How To Shift Your Perceptions & Emotions with Dr. John Demartini

Updated on August 16, 2020 • 2 minute read


In this Conscious Conversation, world-renowned thought leader and global teacher, Dr. John Demartini discusses his greatest contribution to humanity: The Demartini Method and how this powerful tool can help us shift our perceptions, dissolve triggers and charges, balance our emotions, and help us create a greater sense of balance and fulfillment in all life areas.

Dr. Demartini is considered one of the world’s leading authorities on human behavior and leadership development.

As an educator, he travels full time around the world teaching people self-governance and how to develop their leadership and empowerment in all areas of their lives.

He is the author of over 40 self development books including the best-seller The Breakthrough Experience and has shared the stage with some of the world’s most influential educators such as Stephen Covey, the late Dr. Wayne Dyer, and Deepak Chopra and has been interviewed on the world’s leading television and radio networks such as Larry King Live, The Early Show and Wall Street and magazine publications such as Shape, Leadership, Success, Prestige, Entrepreneur and O Magazine.


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Free Resource: The Demartini Values Determination Process 


Episode Highlights: 

  • “The Demartini Method is a way of transforming judgment into love, transforming disorder into order, and transforming things that are apparently chaotic into making sense until you can actually see that whatever is happening is on the way not in the way, so that you’re a mastery of your destiny instead of a victim of your history.”
  • “You will never see a trait in somebody else that you don’t have. And if you’re judging it, it’s reminding you of something that you’re judging in yourself… Whatever you see in others you have inside.”
  • “Every individual – regardless of race, creed, color, age, or sex – lives by a set of priorities and a set of values according to whatever is most important or least important in their life. It’s very unique, it’s very fingerprint specific. No two people have the same values. 

    So identifying what those are is crucial because if you set goals that are aligned and congruent with your highest values you have the great achievement in life. You move forward, you unfold, you have self worth. You end up with more certainty, more achievement, more expanded space and time horizons. You give yourself permission to do amazing things. But if you set a goal that’s not yours, that’s not really a true value to you, you’ll beat yourself up, you’ll have internal anger and aggression, blame and you’ll betray yourself, you’ll criticize and challenge yourself, you’ll be despaired and depressed, you’re unfulfilled, you’ll shrink, you’ll end up at the shrink, you’ll doubt yourself. 



OSMARA: Welcome to Motherhood Community .

Today we’ll be exploring one of the most powerful tools to help you shift your perceptions and emotions with world-renowned thought leader, Dr. John Demartini.

This one of my favorite Conscious Conversations.

Unfortunately, while I was skyping him, the connection was sub-par which caused glitches in the audio. Despite these little glitches the wisdom contained in these next minutes is, in my opinion, something really worth listening to especially if you’ve been exposed to some of John’s work already.

So who is Dr. Demartini and why am I excited to bring him to Motherhood Community ?

Not only is he one of my greatest mentors & teachers, he’s considered one of the world’s leading authorities on human behavior and leadership development.

I’ve been studying his curriculum and methodologies for years now, and have experienced great shifts both within myself and also in my outer reality as a result of implementing his work. As an educator, John travels full time around the world teaching people self-governance and how to develop leadership and empowerment in all areas of life.

Read full transcript

He is the author of over 40 self development books including the best-seller The Breakthrough Experience and has shared the stage with some of the world’s most influential educators such as Stephen Covey, the late Wayne Dyer, and Deepak Chopra. He’s been interviewed on television and radio networks such as Larry King Live, The Early Show and Wall Street and magazine publications such as Shape, Leadership, Success, Prestige, Entrepreneur and O Magazine.

Undoubtedly, his biggest contribution to the world is The Demartini Method, and that’s what we’re discussing today.

Let’s hear it straight from the Creator himself:

JOHN: The Demartini Method is a way of transforming judgment into love, transforming disorder into order and transforming things that are apparently chaotic into making sense until you can actually see that whatever is happening is on the way, not in the way. So you can become a master of your destiny, not a victim of your history. So it’s a series of questions that I’ve been working on for many, many years, really going back to when I was 18.

OSMARA: You know, we’re so wrapped up in the illusion of separation that it’s so easy to judge, and it’s so easy to have a charge on something, and it’s so easy to create stories about what happened and why the method is so powerful is because it helps us get in that space of being able to own the trait, you know. You say that we have every single trait. Every single one of us possesses every single trait that there is. Tell us a little bit more about that because when we can get to owning traits, that also facilitates the flow.

JOHN: Well, what happened is many, many years ago, I started to reflect. I started looking at my own life and started looking at when I reacted to people, when people pushed my buttons. And so at the end of the day, when I would reflect on what was happening, I would look back and I’d go, “Ok, I got upset with this particular person,” maybe a friend or a customer, a client or somebody and I ask, “What exactly did I get upset about?”

