Day 5 – April 25, 2016

A Walk Across Iowa on the Old Lincoln Highway: Day #5

Mark Minear

Mark Minear

by Mark Minear 

Greetings! Today was an exciting and meaningful day! I began to “notice” again. (Note: I always think that my clients are beginning to make progress when they begin to “notice” things within them or around them—they are becoming more aware… they are beginning to become an observer of their experience.) When we are mindfully paying attention (on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgment)—observing our thoughts, emotions, and physiological sensations (one’s internal world) as well as the environment around us (our external world), then we are likely to be more liberated to make choices moment-by-moment for our lives.

I had some awareness over the first few days of this Walk (but probably not completely) that I had some anxiety about safety; I was hypervigilant and organized around safety… for myself, for drivers on the road, for others who came to walk with me, etc. My brain was working very hard to keep me safe… you know, that’s what brains do. In fact, I think that mine was working overtime in regard to safeness. It was difficult to try to step back and observe that anxiety; but, today, I seemed to turn a corner to be able to “notice” myself reflecting on other matters of importance in my life as well. Themes of hope, gratitude, personal transformation, generosity, and making choices much more readily became the foci of my thoughts and feelings; and, of course, I was still noticing the various and many messages that my body wanted me to consider. This inner experience opens the way for the spiritual dimension to transform our lives… for I believe that this is where we meet God… WITHIN!

Of course we can celebrate the creation around us through the five senses… but appreciating that beauty, that “WOWness”, that sense of gratitude happens WITHIN! Perhaps today I was also hitting this fifth day with a greater belief that I maybe I really can do this entire trek afterall. I have come 134.9 miles thus far (and my latest math would suggest an overall of 342 miles from river to river); and I was reflecting upon the importance of hope in my own life, as well as in the human experience. I don’t mean having a naïve or Pollyannaish outlook upon our lives, our futures, and our world… a hope that is built upon a level of avoidance or denial. But I long for a genuine optimism that is grounded in the realness of life. I think that having authentic hope keeps me going in this career to which I have given my life. That even in the darkness… just a little crack in a door or a small candle can break in and provide significant light. Then who knows what will happen when we respond to the Light… and begin to live up to the measure of Light that we have been given! We are likely to be given more Light!

Did you know that the most famous bridge on the entire transcontinental LH is found in Iowa? It’s located at the east end of Tama (see photo below), just after passing King Tower Restaurant (another historical spot on the LH, see photo below), and it was built in 1915. What is amazing about this bridge is that it spells out LINCOLN HIGHWAY in the cement sides! I left today’s gratitude marble in the little creek underneath this one-of-a-kind bridge.

Today I met Kim, a waitress at King Tower Restaurant; it opened in 1937 and is also at the east end of Tama. When she knew of my interest in the Old Lincoln Highway, she had a number of fun stories to share about the owners of King Tower across the years.

Today I learned that there is something worse that walking uphill against the wind with the sun in one’s eyes… and that would be walking uphill against the wind with the sun in one’s eyes AND needing to pee rather badly! (Which, by the way, is a trick along a journey like this!)

Today I am grateful for Anita Smith. Anita and her husband Jim were college friends with Karla and me—back in the 1970s at William Penn College. Anyway… Anita volunteered to let me use her daypack combination camelback. So I have a place to carry the things that I need for one day AND sufficient water with a straw that comes around allowing me to walk and drink at the same time. (I know that some of you are surprised that I can do that!) What makes Anita special is that, even when she has concerns of her own, she remains attentive, thoughtful, and kindhearted to the needs of others. As a psychologist, I would suggest that she has incredible “executive functioning”; as a friend, I would honor her compassion and generosity; and, in light of her faith, I would affirm that she is indeed a “doer of the word!” Thank you, Anita!

Peace, Mark

P.S. Tomorrow’s segment will be from Tama to Marshalltown… perhaps about 23 miles (it was 26 miles today). I will have a long-term friend from childhood, Arlen Daleske, join me for a good portion of Day 6. There’s nothing quite like a friend who knows something about the where and when that your story began!

Mark: "The most notable bridge on the entire transcontinental Lincoln Highway is found in Tama!

Mark: “The most notable bridge on the entire transcontinental Lincoln Highway is found in Tama!

day 5 b

Mark: “A walleye dinner and a chocolate shake at the King Tower Restaurant with a delightful and informative waitress, Kim!”

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For more information and more posts, please see Mark’s homepage: dmpcc.org/WalkwithMark

Everyone is invited to “Walk with Mark” by helping him reach his goal to support quality mental health services for boys and men. Supporting his 331-mile trek is easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Walk with Mark via his blog on the Center’s website or Facebook page.
  2. Walk with Mark by joining him for part of his itinerary.
  3. Walk with Mark with a donation to the Center for the counseling assistance fund.

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