Living On Purpose

October 2022
Written By: 
Molly Johnson
Photographs by: 
Scott Smallin

Local resident Mona Lee brings peace and wellness to Grand Strand

Do you need some zen in your life? Do you want healthy ways to relax and handle stress? Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner Mona Lee can help—if you’re ready for change and willing to meet her halfway. Owner of Beautiful Mind, SC, Lee possesses a calming demeanor that puts one at ease immediately, with kind eyes and a soothing voice.

A Vietnam War baby, Lee has an interesting blend of life experiences that influence who she is and her work. While in the war, Lee’s father met her mother, who is from Thailand. Her father was stationed in Sault Ste. Marie—located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan near Canada—and Lee, her mother, and brother lived in Escanaba, Michigan while he was stationed there.

“How I grew up was just from a mix of the Westernized way and the Eastern Way from my mother, so I had a mix of everything going on when I was growing up,” says Lee. “We were raised in a fundamentalist Christian church, but behind closed doors, my mother was a Buddhist, and my grandfather was an astrologer and an intuitive, so I always thought that was normal. So, I took a little bit from each and integrated that into my own way, my own system.”

Lee moved to the Grand Strand in 1992 to attend Coastal Carolina University where she earned her psychology degree. With a friend, she started meditation classes that were recognized by the Student Government Association (SGA) at Coastal.

“I was known as a tree hugger because I was leading meditation when I was just 19 years old,” laughs Lee.

With her degree in psychology from Coastal, Lee didn’t stop there.

“After Coastal, I knew I didn’t want to just do psychotherapy or be a psychologist because I’m an empath and I feel people’s stuff too much, so I always wanted to be off the beaten path and do something different and be out of the box because that’s what made me excited,” she says.

Lee obtained certifications in hypnotherapy as a Master-Level Hypnotherapist, NLP (neurolinguistic programming), Transpersonal Life Coaching, and ear acupuncture (auricular acupuncture). She also has a Bachelor’s in Holistic Health Science, Master’s in Natural Medicine, a Master Level Reiki certification, Toe Reading/Sole to Soul Coaching certification, and a 200-hour yoga certification.

(Left) Different sound bowls hold different notes and sound frequencies. Lee uses a sound bowl in the note of F for heart healing on a client. Sound healing helps release anxiety and stress as it’s gently paired with guided visualizations or hypnosis for deeper healing; (Right) Lee brushes a feather over a client’s head to help with energy clearing.

Originally disgusted at the thought of using needles for ear acupuncture, she ended up being glad that her Doctor of Oriental Medicine friend brought it to her attention.

“When I found out the benefits of ear acupuncture, I found out it was for immediate stress relief, anxiety, depression, insomnia, PTSD, weight loss, pain relief, detoxing, boosting the immunity, and clearing the mind,” says Lee. “It was amazing to integrate that and pair it with my hypnotherapy, so that’s when I coined the term ‘zen session.’ ”

Lee describes the zen session as her favorite reason of why she opened her center.

“I coined the zen session for mind body healing,” she continues. “I love to do work that helps people connect to themselves in a deeper way. I call it meeting their higher self and finding their authentic truth. I love coaching, I love teaching, I love sharing. I love workshops, I love doing events and retreats, even overnight retreats. I love to see transformation happen for people, and major lifetime shifts. And seeing the aha moments come through for people whether it’s one-on-ones or whether it’s in a group.”

Lee says she primarily does one-on-one sessions currently, but she also offers group sessions and workshops throughout the week and the month. She does her group zen sessions twice a week, on both Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. and Friday mornings at 11 a.m. Her workshops and classes are offered at least once a week, with quarterly retreats and spiritual retreats happening, too. Daily on weekdays, she takes one-on-one clients, which are all different sessions depending on the person’s needs.

