Imagine being locked up in federal prison as a teenager and coming out sixteen years later as a grown man.

For my guest DJ Verrett, that was his reality. At the tender age of fourteen, DJ started participating in illegal activity, and a few years later, he was sentenced to sixteen and a half years in prison.

DJ shares that the hardest part about being in prison was that he had to grow up there.

He recalls his thirtieth birthday being especially emotional for him because of the realization that he had spent his entire twenties behind bars.

“They never told me about the ugly side of the game—prison.” 

DJ spent nine months in solitary confinement during one period of his sentence, and he shares with me how, looking back, he is now thankful for that experience.

“I’m so grateful that the universe saved me and saved me for a greater purpose because I learned how to have a relationship with myself when I’m by myself,” he said.

During this time, a positive shift happened for DJ: He knew, once he was released, that he wanted to make a positive impact. “There were ups and downs, but I stayed the course,” he said. DJ then described to me what he was feeling the day he was going to be released.

After sixteen and a half years, DJ sat in his cell, meditating and vowed that he would never come back to the place he called home for so long unless he was wearing a visitor’s pass. “I wasn’t scared. I was ready. What is this new adventure going to be?” he said.

Since being released, DJ has gone on to share his story in his book titled It’s An Inside Job. DJ shared with me that he decided to title his book this because:

“Happiness, freedom…comes from within.” DJ Verrett via @KirstyTV (Click to Tweet!)

His story is now being hotly pursued, and he has signed with one of the biggest literary agents in New York.

Today, he goes into prisons and works with inmates to help positively change their lives.

I think a powerful message that we can learn from DJ’s experience is that no matter what you are going through, try and get out of yourself by going back into yourself.

Please share in the comments below your thoughts or perhaps ways that meditation has helped you make a positive shift in your life?

Kirsty attacks life like it’s a chocolate cake. She is the Executive Producer and Host of KirstyTV and an international speaker, author, and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. You can also follow Kirsty on Facebook and Twitter.