And I wrote down what it is that they did that I felt upset about and then I said, “All right, so what did they do specifically?” or, “What did they not do?” because sometimes it was an omission more than a commission or maybe that they just had a certain trait that I judged.

So I wrote down whether it was a trait, maybe the way they were dressed or maybe the way they looked or something, or some action or something they didn’t do. And I wrote it down and then I asked myself: “Why am I judging this? Why is this causing me such a reaction?”

Because I realized that I never met this person. Why am I reacting? This is obviously bringing something up in me and then I asked, “If I’m reacting, who am I to react? Why am I judging him or her?” First of all, I looked and see if I’m doing that, that same action then who am I to judge?

So I first went through there and made a list of what the traits were or the actions and then I asked myself, “Where have I done that? When have I done that? To who have I’ve done that to? Who’s seen me do that?” And lo and behold, I found out that I too had done them. I went through every one of them.

So every time I would react to somebody, I would notice that I had done that somewhere in my own life in some form or fashion at some time and then I thought, “I wonder if that’s true for every action I perceive.” So I went through the Oxford dictionary. It’s the biggest dictionary I could find. Thin paper, giant, thick dictionary and I went page by page, line by line for every trait that I could define in a human being and I circled it.

And so whatever the trait was, I then asked, “Who do I know in history or in my life that is the biggest display of this trait that I…when I think of that trait, I think of this person? Who’s a strong example of that?” And I put their initial next to it.

Then I would ask, “Where and when have I done that trait?” And I kept listing where and when I’ve done it, where and when have I done it until I could acknowledge that I’ve done that trait to the same degree as I saw in those other people and to my surprise…because I didn’t believe it at first but then after doing that, I found out that every one of the traits that I saw in people, that I identified in this dictionary, I had and I went through 4,628 traits over a period of time, going through page by page.

And then I started thinking, “Well, if I have every trait, the only reason I’m reacting is because I’m somehow judging that trait.” and then I found out that whenever I was judging that trait, there was a part of me that was feeling guilty about me doing that trait.

So I realized that I only judge somebody on the outside that reminded me of a part of me on the inside. I was judging for doing that trait. I was judging and then I asked, “Where did I get that judgment on that trait? Where did it come from? Who said I was supposed to judge that trait? Where was the rule coming from that made me judge in the first place?”

And then I realized that I had subordinated to somebody’s opinion about what was good and bad, that I had injected that into my life and that was a real eye-opener because I realized, “Wow, I wasn’t even aware of the things I was judging.” I wasn’t even aware I was getting those judgments from and I had every one of the traits.

So I first started exploring with my students and had them do the same thing and we make a list of things that we’ve judged in somebody, that we either admired or despised and then where and when and who did they have it, where they’ve done it.

And now, after doing that with a quarter of a million people, I’m certain you will never see a trait in somebody else that you don’t have and if you’re judging, it’s reminding you of something you’re judging in yourself and that was a major breakthrough when I first did that. That was the first step of the Demartini Method that I uncovered: that whatever you see in others, you have inside.

And now, after doing this, like I said, so many thousands of times and taking people through the Breakthrough Experience and watching them watch this reality, I’m certain that you will never perceive a trait in somebody else that won’t remind you of something inside you, if you have a judgment.

So that was the first step. Then the next step was this thing that I thought was terrible or terrific, I found out that there were other sides to it and I was ignoring it. So if I was infatuated with somebody, I was ignoring the downside. If I was resentful to somebody, I was ignoring the upside.

So I had to go in there and identify where and when did they do the opposite or what were the benefits to those traits or the drawbacks of those traits and level the playing field and I started adding that to the Demartini Method and asking people, “Whatever you admire, what are the downsides?” or, “Whatever you despise, what are the upsides?” and bring those into balance and the moment they did, the judgment would go away.

They would own the trait then, they would flat line the trait, and then the judgment was gone and they’d start to appreciate the person all of a sudden and then their heart opened up and they appreciated the person for their contribution to their life, to bring out the things that they were judging about themselves. That was a major breakthrough when I did that.

Then I started asking people, “When I’ve done it, how did it benefit the people I’ve done it to if I was beating myself up about a trait?” or, “What were the drawbacks to the person if I was proud about a trait?” And I leveled the perceptions I had on me and then I asked, “Where does this person have the opposite trait?”
Because I found out that we label people sometimes and exaggerate how often they do something or when I asked people and I go up to people and I say, “If I told you you’re always mean, you’re never nice, would you believe it?” And they go, “No.” If I say, “you’re always nice, you’re never mean, would you believe it?” “No.” “But if I said sometimes you’re nice, sometimes you’re mean, you believe it?” “Yes.” So that means that if I’m labeling somebody and exaggerating somebody as being all one side or the other, it’s not true.

