.
I slept on that bed, on the little kid’s bunk. If you can imagine a steel bunk bed with a sheet of plywood and then some makeshift mattress. It felt like it was maybe ten stacks of cardboard boxes. If you took a bunch of Amazon delivery boxes and laid them flat, stacked them up so there’s a little bit of cushion and put a sheet over the top of it, that was about the softness of the mattress itself. I slept on that little kid's pillow. It was interesting because I noticed that his blanket was making my neck itch. I had these dreams of bugs crawling all over me. Some people might suggest that's a flashback from some psychedelic experience I had in the past.
The bed was not comfortable by any stretch of the imagination. I'm a mattress snob.If you've read The Origins podcast, my first business back in college was buying and selling mattresses. I like a nice mattress. I know what they're made of. I know how to make them. I try to sleep in good beds when I travel. Laying there was interesting because I didn't complain. I've complained so much about my life. I've complained about circumstances. I've complained about how relationships are showing up. I complained about my kids weren't showing up the way I wanted them to. I complained about other people and the things that they've done that I thought were wrong. I complained about my business is not taking off as fast as I wanted them to or the challenges that come up and having to face those challenges.
It was interesting because I knew the other kids were sleeping on the floor. They gave up their bed for me and for the others to sleep in it. It clearly wasn't comfortable. When I said, “How did you all sleep?” one boy said, “On the floor.” It’s a fascinating perspective to contemplate. The very uncomfortable mattress I slept on was the upgrade from the floor. I laid there and it gave me the opportunity to explore many aspects of my life that I've looked at in this comparative way and compared my life to how I thought my life should look. I'd look at others especially. We get it on Instagram and Facebook and social media, and we see the highlights of people's lives. We don't see all the pictures that didn't turn out well. We don't see the challenges behind the scenes. We see the people whose businesses are flourishing but most of us don't get to see the shit show.
I've been coaching business owners for many years and none of them has avoided the shit show. None of them has gotten out of the game of having a business,starting a business, doing all that and not having to deal with challenges. A lot of them have had to deal with lawsuits, setbacks, changes in the marketplace and the business. Everybody is facing it and it's easy to get caught into this game of comparing where we are to where we think we ought to be based on looking around us. I've been guilty of this in my life. I've spent so much of my life looking around and going, “I should have been further along.” What's funny is I was often the one teaching these seminars. I've lived an extraordinary life and had incredible opportunities and success relatively early. In my twenties, I had a lot of success in business. Even in that space,my inner dialogue was always, “I needed to get to the next level.”
I went out one day and I test drove this BMW Roadster. It was such a thrill that I bought it right then. Actually, I leased it. What’s so funny was I forgot that I had to pick up my daughter on the way home. There wasn't room for the car seat. It didn't fit in the front. I had to then call my brother and go,“Can I trade cars with you because I can't drive this car home. I have to take my daughter home with me. I bought this car and I was proud of it. I had grownup in a tremendous amount of scarcity. I was like a proud little peacock driving around this little convertible Roadster.
I went to one of the events where I was a speaker and there was another guy at the event. He made a lot more money than I was making. At least that was the story he made up. Who knows if it’s true or not. We're sitting around at lunch and my business partner told him about this new car. I was so proud of it. He goes, “What kind of car?” I told him and he made this comment about it. He was a real jokester. He joked all the time. I'm not going to say what the joke was.He made a little sideways comment about that car. Immediately I went from being proud to thinking, “I have to get a Ferrari.” I have to get something even faster than that because of this joke that somebody made. It was this comparison game that doesn't end until we end it.
It was this magnificent experience of laying there and getting to take inventory of my life, my opportunities, my challenges and what counts. This whole idea of leveling up. If you watch the video I made where we did the dance party for these kids, it was interesting to watch them come into this space of me looking at them and going, “What chances do they have in life? What skills are they going to develop? How are they going to create the life that they want to create?” Witnessing how they treated each other. My whole idea of leveling up only had to do with your physical body or your relationships to your money and these kids developed this incredible gift for loving and being joyful.
They had so much fun. All of us adults who put this on were tired. We were like,“That was fun.” After an hour of dancing, we're ready to cut out and these kids are like, “Another, another, another.” It's so much fun. They then invited us to dinner and they let us sit in their little makeshift kitchen, this little tiny room. They all got the wash plates for us all. They offered us their dinner. We had rice with some cooked kale, spinach or something and a little bit of some fried potato pieces. You eat it with your hand, which was such an interesting experience. I was grubby and dirty. I went and wash my hands and the bar soap was slippery. It wouldn't come off. I couldn't get it to wash off my hands. It was like my own sense of germs and all that was coming up. You just sat down with them and you ate with your hand because that's what we did here. I’ve got to witness this whole conversation of leveling up in a way that matters.
