Last weekend, Susan and I went to go see an apartment we'd found listed on Craigslist. We weren't sure if we wanted to leave our current place, and we weren't intending to move until September. Still, it was the first floor of a beautiful Victorian house. The listing had a photograph of a bamboo garden and a little Buddha pond in the back. It seemed stupid not to at least go see it.
We walked up to the house—a blue-and-red gingerbread house in a perfect location in Takoma, D.C.—and rang the bell. Rebecca, a friendly, redheaded woman in her early forties, greeted us and led us into the apartment. Casually, as she was showing us around, she said: "This used to be a yoga ashram."
"It was like ... yoga, the religion," she clarified.
They'd knocked out the wall between the living and dining rooms to teach asana classes on the first floor. When we went out to the backyard, we found a round, concrete structure. "This was a temple," Rebecca said. "The feet of the guru are imprinted in the cement."
Behind the temple structure was a little man-made pond, surrounded by stones, and an overgrown bamboo garden. The Buddha statue's head was starting to crumble.
I began to get funny prickly feelings in my gut. I wanted to straighten up the fallen bamboo, to clean the temple walls, to repair or replace the poor crumbling Buddha. As we walked back through the apartment into the front entryway, I could picture the students arriving for yoga in the 1970's, taking off their shoes, stepping into the shala.
("Shala means house," I heard my teacher Cory say recently to another student in the Mysore room. "A yoga shala is a yoga house.")
Walking away from the house with Susan, I couldn't stop laughing. "I can't believe that place," I said to Susan. "I can't believe that we just saw that place."
On the train ride home, I texted my friend Anna. It's like the universe is slapping me in the face and saying, "So this is what you want?"
Anna replied: Well, is it what you want? (She's a good friend.)
Have you ever had the experience, Oysters, of being presented with precisely what you've said you want? And, instead of the imagined glee and satisfaction, what you feel in your body is mostly fear?
I'm afraid I'll hate the house, that I'll fall in love with the house, that the house will get taken away from me. I'm afraid I'll make space for friends and clients and no one will come. I'm afraid because the house reminds me too much of where I played as a child; the shady, ivy-covered section of the yard that we called "The Island." I'm afraid because it looks frighteningly similar to the photographs I pinned onto a secret Pinterest board called "I Dream" six months ago.
I'm scared of all of it.
So ... we signed the lease yesterday.
Stay salty, Oysters. And I'd love to hear your stories of how it felt to get something you really wanted.