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For many years, my soul was trying to guide me, but I wasn’t paying attention. Even when my soul tried to communicate with big glaring WARNING signs or GO HERE billboards, I disregarded the signs. Thinking back to the year 2000, I have to laugh when I think about how my former husband and I stood in line for three hours at the courthouse to get our marriage certificate. And finally, when we were at the very front of the line, belly up to the courthouse clerk, there was a bomb threat. A BOMB THREAT! I literally turned to my fiancé and said, “Is it a sign?”

Of course it was a sign, Lissa! I’d already received other, more subtle signs that foretold the destructive patterns that later became impossible to ignore. But I overlooked those signs at the time, just like I ignored the flashing red bomb threat that forced us to evacuate the courthouse.

Why did I ignore such blatant soul guidance? Because I was attached to marrying this guy, so I wrote it off as “coincidence,” even though somewhere deep within me, I knew better.

How “Should” Interferes With Soul Guidance

Consider the times you’ve ignored your soul’s guidance. Chances are good that you did so because you thought you should.  The wedding invites are already sent, so you should go through with the wedding. You’ve already spent so many years training for the job your soul wants you to leave. The money is good. It’s a secure job in an insecure economy. You should stay. Your soul is telling you that you don’t have to take care of the elderly relative who treats you like dirt, but another part of you thinks you should. You’re working yourself to death to pay for the fancy house and the private school, and your soul is telling you to simplify, downsize, and send the kids to public school. But you don’t think you should sacrifice their quality of life for yours. 

Your soul doesn’t want to go to church anymore, but you should. Your soul doesn’t want to hang out with the friend you’ve known for twenty years anymore, but you should. Your soul doesn’t like the missionary position and wants to get down and dirty, but you should not let on that you fantasize the way you do. Your soul wants to dance under the moonlight, but you should go to the gym. Your soul wants to eat dark chocolate, but you should eat kale.

God forbid you actually follow the soul’s guidance. All hell might break loose. There could be anarchy.

Overriding The Soul’s Guidance

Because we’re so full of ideas and judgments about what we should and shouldn’t do, we tend to talk ourselves out of our soul’s guidance. We don’t trust that our soul knows what’s best, so we tend to write off soul guidance as mere coincidence or whimsy or even folly. To both pay attention and heed soul guidance may require radical acts of courage, and that can feel terrifying.

Where will my soul lead me? How uncomfortable will I have to get? How much uncertainty will I need to tolerate?

The soul doesn’t care about certainty. The soul cares about freedom.

When The Soul Has To Yell

Every time we override the soul’s guidance, the soul tends to get louder, not because you don’t have free will and not because the soul is punishing you, but because the soul is always trying to get through to you. The soul doesn’t necessarily speak the same language as you, so it may not just start rattling off soul guidance in your ear. Instead, it will use anything it can- dreams, emails, people who show up with messages for you, physical symptoms, gut instincts, bumper stickers, synchronicities that make you pay attention. The soul is always trying to guide you, but when you repetitively ignore it, it has to get crafty. Sometimes you wind up clobbered with the proverbial 2 x 4.

The soul’s guidance may start as a guiding dream or a persistent thought or a book or blog post that seems to speak directly to you. But if you ignore the soul’s guidance, the soul may guide you through painful interventions, like loss or illness. The soul is always yearning for you to WAKE UP and free yourself from all the shoulds. It will use any vehicle at its disposal to help you face the TRUTH about who you are and what is aligned with your true self.

10 Ways Your Soul Guides You In Daily Life

Because so many people suffer from what the shamans call “soul loss”, they lose touch with the soul’s guidance and wind up feeling lost, confused, disconnected, lonely, and out of touch with the purpose and meaning in their lives. Reconnecting with the soul’s guidance is medicine for the soul.

If you feel like you’re not optimally tapped into your soul’s guidance and would like to learn more about how your soul might be speaking to you, please join me and Kitchen Table Wisdom author Rachel Naomi Remen, MD for an encore performance of our free teleclass 10 Ways Your Soul Guides You In Daily Life. (Register here). Because we got so many emails from disappointed people who missed the first live call, we’re getting together again TODAY at 5pm PST/8pm EST. This time, we’ll be in a professional sound studio to make sure the listening experience is optimal, so please join us on the call or register to get the recording if you can’t make it live. (Register for the call or the recording here).

Are You Overriding Your Soul?

Or are you trusting and acting on your soul’s guidance? Share your stories of how your soul has guided you or how you’ve resisted it in the comments.