We'll probably make available as episodes the training that I've been doing here on how can I learn to love myself more today? I'm wondering for you because I'm guessing if you're into this show, then you’ve got a mix of few things. You’ve got a mix of this ambition in you of wanting to create a different life experience than you’re having and wanting to level up financially, which I still think is essential. I don't know that I've been teaching the full spectrum of having the fullest life because just leveling up financially won't do it. When I was teaching my seminars years ago and just starting this out, I would teach people how to make more money. There are certain principles that when we follow them, then we can make more money. We learned certain skills. We learned sales, communications, marketing and negotiation.
We learned how to show up with value. We learned how to structure ourselves in away that we get things done in the order and the time that they need to get done. We learned to schedule ourselves effectively to get the biggest bang for our buck. Those are the principles that you can learn so that you can make more money. Those are the principles you learned like getting in the flow state,being in that peak energy, in that peak clarity and learning how to get into it over and over. You start to develop skills that are useful to employers or are useful to you as a business owner. You can make more money, but I would teach people how to do that and they'd double, triple or quadruple their income. They never dealt with the inner stuff. They never dealt with that haunting inner voice that says, “Where I am, who I am and what I am is not good enough.”
They would try to use that money to boost. They'd go and get a car. They buy an expensive watch or something that they thought was going to fill them and it wouldn't because it doesn't do that and then they'd be lost. They started leaning in this direction of creating this inner healing work in conjunction with making money. My guess is you're in this show because there's part of you that wants to level up your finances and there's that part of you that recognizes there's more to life than just money. It's experiences and there's a calling, a purpose, and a sense of fulfillment that's available when we can dial that in. You want to level up in that area. That transactional relationship that may have been a part of your life or maybe still a part of your life, but there's this desire or this instinct for vulnerability to be known, to be met, to connect deeply with human beings, whether it's deeply as friends in a deeply connected way.
In our workshops, we have these beautiful connection exercises where people look at each other in the eyes. They'll get present to the person in front of the man they'll speak the greatness they see in the other person. The level of emotional intimacy that fills us, that’s rich and rewarding. Maybe it's in your love relationship. You want more than just transactional sex. You want to experience a deep and rich touching of your soul in the expression of who you are as a sexual being. If you're into that, I'm guessing that at this point, if you're still reading, this speaks to you. There's something more, something bigger and more expansive in our experience and I celebrate that. I salute that in you of listening to that calling and that nagging voice that doesn't let loose.
I'm going to invite you to figure out how to do what I did on your own. How to put yourself and immerse yourself fully into the world of someone who has much lesson a physical, emotional, spiritual level or some level. Get deeply into the world of another human being that you transform your world. There’s something that happens. There's something that you can't fake when you sleep in an orphan's bed. There's a part of you that you have to get present to. You gain perspective on your bullshit stories of what's wrong with your life. The stories that we make up like, “This sucks. Why does it have to be this way? It should be different, faster, easier, better, more connective, healthier.”
I get it, but when you get into this other person's world, when you get into the mind-heart, and space of a human being who is dealt a completely different hand in life than you were dealt, it causes you to go, “I'm blessed. I'm fortunate.I'm lucky.” I got my stuff. I got the issues. I have to deal with the conflict.I have to resolve the lawsuits. I have to sort through the pain that I've caused in relationships. I've still got the body issues that I haven't been able to edge over. I still have to figure out, “How do I level up financially.What is that belief system that needs to shift? What is the behavior pattern that needs to shift? What fear do I need to step through in order to make that money?” You’ve got to do all that.
There's this quote I used to hear from Wayne Dyer. He didn't make it up, but I heard him say it. I think the credit is to some wise monk or something up on a mountain, I don’t know. He says, “Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.” It's like this experience of not just walking in another person's shoes but sleeping in another person's bed. I woke up a different person and I still need to go and do the work. I still need to go and manage my business. I still need to go and resolve the lawsuits. I still need to go and do the repair work where I've caused pain. I still need to go and exercise my body in a way that's effective. I still need to eat good food. I still need to do my ritual, my breathing, and do the things to get me into the flow and into the zone.
I'm going to invite you to look at your life right now. This may be as simple as you're going down to the soup kitchen in your local town and serving soup or maybe staying the night, but to get out of the rut you've been living in. Put some perspective on it, shake it up a little bit, wake yourself up because it causes you to instantly go to genuine gratitude. It’s interesting to be laying there on the hard surface and my arm was going to sleep. It wasn't comfortable at all and no part of me was complaining.I was like, “My arm is falling asleep. I'll just turn over.” It was freezing cold and no part of me was complaining about how cold it was. The itching on my neck from that blanket, I didn't like it. I moved the blanket off my neck. I didn't like it staying there and take the itch, but no part of me complained.It was so remarkable inside me to experience that. It was almost foreign to not sit and whine about it on some level. Figure out a way to shake yourself out of the rut and wake up. You'll be glad you did. I look forward to talking to you in the next episode. In the meantime, create yourself a fantastic day.