There’s an ancient sacred story told of a woman who was beautifully, lavishly, even shockingly extravagant.

Desiring love, she risked. Potential misunderstanding. Certain ridicule and scorn. Whispers, shouts, and most certainly shame. None of it mattered. Only the experience and expression of love.

Compelled by love, she held nothing back. Unrestrained and passionate, her deepest heart revealed and exposed.

A recipient of love, she gave. Generously, without thought to prudence, scarcity, boundary, or anyone else’s ideas of what was appropriate (or not).

And because of all this, she knew extravagant response:

Worthy of love, she was honored. All shame erased. All spoken and unspoken bonds broken. All penalties paid. Freedom hers. “Truly, I say to you, wherever good news is spoken in the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

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There’s so much I love about this story, so much I love about her. But most of all this: Her love was pre-determined, her actions hers alone, and NONE of this dependent on the response she might (or might not) receive. That is extravagance, right there. And that, right there, calls forth the truest, most honest expression of self we could possibly hope to attain.

Want to be more authentic? Want to live in a brave and connected-to-the-Sacred-Feminine way? Here’s the template:

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Risk.

Hold nothing back.
Give.
Be extravagant.
And all as expression of the love that is yours to offer; the Love that is you!

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Extravagant, indeed.

This woman calls us to be exactly who we are: risky, honest, generous, and completely compelled by (not for) the love that already dwells within us; the love that defines us; the Love that is us! When we are truly ourselves, we can be nothing other. And this is extravagant, indeed.

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Be assured, I’m hardly preaching here – other than to the choir. I’m working diligently on these ideas/practices in my own life. For I intuitively know that this is the way in which I am to be.

The afraid, protective part of me is, well, afraid and protective. It’s true: I’ve been hurt before, the love I’ve expressed has not always been returned, and the risks have often felt far too costly. With a closer and more honest look though, I can see that these memories and experiences also carried my expectation, my desire demand for love’s return and a reward/recompense for being oh-so-generous and eh-hmm, loving. This is not my truest self. This is not my truest nature. This is not the Sacred radiating forth through my life. And this is not extravagant.

So what if, even in the smallest of moments and slightest of ways, I could move through my world as the glorious being I most truly am? What if I were to risk because it’s a thrill; because I’m strong enough to handle it? What if I were to hold nothing back – in my relationships, to be sure, but also in my writing, my parenting, my friendships, my self-care?  What if I gave little-to-no thought to what’s in it for me, and instead, just gave, period?

What if I were extravagant?

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Though a rhetorical question, I already know the answer. I would be me. I would be Love. And I would reflect the Divine.

May it be so.
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[Deep appreciation to this Extravagant Woman and her story for connecting me to my own. Just one of the ancient, sacred narratives I so need and so love.]

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My gift to you...My birthday is on November 30. There’s a BIG gift I’m offering you on that day, but if you’re subscribed to these posts you’ll get the news one day earlier! Here’s the link to sign up: http://www.ronnadetrick.com/subscribe

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Callahan McDonough and I have created beautiful SacredArt together. Well, truth-be-told, Callahan has created the art via the inspiration of my stories and words. This story, this woman, “Extravagant” is one of those pieces. See (and hear) her here.

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    It is with profound gratitude, deep appreciation, and WILD celebration that I join in the Blog Tour for Amy Palko’s From Revolutionary Lips. 

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    I am privileged beyond expression to have worked with Amy; to have collaborated with her; to have had the privilege of sitting at her feet and taking in her gorgeous, wild wisdom; and more than all else, to call her friend. When I hear her voice (which is lilting and intoxicating), I cannot help but remember my own. When I encounter her passion (which runs deep and true), I cannot help but feel my own. When I am captivated by her Sacredness and feminine power (which is impossible to resist), I become even more certain of my own. The same will be true for you.

    Amy speaks graciously here about women’s voices and the Sacred. But keep reading. One of her poems, Listen, from From Revolutionary Lips follows.

