Lee Klinger Lesser, MS

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Lee Klinger Lesser, MS, has developed and led retreats for Veterans since 2008, integrating her experience of mindfulness and meditation into accessible programming for Veterans. She has been leading workshops in the mindfulness practice of Sensory Awareness since 1976.

She is the co-founder and Executive Director of Honoring the Path of the Warrior, a non-profit program that provides a safe environment for veterans to rediscover meaning, purpose, and joy in their lives through mindfulness, meditation and community.


The Quote

We have to take responsibility when our own hearts and minds harden and close. We have to be brave enough to soften what is rigid, to find the soft spot and stay with it. We have to have that kind of courage and take that kind of responsibility. That’s true spiritual warriorship.
Pema Chodron

What Led to the Specialization of Trauma?

Lee shares the story of growing up a young girl and remembering how Vietnam veterans were treated, how they were shunned and ridiculed. Those thoughts came back to her years later when she and her daughter were marching against the US invasion of Iraq. It was at that moment that Lee thought to herself, What would I want for my own children if they had gone to war and come back. The answer to that question was the impetus for the work she is now doing.

A Crucial Early Mistake

Lee talks about an experience she had as a young counselor and working with a young man. Through a series of events the young man ended up in jail. In an attempt to reach out to and keep in contact with this client, Lee sent him a small puppet. Lee reflects on how due to her own cultural insensitivity at the time, this gift was actually something inappropriate for this client.

Lee’s Why

We send people to war and put people in situations that are so untenable to manage as human beings. We rely on them. I feel there’s a responsibility here.

Lee’s advice

  • Learn to see people in their own wholeness and gifts, and meet them from that place.
  • Know how important it is to have a really safe place to witness and hold what people have been left to carry.

Lee’s go-to books

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Interview Links

Patricia D. Wilcox, LCSW
Dan Griffin, MA

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