Fly on the Wall

One of the best and most obvious things about travel is that it gets you outside of your normal element. It gets you into a new vibration. It allows you to see your own life from a different set of eyes than you would normally see your own life from.

Chateau-Lafite-1787_6The side benefit of the travel is that you get you get to see other people’s lives as well, if you are willing to see! On this journey which has lasted only 48 hours so far I have seen many other lives. I have seen the life of a director of an arts club and she became a friend who might offer future opportunities to speak and teach. I saw the life of a brilliant cheesemonger and sommelier who told stories of his grandmother’s wine collection that includes a bottle of first growth Bordeaux that dates back to the days of Thomas Jefferson. Most importantly I got to be a fly on the wall in the normal life of my dear friend Howard who has a life that many of you would dream of living, even if it is filled with his own individual contrasts and awakenings. The best part of all of it is that it reminds me that we are all the same. We all have beauty and contrast and we can all celebrate the beauty first and foremost and draw awakenings from the contrasts…if we are willing to See.

Today I woke up in a new and unfamiliar bed. A bed that I have never slept in before. I made tea and shared conversation with a brilliant young man who will attend one of the nation’s top 100 high schools next year. In the routine of his morning he helped me get wifi and he made me feel at home. I was grateful for our time alone to chat before my day began to move more actively.

Later I drove to the beach and had a few hours to myself to sit in stillness and think. I intended to read but the thinking seemed more inspiring so I surrendered to the thinking and enjoyed the moment. After the beach I met up with my friend Howard again and he invited me into his world by having me join his chef friend and her staff as they finished up a program that featured wine and food in the most intimate setting. The event was in the chef’s own home kitchen where she offered me the remaining sea scallops with sweet pea puree and mesculin salad. I thought I was heading to the Subway for a six inch turkey sandwich and a bag of Sun chips. What I got instead was a gourmet nosh and a glass of pinot gris and key lime pie. The end result so exceeded my expectation. What I got in addition to the delicious food was love and intimacy. Isn’t that what we are all seeking in the long run? Isn’t that the connection we all crave even in our own everyday lives?

Later the cell phone calls and texts started to come into my friend’s normal routine. One restaurant needed a few options for new glass pours for the wine list. A family member needed help setting up for a celebration dinner that was to be held tomorrow. We needed fish for our own dinner and a market up the road had salmon on sale for a fair price and promised good quality. As he managed his routine travels I sat as a fly on the wall enjoying the beauty of the current of his life and enjoyed the new adventures that were outside my normal element even if they might have been routine to him. Along the way I met kind and interesting people. They all had their own stories and their stories were worthy of hearing, I was grateful for the opportunity to have the ears to hear the stories. It reminded me yet again that we all have stories and that they are all worth hearing. It’s easy to hear the stories when we are flies on the walls of others. The awakening left a question in my mind, “Can we find the inward gaze clearly enough to recognize the beauty of our own routine? Can learn to be a fly on our own walls and find our own stories in the everyday?”

I began to think of all the times that this good friend Howard has visited me in my normal life. I began to think about all the times in the last 15 years that he has traveled through my routine and been a fly on my wall. I began to think about the fact that he always says that he has the most amazing times when he is in my home in Chicago and it cemented my belief that we all need to take only a small step away from our routine to see how remarkable our routine might seem to others if we could only see it through their eyes instead of ours.

So today I set out on another day of adventure in the routine. I will drive new places. I will see the land and the sea. I will lunch with a friend in a place I have never been before. My day will end by allowing me to be part ofd my first ever Passover seder dinner where we will share food, wine, history, tradition, love and intimacy. There will be stories and many around the planet will celebrate their own stores as they gather in their own seders.

This entire planet in this amazing Universe is a home to the entire collection of humankind. In those two words, human and kind,  I find peace in knowing the Truth. The Truth is that we are all the same. How lucky am I to be a fly on this infinite wall…



About Jim Herbert

I've been wanting to write my whole life. By age 45 it had amounted to nothing more than a storage locker of half full journals and a lot of unfulfilled dreams. Then Paris in the fall of 2011 happened. It was the catalyst I needed to consistently blog. At first I had a hard time hitting the publish button, but now two blog sites and over 300 posts later I'm hitting my stride. I'm also a budding speech writer. I've recently been heavily involved in the Chicago Storytelling scene and have also won the Chicago Toastmasters Area 66 International Speech Contest. Check out our website at for more details about the amazing things that are happening in my life. A book or two are nearing completion. With another Paris trip on tap for Easter of 2015 I can only imagine that there are Infinite Possibilities on the horizon!!!
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