With the utmost gratitude and respect for the soul’s wise counsel,

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  1. Doris Pipala

    Lisa, I find your ideas and viewpoint very inspiring. But I have to say that I do not agree with your interpretation of all conincidences. The bomb threat you experienced at the court house might not have had anything to do with you. I know you don’t believe this. But some things do happen simultaneously with our life events and do not necessarily have anything to do with us. Lisa, please let me know why you think otherwise. My email is

  2. Patricia Brown

    Dear Lissa,
    I find your emails so inspiring. This one has got to be one of your bests. I thank you for the Gift of You, and for the path that you are guided to follow. May you always be blessed. And, Tosha is also one of my inspiring authors. So glad that you are connected with her.

  3. Kristi Goldsworthy

    I love this post Lissa. Thanks. I get a lot of nudges from songs. I’ve made a lot of really big decisions while driving in my car wondering what to do, and suddenly a song comes on the radio that drops the answer on my lap.

  4. Michele Madrigal

    My path has been booby-trapped because I wasn’t going in the right direction. I got breast cancer and a month after diagnosis I unexpectedly lost my husband, leaving me a single mother to our two young boys, 2 years and 6 months at the time. My life has been turned upside down. I feel like I have been chewed up and spit out, searching for my new purpose this whole time, looking for answers as to where I’m supposed to go from here. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing, how I’m supposed to be making a living and supporting my kids. The depression has been the worst. I’d almost rather battle cancer again. So anytime my soul or the Universe wants to send me another message, I’m here waiting. I don’t feel like I can take action until I know what direction to start in.

  5. Monnique

    Oh wow! This hit home for me pretty hard. Two days before I was supposed to get married on a wedding cruise in Miami, we got reports that Hurricane Katrina had formed and was heading to Miami. The cruise ship we were supposed to be going on was following it. When we got to Miami, the hurricane hit the city and was classified at the time as a Category 1. Still, the devastation and humidity the next day was awful. I was already hesitant about marrying him, but felt that since everyone paid for the trip and still coming despite the hurricane, that I SHOULD go through with it. Nevertheless, 5 years later, we got divorced because he finally admitted he never wanted kids and that he had to lie about that so I would marry him. At least now I know it won’t take a devastating hurricane to get me to listen! Thank you so much for this! You’re the BEST Lissa! 🙂

    • Lissa_Rankin

      Please be gentle with yourself Monnique. We are always learning from these experiences, and we must appreciate the lessons, even when they’re painful. We don’t want to kill the teacher or wind up shaming, judging, or blaming ourselves for not being ready to trust the soul’s guidance…

      • Monnique

        Yes, I really hear you. I entered into another relationship 2 yrs after my divorce that really brought me to my knees crying desperately for help. 2013 had been a gentle journey for me in healing and trusting myself again. 2014 has me smiling and learning how to shift into being a “Flamin’ Mystic” 🙂 I had the pleasure of meeting you during your book tour when it stopped at Mastin’s event in Hollywood in July 2013. I thanked you for your gracious visit with me then, and I thank you for your caring response today.

  6. Lori McCollem


    The shoulds and the guilt have been clobbering me daily in regards to my career. I decided to become a Special Educator when I was 16, and I believe that the decision was divinely inspired. I have been teaching for over 20 years. Long story short, in the fall, I had a relapse with depression and anxiety. I had to stop working as a result.

    I kept wondering, “Should I have tried to plug through despite my doctor’s diagnosis?” He did give me a choice to return to work, though he strongly advised against it. I sure could have used the extra income.

    The fact of the matter is, this was my soul screaming at me. No, I am not my career. I am my soul, and this Pilot Light in me powers me to be who I am. I’m not worthless because of my failures or because of what others think of me. I am worthwhile because I am me.

    So, I am away from work until at least August. I have decisions to make. Do I continue to remain in the field of education? Do I leave and start a second career? I am working on it by letting my soul take the driver’s seat, not my ego.

  7. Melanie Brock

    Several years ago my friends were trying to fill their basement apartment, I was at dinner when they offered it to a mutal friend of ours that turned it down. I had no plans on moving, let alone living in a basement apartment but I heard myself saying “I’d like to live there!”

    After that things just kept happening – I got a new job that helped me pay off my car loan, a friend invited me on a yoga trip and without thinking – again, I heard myself saying “yes I want to go on that.” While on that trip – the instructor asked what I did for work and if I liked it “no – I hate it” I said. When she asked why I was still working there my only response was “I didn’t know until I took your yoga class this morning”

    I came back from that trip and within a month had applied and was accepted to graduate school. A few weeks after that I was voicing my employment and income desires to a friend who had the perfect job for me. I was able to leave my high stress job that I hated and start my part time job with a few months to relax before starting school.

