[00:00:08] BS: Hey, you’re listening to Love Your Enthusiasm, a show where creators, teachers and explorers share techniques and inspiration to help you stay focused on your passion. I’m your host, Britt Skrabanek, and my guest today is author and yoga therapist, Jennie Lee.
In this episode, Jennie talks about her passion for all things spiritual self-development. Jennie has studied yoga philosophy and spiritual psychology extensively. So she has a great toolbox of practices that promote optimal well-being and purposeful living.
You all know that I am a bit of a wellness nerd. I learned a lot from Jennie, and I know you will too. If you missed the exciting announcement from last week’s solo show where I covered work from home tips, Love Your Enthusiasm now has transcriptions available for all episodes including the entire backlog. Head over to the show notes on the website, which is linked in the episode description if you are listening to this on Apple, Google, Spotify, etc., to cozy up with those transcriptions.
Please enjoy this beautiful conversation with Jennie.
[00:01:32] BS: Welcome to the show, Jennie.
[00:01:34] JL: Thanks, Britt. I’m so happy to be with you today.
[00:01:36] BS: How is life going for you in Hawaii? I am really jealous that you’re there, and I’m sure you hear that all the time.
[00:01:45] JL: I do. I do. I mean I’m so grateful every day to live here. I moved here 10 years ago from the East Coast, and it was a big move at the time, but I’m always up for a change. So it was an adventure and I have no regrets. It’s a little bit different here when you’re living here than it is when you just vacation. But it’s a beautiful place to be and I always love the amount of nature that we have access to year round. And so that makes life nice.
[00:02:12] BS: I’m glad that you called that out about it being different to live in paradise versus visiting it, because I have actually had friends and family members who have lived in Hawaii and they couldn’t hang, like they couldn’t stay there past a couple of years because they just got like island fever and they just needed to go back to the mainland because they felt like they just didn’t have enough variance in the weather or like places that you can really drive to. So it’s interesting that you say that.
[00:02:42] JL: For sure. It’s really interesting actually. They say that the island, it’s about six months to a year and it starts to really show for people whether they’re going to be able to hang here or not, like you said, because a lot of people move here after vacationing and loving it and they think, “Oh!” They want to come live. And then it’s just not quite the same. So yeah, it’s interesting. I think it has a lot to do with just how our personal energies blend with the island energy and the types of things that you like to do. Yeah.
[00:03:12] BS: Yeah. It’s funny because everyone thinks that paradise is going to be for them. Like they want it all the time. But like you said, it’s like living there and visiting there is a different thing. And when you go to an island, you’re on an island.
[00:03:26] JL: You’re on an island. And boy, after 2020, I know what it feels like to be on an island.
[00:03:31] BS: Yeah, no kidding. Awesome. Well, we are going to talk about spiritual self-development, which I’m super excited to nerd out on with you today being a yogi and meditator myself. And I always love to hear what people’s definitions of things are. And I also feel like two of these words are being thrown around quite a bit, spirituality and self-development. So, Jennie, I’d love to know what does spiritual self-development mean to you.
[00:04:09] JL: Yeah, that’s a great question. A lot of people have different concepts both of spirituality and of what self-development means. And coming from a background in the tradition of yoga and yoga philosophy, what I teach in the realm of spiritual self-development is a pathway for people to remember their inner essence. So, to me, that’s our spirituality. It’s that innate soul self, that energy which comprises who we are. And spiritual self-development would be coming back to a remembrance of that soul essence and integrating that with your human life in a way where you feel like you’re living at your maximum. You’re living your purpose. You’re living your joy. You’re living a balanced, peaceful life.
And so spiritual self-development is really this process of getting to know ourselves at a level that’s beyond just our human story and maybe our family of origin, the kind of psychology, the therapeutic psychology that we might to do to understand what our human experience has been. But it’s really blending that with an awareness of who we are as spiritual beings as well.
