“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

A young girl at the playground asked me that the other day: “Why are you walking in circles?”

I told her I was exercising. She seemed to be okay with that answer, but I knew it was much more than ‘exercising’ to me.

It was the easiest answer to give her, because exercise is one of the benefits of walking.

I certainly couldn’t tell this young girl:Walking in Circles

  • I’m meditating.
  • I’m contemplating.
  • I’m doing a number of breathing techniques, but no one can tell.
  • I’m sensing my recently deceased mother in everything – she seems to be everywhere now – in the sky, in the trees, in the birds – everywhere – not just in a room in a nursing home anymore – she’s everywhere.  Her voice is constantly in my head with her life lessons, her wisdom, and this ‘knowingness’ that everything is fine. I just need to trust that, stay humble and get ready for whatever is coming my way.
  • I’m seeing something new at every turn around the school building – the geese that fly in formation; the trees that are starting to turn colors; the beautiful purple wild flower; the airplanes in the sky; the tall young guy who should be good at basketball but he isn’t; the dad that’s trying to make his son into a basketball player – even though the kid doesn’t seem to have the natural aptitude for the sport; the soccer field; the ladies who walk around in skimpy and tight outfits looking here and there and pretending to “exercise” but they’re really trying to catch the eye of one of the men playing basketball with their kids; the little girls playing on the monkey bars and talking like their mother’s; on and on I see something new every day and at every turn when I walk on that school yard.

How could I explain to that little girl that:

  • “walking in circles” was one of the very best parts of my day.
  • television has long ago lost its hold on me.
  • when I didn’t walk I felt like I’d cheated myself out of some joy that’s readily available.
  • I wonder every day what I’ll do when the weather gets cold – will I still be able to wear my comfortable crock flip-flops? – will it be too dark to walk? – will I adjust my hours at work? – will I walk during lunch? – exactly what will I do?  I must have a plan because ‘walking in circles’ has proven to be the best most consistent form of both physical and mental “exercise” that I’ve done in many years.

How could I explain to her that yes, my answer about exercise was accurate, but it was not all there is to her question.

How could I explain that one day she’d probably find herself in middle age “walking in circles” too.

How could I explain that in life she should keep asking those type of questions…and question the answers…most people never question the answers.  Answers are taken at face value, but there’s usually more to the answer than the answer itself.

I saw her again the other day as she twirled an incredible flip on the monkey bars.  I smiled, and just thought as strongly as I could that I was looking at a future Olympian   I wanted her to believe that too, just from my eyes and my smile.  She caught me looking at her and her eyes got really big.   She looked so proud that I had “noticed” her …or maybe she caught the message I was sending with my eyes and smile –  that she could be anything she wanted to be in life.

I wonder if that young girl will remember that lady in the green and yellow crocks that she asked the question: “Why are you walking in circles?” I won’t soon forget her, or her question to me, or the fact that one day she might just be in the Olympics twirling on the uneven bars.

We never know when we are making a memory.