We all have every trait and we play the opposite trait at times. So then I went back to the list of traits and I found out that there were pairs of opposites, dualities in all the traits and I started pairing them off and placing them across from each other and I was blown away. I found 4,628 positive-negative comparisons and…well, the traits so half that in comparisons.

And then I realized that where I asked the people, “Where do they do the opposite trait?” and I found out that first, they didn’t want to look because they want to be right in their judgment. Then when they looked deeply, they found out, “My god, the person’s done the opposite trait after all.”

And then all of a sudden, the label that they projected on to the person calmed down and then they realized that they’re just a human being with a set of values, responding, and sometimes they’re nice, sometimes they’re mean. Sometimes they’re kind, sometimes they’re cruel. Sometimes they’re generous, sometimes they’re stingy. Sometimes they’re honest, sometimes they’re dishonest. Welcome to life and that calmed down some more judgment.

And then I came to a major discovery that I think is one of the coolest discoveries that I’ve ever come across: an integrated network, if you will, and I realized that whenever somebody was, let’s say doing something that I was labeling negative, simultaneously, there was somebody doing the opposite at the same time.

And then I discovered a law called the Law of Eristic Escalation which had been discovered by a sociologist and going all the way back to Aristotle’s time: Whatever’s going on, the opposite’s going on and whatever’s being expressed, somebody’s being repressed and I found out that at the same time that somebody’s criticizing you, there’s somebody praising you. There’s these pairs of opposites that are synchronously going on. I started incorporating that into the Demartini Method and made people ask questions.

When somebody, let’s say criticized you or rejects you, you look at who’s praising you and who’s wanting you and honoring you and all of a sudden, all this stuff that they carry around as emotional baggage, it poofs. It just kind of dissolves. And then I did another…when I discovered that, I was just blown away by the intelligence, you might say, of the universe, making sure that everybody on the planet is getting a pair of opposites at the same time.

OSMARA: So taken care of.

JOHN: They’re like being taken care of. There’s really a loving energy out there. Then I started doing that on people that were skeptical and researchers and stuff and even they were going, “Oh, crap, this is true. Major discovery here.” And I said, “Yeah, it’s like a tear-jerking discovery about human behavior.”

And then finally, I realized that a lot of people were judging things because they were addicted to fantasies about how life is supposed to be. So then if they have a fantasy that people are supposed to be kind and sweet and positive all the time then when they’re mean, they get really upset but if you have a realistic expectation that there are times when people are nice and times when they’re mean, there are times when they’re kind, there are times they’re cruel, if you have that expectation, you’re less likely to be really judging somebody.

So I basically then had to find a way of breaking the fantasies and the unrealistic expectations that people were having towards other people and I asked a new set of questions, “If a person was to act the way you fantasized, the way you hoped they would be, what would be the drawback?” They never asked that. They just assumed that life would be happy if they would do that and I cracked their fantasies and that made them appreciate the person for who they are.

Now, I just gave you the seven steps on just one side of the Demartini Method but if a person does that, any resentment that they have goes away. It just dissolves and the same thing in reverse for infatuation.

So that was the beginning of the Demartini Method. That gradually developed and now, there are 48 questions involved in the Method that I’d have to take probably an hour to go through them all but those are the first seven in fourteen columns that’s involved in it, and it’s now a science to help people dissolve emotional baggage, dissolve judgments on people, dissolve this idea there’s a mistake and actually get down to the core of what’s going on and help them appreciate really the magnificence of themselves and the magnificence of people around them.

OSMARA: The biggest takeaway I had when I went through the Breakthrough Experience was…it’s like you say, all it takes is just one shift in perception and the whole house comes crumbling down and you shift dimensions and your reality completely changes and nothing changed on the outside. It was all an inside job and we’re so conditioned to think that we have do, do, do, do on the outside. So that’s liberating. It’s empowering.

JOHN: I had a gentleman the other day and he picked his father that he thought he would work on because he knew he had a major charge on his father, because I asked him to take the biggest charge that’s affected his life that he’d like to dissolve. He picked his dad and he wrote down everything that he hated about his dad and then he prioritized it.

We took them one at a time and that list was long and he started shifting away doing the Method and it took him hours. It wasn’t just a quick thing. It was a very tedious process because he really fought it. He really didn’t want to go there. He wanted to be right. You can’t be angry with your dad for 42 years without wanting to hold on to being right. Otherwise, it’s illogical to be angry at somebody.

So he was fighting the process and myself and my facilitators were helping him step by step and finally, around 11:00 at night when we finished the exercise, he was just quiet. He just looked out and he started getting tears in his eyes and all of a sudden, he saw that, you know, his career path, his educational path, his marital selection path, his economic path, most everything he did had something to do with his father and then if he hadn’t had that big blow up with his father, he probably would’ve been living in a small town, doing a small life, following in the trade of his father and he became an entrepreneur, did amazing things with his life, if it hadn’t been for that turning point.