[00:05:35] BS: And I’d also be interested to hear about the co-relation between surfing and spirituality for you, because I’ve known quite a few surfers. You and I both grew up in Southern California. And while I didn’t surf, I knew surfers who were just always having these very beautiful spiritual moments that I remember even hearing about from like high schoolers. And surfing is very important to you as well in Hawaii. So if you could talk a little bit about the co-relation between surfing and spirituality for you, I think that would be cool to hear.
[00:06:12] JL: Yeah, for sure. Growing up in Southern California, I didn’t learn to surf. It wasn’t until I was an older adult and came here to Hawaii that I learned. So it was very interesting to learn a skill like that, midlife kind of time. And it has taken a tremendous amount of focus for one thing for me to learn that. People who surf make it look so easy, and it’s not as easy as it looks.
[00:06:34] BS: Oh God! It’s so hard. And just swimming in the ocean is hard. So then you’re attached to a board as well and trying to stay on top of the water while the water’s moving.
[00:06:46] JL: And it’s also predicting the waves, right? That’s a big part of it is learning how to read the water. So there’s a lot of mindfulness. So that’s one of the first things, is you have to bring your full presence to the experience. If you’re distracted and thinking about other things or looking around at other surfers, you’re going to get hit by a big wave.
[00:07:05] BS: Yeah, Mother Nature is going to get you.
[00:07:07] JL: Yeah. So it’s really being mindful and tuned in to the water, to the rhythm of the waves as they’re coming in and learning how to read, when to take off and pop up and all that. So there’s the mindfulness practice. There’s presence. There’s also just that awareness of how small we are in relation to all that is. And I think any time we’re in nature, and people have a lot of spiritual experiences being in nature, because there’s that sense of, “Wow! I am connected to this energy that is so much greater than my perception of my small self.”
And so, it brings in a sense of awe and wonder and just kind of magnificence, really. I mean there are times when I sit out at sunrise and I’m just in total awe, and it’s so beautiful, and it’s so peaceful and all the problems of the world just go away. All the humanly-created dramas of the world just fade to the background of my consciousness. And if I can immerse myself in that moment, it’s just such a beautiful and magnificent moment and such an experience of spiritual self.
[00:08:18] BS: And hats off to you for learning how to surf later in life, because –
[00:08:22] JL: Thank you.
[00:08:23] BS: Yeah, I think as adults, we are so fearful of trying new things especially when they involve some elements of danger. I mean let’s be real, surfing is not necessarily the safest thing to do.
[00:08:42] JL: For sure. And I mean you do have to be willing to take some risks. I have been hurt actually several times. I got hit in the face with my surfboard. And that was pretty traumatic. Paddling out of the water, blood everywhere. But the other thing is you absolutely have to have a sense of humor. And so it’s been really a great experience of learning how to laugh at myself and laugh at the mistakes that we all make as we learn anything new and being gentle with myself in that process, because I’m always coaching people in times of transition and change. And I mean that’s a big theme of what I write about. So if I can’t do it for myself and do it with some levity, then I’m not going to be as compassionate when I’m working with other people. So it’s been a great practice in that, and self-humor.
[00:09:32] BS: I love that you mentioned self-humor, because it just reminds me of the ocean, the Pacific Ocean kicking my ass when I was younger. Me and my high school friends and college friends, we would just go way out in the water, like way further than we should and just get rocked by some waves, just jumping around the water and everything. And there are a couple of times where you know some near drowning experiences. But you come out on shore and bathing suit’s not where it’s supposed to be a lot of times. So, you’re happy to be alive. It’s like you come crawling up on the sand and everything and then you’re like, “Oh man!”
[00:10:14] JL: Oh, I have a very deep respect for the ocean and for Mother Nature in general, like she is powerful. And if we’re not entering with respect, I always say a prayer every time I enter the ocean. “Just put me in harmony with all of the creatures of the sea and all the waves and other people out here.” Yeah. I have a huge respect for the power of the ocean.
