I had no idea why I signed up for the workshop with Sera Beak, author of The Red Book, other than the fact that I’d had dinner with her, along with sisters Leslie and Kris Carr a year and a half ago. The minute I met her, I knew Sera would become one of my spiritual teachers.

What I didn’t realize is that Sera was about to give language to an inner struggle that has plagued me on my spiritual path, one I’ve never fully understood or been able to explain. 

Waking Up

Over the past six years, ever since my Perfect Storm cracked me wide open, I’ve been waking up from my disconnected complacency and walking a spiritual path that has brought me increasingly closer to the Divine. In many ways, this has been the biggest blessing of my life.  I have felt divinely led, felt the peace and serenity of a personal relationship with a spiritual presence, learned to trust that the Universe has got my back, and become brave enough to take big, scary leaps of faith, knowing I will always land butter side up.

In other ways, stepping onto the spiritual path has been the biggest ass-kicking of my life. Waking up is not for the faint of heart.

I couldn’t be more grateful for the awakening of my spiritual side, which after an oppressive Christian upbringing that left me feeling spiritually bankrupt, and after twelve soul-sucking years of medical education, I was left feeling empty, trying to fill the void with romantic relationships, food, wine, fine fashion, travel – anything but what could really fill me.

My journey on my spiritual path has begun to fill that part of me that has been hungry for wholeness. But every time I’ve had an experience of Oneness with the Universe and All That Is, I’ve freaked out, pulled back, put up my guard, and run hightail in the opposite direction.

Resisting The Divine

I specifically remember one circumstance where I felt the Divine right in me, right there, up close and personal. Something magical was happening, something that took my breath away. And yet, as yummy as it felt, some part of me was screaming, “NO! Don’t do it! It’s a trap!”

Why? Because I was afraid of becoming “too spiritual.” That sounded boring, like black robes and bald heads and vegan food and solitude in a meditation cave. It sounded like no sex, no booze, no cussing, no bawdy jokes, no FUN.

I felt frightened that if I let myself fully embrace my spiritual side, I would have to deny essential parts of who I am. I would, in essence, have to reject my Inner Pilot Light and stop letting my freak flag fly. Part of me resisted that yummy feeling of communing with the Divine, and I didn’t really understand why.

The 2 Faces Of The Divine

But Sera helped me understand my resistance. Sera teaches about how the Divine comes with two faces. The first face is SPIRIT – the Divine masculine, God, Buddhist monks in robes, rigid yoga practices, sitting meditation, the Divine outside and above the body.  Most spirituality – even New Age spiritual teachings – fall into this category.  These are all good things. We wake up on our spiritual paths by getting in touch with the masculine Divine through our spirit.

But according to Sera, there is another part of the spiritual path that often gets neglected, a part we sell out in service to the first face of the Divine.

The Second Face Of The Divine

The second face is SOUL – the Divine feminine. If SPIRIT wants to shave its head and sit in silent meditation on a mountaintop, SOUL wants to twirl and dance, wear sexy red boots, connect intimately with other human beings, drink red wine, make wild passionate love, and scream F*CK just because someone told her she couldn’t. If SPIRIT is understated, serene, restrained, disciplined, and meditative, SOUL is fierce, emotional, eruptive, sensual, and unapologetic about who she is.

If Jesus is the first face of the Divine, the second face is Mary Magdalene. If SPIRIT is above the body, SOUL resides in it. If SPIRIT is church, SOUL is Mama Earth.

I Sold Out My Soul

When Sera described it this way, I felt this plunk in my belly that I only feel when something resonates as deeply true. I realized that I have been taught by spiritual teachers to repress this divinely feminine part of my spirit path, that I’ve been trained by a masculine construct to reject my feminine soul because it’s sure to get me in trouble and ultimately draw me away from the Divine.

I’ve been taught that the feminine will make me do wild, crazy things that will ruin my life, that the feminine is a siren, the part of me that will call me out to sea only to crash me into the rocks. The feminine can’t be trusted. It’s something to fight against, to steel myself to resist.

At least, that’s what I thought for much of my life.

My Soul Breathed A Sigh of Relief

I cried when I realized I sold out to the masculine in fifth grade, when I realized it would just be easier to change, rather than keep fighting against the oppressive force of a masculine culture. I grieved that I spent decades selling out my soul to get ahead in medicine, where there is no space for a feminine soul.

