Teacher educator and author of many teacher reference books. Amused by random ideas and loves random acts of kindness. Enjoys writing humour...seriously!Please see my Instagram: wilsonjeni
Published November 18th 2013
Secluded bushland in the middle of suburbia
The entrances to Darebin Parklands are via suburban streets. Once you park your car and enter the parkland you could be in the middle of remote bushlands. It's hard to believe you are only about 15 minutes drive from the city. Welcome to this beautiful indigenous bushland paradise.
As beautiful as any bushland walk
We would never have found this place if it weren't for the Spiritual Trail event held to promote reconciliation and honour the late Reg Blow. The Spiritual Healing Trail was the conception of Uncle Reg. Fortunately he was able to conduct reconciliation walks before he passed away.
I admit I didn't get the idea of the Spiritual Trail before I went. I was drawn to the reconciliation event because of its close proximity and dedication to the cause and I was curious about the location. Now I am in awe of this fabulous ingenious indigenous metaphoric trail for self-healing.
Hundreds of other people also participated in this Darebin Council reconciliation event but you can easily do the walk yourself as a self guided tour. Start by picking a gum leaf off the thriving Peace tree to carry around the trail. There are five major stops around the trail.
You'll find the gathering place just off the trail. The rocks are placed in a circle representing a campfire
1. Gathering place This is a place to reflect on your life and concerns and prioritise. You are asked to organise your thoughts into issues you can manage and those you cannot manage now or cannot control. Enjoy the peace and wait for clarity. Once these have been recognised, the next part of the journey can begin.
2. Purifying water stop Stop at Darebin Creek and wash hands to symbolically let the water wash away issues out of your control. The brochure suggests that you do not waste time or energy on issues that cannot be resolved. If you let them go, then you ready to continue in a positive mindset. Continue the track through the native bushland towards the tranquil wetlands.
Look for the creek beyond the valley of gums
3. Contemplation Here you are encouraged to think about the trail so far, where you are standing and try to connect to self, the richness of your life and the land. The billabong is not as nice and clean as the running water but this represents life; the positive and negatives.
You are encouraged to be positive about life's lessons and to develop action plans for any immediate problems. This place is all about considering how actions can help sustain growth in your life and others. It encourages you draw energy from positives in life and to take control of your life.
Life in the Billabong represents the harsh realities of life
To get to the other side of the creek you need to cross a fish ladder. This is symbolic of the need to take small steps, one at a time to overcome big obstacles. This is a place to contemplate and meditate and to think of others who might help you. 5. Top of the world This is the end of the trail which requires climbing to the top of the hill to enjoy the breath taking view. It reminds walkers of the effort it takes to reach one's goals, to get on top of your issues and feel like you are on top of the world. There is a fork in the path. You need to make a choice to take the easy way or the hard way. Take time to look back on the trial and your choice to work towards self-control over your own issues and self-healing.
It is the end of the trail but the start of another journey towards a rich, positive and satisfying life.
Reflection in the water holes - beautiful around every bend
On the day that we went on the Spiritual Healing Trail it was a beautiful sunny Spring day, but I think it would also be lovely in Autumn and indeed all year around. It's an easy walk for people of most ages. When I said to my eight year old son 'This is one of the most beautiful bushwalks I have ever done' he asked 'Which one was more beautiful?' and I couldn't think of a nicer one. We will definitely go back.
You only need to allow about an hour to complete the Spiritual Healing Trail depending on how long you want to stop at each of the information plaques or contemplate there.
The walking trail at Darebin bushlands is full of nature's most stunning surprises. If you like the bush, you will love this experience.
Acknowledgement The Spiritual Healing Trail was designed by the Darebin Aboriginal Working Party with support of the traditional custodians of the land, the Wurundjeri people. The construction was in conjunction with the Darebin Creek Management Committee and the Parkland Rangers. Some of this information was gleaned from Carl Blow during the conducted walk and from the self-guided brochure provided by the Darebin Council.