In this series I share crystallized moments and profound lessons gleaned from my journey studying various traditions and with teachers around the world with the goal of finding the wisdom to craft my life exactly the way I want it


It was an unusually warm spring afternoon in May of 2013 and I was in San Francisco’s Japan Town. My mentor had come up to spend some time with me to prepare for a trip we were to take to South America which would prove to be life altering.

It was a particularly fun trip because I got to show him all of my favorite spots in my favorite neighborhood in SF where I maintain an apartment and visit Alcatraz for the first time.

We were sitting on a cement bench and talking over some things. I asked him how he juggled trips to the Far East to work with his teacher while being a father and if that had been challenging. I also began to complain about some things in my life that were not exactly as I would have wanted them to be.

You know the feeling right – “If only I could deal with X” or “If Bob would just go away, I’d have so much less stress” or “This situation at work is just holding me back.” We all have plenty of examples of the above and being the Type A person that I am, I am not comfortable feeling restricted.

This teacher always knows exactly what to say and precisely when and how to say it so much so that trying to recount the life changing lesson I was about to get almost seems silly because it was so present, in that moment, in that conversation, and in that energy.

Anyway, he looked up and said:

“You know DJ, I just don’t let things restrict me

Wow. That sounds so simple and like kindergarten advice doesn’t it? I have found in my path through the esoteric that it’s usually the most obvious advice that really isn’t obvious at all. It’s what is right in front of your face that you can’t see and when you do see it, it can be embarrassing.

Kind of like having a friend point out that you have food stuck in your teeth or that your zipper is down.


I took this picture on our subsequent trip to South America

This led me to look into my life and examine what situations and people I was allowing to hold me back. Restrictions act like a ball and chain….they hold us back oftentimes to the point where we don’t even realize they are holding us back.

Yes, when we cut free of them, it’s like realizing you’re driving with the parking brake on.

Imagine you are running with a parachute behind you, you pull out a sword, and cut it free…see what I mean?

As I took the next couple of months to examine what was restricting me…and I mean what was really restricting me…all the insidious little subtle things that pop up in thoughts, words, and actions that were holding me back, I discovered that the well of untapped power was deeper than the last time I looked at it.

How about you? Are there any patterns in your thoughts, words, or actions that others might easily notice about you that you don’t notice yourself?

Do you constantly affirm the same things and then find that you keep complaining about them because magically they are still there?

Well here’s the secret – YOU are creating them and strengthening them.

This is the basis of affirmations in NLP and hypnosis – affirm what you want and allow your mind to create your experience.

I’m taking it a step further –

What are the actual physical tangible things in your life that you want to change because they are restricting you?


What are the unconscious thoughts, words, and actions that you are putting out to the universe that are creating or co-creating exactly what you experience?


What are the attachments you have that keep you from being able to let go. 

As an example of the latter point, consider if you are thinking of moving to a new place, yet you hold yourself back with self chatter like “but I can’t go because I grew up here or (insert any logical excuse.)” That place becomes a restriction.

What if you’re dealing with a difficult client: Do you wish them well and tell them they are a better fit elsewhere knowing the revenue will be replaced or do you let them become a restriction on you because you are attached to the income?

These are just two examples of the many, many different ways we restrict ourselves everyday.

It’s amazing how encumbered we have allowed ourselves to become and how much many of us hold onto things out of fear of letting them go such that they actually become part of our identities. (More on identities later)

There are a lot of programs and people out there that will claim to get you out of your own way but the truth is that only YOU can do it. Others can help but we are the only ones who can pull out the sword and cut away that which we do not need.

In my case, I had a mentor who was there with the exact right words exactly when I needed to hear them.

How about in your case? If you make it a point to pay attention to your own restrictions for a week, what might you find?

In my experiences with my teachers, I’ve come to know that reaching a state of purity is the biggest key to success in life. By purity in this case, I mean paring down the layers of restrictions to get to the core.

Many people look at me and think I have the perfect life and they are right, I do. If I had a dime for every time I heard “ah man you are so lucky…” There is no luck involved.

However, it wasn’t always the case, I created it and continue to create it that way. Life is a never ending process of learning, understanding, experiencing, and letting go.

And ultimately this is about building your personal power and your ability to generate results and happiness in your life. How many unhappy unrestricted people do you know? I’d venture a guess the answer is “hmm not many.”

I’d love to hear your experiences.

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