Moments of No Words

As a writer, I love words, yet I also love it when words stop – those moments in this life when there are no words. For it is in those moments where we see if the words we’ve written, spoken or quoted ever meant anything.

They talked and talked
Until they couldn’t talk anymore
The last words they wrote
were a question:
If we couldn’t speak
for the rest of our life,
what would the rest
of our life speak about us?

Advertisements

Your Gifts Are Not a Gamble, They’re a Sure Thing When You Share Them

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,
Anthony Goulet

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.

The Winning Lottery Ticket

The Importance of Mentors 

Throwback pic and lesson. This was part of my team getting me ready for the finals in the Detroit Golden Gloves Tournament in 1990. 

It’s been years since I’ve competed in the martial arts, but the martial arts has given me so many gifts that transfer to all aspects of my life, including my full time work in youth development.

One of the many gifts the martial arts has given me is the understanding of how essential a team is. A team of supportive, loving and encouraging mentors and coaches is crucial if we want to actualize the best possible version of ourselves, and help others to do the same.

Yes, as a fighter you’re the one walking into the ring/cage alone and laying it all on the line, but you can’t see everything. Your coaches and mentors – your team has a unique perspective from the outside that has to be trusted and listened to. We all have blind spots and our mentors and coaches will not only point them out, but help us make the necessary adjustments. 

In between rounds during a really close fight, I asked my coach, “Am I winning?” He yelled, “Yes, but fight like you’re losing!”

The difference between a win or a loss in the ring and in life often depends upon our ability or our inability to be teachable.

Be teachable. Be humble. Be a lifelong student. And most importantly, be blessed by being a blessing to others. 

~ Walk In Beauty,

Anthony Goulet 

Marches Marching Past the Point

Another weekend of marches has passed us by, and another weekend of marches marched right past the most significant challenges we as humanity face – the millions of youth and young adults who are homeless, missing and exploited, and the millions of victims of domestic violence. Every single day and night around the world, those of us who work in the field of street outreach crisis counseling, emergency youth shelters, domestic violence shelters, and violence intervention, see that every emergency youth shelter and domestic violence shelter is almost always full.

My colleagues and I are willing to walk through the broken glass. We’re willing to carry the tears and blood on our shoulders. We’re willing to have the echoes of the screams of children replay in our minds when we least expect it during moments that we have to pray through, write through, and reach out to each other to get through. We’re willing to attempt to get the youth or young adults to give us the gun, knife or box cutter, and most of the time they do, and then we transport them to safety. We’re willing to be run off the road by pimps, have guns pointed at us or put to our heads, and be shot at. We’re willing to maneuver through gunfire to get a child to safety. We’re willing to intervene and interrupt violence by breaking up fights while large groups of people just watch, instigating or use their phones to record. We’re willing to stop a young person from throwing themselves into traffic and in the process almost be killed. We’re willing to walk into an abandoned building where the smoke from crack cocaine is so dense, that our tongue immediately goes numb and we want to vomit, yet somehow we push through because we’re focused on the young person we are there to serve, so we get that young person to go outside with us, break their glass pipe and allow us to transport them to a drug rehab. We’re willing to meet a mother and her children in the middle of the night and drive them to a domestic violence shelter because that’s the only time the mother can do it without being beaten or killed by the abuser she lives with. We’re willing to go to the hospital in the middle of the night to meet and connect with the young person who was a victim of gang violence to reduce the possibilities of retaliation, thus preventing more deaths and more parents having to bury a child. We’re willing, able and have done these things and so much more, and will continue as long as God allows us to do so, because it’s not work, it’s a calling.

My colleagues and I understand that not everyone is called to do what we do. However, not everyone is called to live in the Arctic and facilitate research on climate change, but articles, quotes and memes about climate change get millions of posts, shares and views on social media and all media. Look at that in proportion to the amount of posts, shares and views regarding homeless, missing and exploited youth and young adults and victims of domestic violence. The birth of a giraffe gets more attention than the homeless, missing and exploited youth and young adults and victims of domestic violence. Why? Possibly because the numbers are so staggering and so overwhelming that instead of people volunteering or becoming employed with the local emergency youth shelter, domestic violence shelter, violence intervention teams, street outreach teams or search and rescue teams, it’s easier to march for a couple of hours and make sure the plastic and biodegradables are separated.

Yes, simply put, it’s easier to not be in the trenches. The work is heartbreaking, trauma-filled and exhausting. Yet, the work is also filled with the most amazing moments of miracles that you could ever possibly experience. And please tell me what challenges we as humanity face that are more important than finding, rescuing and bringing the millions of homeless, missing and exploited youth and young adults, and victims of domestic violence to safety?

If any march marches past the homeless youth, it marched past the point. If any march marches past the emergency youth shelters and domestic violence shelters struggling to keep their doors open, it marched past the point. If any march marches past the hotels, houses, apartments and streets where predators are buying and selling children, it marched past the point. If any march marches past the marginalized, hungry and hurting, it marched past the point. If anyone can find a way to make time to organize, travel, attend, speak at, talk about, or write about a march, but cannot find the time to share a post about a missing child, they’ve marched way past the point.

