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Carolyn Chilton Casas is an Usui/Holy Fire® Reiki Master practitioner and teacher with a

background in metaphysics and a great interest in fostering spiritual connection through mindfulness. In her meditation practice, as she explores how to live with impermanence, poetry is a natural extension.

After raising two children while running a produce business with her husband, she only started writing in her fifties, prompted by a community college life stories class. Carolyn’s spark to write and her spark to help others live more comfortably through energy healing serendipitously struck at the same time. She enthusiastically devotes herself to these two practices, believing one inspires the other.

The themes of daily life are what most interest her—family, connection with nature, evolving beliefs, impermanence, and ways to heal. In her first collection of poetry, Carolyn writes about the alchemy of being alive. She believes we all encounter both joyful and difficult times, but by looking for the silver lining in a hardship, we can reshape the story we tell about these experiences.

Carolyn’s younger years were spent in a rural setting on a dairy farm in a Minnesota. She speaks to that idyllic childhood in her poetry. Other poems point to experiences of being a mother or are narratives on places traveled with her family. For her, nature, and her relationship with it, is sacred—the plants, trees, deer, rabbits, squirrels, whales, elephant seals, the much-loved ocean, and hills where she lives in California.

In the last section of the book, Carolyn reflects on the first months of the 2020 pandemic and what the possible gifts of this time might be. Never having used social media platforms, she began posting short photo poems with what she hoped would be positive messages when we were asked to start sheltering at home.

Her stories and poems have appeared in Braided Way, Energy, A Network for Grateful Living, Journey of the Heart, Odyssey, Reiki News Magazine, ROC Metaphysical, The Art of Healing, Touch, and in other publications. Videos made from poetry:




The squirrels have not yet found

the figs. They stole every single apricot

on the newly planted tree in days,

even though the roots are fortressed

to keep gophers out, the branches

fenced to protect deer from foraging.

Then the hellions pilfered half the plums;

I’d see them scurrying up the trunk,

running down with purple,

ripe ones in their overstretched mouths.

When they had eaten all the orchard’s

harvest (the figs were not yet ripe)

the squirrels made do with

their last resort – the orange tree near the house.

I laughed to see one push a globe

up the hill toward her underground den,

maneuvering it with nose and neck,

only to have the sphere roll back down,

her darting after it, to start all over again –

a modern-day furry Sisyphus.

Mostly I have given up and buy my fruit

at the farm stand around the corner.

But figs are my favorite;

I’ve rescued five ripe ones so far.

Maybe the squirrels missed them,

don’t like the taste, or they feel remorse.

Returning up the road from a walk, I spy

a squirrel scout peeking down the driveway;

our eyes meet, then he takes off,

sprinting full speed to warn his brethren,

Here she comes, down the holes!



Life gives me a morning

after having slumbered

like an angel

in a cocoon of cotton blankets

and flannel sheets,

seated cross-legged, lotus pose

on the bedroom floor,

with a hot cup of coffee,

whipped cashew milk

and cinnamon stirred in,

looking out the open door

to wide-spread vulture wings

circling the heavens,

riding their enraptured

roller coaster in the sky.

Glancing down, I see

a glittering snail track, dotted

like the path on a treasure map,

woven between

fallen leaves on the patio.

And I feel happy

for the coming day,

Life is like that. Sometimes

it gives you exactly what

you want and need.



My daughter wants me to use

the word gumption in a poem.

Do you know what it means?

she asks. Courage is my first

assumption. The dictionary

adds resourcefulness, guts,

spirited initiative, spunk.

A much-needed trait

these days. With

gumption we can

get through this crazy

time. Having gumption

is key to living our happiest

lives in spite of all that is happening

in our world. It’s a great word, possibly

one I’ve never thought to use before. But

now, gumption might become my new mantra.

Gump-tion. . . . .gump-tion. . . . .gump-tiooonnn.



We want to be seen,

to be known,

to be valued,

to be loved—

for our visible beauty,

our hidden inner selves,

and even what some may call flaws.

We want to be accepted,

to be cherished.

We want connection

with each other,

with Mother Earth,

with whoever we call God.

We want to live in peace,

in radiant health,

the sun’s loving rays wrapped

around us like a hand-knit shawl

against the cold.

We want to create something

of meaning

from the depths of our soul.

We want to be valued,

to be loved,

to be seen,

to be known.

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