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ABQJournal Online A Quest For Spiritual Under

Buddha may have found enlightenment by simply sitting quietly under a bodhi tree, but journalist/wisdom seeker Dana Micucci describes herself as a bit of an adventure addict and, for her own circuitous path to nirvana, compiled a bucket list of seven of the worlds must-see spiritual hot spots for her signposts. Over 14 years, Minucci trekked a walkabout to study Aboriginal art in the Australian outback and explored Cambodias temples at Ankor Wat while dodging armed Khmer Rouge militants. She meditated with Mayan priests amid Yucatan ruins and crawled through the stifling claustrophobic passageways of Egyptian tombs. She got woozy from the high altitude in Tibet and high from hallucinogens as she sweltered through sweat lodge rituals with Amazonian Inca shamans in the shadow of Machu Picchu. Closer to home (she now divides her time between New York and Taos), she also spent a prayerful week with Benedictine monks at the Christ in the Desert Monastery near Abiqui. The result is Soujourns of the Soul, Micuccis personal travelogue through the labyrinth of her own spiritual awakening and the sacred sites that provided the catalyst for it. Transported by the mystical ambience of these locales, she links them and the experiences she had at each to the awakening of a particular chakra, a Hindu belief named after the Sanskrit word for wheel. The doors of esoteric wisdom opened in what felt like a preordained sequence of seven stages awakening, surrender, remembering, faith, initiation, healing and activation that I experienced through my seven main chakras, or spiritual energy centers of the body, Micucci writes. Little in her 20-plus-year rsum hints at what might have led her on this spiritual quest. Though she is widely traveled, most of her cited writing has been primarily in decorative and fine arts. But her years as a persistent journalist willing to take chances have given her a nose for a good story and the skill to tell it.

Sojourns of the Soul: One Womans Journey Around the World and Into Her Truth by Dana Micucci Quest Books, $16.95, 288 pp.

Not surprisingly, the accounts of her lively and sometimes comic adventures and her descriptions of the natural and architectural wonders of her destinations, sprinkled with observations of their historic and cultural contexts, are particularly engrossing. Not quite as much so, by comparison, are her ruminations on her own spiritual epiphany. For readers pursuing their own spiritual quest, accounts of other searchers and the writings that may have inspired them are listed in an extensive bibliography. What Micucci ultimately has gained from her spiritual experiences she describes as a balance between being and doing moving more slowly and thoughtfully through my days. She hopes her travels will encourage the reader to re-examine your beliefs and perceptions and open you to new ways of seeing, thinking and feeling as you undertake your own inner journey. Robert Woltman is an Albuquerque writer and poet. Dana Micucci discusses, signs Sojourns of the Soul at 3 p.m. today at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande NW.