When I felt spiritually bankrupt in my early thirties, embracing the first face of the Divine felt like a breath of fresh air. At least I felt some connection. But it was only half the sandwich. No wonder I still felt hungry.

By selling out SOUL in service to SPIRIT, we kill a precious piece of ourselves and limit the full range of what is possible when we live a fully expanded, deeply embodied, completely authentic spiritual life. My soul breathed a sigh of relief when I listened to Sera explain that the spiritual path doesn’t require repressing the feminine. In fact, it’s just the opposite. The spiritual path insists that we experience the full range of our spiritual selves, including SPIRIT and SOUL.

Meet My Soul

We spent the rest of the weekend getting to know our souls, learning to listen to the longing and desires of the soul, naming her, committing to living her truth, even marrying her. I discovered that my soul is a risk-taker. She takes wild risks in relationships because she wants to skip straight past the posturing and positioning, the efforts we make to try to “impress” each other, so she can get straight to someone else’s soul.

She takes wild risks in her professional life, because my soul work is helping others get in touch with their souls, which I call your “Inner Pilot Light.” My soul wants to take more risks in the bedroom, though I’ve restrained her somewhat in this arena (time to stop doing that!) My soul takes creative risks but yearns to risk even more in my writing and my art. Most of all – and this was made very evident to me – my soul longs to dance. Movement is her language, how she communicates with me and the world. I made a vow to let her dance more and give her voice.

Meet Your Soul

What about you? Whether you’re male or female, are you in touch with the Divine feminine within you?  What does your soul long to experience and express? What work does your soul long to do? How does your soul speak to you? If you’re not sure, sign up for daily messages from your Inner Pilot Light (aka – your SOUL) here.

Introduce us to your soul in the comments below. Come on out! It’s safe here to shine your light!

With love and soul,

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18 Comments

  1. Linda

    I never thought about selling out, however, in reading your post, that’s exactly what I was doing. Somehow I felt that being feminine in spirituality was going against the grain. But recently there
    has been a shift in me. Something I can’t explain except to say that I have completely embraced the divine feminine in me, and am participating in things that I would have never done before. It feels great, and I feel more alive, not stuck in the old paradigm. There is something magical about a full moon, especially when it is rising over the mountain, a warm summer breeze and an inviting spa with lighted candles, that brings out the best in femininity. Of course, Michael Buble playing in the back ground didn’t hurt either, along with a glass of vino. It just felt very natural to be a participant instead of an observer like I had been for so many years, especially raised Catholic. So beautiful women everywhere, don’t be afraid to shed your masks, your clothes, or old ideals, and reveal your divine feminine spirit. She is waiting patiently.

    Reply
  2. Joanna Warwick

    Hey Lissa, this was like reading my story and I have
    Been loving the feminine and embracing her wild, serenity and lustful passion
    I truly believe that women in the western world are waking up and that the feminine in men and women is coming alive and starting to be honoured as equal to spirit
    It is so wonderful to hear if the great work your friend is doing and I send you both love and light
    Shout it sister !!!

    Reply
  3. kd

    excellent article, lissa! i only recently came out of a very long dark night of the soul. i spent years as a “crucifixtion Catholic” — the ones who meditate on the broken body of Christ, sin, shame, suffering, “Good” Friday, and the fixation on the power of the male and the veiled weakness of the female. Now, with this awakening under way, I embrace my divine feminine in ways that make me laugh with delight. I have a young daughter so it is happening at a time I can share & model my joy with her. I sacrificed so much to fit in with the male dominated culture, and like you, entered a profession imbued with male values. Also married a macho guy out of touch with his spirit & soul & unwilling to change. I’m working my way through all of this with a new eye towards wearing what i want, singing when i want, taking care of my body and loving it with my whole heart — and embracing my beauty (hello gorgeous!) I am now beginning a new career in a field i love and making my way to once again being free, sexy & single. Scary stuff in my mid-50s, but courage is a requirement for following this spirit dance. And it’s all okay because, like you wrote, the universe has our back:-) … thanks for a great read today.