    She is powerful, wise, beautiful, and wild.
    Introducing: Amy Palko

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    What of women’s voices – when heard in unbound, unrestrained ways – is Sacred?

    The pure, the undiluted, the unadulterated voice that longs to find its way out from behind layers and layers of cultural conditioning feels like the very essence of what the sacred means and is. If in the beginning was the word, then it existed long before the entrapments and expectations and compromises and censorships that continually filter what we say and how we say it. What sound would you release from your body if there was no set behavioural practices that your voice needed to comply with? What words would you speak? What song would you sing? What noise would you unleash? Because whatever it would be, I can promise you that it would be sacred. It couldn’t be anything other.
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    How might we listen to and actually experience our own stories as expression of the Sacred? What has this awareness shifted in you?

    For me, this speaks to a question of validity. Sacredness is a quality of presence that spirals up through an awareness that we are all emanations of the mystery. And so, when we bring that quality to the telling and receiving of story, we see that sacredness is the subtext to all narratives. To see the sacred in our own stories simply calls for us to perceive the same subtext writ throughout the words we choose to share. It calls for us to believe in the validity of the stories that have been gestating in our dark hidden places, that have been roiling in our bellies, that have been sitting on the tips of our tongue, pleading that they be freed to find their way in the world.

    And if this is something that you are struggling with, then you only have to be in the presence of other women telling their stories. Sit in circle and listen to the way other women share their words, narrate their lives. Listen to the tone of their voice, the irrepressible emotion that keeps bubbling up, the laughter, the earnestness, the grief, the relief. And if you can’t find your way to a circle, then watch something like the YouTube channel Style Like U or read books like Jalaja Bonheim’s Aphrodite’s Daughters, Terry Tempest Williams’ When Women Were Birds, Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love or Sue Monk Kidd’s Dance of the Dissident Daughter. Become an avid receiver of stories – an attentive seeker of the sacred in the words of women. And then use the symphonic weave of their words to unlock your own stories, your own words, your own sound. And as you do so, tell your stories in the knowledge that they are sacred. Because they are. So sacred.
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    Listen

    Here I am
    listening in on myself.
    Secretly.
    With my ear pressed
    against the wall
    to see if I can pick up
    any sounds that I might then
    translate into words,
    which then may become sentences
    promising whole stories,
    whole narratives
    that will help me to understand
    myself, my next steps, my unfolding.
    And the trick of it all is, that I’m also
    on the other side of the wall
    – listening in.
    The self within and
    the self without.

    Betwixt and between.
    Inside and outside.
    Visible and hidden.
    Silent and silent.
    Listening and listening.

    And yet for all this attention,
    all this listening,
    all I’m hearing is
    the multiplication of my silence
    echoing around the walls
    of this house of self.

    And so, here I am.
    Listening for my own voice.
    A voice I can only hear
    if and when
    I choose to let myself utter
    the syllables,
    the sounds,
    the sentences,
    the stories….

    When will I release the voice I long to hear?
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    Amy PalkoAmy Palko is the creatrix of Red Thread Voices – a publishing house that aims to offer a home to the voice of exiled feminine.

    She is also a goddess guide, poet, photographer and lecturer whose work has been featured internationally.

    Amy lives in Edinburgh, Scotland with her husband and three teenage children, in their home that overlooks the deep harbour, and the wide mouth of the River Forth as it opens up to swallow the cold waters of the North Sea.

    You can purchase From Revolutionary Lips as eBook and/or Audio file. Amy’s own words about her poems are these:  Here at Red Thread Voices, we are devoted to amplifying the wild woman’s howl. Consequently, these are not pretty poems. Although many find them beautiful. And they’re not all sweetness and light. Although I suspect you’ll find them illuminating. What they are is juicy, raw, and honest… 

    Learn more. Read more. And purchase From Revolutionary Lips for yourself.