[00:10:35] BS: Me too. Me too. She has shown me her strength plenty of times. Jennie, can you talk about what feeling accomplished means to you? And the reason why I wanted to ask you about accomplishment is because you’re a yogi. And I am a yogi as well. I know a lot of other yoga teachers and this idea of accomplishment or success can be really, really tricky for people in this world just because of wanting to remain humble and to keep learning, etc. So what does feeling accomplished mean to you?
[00:11:16] JL: Such a great question, and I think it’s something that I have struggled with, for sure. I’m a type A, overachiever, doer personality that is always on the go. I work really long days. I’m probably a workaholic, according to my husband. And so, I have had to really look for myself at what is driving that. And at times in my life, it has been driven by a need to prove to myself or to the world or just my parents or someone that I could achieve a certain accomplishment or measure of success externally. But in my development of my yoga practice and my understanding of my own self, I have really worked at looking at the purpose behind my drive differently. I have a deep desire to serve spirit, God, and to help others to feel better about themselves, about their lives, to heal the places where they’re feeling not so good.
And so that’s really now, what gets me up at 5am every morning and into 12-hour days, because there’s just so much suffering in the world. There are so many people that need to be reminded that they are loved and that they are spiritual beings and that they are souls that are here for a reason and that all the despair and struggle that maybe they’ve experienced in their human lives is part of their soul’s path to remembrance. I feel like I’m in my calling now in terms of the work that I’m doing, both the coaching and the writing that I do, is very motivated towards not proving anything to anyone else, but really towards service.
And so feeling accomplished. How do I feel accomplished? If I am talking with someone and they start to have an inner shift where they’re moving towards a softer, more compassionate way of speaking to themselves or holding themselves or they’re just starting to move through their life and the challenges that are in front of them with a little more grace and ease and not so much self-judgment or self-condemnation, if I start to see those shifts, then I feel accomplished, if you will, in the sense that I’ve helped them.
[00:13:50] BS: Could you share an example of one of those inner shifts that you saw? I think that would be interesting to hear about, because I know it’s very internal for people, but it’s obviously something that you help that person with and something that you would recognize.
[00:14:06] JL: Yeah. So I was working with someone the other day who had had a really difficult time even identifying or connecting with her own feelings. And there’re a lot of reasons why that occurs for people. Maybe they have never been validated in their feelings or maybe they were shamed for feeling certain things as a child, or they were just never given any space or any language around sitting with their own feelings and validating themselves in their inner experience.
And so she and I were working on this and I was helping her to name her feelings and sit with them, feel them in her body for a moment, and then ask for something in relationship to those feelings. Or just start to speak about them in a way that was objective and not like a feeling of it’s not okay. I’m not okay. And as she did that, I could just see this kind of light come into her face like a freedom that she was experiencing inwardly. And she ended up writing to me after the session and writing me an email and saying that was really, really profound. And then she shared an experience that had come up later in her work that day where she had been triggered by someone and was angry and was feeling like her boundaries were really being crossed in this work situation. And she was able to internally identify the feeling of being resentful and breathe into it in her body for that moment inside. And then she was able to speak outwardly to the person and say, “I disagree with you in this way, and this is what I need to happen.”
And so, she was able to stand forward in that experience of her feelings in an empowered way as a result of that inner shift that she had made earlier in our session. So that to me is huge, right? That totally changes the trajectory of how she’s going to move through the world and what her relational dynamics are going to be.
[00:16:06] BS: Beautiful. It’s a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.
[00:16:10] JL: Yeah.
[00:16:11] BS: Jennie, what about your own spiritual fulfillment? So if you feel your own spiritual fulfillment slipping, how do you hang on to it?
[00:16:21] JL: I’m proactive about that, because I don’t ever want it to slip. My daily practice is meditation and walking. So I walk most mornings, unless I’m surfing early, but then meditation every day. And so meditation is my time to connect to spirit, to connect to my own inner wisdom, to connect to that energy, that universal energy that is all around us and within us. And that’s my anchor. So I say proactively, because if I miss a day or two, I’m starting to feel out of balance and disconnected. So I know that I need that every day as part of my day.
