Photography: Kevin Syms
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Lea Flocchini’s short version of her life is that she is a “non-denominational minister/spiritual counselor.”
The long version is more revealing. An ordained minister offering spiritual and emotional mentoring and ceremonies, she is also co-president and founder of the Council Circle Foundation, Inc., executive director of the Youth Council Program, the mother of two teenagers, and a wife.
To escape a somewhat turbulent childhood, Flocchini lost herself in science fiction and fantasy through Ursula K. LeGuin, C.S. Lewis, Arthur Clarke, and Tolkien. In high school and early adulthood, she began her recurring path of self-discovery by living with indigenous peoples in the South Pacific, traveling throughout New Zealand, Australia, and India, and reading the works of Krishnamurti, Alan Watts, Roshi Suzuki, and Gary Snyder.
Reading Flocchini’s current reading list reflects her interests: eclectic, diverse, broad, global. She seeks books that give her a new picture, an image of a different culture, place, or situation. She enjoys books that include a personal story with history, like Gail Tsukiyami’s Women of the Silk and The Samurai’s Garden. Because she teaches and strives to live by the precepts of spiritual discovery and evolvement, she reads a lot of nonfiction
educational works. Recent favorites are The Power of Now by Elkart Tolle and Soul Without Shame by Byron Brown.
Her current read is Destructive Emotions, a research collaboration between Buddhists, neuroscientists, philosophers, psychologists and the Dalai Lama, narrated by Daniel Goleman. In an attempt to understand and counter destructive emotions, the book reports various findings on shifting the heart to loving kindness, compassion, and joy.
Favorite Book On the unfair question of favorite book, Flocchini stalls. “I am one of those rare species that doesn’t have a favorite color, food, or flavor of ice cream. I have several literary favorites: Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha and Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi are books I have read over and over since I was 18 years old. Inspiring and ageless, they have helped my life change in many magical and wonderful ways. But, actually, I am also quite caught up in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. The stories are sweet and light yet deep, about Precious Ramotswe, a Botswanan woman who is full of spunk and spice and is definitely empowered.
“I love to read books that instill hope about humanity.” >>>