(an excerpt from the upcoming book ‘An Uncommon Bond’ by Jeff Brown)
Sarah and I set out for a day hike the next morning. Little did I know, she had a picnic planned. Little did she know, I had something planned, too.
About a half-hour in, we heard the sound of barking dogs coming our way. Turning around, I saw Smoky and Bear racing up the hill like they had just seen a ghost.
“They always wait till I am long gone, before they race after me,” Sarah said as she crouched down on one knee to greet them.
“Can’t say I blame them. Your absence does leave a mighty big hole,” I said while fending off Bear’s face licks.
We continued our hike, now as a family of four.
As we stepped into the forest at the end of the road, our souls deepened in intimate conversation. They had been talking for months, but we had only scratched the surface of our lexicon of soul-speak. Something about the forest always called us deeper.
We moved crisply among the blue spruce and cedar, hiking to the beat of our own unique drummer. As we walked, there was this unforgettable moment when I felt myself die to everything inside me that was not love. I just died to it. I was watching Sarah walking ahead of me when my love for her exploded into eternity, fervently consuming all that was unlike itself. Leaving a tranquil sea of love, everywhere.
In a heartbeat, I entered an experience of vulnerability so startlingly naked, so absolutely present, that I knew I would never be the same. I had never before felt so transparent, so fully open. My heart was so wide open that the whole world fit inside it. The whole bloody world. I felt the love, the joy, the sorrow of humanity pouring through the gateway. No filters—I felt it all.
There was no question in my mind. This state of complete and utter love is our collective birthright, the state we are born to inhabit, the way of being that is eagerly awaiting humanity at the end of a long, perilous journey. We either walk toward love as a way of being, or we walk away from it. There are only two directions. This decision shapes our life and our world.
After about an hour, we stopped near a small creek to rest. Sarah stepped in gingerly, leaning down to splash water on her face and upper body. “Freezing!” she cried, while motioning me to come in and join her. I hated cold water, but how could I resist those warm, inviting eyes?
I stepped into the rocky creek, working my way over to her cautiously. Smoky and Bear soon followed, splashing and drinking like mad monkeys. When I reached her, I leaned in for a kiss. Not just any kiss, but a kiss of particular tenderness. If my soul had lips, this is how it would kiss.
I opened my eyes to look at her as we kissed. Her eyes were open, too. Eye-to-Eye, and I-to-I, one universe after another rose into view, each one more vivid and expansive than the last. What felt like unity consciousness at one stage of opening was revealed as a mere fragment of possibility in another. Then to my wonderment, I had the distinct sense that our love was not simply revealing a new cosmos—it was actually helping create one. Our love was more than a portal into, it was also a weaver of new galaxies, a crafter of new possibilities, a brilliant artist with an expansive and limitless imagination. Fifty million shades of God.
Whether we chose or were chosen, Sarah and I were clearly blessed to walk this path. We were carriers of a divine seedling of possibility, two adventurers who had been granted a glimpse of the new earth that awaits humanity. Not a planet riddled with affectless detachers—masters of self-avoidance masquerading as realized masters—but one characterized by heartfelt connection as the path home. This was a relational dance, not the solo performance perfected by the isolationist masculine. Not one limited to the vertical Kingdom of God, but also the horizontal Queendom of Goddess, a receptive and heartfelt temple of delight that only opens its gates to us when our minds are asleep and our hearts wide open.
In just a few moments with Sarah, I encountered a much more relational, inclusive God than I had ever experienced in isolation. Clearly, there can be no God without Goddess. Can’t have one, without the (M)other. God meets Goddess meets Inclusivity.
I had to wonder, what if LOVE—not mindfulness, not detachment, not disciplined focus, not perfected asanas—is truly the great door opener? What if relationship is the primary mode of transport on the royal road to divinity? What if our experience of God is actually more complete when we co-create her together, when She arises alight and enheartened on the wings of our love? What if we are here together not only to keep each other company, but to show each other God? And even more startling, what if God actually IS relationship, in all its myriad forms? What if the portal is each other? Such visions!
At the same time, I also glimpsed the weight of the challenge. As I looked deeply into Sarah’s eyes, I saw both the power and the fragility of this degree of vulnerability. The consciousness I accessed alone may not open as many gateways, but it felt easier to sustain than a relational weave. It was all I could do to navigate my own consciousness, so how to navigate the vaster co-creative consciousness generated by our love?
I couldn’t help but wonder whether relational ascension has to be mirrored by cultural ascension before it can be sustained as a way of being. If the world around us is still egocentric and toxic, can this kind of relationship survive? Where’s the model for how to move through the torrent of triggers and arrive safely on the other side? The state we were co-creating was so subtle, so tenuous, and so entirely out of step with the more pragmatic vibration of the world. Did we need training in vulnerability before we could plumb its depths? If so, had we met too early in our individual development? Or was this happening exactly as it was supposed to?
With great intensity, Smoky and Bear busted through my thoughtful reflections with a flurry of barks. A hare had caught their attention on the opposite shore, and they ran at it full throttle. They jumped out of the river and into the forest at almost the same moment, hunting bunny like we hunted love. We quickly lost sight of them, though their barks continued to echo throughout the valley. Sarah began walking her way back to the river’s edge.
“Shouldn’t we wait for them, baby?” I asked, concerned they would get lost in the wild.
Laughing heartily at my urban naivete, she replied, “No need for that, sweetness. They can smell us just as well as they can smell bunny. Let’s get back on the trail. I want to take you somewhere…”
Jeff Brown will be speaking at SAND15