[00:16:59] BS: Being proactive with our spiritual and our wellness practices is so important. And I think we have to do it when times are bad and when times are good.
[00:17:11] JL: Absolutely. And I’m better at the spiritual practice, like meditation, than I am with physical practice. I will kind of overlook my body. If I’m working on a book, I’ll sit for hours and hours and hours at the computer and then I’ll get up and just be aching in my neck and shoulders because I haven’t paid attention to my body. And so, I need to be as diligent about the body practices daily as I do with the spiritual practices. But we all have our place where we need a little extra work.
[00:17:43] BS: Yeah. Well, I think we can all relate to sitting too much and looking at screens too much. It just seems to be the world that we live in, even you in beautiful Hawaii. You do it too.
[00:17:53] JL: Yes.
[00:17:55] BS: You are not immune. But, yeah, it’s important to listen to the body. I mean even myself, my yoga practice has changed quite a bit over the years. I mean I used to do 90-minute practices all the time and it’s pretty rare when I get a 90-minute practice, and now maybe once a week I usually try to do those on Sundays whenever I’m not distracted by work business related things during the week. But in the mornings too, I like to do a little bit of movement, and that really helps me for my day of sitting or standing while working even just to do a couple of sun salutations, just a couple. Some cat cow stretches, a little meditation. I mean it does wonders.
[00:18:36] JL: It does, yeah. And that’s what I’ve started telling myself, is like I don’t have to do the hour practice. I can just do 10 minutes. It’s fine.
[00:18:44] BS: It doesn’t have to be so regimented.
[00:18:47] JL: Yeah. I mean it’s exactly what I tell other people about meditation who don’t have a meditation practice. I’m like, “Just do five or ten minutes. It’ll make such a difference.” So, I have to tell myself the same thing about physical practice.
[00:18:57] BS: Aha! I know. We have to practice what we preach. I’d love to go back to that meditation comment that you made, because you do work with a lot of people who are new to meditation, maybe don’t know where to get started or “if they’re doing it right”. Can you talk a little bit about meditation and just share your perspective? I don’t want to say what’s right, what’s wrong, but people do ask this question a lot.
[00:19:27] JL: Oh, for sure. The beautiful thing is that meditation is becoming much more mainstream in its acceptance and its understanding. And there are many different practices that are available to people. And I would say they’re all beneficial in certain ways. I teach meditation from the perspective of yoga philosophy, which is a more devotional practice versus, say, just a straight mindfulness practice. So my intention as I go into meditation each day and, again, this is not necessarily the one and only way, but because my orientation is towards spiritual self-development, I want to connect to that spiritual self. So that’s my intention going into meditation. It’s like this is my time. Not just to listen or be mindful about the sensations in my body or my breath, but to recognize, for instance, that for me the breath is the connector between my soul and my body.
So as I do my pranayama or breath practice that takes me into the stillness. I’m mentally remembering, “Okay, this is my time to listen to my spirit. This is my time to connect and turn off the senses.” Get away from all the externals. So I don’t listen to any music. I don’t listen to guided practices. Those are lovely for relaxation time, but to me that’s not meditation from the tradition of yoga. Yoga meditation is very much about unplugging from the sensory world and going inward to have this experience of the consciousness that transcends the physical.
So I don’t know if I answered the question, I guess I’ll go on just a little bit more and say, “How does somebody get started?” Well, I always recommend that you determine what your intention is. Again, I just talked about my intention with meditation. But someone else’s intention might just be to lower their stress level, let’s say. So just having a period of quiet for five or ten minutes where they’re focusing on their breath. They’re doing deep breathing to kind of quiet the nervous system and calm that parasympathetic nervous system. Then that’s great. So that’s what you’re there for. You know what your intention is. You set aside the time and you just do it. So there’s some discipline to it. But the discipline is balanced with your why. Like why are you there? And if you know your why, it makes a what a lot easier, if you will.
