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Love Is a Power

By Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa

 

HOUSECLEANING, A POEM

The space we now call home

Does not let me sleep.

Rise up

Tie my hair

Chant the name

Put the coffee on

Wash my face

Brush my teeth

Kiss my love

& head out the door

 

In this place we call home

There are things

Both seen and unseen

There is both pain & love here

good food & dirty dishes here

both laughter & tears here

—too many tears

There is a life to live

And a past to let go of

There is so much to be done

I scrub you,

You scrub me

We need redemption—the soap & water

Of daily kindnesses

The cleansing bath

Of unconditional, unremitting forgiveness.

Relentless love.

I’m a terrible housecleaner. In fact, I’m so bad at it, that for my 40th birthday I gave myself a cleaning lady: twice a month for four hours, I paid someone to come into my home and make it livable again. After 18 months of marriage, I’m still a terrible housecleaner. I still can’t keep a plant alive to save my life.

And I’m still fraught with insecurities; they are the weave and woof of my inner life. But in a marriage, we have to let go of who we think we are. We have to drop our stories in order to write new ones, together. We have to let go of all the things that not only define us but also the other. And in a marriage, this letting go is a journey full of thorns and stones along the way.

To truly love, we give up the delusion that we all share, the delusion of ego: that what I want when I want it is more important than what you want when you want it. The moment we drop this story, we have entered the realm of love. Because the power of love is simply this: to wish the other person happiness. In a marriage, it is called forgiveness. For in a long-term relationship, there can be no love where there is no forgiveness. They go hand in hand. Love may be the power, but forgiveness is the fuel.

Forgiveness for the mundane things: toilet seats up or down, wet towels on the bed, dishes left in the sink. Name it what you will, it’s still the grist for the mill that is daily forgiveness in a marriage. And then there’s the forgiveness for the big things—the things that make you who you are—like working too much or not enough, jealousy, rigidness, despair, depression. Again, name your own particular poison, these are what we think of as obstacles to love. When in the reality of a marriage, they are the quixotic mix of good and bad, vulnerability and strength, that draw us together and apart and together, over and over again, until finally the dance simply becomes a sway and a surrender in the center of the hearts of two lovers who understand that neither of them are going anywhere. This is the power of love that stays.

But when you’re in the center of the storm, and it seems you’ve awakened in the land where forgiveness has been forgotten, love feels powerless. For what is love in the face of such contempt? Don’t worry, the love is still there. It’s simply dormant, lying in wait, for forgiveness to return. For without forgiveness, love can’t move.  But the moment forgiveness is put back into play, the love returns, and returns with greater force, greater intimacy, deeper trust.

Recently, after such a storm in my own life, I expressed how grateful I was that we weren’t fighting anymore. And my love said something I’ll never forget, “Don’t worry sweetie, the fighting will always end. And besides, I think we’re getting to the real thing.” And with those words I realized that what I experienced as simple relief, my beloved experienced as one more step along the path of our union. One more obstacle removed toward a life of obedience to the Guru, who brought us together in the first place. One more purification. And his experience has become my own. In the days that followed what was simple relief have become a deep intimacy, a profound trust and a greater understanding of this man that I call husband. 

I’m still not a good housecleaner, but the home I share with my beloved grows cozier by the day. And when we fight again, because we will, I hope I can trust that it’s just one more obstacle to be removed and that the days that follow the storm will once again renew a love that grows deeper with time and more profound with every act of forgiveness. Love is a power; but forgiveness is the fuel.

Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa is the author of Everyday Grace: The Art of Being a Woman and the artist of four sacred music albums: Nectar of the Name, Beautiful Day, Queen Be and Love & Other Miracles. She has a forthcoming album, One, which will be available in spring 2014 and her story of recovery will be available in the forthcoming title, Stepping Into Meditation: Kundalini Yoga and the Art of Recovering Your Life. http://satpurkh.blogspot.com/