I may have become the sort of person I used to make fun of. Don’t laugh, but I think I had a profoundly life-changing experience at Om Shah Tea House. The day before I left San Francisco, I was walking to Best Buy to get an external hard drive when I passed it. (Was ever there a more mundane task during which a life-changing experience occurred?)
The curtains were completely drawn. It was hard not to be suspicious. It looked like the store equivalent of those unmarked vans with no windows that people always tell you some molester is going to throw you into the back of.
But I had already made the decision to be more flexible and open to what life offered and thought why not? I had nowhere in particular to be that afternoon, so I took a deep breath and opened the door.
I was pleasantly surprised. It was a lovely space and I was immediately greeted by the woman at the tea bar in the most welcoming way. Halo (that was her name) explained it was $5 for all the tea I could drink. I sat down and she kept refilling my cup with different teas (a pu-ehr, one related to mate called guayusa and one made from lotus flowers.)
We got to talking and I told her about how I just happened to walk by and decided to come in because I was resolved to stop controlling the outcome of my life and to accept and embrace the unknown. She told me that often, people would open the door out of curiosity and be too afraid to actually come in.
Over more and more cups of tea, she told me about her life adventures and we talked about how she created what she called “vision boards.” She believed that she had manifested basically exactly what she was looking for in life by visualizing and thinking positively. We talked about how difficult it is sometimes to just trust what life has in store and how easy it is to just default into doubt and insecurity.
For weeks, I had already started to understand that I was terrified of being a failure and ending up alone. I never thought of myself as a fearful person but I realized that I had been living my life out of fear of these two things and was beginning to wonder why I didn’t believe I could have it all. I was feeling myself well up with emotion. Somehow, during the course of our conversation, I had reached a more complete understanding of what I was doing to sabotage my own life and my relationships.
So, filled with a radiant optimism about life and enough tea to burst my bladder, I walked out of Om Shah Tea House a different person: not the girl who, as a child would read all the endings in Choose Your Own Adventure books to select the best outcome or who, perversely, opened flower buds because she was too impatient to wait for them to blossom, but someone who was confident and excited about what is yet to come.
Om Shah Tea
233 14th St
(between Natoma St & Minna St)
San Francisco, CA 94103