[00:21:56] BS: Of course, definitely. I feel like the most common confusion that I’ve ever heard around meditation from people is that they don’t understand why they can’t turn their thoughts off. And I would always say if you’re turning your thoughts off, that means that you’re dead. So you don’t want that. That’s something that I’ve heard a lot from people. I don’t know. Do you have any thoughts there as far as – I don’t know if you’ve heard that before. It seems like that’s the most common thing that I hear.
[00:22:27] JL: Oh yeah. Yeah. I mean I don’t know why we have this expectation that we’re going to turn our thoughts off. I mean our thoughts don’t turn off when we sleep. We’re thinking while we’re dreaming. Our bodies don’t turn off either. And we’re not meant to turn these systems off, but we are meant to regulate them. So, we have the capacity to – Control is kind of a strong word, but I’ll say control. So we have the capacity to control our bodies and our minds, right? So we know this. Olympic athletes control their bodies through incredible discipline and training. And yogis do too. And yogis particularly train their minds towards single pointed attention.
It’s really just about understanding that you’re not meant to turn nor could you ever turn your mind or your body off, like you said, unless you’re dead. So what are you there to do? Well, you’re there to direct it. Direct it and discipline it. And so there is great benefit to directing and disciplining both our bodies and our minds.
Now, Westerners, especially Americans, don’t like the word discipline. Like unless you’re in the service and that’s part of your world, a lot of people have an adverse reaction to the word discipline.
[00:23:42] BS: That’s very true.
[00:23:43] JL: It’s sounds harsh. It sounds not fun.
[00:23:46] BS: Detention after school. You’re grounded.
[00:23:51] JL: Exactly. It sounds like that. But I think we have to reframe the definition of what discipline is, because to me it’s a positive. It’s very much of a positive. It’s an empowering quality that I’ve developed and that we are all able to develop. So it’s willpower, right? It’s basically another word for willpower. And everybody knows that you can accomplish great things through willpower. And if you don’t have willpower, well then you’re not even going to get beyond the second day of the year with those resolutions.
[00:24:20] BS: Yeah, I agree. I mean I love the word willpower. I guess that’s a nicer way of saying discipline and maybe one that’s more accessible to people. But I also love the word discipline, and I think about how many things that I’ve done in my own life, whether it’s the meditation practice. I, like you, I’m also type A. So that actually has never come easy to me because my mind is always very busy. But also I think about discipline besides a physical and spiritual practice. It also relates to the things that I accomplish with my business or I’m also a writer. I’ve written novels. I mean like you have to sit and you also have to commit to a novel. Will take me anywhere from two to three years to write. So that takes discipline.
[00:25:10] JL: Absolutely. You know how many people – I’m sure you’ve heard this as well. Like how many people are like, “I have an idea for a book.” Well, that’s great. Everybody has an idea for a book.
[00:25:19] BS: Are you going to pay someone to write it are you going to write it yourself?
[00:25:23] JL: Yeah. That idea is not going to write itself. So unless you have the discipline to sit down day after day, like you said, for years, and that book is not going to happen.
[00:25:35] BS: I love that you said that idea is not going to write itself. One of my things I always say as I always say this thing or that thing ain’t going to ride itself. You got to get your butt in the chair.
Speaking of books, Jennie, in your book, SPARK CHANGE, you share 108 provocative questions for spiritual evolution. Can you share your top three and why they are important questions to ask?
[00:26:05] JL: Well, yeah. It’s super hard to choose my top three, because the questions meet us where we are in the moment, right? So 108, there’re lots in there. I don’t expect every question to work for every person. In fact, I’ve gotten some amazing feedback from people who have gotten the book and who have just opened it randomly because our intuitions kind of know and they bring us things. They bring us these little nuggets of inspiration if we’re looking for them. And often the question that somebody will open to is exactly the right one for them at that moment.
