Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions.
The results of writing my first letter to the Universe were amazing. Even two decades later, I’m periodically moved to offer up thanks. So it’s hard to explain why the experience didn’t prompt a whole string of epistles. I’m chalking up the two decades that passed before I penned a second, just a couple of days ago, to an ingrained resistance to asking for help, especially on behalf of me-myself-and-I. That and the fear that I couldn’t fully know what I needed. The fear that, in the long run, a “gimme” would lead to unforeseen complications, disappointment, regret.
When I wrote that first letter, our family had, for many months, made countless forays into surrounding neighborhoods and suburbs to find a house to replace the one we’d outgrown — only three of us able to sit at the tiny table against the kitchen wall, my teen daughter less than enthused about still sharing space in her bedroom dormer with my writing desk, file cabinets, a floor loom and me.
The hubster did his paper work next to the pile of laundry in the unfinished basement, the cellar a black hole for not only the detritus of our lives, but a ghost whom each kid had seen on a couple of occasions. Not a cherubic Casper, but a creepy geezer whose appearance always sent them hightailing it up the stairs. We agreed that we couldn’t be sure that renovating the basement would send the spook packing. And we also agreed we couldn’t bear to expand by cutting down the magnificent old maple at the back of the house, beneficiary once of love offerings from the neighborhood kids at a party we’d hosted to honor the tree.
Most of the candidates that were within our budget required a huge amount of work to refurbish. Others were unsuited to our needs or just plain ugly. I finally stopped looking, though daughter-and-dad continued making the rounds of open houses. I suppose I wanted to make a show of doing something and announced I’d write a letter to see what the Universe could deliver on our behalf. It was an exercise described in a book I was reading and the guidelines were simple enough: Relay a request for something that is one’s heart’s desire. Be as specific as possible, providing details of what one hopes for. I didn’t visualize a particular house, but I did mention qualities I’d love in any space — beauty, whimsy, innovative design, a place to write, that kind of thing.
I was to focus on what I, the sender, desired, but I cheated a bit, including features I knew family members hoped for. Another rule was that the sender needed to engage in the willing suspension of disbelief. One was not to worry about “how” the desired object or situation could possibly manifest. Let go, was the advice: Be sure to not only put the letter out of sight, once completed, but out of mind. I set a date by which the house should materialize, signed the letter, and let it disappear under a pile of papers.
I didn’t even think of it, a few months later, when an acquaintance phoned to say he’d jogged past a FOR SALE BY OWNER sign by a house that, for some reason, he pictured our family living in. I reluctantly went to give the umpteenth prospect the once-over and instantly fell in love. Barely past the entry, I gushed to the owners, “I have to live here,” as my mate reasoned that any bargaining leverage had just gone down the toilet. We both celebrated the privacy afforded by the surrounding woodland, how the house managed to be both whimsical and beautiful, the ingenious design by the architect– and, my astonishment growing, the fact that it also was within our budget.
However, the owners were selling the adjacent woodland as a separate parcel, with an access road to be built close to the front door of this existing house. We were definitely not keen on the idea of any honkin’ cars or Harleys moving through our front yard, day and night. No other potential buyer seemed so inclined either. We waited, hoping the owners would eventually decide not to divide the property. More than one friend told us we were crazy; urged us to nab the wondrous house before someone beat us to it, but oddly unperturbed, we stood our ground.
At last, defying all logic, the sellers decided to throw in those woods with the house for an insanely low sum. To our dismay, they also put the sale in the hands of a realtor who found lots of interested buyers willing to bid significantly higher than we could, even given our advantage, as original prospects, of exemption from the added realtors’ fee.
Ultimately, to our astonishment, the owners opted to sell to us. We were the family their daughter thought should have the house they’d loved as much as we clearly did. We were still pinching ourselves on the day in mid-July when the sellers, already living on the East Coast, faxed us documents to finalize the deal. I was packing for the move when my forgotten “letter to the Universe” surfaced at the back of a desk drawer. I reread the request — one fantasized feature after another having become real, not to mention ones I couldn’t have dreamed up. When I saw the deadline I’d penned, my heart skipped a beat. It was the exact day in July we’d signed the faxes, making the dream-house ours.
I’ve spent subsequent years affirming my intentions, convinced that “energy flows where attention goes,” but the other day I went a step further. I picked up a pen, ready to clarify, once and for all, the direction to go with my writing, welcoming any and all impossible-to-ignore signs related to whether to continue work on my current manuscripts or to move on to another book that intuitive friends insist is in my future. I made a request from the heart to write what I’m meant to write… and, doing so, to make a difference in readers’ lives. Tucked the letter into the back of my current journal. Felt the impulse to acknowledge this move in a blog post, but, again, to consign the letter’s existence to a cobwebbed corner of my mind. I recognize that this ritual is as much about trusting the Universe as it is communicating with All-That-Is.
Do you have such a letter in you, begging to be written? An added perk: no postage is required.