He never saw it until then. He’s always just blamed his father and he never saw that that was one of the greatest catalysts of his life until that night at the Breakthrough Experience. At about 11:30, he actually just opened up his heart and realized he loved his father and he pretended like he didn’t all those years. And I said, “So who here reminds you of your father you can communicate as a surrogate?” He picked a man and he sat before him and got really present with this man and the father appeared to him in his mind and all of a sudden, he opened his heart.

He said things to his father that he wasn’t able to say all those years. And the man that was a surrogate spoke back to him and said some very profound things to him that just broke him down into tears further and they hugged each other. There was a major clearing and that night, about 12:30, he got on the phone. He called his dad. He says, “I want to come see you.”

So three days later, he met with his dad and when he spoke to his dad, he broke down into tears again with gratitude and his father said the very words that the surrogate in the program had said. He said the same exact words which spooked him. They really hugged and they really made up, and his father died three days later. And his father, he believes today, was waiting for that day before he could die. He was in his 80’s. He was ready to go. He didn’t want to go not having this father and son love relationship.

When he got through, the man came back to the Breakthrough Experience again when I went back to Australia and he came back to the Breakthrough Experience the next time I came. He says, “I came back and I just want to give you a hug because if I hadn’t gone there, my father may have died and I may never have gotten to communicate my appreciation to him.”

So that was a very amazing clearing and see, we don’t know when our last 24 hours is. We don’t know when the last 24 hours of somebody else is and sometimes we don’t give that priority. If we really had only a few hours left, we would say “thank you,” “I love you” to people. We’d realize all the judgments are trivia and the very essence of our existence is “thank you”, “I love you.”

So the Demartini Method, just like in his case, is helping people, thousands of people, transcend the trivia and get down to the core essence of their being which is “thank you,” “I love you,” and also to themselves. I have people that have not been able to say, and look in the mirror, “I love you” to themselves and they’re able to and they’re able to say “thank you” and realize that whatever’s going on in their life was not a mistake.

It was right on track and that’s worth a lot to people – to be able to clear back generations in families and clear stuff for themselves. And beating themselves up for the way they manage money or the way they’ve done their business or their previous relationships or kids or whatever, clearing all that out and just saying “thank you,” and being free to that is what this method offers and it’s a science.

It’s duplicatable. It’s not a hit or miss. It’s a science that’s reproduced, only guaranteed results. It works every time. You’ve seen it, at the program. I stand up there every weekend. I do it 40 times a year. I do well over…you know, I don’t know how many people…I’ve done about a quarter million people.

OSMARA: And what this man just experienced with his father is a perfect example that when we surrender, we can…that’s magic. It’s the grid at work. Einstein called it Spooky Action at a Distance. There’s been a multitude of studies that have shown how interconnected we are in so many ways in the unseen realm. So one of the things that I think is very powerful about the Method is that when you’re dissolving your charges in that moment, you’re also helping the other…the other person is feeling that weight drop too.

JOHN: I want to share a story that’s…it was pretty profound, if you don’t mind. I was in Melbourne, Australia I’m going to guess 18 years ago, 17 years ago and doing the Breakthrough Experience then and there was a gentleman there named Chris who is a lovely individual, who I’m still friends with and he had gone through a divorce and he had a beautiful 11-year-old daughter and a son who is about 16 or so at that time and he was hosting the program.

He was bringing people together to go through the Breakthrough Experience and his former wife was supposed to take care of the daughter for the weekend but the last minute, she had to bail out on him. And so the 11-year-old daughter had to come to the Breakthrough Experience. So he’s kind of juggling the two things, managing the program and also helping his daughter. So the daughter’s listening to a headset, some music and drawing and part time listening to the program and this kind of thing over in the corner and kind of in her own world occasionally and every time, she’d listen in.

Sometimes she’d go back to her own world but at the end of the evening, on Saturday night, after people have done the Demartini Method, all the people, there was a lady about 57 years old who had just done her mother and her mother was in her 70’s. She had major charges on her mother. She felt that her mother tried to control her and felt that she tried to interfere with her marriage, and her life and this kind of stuff and put guilt trips on her and this kind of thing.

And so when she finished the Method, she was just speechless and she was just…tears were in her eyes and she felt love for her mother and she wanted to communicate that. So I asked her, “Who in the room here would act as a surrogate for her mother?” And so she looked around the room, and it wasn’t a big room. There were about 35, 40 people. She looked around and all of a sudden, she looked at this young girl, the 11-year-old girl in the corner and she’s like, “I have no idea why but this 11-year-old girl represents my mom and really reminds me of my mom.” And I said, “OK. Well, that’s what it is. Let’s have her come up.”

