Red Hot & Holy — Sera Beak ‘s Heretic’s Love Story
This spiritual memoir, Red Hot & Holy by Sera Beak, is a hot mess in itself: wildly emotional, unsparingly personal, and written in a style that the author mentions as “spiritual street slang (‘gangsta goddess’).”
It’s about the soul as the meeting place of human body and ethereal spirit, the part of us that connects to God. I’d always thought of soul and spirit as pretty much the same thing. I like this three-part view of a human much better.
I also got from the book something helpful to me in a more day-to-day way: A reminder that expressing the passion of one’s soul does not require dancing on table tops.
It’s easy to get the idea that passion comes in only a few styles, all of them flamboyant.
This memoir, while being flamboyant itself, makes a point of saying: soul is what’s real and complete and essential in each of us.
So if my soul or yours is more stylistically like Obama than a flamenco dancer, it’s not necessarily a case of inhibition or shortage of passion, but of individual style of expression, which does not rule out table-top flamenco dancing when the mood strikes.
And it works both ways. “I self-consciously raised my hand in my Buddhist studies class.” Beak writes, “and, with a shaky voice, said that while I respected everything I was learning, “enlightenment” sounded (gulp) kind of boring to me.”
I found the reminder that one way is no better than another useful even as I was finishing reading the book at my desk in my office. When I saw movement in my doorway and looked up from my computer, a tall lanky woman leaped across the open space, did a couple of dance steps. “Feeling inspired?” said Kat J. Hall who works upstairs in the building doing marvelous facials at her Rosehips Skincare. She declared it “Miller time” and said she was going to sit outside, drink a beer, and watch the sunset.
I wished her well in that pursuit, and turned back to my computer screen, happily free of any thoughts of myself as a party-pooper.
In the book, Sera Beak asks herself what her soul wants to express. She concludes: love for the divine. And she wants her spiritual devotion intense, with “heat, movement, aliveness, wildness, and okay, yes, sexiness.”
So I asked myself what exactly is it that my soul wants to express. (Sometimes I think it’s expressing itself in spite of me, or maybe it’s that I’m not entirely conscious of what I’m expressing. It had to be pointed out to me that the meeting of sex and spirituality is a theme in all of my novels.)
Again I ask myself: exactly what does my soul want to express? I think it’s that we are more than our human limitations; I write about the kinds of experience that hint at that truth, sexual experience being one of those.
That’s as close as I can come to the answer at the moment. What does your soul want to express? And in what style and medium? (And I mean to ask my upstairs neighbor Kat the same question. I think her answer is going to be pretty interesting.)
“The soul is the essence of humanity’s being; it is who we are. The spirit is the aspect of humanity that connects with God.” From GotQuestions.org