Page last updated: May 31, 2021

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A Seeker’s Jagged Journey

by Barbara Schmitz

Author and poet Barbara Schmitz offers a heartful, funny, and deeply moving “spiritual autobiography” that brings the reader along on each stage of her fervent inner quest for mystical experience.

Beginning with a Catholic girlhood in Nebraska, she graduates to an unlikely apprenticeship with Allen Ginsberg at the Naropa Institute; a dedicated transcendental meditation practice; and finally to thirty years of joys and struggles with a Sufi teacher (Shahabuddin Less) with whom she travels to Bali, Turkey, India, Kashmir, and the Holy Land.

Incisive as lightning—the meaning of her Sufi name, Vajra—her questions and yearnings are our own, and she doesn't let God, her teacher, or herself off the hook.

BARBARA SCHMITZ has been “searching for a heart of gold” (Neil Young) while “Living in the Material World” (George Harrison), often feeling as if she were “Running on Empty” (Jackson Browne). Through “A Simple Twist of Fate (Dylan) she’s encountered many teachers “Passing Through” (Leonard Cohen) who’ve given her “Shelter from the Storm” (Dylan), helped her light “A Candle in the Rain” (Melanie), to see “With the Eyes of a Child” (The Moody Blues), and led her to “Graceland” (Paul Simon). As with most travelers, “sometimes the light’s all shining on her; other times she can barely see” (The Grateful Dead). She still has “Many Rivers to Cross” (Jimmy Cliff) and can only “Imagine” (Lennon) what is yet to come.


April 22, 2013 GoodReads review by A.E. Stueve”

"... an honest, unwavering description of Schmitz’s journey to spiritual fulfillment. ... From her early beginnings as a scared Catholic girl praying for death so she could go to heaven, to a middle-aged woman searching for answers to questions most of us don’t bother to ask, Schmitz takes her readers on a journey that is enlightening, heartening, and eye opening...” Read the Full Review.


October 28, 2012 A Word’s Worth Review:

“This is an unusual book written in a highly accessible style by a highly enlightened person . . . Path of Lightning is filled with illuminating flashes that will attract readers interested in further developing their spiritual growth.” Read the Full Review.

“Schmitz endeavors to understand ‘the mystery and beauty of being alive.’ I name her the Queen of Constancy for her devotion to meditation and never letting up or giving up on her spiritual journey. Enjoy the rich trip.”

—NATALIE GOLDBERG, author of Writing Down the Bones, Long Quiet Highway, and The Great Failure

“In Path of Lightning, this captivating writer shares the story of her spiritual journey from a Catholic girlhood to various forms of illumination. Her path is filled with both yearning and acceptance, drama and banality. Along the way, she meets a vast array of spiritual seekers from Sufi leaders to Allen Ginsberg. She does this while living in the small, remote town of Norfolk, Nebraska. Barbara is both ordinary and extraordinary. She is one of those wonderful people who can hear the music of the moon. In this book, she shares the music with us.”

—MARY PIPHER, author of Reviving Ophelia and Seeking Peace


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Sundown at Faith Regional (2021): In Sundown at Faith Regional, Barbara Schmitz offers Heart Medicine which “drops the pain body”—an invitation to let go to the rhythms of her love songs to life. (6"x9" paperback, 130 pages, ISBN: 978-1-936671-76-2 $20).

Page last updated: May 31, 2021

All pages copyright © 2021 by Pinyon Publishing