“We get together, and we connect coherently and really connect because, in a one-on-one approach, it really is a co-creative process, where I meet the person exactly where they are at that very moment emotionally, mentally, physically, or spiritually,” explains Lee. “I used to have the program where I said okay, we’re going to do this during this week and then this…but it doesn’t work that way. That’s where Spirit can work, that’s where ego is taken out. My ego, Mona’s ego, is taken out and then it’s just whatever needs to be done at that very moment. That’s the only way it can be done.”

In the next year, however, Lee sees herself stopping one-on-one sessions as she works on co-writing a workbook as a tool to teach from, and as she focuses on her new Temple of Transformation.

“That’s partnering with two other healer friends of mine, and it’s a co-creative process,” says Lee about Temple of Transformation. “Sometimes it entails a hands-on healing. It’s every single Sunday on Zoom at 11 am. And it’s a free service of helping people with meditation, guided meditation, insight on how to handle stress, classes on energy healing and clearing, setting healthy boundaries, tapping into the inner self, and finding themselves through their senses. Just helping the human journey to go a little smoother is the goal.”

Lee’s hope is to eventually open a physical retreat center building to expand on this healing work and help more lives through Temple of Transformation, including a Mystery School.

“I define the Mystery School as things they don’t teach in traditional schools, like psychic development, protection for the empath, and energy healing and clearing techniques,” explains Lee. “Those are not taught; those have to be felt. They have to be experienced. So, experiences come in through community. The right energy, time, and people coming together, whether it’s a few people or it’s a bunch. It’s so hard to explain mysticism.”

Changing lives is Lee’s calling and has been a passion of hers since she was leading meditation classes at 19, but she wasn’t always living fully aligned with her truth. Her career used to be in the corporate world, where she did marketing and sales, including working for Marriott, which involved traveling.

“It was really great when there were four children to raise, but it never really fulfilled me, and no matter how much money I made, I still wasn’t happy because I wasn’t living on purpose,” she says about her old job. “I wasn’t living what was true to my heart. So that’s when I knew I couldn’t live on that hamster wheel of life anymore. Until I finally quit my job and I took my 401K that I saved for years, and I spent it on opening a wellness center. I had no idea if it would work or not, I had no idea if I would even get one customer in the door, I just knew I had to do that and that’s my way of service and that’s what felt most important to me.”

Now, Lee couldn’t be happier or more fulfilled with her work as she lives by her favorite saying of “Why don’t we live on purpose and have a purpose to live?” She has been doing her healing work full-time since 2013, when she opened her first business called Holistic Health and Healing Wellness Center in Myrtle Beach on Oak Street.

Lee smudges with sage to release negative energies and cleanse auras and spaces. Smudging with sage also provides antiviral and antibacterial properties for natural healing; (Above Center) Lee demonstrates how crystals or nature’s elements can be used as healing tools. 

Just like anything, though, her work is not without its challenges.

“The only way that anything works of what I do is if the person is willing to do the work and meet me halfway. Because it’s a co-creative process,” says Lee. “Even though I’m a healer and doing healing work, it’s really the client who is doing half the work. The only challenge is if the loved one sends somebody in and the loved one is not ready or willing. It has to be a ready and willing participant who wants a life change, a stress relief, or deeper knowing or answers within themselves. They have to be willing, that’s it.”

So, if you’re ready and willing to make life changes, Lee might be the person for you.

Inspired by the great leaders, like Mahatma Ghandi, the Dali Llama, and Lao-Tzu, as well as her family, ancestors, and her cultural background, she believes in the powerful life philosophy, to “do what you love, and love what you do.” And, she adds, “the philosophy engrained from my grandfather, which is just finding that one foot path, coherence, between what you think and what you feel—the head and the heart—and making sure it’s connected so you are real and authentic in your life.”

In her free time, Lee enjoys being in nature, gardening, singing, and kayaking with her partner and family. She has three adult children and one teenager.

If you’d like to book a session with Mona Lee or learn more—everything is appointment only with no walk-in services—you can call her at (843) 455-4321 or visit