    I now have the BEST living situation – in a shared house with one of my best friends at an affordable price. I’m next door to a cafe full of my friends and shoulders to lean on when I need it. I’m in a life changing school program doing a TON of amazing personal work while studying to be a therapist to help others.

    There has been both the most intense love and intense heartache along the way, but I have no doubt I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, every minute of the day.

  8. Tammy L Warren

    I’m married with one son who has been out of the house for years now. About two years after he left, I found myself bored and needing a life. The answer came to me that I needed to reinvent my life. Soon after that, a whole series of things began to happen to me. At this point. I ended up writing a book guided by the Spirit. I am in the middle of editing that book with my publisher. I was then guided to your blog and bought your book immediately. I love it, and have been following you ever since. All of this has been guided by the soul, everything falling into place as it should. I stay patient as I am guided through this whole journey knowing it is the Source taking me down this road. We are on the same page. Keep it coming. I just love your transparency and truth. I am a truth seeker and was guided right to you. Thanks for all you’re doing to bring awareness and awakening to the world.

  9. Jeannie (blue)

    I got engaged then:
    immediately – my job became insane until after the wedding
    six months later – i injured my left knee
    one month before wedding – i injured my right knee
    1 week before wedding – i got a crazy virus the docs had never seen before and didn’t know how to treat.
    Day’s before – Bachelorette party canceled because of my illness.
    Wedding day – in a knee brace and on steroids.

    I first realized there was a problem during the honeymoon. Things gradually got worse and expanded from one area to more and more over time. I found myself married to someone who in private was much different than the man I’d fallen in love with.

  10. Jean Murphy

    Just “by chance,” I found an ad for your Medicine for the Soul course. I was fascinated and began reading your blog and Rachel’s. I think the course is just the thing for me. Do you or Rachel offer assistance or discounts for people who aren’t currently working?

  11. Aini

    Hi Lissa,
    Thank you for this post of yours and the discussion you had with Nick Ortner in this video:

    I’m really happy to been introduced to you. I’m M.D. myself and I really know what you are talking about. I left my job after our third child was born. While being stay at home mum I have been curious to many alternative ways to help people to get healthy.

    I’d be happy to talk with you. You find me on skype with my name you have in my email address. If you have any desires to come to Finland I’m happy to invite you here!

    Now I’ll go and watch your TED talk.

    Much love!

  12. Jean Murphy

    Your support page isn’t up yet and neither of these emails works:

    I want to listen to today’s call.

    I signed up for Maestro. The guy in the video says next step is to follow a link in the welcome e-mail. I’ve tried every link but none get me to the page that lists the four dial-in options.

    Since I just registered for the class last night, perhaps someone forgot to send me the e-mail he is referring to?

    Help, please.

  13. Rebecca


    I have a very rational mind, and am married to a man who is very introspective and analytical. I find that my “gut feeling” are alway right and I follow them when they are obvious to me. I had been in a long relationship with another person and was devastated by the breakup after 10 years. After being broken up for 1 year my ex came back to me, but I had just started dating my current husband 2 weeks prior. After long discussions with my father, I followed my gut and let my ex go, and continued to date the man who is now my husband. There were so many signs to me the “coincidence” things and strong energy feelings that let me know I was in the right direction.

    My problem now is that I am currently begin faced with a SHOULD situation. I am a physician. My husband and I are finally settled in the same city and I have my first job. During my training my husband started working in the medical field in an area that he needed more training. He did the job and took the training at the same time. He wasn’t quite finished the training when we moved cities. I pulled some strings and got him transferred into the program in the new city. Also my parents had been paying for the other program when we couldn’t afford it during my training. It is a field that he is qualified to work in, but I should also mention it is a subset of the same type of medicine that I practice.

    Now my husband has 6 classes left and then a practical component. I have noticed that his behaviour has changed and he seems to be really closed off lately. After talking to him about it he HATES the program. He had such a visceral reaction. I am in the mindset that he should finish. My ego is telling me that I’ve pulled strings, my parents will be disappointed, what will my colleagues think, and do you want a husband that stays at home that isn’t employable. But I don’t want to be the person forcing him to do something that i want him to do, but he doesn’t. That smells to be a recipe for disaster. I’m still stuck on the SHOULD path. What does this sound like to everyone else?

  14. Grace McDowell

    I have been reading your “Daily Flame” every day it comes. I so look forward to it. I am trying to figure myself out and I find your daily the daily message is speaking to me directly and is helping me not to beat myself up over things. I am fortunate as my primary physician is like you. She spends time talking to me about things other than prescriptions i.e. what’s going on in my life, how am I handling things, she offers me suggestions other than medicine to get through. I told her about your book Mind Over Medicine. I am not sure how many lives you have touched but my guess is infinite.


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