We were waiting at the counter. Of the 4 employees behind it, 3 were engaged in some problem. The fourth was engaged with another couple, answering questions, making recommendations, carrying on leisurely.

I was pacing back and forth between the Problem-solvers and the Recommender. My internal dialogue was not the most sophisticated or generous.

Don’t you see me?

When is it my turn?

Why is this taking so long?


And, this was about butter and yogurt. Not life and death.

I am from New York. This was Philadelphia, not Zabar’s.

And, I realize, I am in a hurry wherever I am.

When I began Italian lessons last Fall, we were asked to introduce ourselves.

Mi chiamo Paulo. (My name is Paul.)

Habito a Jackson Heights. (I live in Jackson Heights.)

Mi piace cucinare. (I like to cook.)

Non mi piace aspettare. (I don’t like to wait.)

Ironically, I had been eagerly anticipating this long weekend away with my partner, so we could slow down. Walk. See wonderful art. Eat long, delicious meals. Sleep in.

And, we did.

And, yet, Saturday morning, as we lay in bed – a vast expanse of white, punctuated by soft hills of downy pillows, and overlaid with a sumptuous duvet – I found my mind running ahead into the day and all that it might hold. Then, I chose to remind myself that this particular moment – this anniversary morning – was what I had been waiting for. It was here. Now.

And, I was spending it like Monopoly money.

So, I stopped thinking.

I allowed my face to feel the cool of the pillow.

I invited my leg to put all its weight onto the mattress.

I listened to Alan’s breathing.

I was finally present.

No longer anxious.

Not wondering “when”?


And, I realized that “Now” is better than “When?” if I allow it to be.


“If I did not simply live from one moment to another, it would be impossible for me to be patient, but I only look at the present, I forget the past, and I take good care not to forestall the future.”

Thérèse de Lisieux

About Soul Intention

"Spirituality is, ultimately, about what we do with...desire. What we do with our longings, both in terms of handling the pain and the hope they bring us, that is our spirituality." from The Holy Longing by Ronald Rolheiser. Paraphrasing what Gerald May has said, in his book Will and Spirit, spirituality is our experience and interpretation of our relationship with the Sacred. The intent of this blog is to explore for myself, and to invite others to explore with me, just what is it we do with our desire? What is our spirituality? Mine has been shaped by many things...in my formative years, by the Roman Catholic church. In the last decade, by the 12 steps. Most recently, by the Episcopal Church. And, always, always, by the sense that Nature helped to reveal the Great Mystery, of which we are all a part. So, my spirituality includes concrete practices, like the Steps, as well as probing more philosophical matters. I was certified, in January 2011, as a Spiritual Director by the Haden Institute. During those 21 months of study, which included a broad range of topics from Celtic Spirituality, to the Christian Mystics, to Jungian Depth psychology, I was given the space and time to ponder my own spiritual journey, hear about others' paths, and benefit from participation in an intentional community. My hope is that this blog can engender a similar conversation. Peace, Paul
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1 Response to “When?”

  1. Thea says:

    For some reason this time of year especially makes me aware of how much I am always hurrying to the next thing. So much so that I don’t have time for whatever I’m doing now because I am thinking about the next thing. A few years ago, as I asked God for some relief from this state, a Catholic friend and I were talking about Lent. She believes that giving things up for Lent is not just about sacrifice, it’s about letting go of the things that stand in the way of our usefulness to God and our fellows. And so I decided to keep the Sabbath for 6 weeks. As a way of letting go of busy-ness. And since I am neither Catholic or Jewish, I got to make up my own rules as to what “keeping the Sabbath” meant. I decided that the first rule was no clocks and no appointments for 24 hours out of each week. I would devote one day a week to deepening my relationship with my higher power and my community. I often had people over for dinner. A couple times I cleaned my bathtub. I decided that if I did it very mindfully, even that could be a spiritual act. After 6 weeks, I found I had slowed down. That I was often much more present. The effect lasted for quite a long time. But I would love to do it again.

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