So Chris went over there and got his daughter and had her sit across from this woman. Now, the woman’s 57, the little 11-year-old girl’s there but, she – her mother – was in her 70’s, 76 I think. So she sits there and starts talking to this 11-year-old girl. Now, this 11-year-old girl wasn’t even in on all of this stuff. She was just there.

She was sometimes in, sometimes out but she’s sitting across and just sitting there and looking into the woman’s face and the woman starts speaking, starts crying and starts telling her mother how much she loved her and how much she appreciates all the things she’d done. She’s finally made sense of everything and she realized that she just wants to let go of all the judgments and just was there because she’d finished the Method.

As she was speaking and opened her heart, the girl is in tears and I’m watching, the father, Chris is watching, the whole room gathers around as we finish these last steps and they’re just listening in and it’s really touching to watch this woman talk to her mother this way.

And all of a sudden, the 11-year-old girl reaches up a shaking hand and goes over and starts stroking the woman who’s 57 years old, starts stroking her hair down the side of her head and then she speaks, an 11-year-old girl, and she says this, says, “Oh, my dear, precious little angel. You’ve been my special little angel your whole life, my dear. You’ve been my angel since the day your eyes opened up, since the day you were born, my dear. I’ve loved you since that first day. You’ve been in my heart your whole life. Whatever has happened between us, just know that I love you. You’ve always been my loved one. You’re my special, beautiful daughter,” and this lady was in tears. The girl was in tears. The whole room was in tears and she sat there shaking and stroking her hand…the hair of this lady.

When this all stops, the lady turns to me and she says, “How did this girl know that my mother had a palsy in the left hand and then she had, you know, a tremor in her hand? And how did she know to say what she said? Because only my mother knew those words and only knew what she used to call me. How the hell did she know that? That was my mother sitting in front of me.” I said, “That’s the Method.”

OSMARA: You plug into the Grid.

JOHN: And that’s the Grid. She plugged into the Grid, as you called it, or the Network or the Field of Entanglement, whatever you want to call it. When you see that week after week after week as I do, as I travel, because I do the Breakthrough Experience about 42 times a year, for 25 years now.

So I’ve done it over a thousand times and I see it every week, these kind of connections and I’ve seen people, who have finished the Method, go on to meet the people, and that person, at the time this occurred, were connected and thought about the person.

So there’s a powerful transformational tool there that keeps me busy every weekend, trying to share it with people in the world. Helping psychologists, psychiatrists and specialists and thousands of facilitators now around the world try to bring it to people. It’s too powerful to overlook and to ignore it. If you go through it, you follow it. You can’t ignore it. It’s very powerful. So I’m very inspired to be participating and up and develop that because it’s mind-blowing. That’s all I can say. It’s mind-blowing.

OSMARA: It’s very thorough and comprehensive. And on that note, let’s talk about highest values. Everything we do and don’t do is driven by what our highest values are. So the more that we can know ourselves, the more that we can know what we value, the more we’ll understand ourselves and the less frustrations we’ll experience. Let’s talk a little bit about that.

JOHN: Yes.

OSMARA: And about how you’re living your highest values, you know, in that kind of a way, how you create a life from that and what’s possible because of that.

JOHN: Well, every individual, regardless to race, creed, color age or sex, live by a set of priorities and a set of values and whatever is most important or least important in their life and it’s very unique. It’s very fingerprint specific. No two people have the same values.

So identifying what those are is crucial because if you set goals that are aligned and congruent with your highest values, you have the greatest achievement in life. You move forward. You unfold. You have self-worth. You end up leading. You end up with more certainty, more achievement, more expanded space and time horizons. You give yourself permission to do amazing things.

But if you set a goal that’s not yours, it’s not really a true value to you, you’ll beat yourself up. You’ll have internal anger and aggression, blame and you’ll betray yourself. You’ll criticize and challenge yourself. You’ll be despaired and depressed. You’ll be unfulfilled. You’ll shrink. You’ll end up at the shrink. You’ll doubt yourself. I mean, it can make a difference of a grateful life or an ungrateful life, how you set goals and making sure they match what’s really important to you.

So values are the cornerstone because every decision you make is based on them and everything you perceive, decide, and act upon is based on your values. So knowing what they are is crucial and then prioritizing your life and setting goals that are aligned to them and prioritizing your daily life and delegating lower priority things and getting on with higher priority things is how you self-actualize your life and how you have fulfillment and gratitude and self-worth and how you ultimately have net worth.

So I think that that’s one of the most significant things that we can contribute to people’s lives, to help people set realistic expectations according to real values that are really important so you really do things. That’s the key. I’ve just happened to be able to know what mine are.

I’ve spent my life delegating lower priority things, getting on with higher priority things and today, I’ve been blessed to live a pretty extraordinary life, doing what I love, loving what I do and, you know, I’ve been empowered all the years of my life because of that. And so I’m trying to help other people to do the same. I know it helps.