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      Gym with Folding ChairsYesterday morning I sat in a high school gym surrounded by teenagers. The Veteran’s Day Assembly. I wasn’t there because of what was being commemorated (though that was worthwhile). I was there because my youngest, Abby, was singing in the choir and I wanted to hear her. It was, she was, as I expected: fabulous. Something happens to me, within me, when I hear choral music – the haunting harmonies, the familiar melodies, beauty that causes my heart to catch in my throat. I cannot help but cry. Today was no different. What I hadn’t expected was to see my oldest, Emma. She moved all over that same gym, wearing a “School Photographer” badge and wielding her camera. One moment she was taking pictures of a line of U.S. flags, the next a Veteran who stood alone and proud while the rest of us applauded, and in the midst, the faces of her peers who made up the bulk of the audience. Something happened to me, within me, as I watched her see and capture beauty. It caused my heart to catch in my throat. I could not help but cry.

      Just for a moment, sitting on that folding chair, I realized that this was the Sacred: two young women, my daughters, their felt/heard/seen presence in the world, their voices and talents shared. Just for a moment, I took a deep, raggedy breath and gave thanks. And then I cried some more.

      It wasn’t about them (though of course it was). It was about just that moment. Right then, right there, and completely unexpected, I was part of something Bigger than me, beyond me, and smack in the center of me. The Sacred.

      Truth-be-told, I rarely notice these moments. That could be probably is because I am more often, longing for, praying for, working for deep, wide, and ongoing ways in which I can endlessly, consistently feel connected to something of Meaning, of Beauty, of God. And yet, all along, the Sacred is showing up. Today especially. And apparently, exclusively, perfectly, powerfully, tenderly, amazingly – just for me.

      That’s grace. That’s God. That’s enough.

      May it be so.

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        Click here to listen to my voice reading you this post:

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        This free download came from Startup Stock Photos My on-again-off-again spiritual practice is to read one of the ancient, sacred stories I sometimes so love and then just write – stream of consciousness, no editing, uncensored. I don’t know why I don’t do it more often, more consistently, more sacredly, for every single time, when I look back at what I’ve written, I am stunned, moved, supported, strengthened, transformed. And every single time I say to myself,

        This is why these stories matter!

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        So, yes, that happened. Just a couple of days ago. I could tell you of the woman herself, about her life, the details that surrounded, the choices she made. But for now, just this: the two lists I created while journaling about her. In the early part of her story, this:

        • Be kind and generous
        • Be willing to risk
        • Accept seemingly crazy invitations
        • Follow your heart

        Later in her story, sadly, this:

        • Demand blessings
        • Distrust fate
        • Engineer outcomes
        • Manipulate for certainty

        This is why these stories matter!

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        Could I have come to these truths without her story? Yes, probably. But oh, how incredible to see them, resonate with them, and recognize them in new and deeper ways through her voice, her ever-beating heart, her profound and endless relevance. In my story (and maybe in yours, as well), all of these things have been true.

        • When I demand blessings I am ungrateful, tense, suspicious, and pretty darn certain that things will go badly.
        • When I distrust fate I become negative, pessimistic, and unable/unwilling to hope.
        • When I engineer outcomes it is ALWAYS disappointing. I am ALWAYS disappointed with myself. I become bitter and angry. I feel entitled. Little works.
        • When I manipulate for certainty I labor and scheme and see myself as God. I let go of all faith. I trust no one. And I somehow believe that not only do I know what is best – for myself and everyone else – but that I have some influence and power over such things.

        And…

        • When I am kind and generous it feels spacious and sweet. It is restful. I am aware of goodness all around me.
        • When I am willing to risk it calls on and strengthens my ability and desire to have faith. It is invigorating and energizing and exciting and thrilling and brave.
        • When I accept seemingly crazy invitations I find myself in places I would have never gone or even imagined. Whole worlds appear that I wouldn’t have otherwise known. Gifts and blessings overwhelm. Surprises await. I am opened to new ways of being. I am expanded. I grow.
        • When I follow my heart it is risky yes, and rewarding. Much love given and received. Laughter. Passion. Adventure. And an increasing trust in my own deep knowing. Yes, this. No matter what.

        This is why these stories matter!

