The Seventeen Inch Walk is a workshop I’ve been blessed to facilitate for many years now. Below is a small portion from The Seventeen Inch Walk workshop that was placed upon my heart to share with you here. May it bless you and whomever you are led to share it with.
~ Walk in Beauty,
Have you ever purchased a lottery ticket and then dreamt about what you’d do if you were the one who held the winning lottery ticket? Most of us have. We think how much easier our lives would be with the instant millions of dollars. We think about how many people we could help, especially those who’ve made sacrifices for us. It’s fun to think about being in a position to be of more service. It’s fun to think about how much more fun, joy and passion we could have in our lives that instantly having millions of dollars could bring us. And the fun of that fantasy all stops at the time they draw the winning numbers, then poof! The dreaming is gone. Imagination is disengaged and the focus is back on the needs of the day – daily survival.
The big, instant dream of a huge avalanche of abundance pouring from a winning lottery ticket into our lives and out into the lives of others generates so many conversations about fun, future, giving and living. And people can’t help but join in the imaginings when asked the question, what would you do with the money if you have the winning lottery ticket? When asked that question, so many people are momentarily filled with passion and can tell you in great detail what they’d do, the changes they’d make, and how their lives would be better, if only by some remote chance they were holding the winning lottery ticket.
Years ago, I had a friend who purchased a Powerball lottery ticket and during the drawing their ticket matched all five numbers of the first numbers, but not the Powerball number. He held that ticket in his hand and asked some of his friends and family in the room, “Did I win? Is this a winning ticket?” His family and friends assured him that he did not win anything. His family and friends convinced him with complete sincerity that his one-hundred thousand dollar winning lottery ticket was worthless. His friends and family may have been sincere, but they were sincerely wrong. Nonetheless, he accepted their answers and threw his winning ticket in the garbage. A few days later after doing his own research, he discovered that he had won one-hundred thousand dollars. It was garbage day in his neighborhood, so he hurried home in the middle of the day from work to pull all of his garbage cans from the curb and go through each bag to find his winning lottery ticket. When he arrived home, he saw that the garbage had already been picked up, so he went to the garbage dump and knew his one-hundred thousand dollar ticket was somewhere in the middle of tons of garbage. He searched for hours in hopes of finding his winning lottery ticket. He never found his winning lottery ticket, and was severely depressed for several weeks, but after he came out on the other side of his depression, he was mostly upset with himself, because in the moment he won, he didn’t listen to his own, deep level instinct letting him know he won; he listened to everyone in the room that told him his ticket was worthless, and he allowed their voices to drown out the voice inside of him that was screaming, They’re wrong! You are holding a winning lottery ticket!
Let me tell you a secret: You are holding a winning lottery ticket. A lottery ticket that is worth more than all of the money the world can make. You may think that your winning lottery ticket is expired, but it has no expiration date. You may think that it is lost, but it’s incapable of being lost. You may think that it’s been thrown away and destroyed, but it’s incapable of being destroyed. It may be buried underneath disappointments, pain, loss, tragedy, and the voices of some who say that it’s worthless, but it can never be lost or destroyed. Your winning lottery ticket isn’t something you can purchase, nor do you have to just imagine all the passion, joy and benefits that it can offer you, others and our world, you simply need to exchange it for all the benefits it holds. And the only way to exchange it and extract all the greatness within it, is by sharing it. Your winning lottery ticket, what you have to exchange for all the fulfillment and riches beyond money and material things that you can possibly imagine is you. The real you. The you that’s created in and with a deep, devoted and passionate vision, mission and purpose. And you’ve been endowed by the Creator with every gift you need to manifest your vision, mission and purpose. Your gifts are not a gamble, they’re a sure thing when you share them.
To exchange your gifts for all the benefits they can offer you, others and our world, the first person you have to share them with is yourself, not dozens of people. If your vision is to write a book, begin writing the book. If your mission is to be a better parent, begin making one simple change that improves the relationship between you and your children. If your purpose is to obtain a degree or diploma, take the first step by registering for your classes. If you want to start a fire that will be a place of comfort, light and hope for yourself, others and our world, begin by gathering the matches and kindling, then lighting the fire in privacy – just you and the Creator of your understanding. After the foundation of the fire is strong enough, slowly and surely, piece by piece, build upon the spark of the vision, mission, dreams and purpose you’ve been given. Allow your vision, mission, purpose and gifts to burn within you first, so that you don’t walk into a room full of people, light a match and allow someone to blow it out and say, “See? You don’t have anything to offer.” If you don’t share your gifts with yourself first, you’ll make the same mistake my friend did. You’ll be in a room, holding a winning ticket, which you are, and attempt to get encouragement and approval from others, but just like my friend, even when you are holding your winning ticket – your gifts – and all the evidence points to the possibilities of something remarkable happening, if you get caught up in external voices and don’t immediately take the next steps in accessing what you’ve been given to share, others will intentionally or unintentionally try to convince you that what you’ve been given to share has no value. Your gifts are not a gamble, they’re a sure thing when you share them.
Don’t confuse your abilities with your gifts, because they are different. I cannot physically perform the martial arts now at age forty-six like I could at age twenty-six, so my physical abilities have dwindled a bit, but my gifts to inspire, motivate, teach, problem solve, and allow God to facilitate healing through me are timeless and eternal, because my gifts, like yours, are forever within the great love that created us exactly like itself – the great love that births our gifts through us to others. Your gifts are not a gamble, they’re a sure thing when you share them.
Just like people give themselves a moment to dream about all they’d do with millions of dollars from a winning lottery ticket, give yourself a moment to dream again, in detail about all you could do with your gifts. Then take the first steps in the presence of only yourself and the Creator. As has been said countless times over decades, people are rewarded in public for what they’ve practiced for years in private. Your rewards, when you follow your vision, mission, dreams and purpose by utilizing all of your God-given gifts will be many. The most important reward you’ll experience is fulfillment. You will always recognize your highest callings by one key trait: That which fills you when you give it away. Yes, when you give it away – that’s why it’s a gift. If you’re living your life to get instead of give, then keep playing the lottery. If you want a peace and fulfillment beyond understanding that no amount of money could ever provide you with, then realize that you’ve already won the lottery – you are the winning ticket! Look in the mirror, remember that you are a sacred blessing, miracle and gift, fully equipped to be a blessing, miracle and gift to others. Success isn’t about how many people love your work, success is about love being your work, whether what you’ve been gifted to give is for one person or one million people. And whether or not you exchange your gifts and live your vision, mission, dreams and purpose is entirely up to you, but I guarantee you that someone, somewhere needs what you have to give. Your gifts are not a gamble, they’re a sure thing when you share them.