OSMARA: What are your three highest values?

JOHN: Mine? Very simple. I love learning and researching. I love writing what I research. I love sharing and teaching what I research and I love traveling around the world doing those three things. So I research, write, travel, teach.

OSMARA: And for those of you that don’t know, tell us a little bit about that and then the whole hippie surfer dude stage and the progression of that.

JOHN: Well, I was born with my hand and foot turned in and I had to wear braces on my arm and leg when I was a child because I had pigeon hand and pigeon foot, you know. I was like this. And so I guess I was not positioned in the womb. And so when I came out, I was also left-handed which was considered sinister.

OSMARA: I’m left-handed.

JOHN: Well, left-handed and right-minded, right? But I had to wear braces. They used the braces not only to straighten my arm and leg but also to try to get me to not use my left side, to try to get me right-handed because they thought that was good but it didn’t work. I stayed left-handed. I still use both hands today but then when I got to first grade, I found out that I had learning problems.

I already knew I had speech impediment because I had to go to speech pathology as a child because I couldn’t pronounce and I couldn’t speak very well. And then when I got to first grade, I had learning problems that my teacher gave up on me and said, you know, “Your son is never going to be able to read or write or communicate, never amount to anything, never go very far in life,” and she told my parents that in front of me and it was true.

I couldn’t read. I couldn’t understand things and the only way I could get through school is by asking kids, the smart kids, what they got out of it. If they told me what they got out of it, I could understand it but me reading it didn’t make any sense because I couldn’t read and understand and make sense of it because I had dyslexia.

So I ended up faking through elementary school with a bunch of smart kids to help me first but then my parents moved from Houston, Texas to Richmond, Texas when I was 12 and there, it was a low socio-economic area and there were no smart kids, really, and I ended up dropping out of school. I gave up and just dropped out of school.

So I left home at 13…October of 13. I would’ve been 14 on November 25th. And so I left home at 13, started living on the streets and hanging out with my friends and then…in a bowling alley, in a park and, you know, cars and wherever, depending on the time of the year and the heat and cold.

When I was 14, I hitchhiked to California. I wanted to go to California to live where it was cool. I hitchhiked down to Mexico and hung out in Mexico illegally and eventually, I made it to Hawaii and I became a surfer because that was kind of a thing. I was pretty good at sports so I picked up surfing and I got really good at surfing.

I was a social climber there. I lived under a bridge at Kamehameha Highway at sunset. Then I lived at Ehukai Beach Park under a park bench then in the bathrooms, then in an abandoned car and finally, in a tent, in any… house and I was doing the things that the ‘60s hippies and surfers did and it almost killed me.

I almost died from strychnine poisoning when I turned 17. And luckily, a lady found me in my tent and helped me recover and led me to the health food store and from the health food store, I saw a flyer on the door one day, introducing a guy who was going to speak in this little yoga class. I never went to classes but something about the picture, something about what somebody had said about yoga one time made me decide, “I’m going to go to that thing.”

So I went down there and I wasn’t expecting what happened but I went into this little class where there were 35 people sitting on a wooden floor with a woman yogi and this elderly man. She introduced him. He began to speak and I’m telling you, in one hour, this one man with his one message got to me and he spoke to me as I…I could’ve sworn he was speaking to me only and what he said that night made me believe that just maybe in my life, I could be intelligent, that I could learn to read.

He made me believe in myself in a way that I never did and that night, he gave us an opportunity to sit down and write down what we would love to do or think about what we would like to do with our lives. And at that night, I had a dream to be intelligent, be a teacher, travel the world and that night, he made me believe that I could do that.

And so I saw a vision that night which is now painted by a famous painter in Melbourne, Australia and I started working on it. Forty-two years ago, I started out on a journey to try to learn how to read, how to overcome my learning problems which took a long time. It wasn’t overnight and I eventually became a good reader. I became a dedicated student. I became a scholar and I started teaching and here I am 42 years later, still teaching and traveling the world.

So I’ve been on my mission now 42 years and I know what my values are. I plan my life around them and I’m pretty blessed today. I’ve been very fulfilled in my life and I believe everybody has the capacity to do that. If they just follow the same principles, they’ll get the same results.

OSMARA: Absolutely. I think, and we spoke about this before too… For women, we tend to have certain emotional stories in our head and the self-worth issues and fear and all of that. There was a quote by the Dalai Lama that, kind of like maybe how this man got you with what he said, got me.

He said, “The world will be saved by the western woman,” and I felt this like, “Hmm,” because it was like, I got it. I got what I’m here to do in my own little way of creating a community that would further that and that would help women heal whatever needs to be, you made peace with so that we can go out and all really do what we came here to do.

