Across The River

Last night I began my travel to the place I have been called to for quite some time. I decided that it would be best if I worked my regular day at work and the drive to Kentucky after my shift. It was the right decision because it led me to where I am at right now. When we allow the the current to flow through is we accept the path without rowing upstream. The river of life will always flow where we are intended to go when we let it flow.

My day at work was full of anticipation and anxiousness. I kept checking my phone to see what time it was. Each time I checked, less time had passed than I expected or hoped for. It was all part of the design. Anticipation is a endangered energy in our world of immediate gratification. When the work day finally ended, I had indeed escaped sooner than I might have hoped. I was in my car and on the road by 4:00 p.m without any unnecessary delays or interruptions. I plugged my phone into the car cable power source and set my destination on the GPS. In reality I had no idea where I was going because I had yet to select a resting point for the night. I did know that I was heading south towards Kentucky so in the moment I figured that would do. What a difference it is for me to start a journey without a specific endpoint. I never could have done that even two years ago. I am grateful for the ability to trust.

The second thing I did after I set Kentucky as my destination was to start some music. I allowed the connection from the USB cable to my iPhone to select whatever music it decided to play. What it decided to play my entire music library in alphabetical order from A to Z. Since I had just gotten a replacement phone this past Saturday, my music library was limited to a dozen or so albums and playlists that I downloaded from the cloud for this trip. Once again I was reminded that perfection emerges when we relinquish control. Here is what I heard…

As I drove through the streets of the city of Chicago the first song that came on was Peter Gabriel’s Across the River. It was the version fro the plays live album. I noticed that I was driving south on State Street approaching Wacker Drive. I was quite literally crossing the river. I smiled even though nobody was in the passenger seat. Well nobody in flesh and bone that is.

Next up was a song named All that You Give. It’s a song that I suspect less than one percent of anybody in the reading audience would have any familiarity with I’m sure. It is a house music song by DJ Kasakade and it features angelic vocals by a  woman named Mindi. For the last year or so it has been the final song on my martial arts workout playlist. No matter where I am on the playlist or how long my workout is, I always fast forward to the song and listen to it as I wind down my time in my virtual dojo. As I listen I stand with my arms out stretched to the heavens and drink in the energy of all that IsQuite often when I open my eyes I am weeping. I’ll share the words with you a bit later in the post. As it played this time, once again my heart filled with joy and a tear or two came to my eye.

The third song that played was a song named Alone from the Cirque de Soleil show Delirium. I was now on the Dan Ryan expressway and I had beaten the majority of the rush hour traffic before it started. The song Alone once again reminded me of the magnitude of the journey I was embarking upon. I will spend the majority of the next three days in silence as I reflect and write and pray and meditate at a place that is the oldest working Monastery in the entire United States. I will be alone in some ways and in other ways, I will be in absolute contact with all Is

The song Alone is also special to me because the Delirium show was the first thing my wife Christiana and I did together. It was long before we were even dating. We had been co-workers for a bit less than a year and I had tickets to the show and neither of our partners wanted to go. I asked her if she would like to join me and she said yes. We bought a copy of the CD at the concession stand and shared it so we could both download it to our computers. It is has been and always will be one of my favorites.

I was beginning to see a pattern in this music that was randomly playing through my iPhone and I wasn’t interested in changing the pattern even a little bit!

Fourth in succession of my symphony for the road was David Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes. Once again that magnitude thing slapped me across the face as a firm awakening with a gentle touch. On the seat next to me was a bottle with a small amount of the ashes that are Richard’s physical remains. I will leave a piece of him at Gethsamani just as we did in Chartres, France last April. More about that later. I currently only have one Bowie album on my iPhone, mostly because the majority of his work that I own is on vinyl. I purchased the Best of Bowie from iTunes when he died last year so I could have something to listen to that would make me feel connected to the man I have always thought of as a musical genius. More importantly though, I have also thought of him as a being who came to this incarnation to make humanity change that way they saw labels of each other. Christiana has more to say about that and I hope she’ll share in a blog with you someday because she will say it better than I ever could.

downtown Four the next six hours I allowed my iPhone to play songs in alphabetical order and while I will not write out the playlist for you from start to finish, I will say the every song that I listened to had powerful meaning. My journey of the day drew near to a close as I passed through downtown Louisville. I was within a mile or two from my lodgings for the night and in the darkness I noticed I was driving across a bridge. I has no previous knowledge of the geography of Louisville so I had no idea I would end my journey just as it had began, by crossing a river.

I drove across the Ohio River with a deep sense of knowing that the journey was only beginning. All that Is was with me already and although my eyes were weary, my soul was full of life. Like all things in life each end is a new beginning and each start is a finish line; a never ending circle of life.

This journey for me is a culmination of a little over two years of learning to slow down…to find the silence between the notes that make up the symphony of life. I’ve learned from many and I’ve trusted myself along the way. I am grateful to all that Is, both on this side of the veil and on the other side. I’m grateful to you all for All that you Gave, and about those lyrics I promised…

“Used to be
I couldn’t slow down
Freedom was running
And what I sung

So I’d run
To try to catch up
As fast as I could
I wouldn’t give up

Did anything
To get to that spring
And drink the sound
It’s voice would sing

Whoa, ho, ho, ho
Whoa, ho, ho, ho
Whoa, ho, ho, ho
Whoa, ho, ho, ho

Then one day
I turned around
To see what I gained…
Nothing found!

So I chose
To slow myself down
Losing a dream
They call the sound

And that’s when it came
Loud as a rain
Filling my life
It’s voice did sing

Whoa, ho, ho, ho
Whoa, ho, ho, ho
Whoa, ho, ho, ho
Whoa, ho, ho, ho

Whoa, ho, ho, ho
(All that you give)
Whoa, ho, ho, ho
(Along the way)

Whoa, ho, ho, ho
(Oh, then you went)
Whoa, ho, ho, ho

All that you gave
Along the way…”



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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One Response to Across The River

  1. Jim, this is an awesome read. Once again, I felt like I was traveling with you. I love how this journey is packed full of symbolism for you. And, I love that you are taking a piece of Richard to reside at Gethsemani. (We have bought fudge and fruitcake from their farms for years. They have the best fruitcake in the world.) I had several lines that were favorites: “Once again I was reminded that perfection emerges when we relinquish control.” And, “This journey for me is a culmination of a little over two years of learning to slow down…to find the silence between the notes that make up the symphony of life.”

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