Peeling Carrots – A Spiritual Practice


Guest Author


Inspired by Anne Hillman and her book “The Dancing Animal Woman.”

1) Find a lovely large carrot. Top and tail it. Then peel it. Save peelings for compost. No compost? Toss them under a bush. The snails and slugs will take it from there.

2) Admire the freshly peeled carrot. Smell it. Run your fingers along its newly smooth surface. Open your mouth. Then …. tap your skull with the carrot. Lightly. Listen for the hollow sound. Your head has just become a percussion instrument. Don’t hurt yourself, but tap out a rhythm. Become aware that you are resonating. Your emptiness a space of creation.

3) Resume peeling the carrot. This time on to a dinner plate. As the orange curls multiply, bend down to smell again. Resume peeling, noting how the peels get larger and then smaller and diminish until the carrot breaks or you cannot create another peel.

4) Choose a fat curling peel of carrot with its sweet core in bold evidence. Eat it one bite at a time. Counting silently to ten between each nibble.

5) In spite of any left over shame from childhood about playing with your food, use the remaining peels to make a face depicting how you feel at this very moment. Extra peels can be used for hair, beard, earrings, etc.

6) Admire your creation. And your creativity.

7) Take a photo with your phone. Post it on Instagram or Facebook or email to a friend as a self-portrait.

8) Eat your art.

Blessings to you all. Many thanks to Anne for her inspiration. And to Richard Rohr and the Center for Action and Contemplation for sharing her work.



“The act of love is the surrender of self into life as it is. This is a love larger than our word “love” can contain or express. It embraces all of life and does not judge: tragedy and war, suffering and joy, creativity and destruction. Beauty. Death. The Other. Within this embrace of life as it is, lie acceptance, forgiveness, healing.

When we let go enough into the depths of our being, we are in communion with all of creation. We are center and circumference. One and many. Self and other. Without difference. We are receivers of one another. Then the mystery which surrounds and informs us is served. At depth, we discover that our aloneness and our bondedness are one. Ours is an identity with all beings. Herein lies our healing, the end of loneliness. . . .

To stay grounded I have had to find other ways to honor the paradox of our human identity. I have discovered that it is in the simplest, most minute experiences that I can begin to do that. Then, I am at home, my created self. I belong. Walking. Looking at a tree. Listening to a person, to the wind. Caressing a child. Scraping carrots in the sink. Weeping. Laughing.

Being tender. First, I learned to be tender with myself; to tend the needs of my soul. Then I began to tend the other which is also my self. If I am not tending, caring for some small portion of the living creation, how can I commune with that creation, be it the earth or a child, in any but the most sentimental way? A woman learns, in caring for an infant, that she becomes bonded. A person who tends the land or gives to another discovers the same bond. These are not moral niceties, they are part of the mystery. They are law.

In this kind of communion with life, new languages arise in our bodies: languages of awe and wonder, gratitude and a joy that is overflowing. They soften us. . . . The more gratitude or awe I feel, the more life shows forth its beauty and terror, the more my life is graced. These are the languages of being. Of being alive. This is a life lived with passion: com-passion. . . .”

— Anne Hillman “The Dancing Animal Woman “

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