And there’s this talk of the divine feminine and you mentioned in one of your events, too, your belief in holding women accountable, and social entrepreneurship, and business with heart and enterprise. First of all, really figure out, “What am I here to do? What is my purpose?” And then go out and figure out: “How do I make business out of art and art out of business?” and in a way, that really leaves a mark, really helps out humanity. Instead of just business to make a buck, how do we do business to make a buck while spreading benefits all over?

JOHN: In my observation around the world and looking at the statistics, the greater the gender split, the higher the fertility, mortality rates and the lower the socioeconomics and the less the technological advancement.

So giving, socially, power to women to do what they would really love to do – which in some cases is raising a beautiful family, in some cases is raising a beautiful family and having a career, in some cases is just having a career and not necessarily having any children.

Whatever it may be, having an empowered feminine force out there to bring the androgynous back and an integration of masculine and feminine reduces the probability of poverty, reduces the probability of discrepancies between gender and oppression. It humbles the male dictatorial, despotic tendencies and it shows the creativity and the contribution that the feminine forces and the feminine gender contribute.

And if a female is sitting there, comparing herself to a guy instead of comparing herself to her own self then that’s really undermining her own power but if she goes and recognizes that she has dreams, she has ambitions, she has aspirations and if she prioritizes her actions at home and at work or whatever she’s going to do, she’s capable of doing extraordinary things.

You don’t have to do it all yourself. You can delegate and have other people do things for you and do extraordinary things as a female and contribute on that scale. Male or female, but particularly the female because the female has been, over centuries, slanted towards raising children and that’s a very crucial and very contributive thing. I mean without children, there’s no economy. There’s no society. There’s no anything but at the same time, women also have the capacity to birth and to raise families but many times, those families grow up and then the woman doesn’t want to just have her whole life dedicated to children. They’re gone now.

She wants to also do things outside that and I think that right from the beginning, I know women are the entire spectrum that have major businesses, major contribution. They have children. I’ve seen them also very children-oriented, without any business savvy and they do amazing things. I’ve seen the whole spectrum and as far as I’m concerned, I think a woman deserves to be able to honor whatever spectrum that she wants to fit into and the more she’s able to contribute, in whatever form she desires.

I don’t think that it’s any less wisdom for males to do this but I think it’s extra for females because of the historical background and the gender tendencies in the past and frankly, when I look at it in my own life, mostly, women are helping me get what I want to get in life. I look around and I’ve got women helping me. They’re the ones that are basically doing all the work and I’m getting the opportunities I have in life. So they’re the ones that are making things happen and a lot of companies, their big success is because of female contribution, not always the male.

So I’m a firm believer that a woman deserves to give herself permission to do whatever is true, whatever that looks like and to follow the principles of empowerment and…can I share a story I think that might be helpful?

OSMARA: Sure, go ahead.

JOHN: I was doing the Breakthrough Experience in Seattle, Washington a number of years ago, probably 10 and there was a doctor and his wife. They both were doctors, a male doctor and a female doctor, both attending and she had read a book and was very focused on how to be the perfect mom, super mom and read books on how to make your own diapers, make your own vegetable purees and make…I mean it was just pure natural, pure healthy. I mean you can call the woman Ms. Tofu.

She was really by the book according to the ‘organic mother’ but she was actually resenting her husband because her husband was having to work more, because they were both practicing until she got pregnant and then she stopped practicing to totally give energy to the kids. Well, after 2 or 3 kids, now she has three kids, she’s now upset with him because he’s having to work extra hard. He’s not coming home and doing things that normally would help because he’s having to work harder.

And so she’s kind of trapped and she’s feeling trapped doing something and she didn’t want to admit it because she wants to fit into the social idea of being the super mom but there’s a part of her that feels like she’s losing her talent and skill as a doctor. She’s now resenting the idea that he’s not there to help and she’s feeling trapped doing all the super mom stuff.

And so I said to her, I said, “Your trap has nothing to do with anything but your own perceptions and your own belief systems. I mean, you could transform that today if you’re willing to do it. I can give you some tips on what to do.”

And she was resistant because she want to fit in the super mom box, she was subordinating to this book on how to be a super mom and yet, at the same time, deep inside her core she was saying, “I also want to be a doctor.” And so she was trapped.

So I said, “Let’s make a list of everything you do in a day at home.” And so she made a list and I said, “Now, let’s put in there the cost or replacement value. How much would it cost to get somebody to do all those things? And do them equally as valuable as you, quality, everything.” And she did about 70 things. I mean a mother’s job is full on. It’s about 70 items she did and when she got through, she looked and we put a replacement cost next to each one. How much would it cost to hire somebody to do that? And most of them, believe it or not, were $10 to $15 an hour jobs, most of them, from cleaning to doing diapers to washing to cleaning the room, the house, going grocery shopping and everything else she did.