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        These women still speak, deserve to be heard, and have SO much to offer and say – to me (and maybe to you, as well). The fact that they sit in-between the pages of the Bible makes it a bit complicated, I realize. But from where I sit – and stand – it’s all the more reason why they must be told! It breaks my heart to think that they are already covered with so much dust, so much dogma, and eventually will, I fear, just.be.forgotten. That’s not okay with me. No woman’s story deserves that fate.

        These stories matter because every woman’s story matters!

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        And these particular women? They are our matrilineage, our bloodline, the Sacred Feminine enfleshed. I (and maybe you, as well) don’t dare let them slip away.

        So, in honor of Rebekah, the woman’s story from whence all this pours forth, I’m going to follow her wisdom, her guidance, her still-speaking voice. (Maybe you could, as well.) I will keep being kind and generous, even when it’s hard and sometimes seemingly impossible. I will remain willing to risk, even though it often feels crazy. I will willingly and boldly accept seemingly crazy invitations because they are the ones that open doors worth walking through. And I will follow my heart because, quite frankly, what else is there to do?

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        My birthday is on November 30. On that particular day I will be announcing a way in which you can connect with these women’s stories in unique, personalized, and profound ways. Stay tuned! If you’re not subscribed, now would be the time to do so! Click!

        In the meantime, if you haven’t already, sign up for Blessings – the once-a-week-message I offer in the voice of these ancient, sacred women. Completely free. Truth(s) that you deserve to hear and know about yourself. Click!

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          EmmaJoy2014I do not know whether to cry uncontrollably or celebrate wildly, Emma. Perhaps both.

          Both…and then some.

          Nearly undone at the thought that you are only months away from leaving my home and beginning to craft your own; that you are leaving the predictability of (and frustrations inherent within) the public school system and diving into the newness and expansiveness of college; that from this point forward you will be gone more than you will be here; that I am a place/person to which you will return from time-to-time, but with whom you no longer “stay. So incredibly grateful that every bit of this is true.

          I can hardly wait for you to rely on an ever-strengthening identity apart from mine. I can hardly wait to hang your senior picture on my wall. I can hardly wait to see you don cap and gown – just months away – and walk across that stage; a graduate. I can hardly wait for you to get to college, finally meet your peers, be engaged by curriculum and content you love, and be challenged in ways you can’t yet begin to imagine. I can hardly wait for you to come back – yes, only for visits – full of stories to tell. I can hardly wait for all that our relationship will yet be when I am less a day-to-day mom, more a here-when-you-call-me source of support and love.

          No matter what, whether crying or celebrating, here’s what’s true: you can no more be separated from me than when still in utero. I feel your heartbeat just as I did 18 years ago. I see the signs of your movement and growth just as I did 18 years ago. I imagine your every discovery, your every learning, your every milestone just as I did 18 years ago. And I can hardly hold on to my heart as I look at you – grown, gorgeous, wise, kind, witty, talented, generous, compassionate, and full of love – just as I did the first time I held you, 18 years ago this day.

          That day doesn’t feel all that long ago – when they first put you in my arms; when I wept and wept and wept in joy that you were finally here – whole, safe, strong; when I couldn’t quite believe my good fortune, my luck, my answered prayers that you were mine; when I stared at you for hours upon hours as you slept, pinching myself with the truth of your breath, your presence, your beauty.

          This day, I still weep with joy that you are here; that my good fortune, luck, and prayers have been answered more times than I can possibly count; that your breath, your presence, beauty are more stunning and powerful and miraculous than ever before.

          But far more now then ever before, I look at you with wonder: for every moment I’ve had the privilege of witnessing: each step you’ve taken, fall you’ve known, heartbreak you’ve lived through, problem you’ve solved, question you’ve asked, tear you’ve shed, song you’ve sung, argument you’ve had, belief you’ve challenged, insecurity you’ve risen above, hope you’ve held to, risk you’ve taken, day you’ve lived. You are a wonder.

          Happy birthday, Emma Joy. May this day (like the one that can’t possibly have been 18 years ago) be yet another birth – no less miraculous or profound – into all the life and life and life that awaits you.

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