For me it’s sad that we live in a world where quotes from politicians and celebrities capture the attention of millions and billions of people, but the 1.3 -1.7 million homeless youth in the United States, the millions of homeless youth worldwide, the 600,000 – 800,000 women, children and men bought and sold across international borders every year and exploited for forced labor and commercial sex, the two million children who are subjected to prostitution in the global commercial sex trade, the 20.9 million victims of sex trafficking worldwide, and the 10 – 20 million victims of domestic violence are marched past on the streets and on social media.

Please, if you’re unwilling or unable to do anything else, just share one post a day on your social media accounts about a missing child and/or information about where victims of exploitation or abuse can call or text to get help. It can save a life. 

17309459_10155792043906988_7625485171137777159_n

92e2230b3757e643d5fa5a855dfc93a0

16002878_10155572492791988_2482494491393327382_n

The Perfect Key is You

We’re created 
in perfect key – 
the frequency 
of Love 

Listening to fear
will make you tone deaf 
to God, Love and yourself 

Everything strikes 
a cord
It just depends 
in what key
someone is playing
and in what key
someone is listening 

Like tuning forks
in the road
calling us 
more deeply
into what we are 
or what we’re not –
Love or fear

The perfect key is Love
The perfect key is You 

 

 

The Most Important Lesson About Leadership I’ve Experienced

There he was, a twenty-three year old young man at a very important, four day gathering. The elder of the gathering, a ninety-one year old man called the young man over and let him know that he was going to be placed in a leadership position for the four day gathering. The young man insisted that this not happen because he knew he wasn’t experienced enough, and that there were many, many people at the gathering who were twenty, thirty, forty and fifty years older than he, some of whom were combat veterans, and all with impressive backgrounds in various types of leadership. But the elder refused to change his mind and the twenty-three year old young man conceded to the elder’s wishes out of his deep respect for the elder.

The day before the gathering began, the elder made the announcement to the group that the twenty-three year old young man will be in a leadership role for the next four days. The young man glance over the crowd and could see the expressions on the faces of the many highly experienced people. It was obvious that many of the people were not happy with the elder’s decision, but didn’t protest the decision while they were in the presence of the elder, yet the group had much to say about the decision among themselves when they were not in the elder’s presence.

The twenty-three year old young man knew many of the people at the gathering. The previous year at the gathering he was embraced by all with love and compassion, but as soon as the elder announced his decision to make the young man a leader, he found himself the target of hurtful comments and backhanded criticisms that were never said directly to him, but near him, which made him feel isolated, hurt, and confused. Although the young man felt extremely uncomfortable, he asked God for help and guidance so that the four days be a beautiful blessing to all the people, and that everyone receive the miracles they need.

Over the next four days the young man found himself being supported by four older men, men who didn’t mock him for the things he didn’t know or understand, they corrected him, encouraged him, and guided him. With the support of the four older men, the young man began to ignore the negativity and completely focused on the Creator – on love. With the loving guidance and support from the four older men, the young man prayed and supported all those who were trying to hurt and discourage him, because he learned that they must be suffering more than the others. The four older men’s loving and supportive guidance helped the young man to understand that when we are in positions in life that seem unfair, difficult, and even painful, we must focus on the Creator of our understanding, pray through it, stay in love, keep calm, trust the process, focus on meeting the needs of others, rid ourselves of ego and foolish pride, stay teachable, stay humble, complete the task entrusted to us to the best of our ability, never quit, and keep making better and better mistakes with perfection never being the goal, but connection being the constant –  our connection to God, our own hearts, and each other.

At the conclusion of the four day gathering, the elder stood in front of all the people and had the young man stand alongside of him. The elder looked at the young man, and in front of everyone, the elder shared, “There is a reason that most leaders have gray hair. Experience matters and it’s something you can share, but you can’t teach it. It has to be lived. It has to be experienced. You’re not ready for this type of leadership position yet, but with much more experience, someday you will be.”

When the elder said those words the young man shuttered inside himself, feeling he had failed God, the people, the elder who trusted him, his family, and himself. He looked upon the people and saw that some in the crowd took great pleasure in the words the elder had spoken, and perhaps even more pleasure in the obvious pain of perceived failure that the young man was feeling. But the elder continued speaking as he looked upon the people and divulged, “I didn’t place this young man in a leadership position to see if he’s ready, I placed him in a leadership position to see who among you are ready. It’s true that most of you have many more years of experience than this young man, both in life and in leadership, but what good is the amount of years you’ve lived or the number of experiences you’ve had if all your years and experiences haven’t developed a profound depth of humility, compassion, and service?”

The elder called upon the four men who supported and guided the young man for the four days to the front, and had them stand with him and the young man. The elder motioned to the four men and said to the group, “These four men are leaders. They’re leaders because they understand how to serve – to be servants to others. They didn’t just comfort, encourage, guide and support this young man, they taught him to comfort, encourage, support, and pray for each of you, no matter how you treated him, and he did. And when we all do what these four men did for this young man, for each other and everyone we meet, the only necessary leader will be the vision of healing given by the Creator God as we support and encourage everyone to contribute their beautiful and necessary piece to achieve it.”

This happened a little over twenty-three years ago. I was that young twenty-three year old man. As uncomfortable as that experience was, to this day that experience remains as the most significant lesson about leadership I have ever experienced.

unity-of-healing