When she itemized all 70 things, most of them were $10 to $15 an hour jobs at the time, 10 years ago. It’d probably be $20 to $25 today. When she stopped to look at that, I said, “Now, I got a question for you. You’re capable of making between $500 to $1,000 an hour at your work and you’re resenting that you’re not able to work because you’re now trying to be the super mom. And the amount of quality time you’re actually having with the kids is no more than three hours a day because all this other stuff’s taking it up which is a $10 to $15 an hour job, which means you’re deluding your value as a mother and deluding your value as a woman doing it. I don’t mean to be mean but I’m just saying, jobs that you could delegate and free yourself up to do something that you love doing.”

And when she did that, when she saw that, I said, “If you were to go and work only four hours a day and take all that off your plate and make $500 an hour to $1,000 an hour and make $2,000 a day working part-time, you would be able to pay somebody to do all that stuff, three people to pay all that stuff down and have it all done. Your place is clean. All your diapers are done. All the cleaning is done. All the house is taken care of. Shopping is done. Cooking is done.

Everything is done and you can have more time for your kids than what you’re doing now, educating them, inspiring them and teaching them how to master your life because they’re going to learn by your actions by the mirror neurons. They’re not going to go by what you say. They’re going to go by what you act on and they’re seeing you how you manage your life and what you’re actually doing is you’re putting them in front of video games to get them away so you can get these other things done, thinking it’s quality time.”

And she started crying and her husband was like, “Thank you,” because he was feeling pressure from her to have him come home to do those $15 an hour jobs that he didn’t want to do and she was now not wanting to do it. The moment she gave herself permission to free that up, she worked part-time.

She made a couple thousand dollars in a day. I mean she made money during the day. She paid the thing. She had higher quality time. She put $1,000 of that…$1,000, she put towards education per week, $4,000 a month towards her education to those kids which raised the quality of the education she was able to get. She ends up having specialists coming in and do it. She finally learned not to lower her own self-worth and value. She got more done, helped more children, helped more people and still had better quality time with her kids.

So she learned how to manage the balance between the two. It wasn’t multi-tasking because when she was on one, she was doing the one. She’s doing the other, she’s doing the other and her husband and her got along better because she wasn’t resenting him because he wasn’t coming home and doing dirty laundry and their life was different. Their income went up. The children’s education went up. The standard of life went up. They were able to afford a bigger house, a better quality lifestyle.

I mean it just went on and on and on. The benefits went on because she learned how to master her life as a woman and give herself permission to do what she dreamed about and not fit into what some ideal person who wrote the book that probably only made $15 an hour. So that was a turning point but just in case…now, if you love doing those things, if she had loved it —

OSMARA: There wouldn’t be resentment…

JOHN: That wouldn’t be an issue but she wasn’t loving doing that, she was frustrated and she really want to be a doctor and the second she got back to doctoring, she felt her self-worth go up because a $15 an hour job is not the same self-worth as $1,000 an hour. I mean as much as we don’t want to admit that economics has an impact on our behavior, it does.

And so she’s a different woman because of that and she inspired other women to do the same, to look at what they’re doing. I always say, “Prioritize your life at work, prioritize your life at home and don’t do desperate things or you’ll get a desperate life.”

OSMARA: And again, what you say about when the voice on the inside is louder than the voices on the outside… It’s – do the work, know what you value, know what you want and create a life on that.

JOHN: Well, it’s true and I’ve seen many, many people trapped, males and females. As long as we subordinate to people on the outside, the ideals of other people that have different lifestyles, different values, we’re going to miss out on our own —

OSMARA: Especially in a world that is programmed to, keep up with the Joneses… Society, the media, all these things we’re bombarded with constantly that tell us the opposite.

JOHN: Well, you know, I love what I do and I’ve organized my life to do what I do and I’ve had people all along the journey tell me that it’s crazy, “You can’t do that. You shouldn’t do that,” and all that stuff, all along through all these years.

I just say, “Thank you for your input. I appreciate it and if, for some reason, you see that I don’t follow your instructions, please feel that I’m unworthy of further projection of recommendations.” I learned that from Socrates and Plato’s writing and I still think that’s great. “Thank you for your input but if you don’t see me doing what you asked me to do, just know that I’m unworthy.”

OSMARA: I’m going to use that one.

JOHN: So I can get on with my life. I can’t live other people’s lives. I can only live what’s true for me. You won’t fulfill your life being somebody you’re not.

OSMARA: And who are you to not be the best version of you, right?

JOHN: Well, the most magnificent you you’re going to be is going to be you, you know. No fantasy you’ll ever impose in your life will ever compete with the real magnificence of who you are.

OSMARA: Absolutely. Thank you so much. It’s always awesome talking to you. Check out if you want to know more. Thanks so much, John. Until next time Bye guys.

JOHN: Thank you. Congratulations and thank you.



as seen on
We Got You, Mama.

Self-Care Rituals & Self-Love Practices To Support You & Your Family.

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