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Five for Friday: Lissa Rankin M.D.

by Marissa on April 6, 2012

When I first heard of Lissa Rankin‘s virtual integrative medicine resource, Owning Pink, I was immediately drawn to the name because clearly, I’m owning my own pink. But more than that, I have long believed that there is a place in traditional medicine for what we in the field of holistic nutrition practice and preach. When you get lucky enough, there is a doctor like Lissa Rankin who agrees. Lissa has a unique and inspiring story I’ll let you read for yourself and she’s all about authenticity and taking risks. I get the feeling that if she were my doctor, we’d have a lot to more to chat about than just my good health.

1.  What is the #1 wellness practice you live by? That thing that you do every day without fail because it revs you up from the inside out.

I drink about five fresh green juices per day. I also live on the Northern California coast, where the mountains, ocean, and redwoods meet, and I immerse myself in the beauty of nature every day for a hike/meditation that unwinds my nervous system, fuels my creativity, heals my heart, and connects me to Spirit. And of course, there’s raw chocolate!

2.  The premise of the blog is that wherever you are in life, is exactly where you need to be. How did you get to where you are today?

Ooh- how long do you have? No really. It’s a long story. But the Cliff Notes version is this: I was called to the practice of medicine at the age of seven the way others are called to the priesthood, but after twelve years of medical training and eight years of practicing as a full-time OB/GYN physician, I realized that I was becoming one of those angry, bitter, spiritually-depleted doctors who’s too burned out to truly help people heal. And I realized that the broken, outdated, patriarchal health care system was too constricting to practice medicine the way I had been called to do.

So I quit my job four years ago without a safety net, an employed spouse, money in the bank, or a clue about what I would do with my life once I left medicine. I thought I’d be a writer. And an artist. But what I hadn’t anticipated is that you can quit your job, but you can’t quit your calling. And the calling to be a healer just wouldn’t go away.

For a long time, I wanted to have nothing to do with medicine. The white coat felt like a straitjacket, and even most MD’s definition of health felt too small to me. I realized that promoting health without encouraging others to seek wholeness is an exercise in futility. Not until we realize that our bodies are mirrors of our interpersonal, spiritual, professional, creative, sexual, financial, environmental, mental and emotional health will we truly heal.

Once I realized this, I knew I had to reenter the field of medicine, but in my own unique way. So I started as a sort of virtual integrative medicine practice/ online magazine that gives voice to visionaries and healers who are transforming people’s health – not just physical and mental health, but also relationships, work/life purpose, creativity, spirituality, sexuality, and so on. I also started working one-on-one with patients, as well as health care practitioners and visionaries who longed to get out of the health care box the way I did.

Along the way, I wrote a few books, blogged my ass off, created a traveling art show about women with breast cancer, taught some workshops, started a public speaking career, and spent time with my daughter and husband. Really, it’s been an exercise in integration – bringing together all the facets of what makes me whole personally and applying them to my professional life in a genuinely authentic way. My goal is to be ALL ME, ALL THE TIME in service to the highest good. The rest just falls into place from the essence of that intention.

3.  What was your biggest transformation along the way?

The biggest change has been how I deal with fear. I’m no longer afraid of what people will think if I write a book about my sex life or admit my flaws and vulnerabilities to the very people who see me as a guru of sorts. In fact, we have a strict un-guru policy at Owning Pink. We’re all just humans living profoundly human experiences. Some of us just happen to have some things to teach along the way, but it doesn’t make us better, wiser, smarter, or more awakened than anyone else.

Freeing myself from caring what everybody thinks allows me to step into the authenticity of who I really am. And that has been my golden ticket – the key to my success. The more I become the Lissaest of Lissas, the more everything flows, and the easier it is! Since, after all, there’s nobody more Lissa in the world than me. There’s nobody more you than you. So why not embrace it!

I’m also not afraid of failure anymore. The way I see it, if you’re not failing from time to time, you’re not taking enough risks. I used to be a perfectionist and a performance junkie. I mean I was the straight A student, graduated second from my class in med school, aced my board exams – you get the nerdy picture. But while perfectionism may help you achieve, it’s also a recipe for unhappiness.

Now I leap off cliffs. And when I fall down, everybody is watching. And that’s okay. Because I’m one of those people who always falls butter side up. I have faith in the process now, so it lets me take leaps of faith that lead to opportunity and possibility. Not to mention that leaping off cliffs is a helluva good time.

4.  If you could only own five items, what would they be?

My Mac laptop. My GreenStar 2000 juicer. My encaustic painting supplies (does that count as 1 item?) My Tempur-pedic bed. My yoga mat. Between those five things, I’m pretty sure I could stay healthy, happy, rested, creatively inspired, and connected.

5.  What is the theme song for your life right now and why?

Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield.

I used to think my life was so certain, that I had it all figured out, that I knew at 30 how my life at 60 would be. Now, even though I crave the illusion of that kind of certainty from time to time, I know that the only thing certain in life is uncertainty. And now I embrace that. So I love this song because it’s so full of possibility. My life story isn’t all written out yet. Anything could happen. Who knows what tomorrow will hold?

About Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is an integrative medicine physician, author, speaker, artist, and founder of the online health and wellness community Discouraged by our broken health care system, Dr. Rankin set out to discover why some patients experience miraculous cures from seemingly incurable illnesses, while others remain sick even when they receive the best medical care. Fueled by a passion to determine what really makes people healthy and what really predisposes them to illness, she dug into the medical literature to study how doctors might better care for patients. Her research led her to discover that patients have self-healing powers beyond our wildest imaginings, and science proves it. She is now leading a “Pink Medicine Revolution” to help patients heal themselves, while encouraging the health care industry to embrace and facilitate, rather than resist, such miracles. She aims to feminize how health care is received and delivered by encouraging collaboration, reconnecting health care and spirituality, and empowering patients to tap into the mind’s power to heal the body. She will be sharing her scientific findings in her upcoming book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House 2013). When not spreading the word, she chills out, paints, does yoga, and hikes in Marin County, California with her husband and daughter.

Dr. Rankin has been featured on over 30 television shows, on over 50 radio shows including Oprah Radio, as well as on websites, magazines, and newspaper publications such as New York Times, Health, Women’s Health, Forbes, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Fox News, Huffington Post, People, Woman’s Day, WebMD, CNN, Chicago Tribune, American Baby, Body & Soul, AOL, and Yahoo.

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