    Reply
  4. Suzi Banks Baum

    Dearest,

    This is balm to my heart today. Stewing in the discourse over Naomi Wolf’s new book https://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/sep/02/vagina-a-new-biography-naomi-wolf , while also reading Sue Monk Kidd’s DANCE OF THE DISSIDENT DAUGHTER, and reflecting on Mama Gena’s post about truth telling https://www.mamagenas.com/why-are-you-so-nice/ has churned up questions about how to be true to myself in the world today. I relish your Soul’s voice and your insights borne of Sera’s presence in your life. I love how your learn Lissa, your appetite to transform yourself has led the way for so many of us. Thank you for this post.
    As I connect deeply to my Spirit, to Love as I have learned in The Seven Sacred Steps, http://www.thesevensacredsteps.com, I can bring an open-heartedness to this discussion which can be so wrought with pain, divisiveness and judgement. I see the struggles I have had in my life as necessary steps to bring me to the place I am at today.
    The strongest thing I have learned in my personal revolution is that this unearthing brings me closer and closer the living my truth, as you say here, living “the full range off our spiritual selves”..not just sometimes.
    Thank you for sharing this deeper aspect of yourself today and making room for all of us to know our deepest selves.
    With love, Suzi

    Reply
  5. Ken Winston Caine

    Lissa Rankin gives us one wonderful piece of thinking and writing and personal sharing that touches on the more uninhibited, joyful, creative, limitless aspect of your spirituality. It’s an aspect — and truth — that is rarely taught these days by those purporting to somehow have “greater” spiritual knowledge. And it’s an essential aspect of spirituality which tends to be utterly (if futile-ly) suppressed by “the church” and “religions.”

    Read Lissa’s piece and see if you don’t sense inklings of this truth welling up: You are here to be YOU. Fully. Joyfully. And that is your greatest mission and your greatest gift. And it is the only thing truly within your power.

    Reply
  6. Kat

    Aah thank you.

    I (unexpectedly) quit my engineering (=masculine) job just over a month ago, when faced with the realization that i couldnt sell out my soul any longer… faced with an ultimatum from the managers that would have resulted in selling what was too dear.

    ive been napping, playing, and watching too much daytime TV. I have been Still… Listening for that Voice inside for my next move. Thanks for mirroring Validation.

    Reply
  7. Wendy Merron

    Lissa – what a great post.
    I love how you let your SOUL out of it’s cage and you are truly enjoying her!

    After taking a few years to write my book, I decided that it doesn’t matter that I don’t have a graduate degree, that I truly have something important I want to share. All 152 pages lol!
    AND have FUN in the process.

    Life is too short for me to be creating projects on my own and I’ve learned it much more fun with others.
    I’m no longer worried about getting it perfect or right. Just more light, more happiness, and more fun.

    Reply
  8. Jude

    Thank you. I really needed to read this. As a teacher I struggle with those unexpressed parts of myself because I am fearful of seeming somehow “unspiritual” when I am supposed to be teaching aspects of spirituality. I almost cant believe I had never thought of it this way! X

    Reply
  9. Valerie

    Thank you so much for this. As I was reading I had goose bumps and by the end the biggest grin ever on my face !! It makes such perfect sense and really feels right deep in side. Thank you so much for sharing with us. xx

    Reply
  10. Paula

    Thanks so much for this wonderful post. I HAVE been more in touch with my SOUL lately and what you’ve said here is a beautiful way of describing that side (and more fully embracing) the fullness of the Feminine Divine. Thank you, Lissa! Thank you, Sera!!

    Reply
  11. RevCoach La Tonia

    Greetings SG Lissa & Community,
    As a minister and lover of All-Things-God, I can relate to this as I look at my “Spiritual” journey. Layers have been removed in increments that I could digest them, perhaps. I see the Mystical unfolding with love now. However, the place where I still chagrin is Irreverent Reverence in the eyes of other people. I love the dichotomy of the profane and The Divine being co-creative but it’s not a wholesale item in Ministry and certainly ministries where people feel they have to hide because of the program. The Divine Feminine called me forth through my body. I am grateful for the message of the Fibroids because The Holy Mother inside of me was activate through my womb prayers and affirming the Feminine in my own family line. Then I STEPS WERE ORDER. I desire this for those I Coach, Teach and Heal.

    This is my favorite piece of your truth here that is also true for me —-> “The second face is SOUL – the Divine feminine. If SPIRIT wants to shave its head and sit in silent meditation on a mountaintop, SOUL wants to twirl and dance, wear sexy red boots, connect intimately with other human beings, drink red wine, make wild passionate love, and scream F*CK just because someone told her she couldn’t. If SPIRIT is understated, serene, restrained, disciplined, and meditative, SOUL is fierce, emotional, eruptive, sensual, and unapologetic about who she is.”