And so different questions will be right for us at different moments in time, but I’ll tell you what my favorite three are right now. The first one was number 37 in the book, and it’s what is life asking me to learn right now? So I’m a big learner. I’m a big fan of life is a big school of learning. And if we’re not always on the quest to learn, then we’re not growing. We’re actually stagnating and moving towards death. So we need to be in forward motion. And forward motion can be slow. It can be very small and incremental. And at other times it’s big leaps and bounds. But we are meant to be evolving. So, the subtitle of the book is actually 108 Provocative Questions for Spiritual Evolution. And it’s that sense of we are meant to be evolving. And so to ask the question, “What is life asking me to learn right now?” is kind of, again, to the point of that evolution, that spiritual self-evolution that’s always at play.
The next question that I love is number 59 which is how can I make friends with uncertainty? And having just come out of 2020 – Oh my goodness! We all certainly had this one up in spades, right? We have had just so much uncertainty. And that goes on, and that’s a part of life. It will always be a part of our life in different amounts. And so this question brings me back to the practice of non-attachment and practicing the ability to be present with what is to not fight the circumstance, but to accept it and look at, again, what can I be learning from it? How can I be peaceful within it even though I might not love it? And then how can I work towards change from that standpoint first of acceptance?
I find that this one is very grounding for me. Most people, myself included, don’t love being in a state of not knowing. I’m a big planner. Again, back to type A, I’m a huge planner. So it virtually killed me not to make plans throughout 2020. Like it’s just so hard for me, but this has been a very important question for me of late.
[00:28:58] BS: Yeah, I think it has for a lot of us, especially as planners, like you said, who weren’t able to plan. I mean even something as simple and joyful as travel. And I mean that’s a big one for me and that has been a huge learning experience where I just realized how dependent I was on travel for happiness and escape, etc. And my husband and I, we were supposed to go to Spain in September of 2020, and that trip of course got cancelled. But yeah, just kind of coming to terms with that especially when it’s something you’re looking forward to and those fun things in life. Not having them and then trying to figure out how to still find that happiness. And for most of us, that came from within, whether we liked it or not.
[00:29:48] JL: Yeah, absolutely. Travel is a big one for me too. And I had a big trip to Italy canceled last September. So yeah, I get it. I get it.
[00:29:57] BS: We’ll go one day.
[00:29:59] JL: Yup, we will. The third one that I just shout out for today, number 81 in the book, is what do I need to know in this moment? So this is one I go back to a lot. If I’m maybe feeling overwhelmed or if I have a decision up or if I’m sorting through some business project and I don’t totally have clarity on it. If I’m sitting in meditation, at the end of my meditation I’ll drop a question like this in. What do I need to know in this moment? And sometimes really surprising things come from the intuitive soul self that may or may not be even related to what I was working on. But it’s like it just puts me quickly into kind of intuitive clarity about the thing that most needs my attention currently. So it’s easy to get distracted and overwhelmed by life and all of the things that we need to accomplish. But that one really, again, is kind of grounding to me and brings me back into highest priority kind of focus.
[00:31:00] BS: The other thing I would love for you to explain is the number 108, because the listeners might be wondering why you chose such a strange number. And I know that there is some meaning there, but I would love to hear your explanation.
[00:31:15] JL: So there is, and I’m going to decline answering this question because I want people to read the full explanation in the introduction to the book. So I’m going to leave that as a little mystery. And you’re not the first one to ask, and I’ve declined every time.
[00:31:37] BS: Okay. All right, fine. I guess you’ll have to read the book and/or look it up. Yeah, I first learned about 108 in my yoga teacher training. And yeah, all right. We’ll keep it mysterious.
Getting back to 2020, because 2020 was certainly a year of introspection for everybody. But as we’re moving into this new year, 2021, I think it’s very easy to lose sight of the things that we learned and experienced during the uncertain times of that year. So, Jennie, what are your recommendations for continuing a practice of introspection this year?
