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  • Writer's pictureJill Brocklehurst

Living in Presence

“The profound thought of all ages has stood in awe of Life itself, realizing that here is a power and potentiality.”

~ Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind

Day Seven: There we are, a bestie and I, lying naked in the sun by the side of an innocent stream; a headwater of the Fraser River, in Jasper National Park, at 7300 feet (2225 meters). There is not another soul for miles. We have just enjoyed a nippy bath in a small pool where the spring had widened enough for us to splash about, as we rinsed off the fire smoke and horse hair we had been covered in.

Way up above the tree line, water finds its way out of a dry, grey mountainside and forms a trickle that turns into a stream that heads down the slope to join other water flows…. Down, down, down it goes…. I don’t think I have ever been so close to the creation site of something so magnificent.

Here, the water is clear and fresh, filled with minerals feeding the grippy moss that grows on the rocks beneath the surface. There is no slime or ooze under my feet; just a soft bed of Nature. The day is cool, the sun is warm and the sky is so blue. Everything is perfect. I am embracing it all.

On the horse riding adventure I was on, along the south boundary, the demands of daily living were basic: eat, pack and saddle our horses, ride 6 - 7 hours to our next camp, unpack, pitch our tarp (yes, we slept under a tarp), cook and eat dinner, care for the horses, crawl into bed, stay warm, rise and start all over. There was no news from the outside world. There was only the presence of each day: the weather (wind, temperature, precipitation), the health of our horses, our hunger, our co-operative team, and the changing terrain with its challenges. We had mishaps (injured horses, bear spray in the eye, runaway horses, a lost saddle bag, trail maintenance)… but each problem was dealt with in the moment it occurred, and then we carried on.

I had time to reflect upon the nature of our group of 11, finding our rhythm together. At first we were awkward and jerky, which led to some changing of our trail order, shifting sleeping arrangements and re-assignment of roles. But slowly, over time, all that faded away and we simply lived.

I realized, at one point, that there was very little drama between us. We needed each other, the demands of the day were simple, and the necessity was survival. If there were any interpersonal problems, they worked themselves out as we collaborated on the next task at hand.

This gave me pause to wonder, “where did ‘the drama triangle’ go”? Where were the ‘hero’, ‘victim’ and ‘villain’ in our interactions?

I began developing a theory that perhaps when one is living so close to Nature, and is so engaged with daily survival, the “drama” is found simply in living. Perhaps in our modern culture, where all our daily needs are so easily satisfied, we tend to feel something is missing… some natural excitement. So, maybe we end up creating unnecessary “theatrics” to feel … ‘normal’.


This doesn’t mean that I want to live in the wilderness all the time, but the experience did help me to reflect on humanity. We have colonized our wild selves and, in doing so, many of us have become detached from our connection to the land and Nature.

I remember once seeing an old ad for washing machines, published after WWI. The idea being promoted was that women would now have all this free time!! I don’t know about you, but to me, using my washing machine does not equal more free time. Somehow, I seem to have filled my days with so much ‘doing”… stressing over going here and there, and getting all kinds of ‘things’ ‘done’. And, as the daily stress rises, so does our need to find ways to deflect from our inner turmoil. That could look like TV bingeing, shopping, another latte, dinner out, a glass of wine, gossip…

In Jasper National Park, I took my soiled clothes to the riverside with a little soap, and I scrubbed. I hung them over branches to dry, while I collected wood for the fire that would warm water for our food. Each night we all worked together to prepare our tarp for sleeping. Each morning we packed up camp. These were important tasks we needed to complete just to survive.

I have come to believe that our hard-wired human survival ability needs an outlet. I believe that without that, we tend to create unnecessary drama. So, what if we harnessed this pent-up energy towards creating something new?

I think of a little mountain stream and what it eventually becomes…. What small ideas can I put into motion? And what if I fed them with the energy of possibility, effort and desire? What I know about the nature of the Universe is that It is always changing and ‘becoming’. Perhaps I can align with the energy of this idea; letting change be the flow of my life… not through drama, but through creation.

Hmmm… I like the feeling of this. Somehow, it seems freeing.

I turned 60 this year and I am done with drama that keeps me down. This stream I call my life is part way down the mountain by now. I am ready to continue its channel to magnificence.


~ Take note of where you might be playing a Hero, Victim or Villain role in your life. (For detailed explanation of these roles check out 15 Commitments work here:

~ Note: most of us are somewhere in our “drama triangle” throughout most of our days. Be honest with yourself, and notice which role you find the most in comfort taking on.

~ Make no attempts to change your behaviour (for the purposes of this exercise). The point right now is just to notice how the “drama triangle” plays out for you every day.

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