Jennie Lee is a multi-award-winning author of three books: SPARK CHANGE: 108 Provocative Questions for Spiritual Evolution; TRUE YOGA: Practicing with the Yoga Sutras for Happiness & Spiritual Fulfillment; and BREATHING LOVE: Meditation in Action. She is also a certified yoga therapist and spiritual coach, who has counseled private clients worldwide for over 20 years. From her long-time practice of yoga and spiritual psychology, Lee shares a large toolbox of strategies that promote optimal wellbeing and purposeful living.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up in Pasadena, California in a middle-class, hard-working family. Although my parent’s relationship was rocky, I was well-loved. I studied hard, got scholarships to a private high school and to Pepperdine University. I moved to Italy after graduation to study and travel and that opened up my world and my love of diverse cultures and people that I still hold today.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
I wish I had become really fluent in multiple languages early on and traveled even more than I did in my 20’s.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
When people use the word ‘guru’ to refer to any expert or teacher, or if they say ‘the guru is within’, this is a real misunderstanding of the term, which actually means one who has achieved full self-realization, such as Jesus or Buddha, who can then lead others out of the ‘darkness’ of personal delusion into the ‘light’ of awareness.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
There have been many periods of depression in my life when I have not felt clarity of purpose or direction. I have felt alone and despairing of the state of the world and the opportunities in front of me. But I have always called upon God and the belief that if I keep moving forward in the direction of my dreams with unwavering faith, that eventually I will see my way again. And this in fact has been my experience.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
The absolute unwillingness to give up on my dreams and the dedication to daily, disciplined work toward them even for no pay and no outer validation.
What is your morning routine?
I wake at 5 am each day and spend a little time with inspirational reading. Then I walk 3 miles or go surfing. Then 45 minutes of meditation and onto the day’s work. Evenings are spent with my husband cooking, reading, and relaxing with our house bunnies.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Daily meditation is the #1 habit that has changed my life for the better. I am going on 11 years of daily practice and this keeps me grounded, calm, and connected to the Divine and to my intuitive wisdom.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
Again, meditation is the thing that creates greater levels of efficiency. Even 15 minutes of daily practice helps me accomplish more later because it develops focus and concentration. Also when I am writing a book, I do not read other people’s work, so that I can clearly hear my own creativity come through and I map out how much writing I need to do daily to stay on deadline.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda was a pivotal book for me as it changed my understanding of what yoga is really about and clarified my spiritual path and practice.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“Make your love greater than your pain”, Paramahansa Yogananda says. This sums up the entirety of spiritual practice in my opinion and is a lifetime worth of work!
Where can we go to find out more?
More about me can be found here.