[00:32:21] JL: Well, it’s interesting that you really assessing these type of questions like I was just sharing where they’re looking for the lesson in the experience of the moment. It’s so powerful, right? Because so many people I think, especially in 2020, were laying a lot of blame and pointing fingers and the problem was over there with this group or that group. And we have just seen so much separation and division as a result of that behavior and that lack of introspection. And I think it’s so important that we each take accountability and responsibility for our part of the circumstance that we’re living in. Whatever country you’re in, we’re all connected as a world. And so we all are part of this energy that’s occurring on the planet right now, the mass consciousness. And so it’s so important that we look within.
So whether you haven’t yet started a practice of introspection or you are already doing that, to maintain really a daily practice of just thinking to yourself, “How did I move through this day? What consciousness did I bring to this day? Was it loving? Was it fearful? Was it blaming? Was it judgmental of self of other?” These are the kind of things that we can reflect on at the end of the day not to make ourselves wrong or to beat ourselves up because we failed at that. I mean we all fail at certain days.
But to just kind of keep that checkpoint in place where we are centering ourselves within, monitoring our own reactions to situations, choosing to bring the highest-level loving consciousness that we can to every interaction that we’re involved with. This is how we each contribute to that mass consciousness and to the greater shared experience of humanity that is happening right now in the world.
[00:34:08] BS: Beautiful answer. And as you were saying that, I was kind of in my mind thinking. A little small voice, “Was going was 2020 a year of introspection or was 2020 a year of division?” And I guess it was both in a lot of ways.
[00:34:25] JL: I think it was both. I think there were many people that landed in the camp of division and then there were many people that landed in the camp of introspection. And everyone is just going along on their evolutionary process as they are. And so all we can do is take responsibility for ourselves and meet one another in compassion and offer the tools and practices as you and I are doing right now. Offer the tools and practices that have been helpful to us in growing and finding inner peace to others.
And I know that being self-reflective and practicing meditation has made me so much happier and more peaceful than watching the news and blaming the other political party and shouting about all the injustices that I see in the world. Not that we aren’t meant to notice those and take action on those in the ways in which we’re we feel called to do. We absolutely are, and I do, and I encourage everyone to do that in the way that makes sense to them. But in terms of my inner practice, my inner world, if I’m going to take time each day to become peaceful within my being, it’s not going to come from watching the news. I don’t care what news channel you watch.
[00:35:43] BS: I’m with you, Jennie, all the way. Can you talk about some strategies you’ve personally used to deal with overwhelm?
[00:35:56] JL: I lay down on the floor, a hard floor, on my back and put my hands up in a gesture of surrender. Like the old hands up. So in yoga, it’s called cactus.
[00:36:06] BS: Yeah. Oh! I love cactus or goal post arms, whatever people call it.
[00:36:10] JL: Goal post arms, yeah. I call it surrender, because it’s just like –
[00:36:13] BS: Oh, that’s nice.
[00:36:14] JL: Yeah, I just lay on my back, full surrender pose there, and breathe. And I can feel all the tension that I’ve been holding myself up and holding myself in motion, whether it’s moving about or working on the computer and all the tension that creeps into my back and neck. I just feel it like melting into the floor. So that’s my go-to at the end of every day, literally just lay down on the floor.
The other one I love if I practice on my mat is full prone on my belly with my arms out in front. Almost like you imagine you were diving in the ground. But that to me, that gesture of full prone, is such a beautiful – Like to me that’s prayer, or I might be in child’s pose with my arms out or just on my knees in some way that where my head bowed and my forehead on the ground and just in total deference to spirit, because we’re not in control. And as much as we have aspects that we try to control and can control of our lives, certainly in terms of our reactions to things, that’s what we’re meant mostly to control. But there are a lot of circumstances that are bigger than we are. And so just laying it down and offering it over and saying, “Help.” That’s a real grounder for me.
