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Red Dust Healing: reflections and activities

James O'Brien  |  12 March 2019

Read A tree of healing in the 2019 Autumn edition of Australian Catholics and take part in the various reflections and activities.


  • Why is it important for people to have opportunities to tell their story?
  • What did sitting by that tree on the bank of the Macquarie River do for Tom Powell?
  • How is the image of the growth of saplings and trees helpful for people from all walks of life?
  • For people who are recovering from difficult life experiences, how does Red Dust Healing offer a chance to reset?
  • What does returning to one’s roots allow us to do and experience?
  • Why does noticing the sources of good nutrients in our lives propel us into healing?


  • Watch Karimah's Red Dust Healing story from Caritas Australia. Reflect individually on what strikes you about Karimah’s story.
  • Red Dust Healing invites us to reflect on the image of the tree as a way into understanding our lives more deeply. Draw a diagram of your own tree with your root systems (relationships), trunk (personal identity), branches (choices), and include what good and bad nutrients are entering the soil in which you are growing. Share your tree with the person next to you.
  • Watch the ABC news profile of the Miriam Rose Foundation’s Cultural Connection Tours. Have a conversation in pairs and then as a class, sharing on what ‘Dadirri’ is, and how it offers us a path towards mindful and engaged living.
  • In small groups prepare two lists in two columns detailing on the one hand those things in our lives which bring us life and healing, and on the other those things which drain us of energy and hope. Present your findings to the class.

For younger students

Red Dust Healing invites us to consider our lives through the image of a tree.

  • Workshop as a class the different elements of our lives which impact our growth as people. Draw a ‘healthy’ tree of life on the board, with roots, trunk, and branches. Ask students to come up and write a word or phrase of what might help us to grow as people: friends, family, time in reflection, shelter, food, safety, etc.
  • Listen to Miriam Rose talk about Dadirri. Spend time in stillness underneath the trees in the playground. Reflect together on how you feel when connected more deeply to oneself and with the trees and entire creation around us. What might this lead us to do now in our daily life?


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