    ****If Jesus is the first face of the Divine, the second face is Mary Magdalene. If SPIRIT is above the body, SOUL resides in it. If SPIRIT is church, SOUL is Mama Earth.****

    Truly it is a customized journey and makes the circle small. I long for a world where people can be free of the dogma, authentic in expression and still be honored for their special gifts. I know that I a Pioneer to do this. I’m a sexy, sexual, dancing, cursing, sensitive Minister and Life Coach and this is the interruption I was called to be. I can also pray the paint off the walls, re-decorate the lives of others with my Coaching ability and my words are anointed one on one and to the masses. I am an Clairvoyant Empath, not too sensitive but specialized to sense and teach others to do the same. YES, Lissa . . . . . ..This what I really want to write in my bio.

    I love & Admire you with SG Love!!!

    Reply
  12. RevCoach La Tonia

    Ooops the above should read – “MY STEPS WERE ORDERED!”

    Reply
  13. Teresa

    Hi Lissa… I became a part of your page to receive newsletters for enlightenment to help me on this journey I’ve started on. On February 15, 2012 I had my first panic attack. And my life has NOT been the same since. I can only describe it as having a feeling there are 2 me’s. The one person who existed before February who was afraid of everything… afraid to talk to people I didn’t know, someone who had a beautiful voice, but was afraid to sing in front of crowds, afraid to take chances, afraid to leave a marriage that was no longer good for me, feeling stuck in a job that just isn’t who I am, scared to be alone and feeling like I HAVE to have a man in life to feel validated.

    Now there is this other side of me who gets excited talking to strangers (the good kind LOL), who loves to sing and praise God in his glory, someone who goes to the bookstore and just sits and enjoy being around the words……………… But the old me wants to fight and fight and go back to the path of destruction of being someone’s piece of sex for a night instead of loving me enough to wait for a relationship with a man who loves me, cherishes me, and wants to build a life together.

    My divorce was final August 2011 after being separated for 2 years. In those two years, I felt stuck like I wasn’t moving. And in some ways I still feel that way. I want things to change over night….but this other part of me is trying to make sure I understand that change takes time and patience is the Key!!

    I said ALL that to say….thank you for this article today…it just gives me more insight to the changes I am making on this journey called life!

    Reply
  14. hali

    Yes yes yes! You inspire me regularly, Lissa – and this is tops! I feel so much of this truth over the past few years of my life (leaving nursing, going back to my art, testing the edges of spirit, embracing dance and painting as vessels of divine connection, and so so passionate about the unleashing of this divine embodiment in others)- and reaching peek lately as I stretch more into sharing and expanding with others. Thank you for this bold sharing – my soul is howling with yours, sister.

    Reply
  15. Lissa Rankin, MD

    I’m SO digging this conversation, dear ones! I know there are many like us, who have wrestled with this struggle between Soul and Spirit- and it feels like such a breath of fresh air to just embrace both in a non-dualistic way. Phew!

    Thank you all so much for reading and sharing your glorious stories.
    With love and soul,
    Lissa

    Reply
  16. Joy

    Hi Lissa,

    As I read your words, I found myself nodding in agreement, and when you met your soul, a few tears rose. I will process the message, but what stands out to me strongly is the idea that for so long I was a woman in “man’s world”…as a single mom the head of the household, as an employee at the hospital and as a sailor raising my children as liveaboards on a boat…surrounded by men. And, I feel that perhaps that influence began to snuff out the divine feminine and only very recently (as I have moved off the boat and out of that career) has my divine feminine been able to breathe and express and create. I feel like I am falling in love with world again…and after reading your message, it makes sense…my heart is whole which allows my spirit to be radiant. Thank you for your reflection, I will allow the deeper meaning to soak in 🙂

    Reply
  17. Al

    This is fascinating but also confusing. What is masculine? What is feminine? The line looks loopy to me, or fuzzy. Seeminlgy clear, then invisible. A woman can be as rigid or serene as any man. A man can be as tender or fierce as any woman.

    Reply
  18. Sue Terry

    i need to get back in touch with my SOUL. I have been so unhappy and depressed and sad for the past few years and I cannot getout of this rut.
    Thanks Lissa for your wonderful writing, I just wish something would touch me and my soul
    All I can really feel is anger lately…help

    Reply

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