[00:37:39] BS: I love laying on the floor as well especially after a long day, because it just really resets your body especially if you’ve been doing a lot of sitting and computer work, which most of us do. And then I love that you mentioned cactus arms, goal post arms, whatever you want to call them, surrender. That’s something that I started doing in shavasana about a year or two ago because I always felt it was uncomfortable for me personally to have my arms alongside my body with the hands going towards the feet. That was always a little uncomfortable for me and I couldn’t quite figure it out and I was like, “No, this is the way you need to lay in shavasana. This is what you’re being told to do and what it’s supposed to look like in the yoga calendar or whatever.”
And so, anyways, I started doing the cactus arms and it’s just so much more comfortable and opening. I think it’s just like the chest opening and everything for me too, which is something we need to do more of with how inward we end up going in a bad way by sitting at a computer packing away all the time.
[00:38:45] JL: Definitely, yeah.
[00:38:46] BS: Jennie, last but not least, if you met someone who was struggling to find their sense of purpose, what guidance would you offer?
[00:38:56] JL: Oh, that’s such a big question.
[00:38:57] BS: I know. I’m sorry.
[00:39:01] JL: Well, I have a whole chapter in SPARK CHANGE about purpose. So, there’s lots of questions around that, self-reflective questions. It’s a process of coming to learn to listen inwardly to your spirit, to your heart, to the energy that is moving through you or wants to move through you. I definitely believe that every single one of us has a unique purpose, and that it changes throughout our lives, and that it’s very subtle. It can be very subtle. It can be very grandiose for some. It can be very small in a way, like centered around a small nucleus maybe of family or community.
So, it’s important not to have some idea ahead of time of what you think purpose is, like you’re going to save the whales or something. Purpose is subtle and it’s very personal. And so it’s about learning to listen deeply within to your own spirit. And so there are lots of practices around that that I teach clients and workshops and things, but it’s about getting in touch with your intuition. Having those moments of stillness. Doing the self-inquiry that helps you sort out the things that are blocking it. Because, really, we just need to remove the blockage to it. Spirit wants to move through us in very unique and purposeful ways and waves. But yeah, we just need to get some of the ego stuff out of the way.
[00:40:28] BS: Absolutely. Jennie, for any listeners that want to stay connected with you, what is the best way for them to do that?
[00:40:35] JL: Well, I would love it if you’d hop on my website, which is my name, Jennie Lee, J-E-N-N-I-E-leeyogatherapy.com. There’s a book page for SPARK CHANGE where there’s a free meditation and some free guides and a free excerpt and all kinds of freebies on there. So have a peek at that. Put in your email. I’m always offering new promotions and workshops and different things coming up. I have a really beautiful group coaching series that I’ve been running in increments. So, another one will be coming up soon. And yeah, I’m on social media. So, Instagram, Jennie Lee Author, Facebook. Find me wherever and reach out.
[00:41:21] BS: Great. And I will link to everything in the show notes for the listeners so you can just head over to the website and find everything you need there. Jennie, I loved our conversation today. It was so much fun. It’s always great to talk to a fellow yogi.
[00:41:38] JL: Thanks, Britt. I love talking to you too. That was great. Thank you for all your good questions.
[00:41:44] BS: You bet. Make sure you give the Pacific Ocean a big hug for me.
[00:41:48] JL: Will do.
[00:41:52] BS: If you’re looking for related content, I highly recommend episode 11, How to Follow Your Truth with Karen Munna. Karen is the owner, founder and custodian of AHKi Retreat in Costa Rica, an incredible/magical place I stayed at for a yoga teacher retreat a few years ago. Karen talks about what it took to build this retreat center in the jungle, and she offers unbeatable wisdom about manifesting what we are meant to have. Be sure to check out Karen’s episode if you loved this one with Jennie.
Thank you for tuning in to Love Your Enthusiasm. Until next time.