The Comfort of Water and Big Tree Seed Dreaming

Sunday, 1 December 2019 at 2:00pm

Hearth Galleries 208 Maroondah Hwy Healesville

These two extraordinary women will be speaking at Hearth’s next event. Maya Ward, author of the Comfort of Water, and Jacqui Wandin, Wurundjeri woman and sculptor, will be in conversation discussing ‘spirit of place’ and connection to country to our beautiful waterways, Birrarung and Coranderrk. They will also share their thoughts on our magnificent giants, the trees, mountain ash and manna gum. This talk highlights their work and the beautiful artwork of two exhibitions at Hearth…just as Seeds of Creation comes to an end, Water and Earth are All One Thing commences.
Bookings for this event are essential as spaces are limited.
More information call 0423902934
Cost $10
Photos show Maya standing by Birrarung near her home in Warburton and Jacqui sitting by Coranderrk Creek at her home on Coranderrk Country.


For more information,


The Downshifting Revolution with Dan Palmer

A conversation between Dan Palmer and Maya Ward at PeaceFarm

Friday November 15 at 7pm

Dan Palmer is a founder of Permablitz, Designing for Life, Holistic Decision Making, Making Permaculture Stronger and Very Edible Gardens. He has a PhD in systems thinking and contagious levels of enthusiasm for supporting the journeys of others. He currently lives with his wife and two daughters in Castlemaine, Central Victoria. We will be talking with Dan about his journey and the exciting innovations he is bringing to the permaculture world, including how we can better tap into the intelligence of feeling to deepen our understanding of living systems.

The Downshifting Revolution is dedicated to Inspiring and Activating Permanent Culture in the Yarra Valley:
Upskilling, networking, sharing food, and growing connections. These quarterly education and empowerment events work toward cultivating resilience, strengthening local networks, and visioning healthful alternatives in the areas of community, food growing and resource use. This project is a collaboration between Permaculture Yarra Valley, PEACE Farm and Maya Ward.

We meet for a shared dinner at 6pm (bring a dish – if you can with some homegrown and/or locally sourced food), the talk starts at 7pm, then conversation and networking for the rest of the evening over PEACE Farm tea and cake.

Full- $15
Permaculture Yarra Valley Member/concession card holders $10
Non-monetary/exchange- please bring something homemade or homegrown to offer as a gift to the presenter.

To get a taste of Dan’s work, listen to his excellent podcast!

“What are we seeking to achieve and why? This is the route to the creation of something that doesn’t yet exist. Don’t look at why current methods aren’t working. Keep your eye squarely on the intentions of living systems and social groups.”


A Mile in My Shoes

Until November 17, 2019

Forecourt, Arts Centre Melbourne

My story of walking Birrarung has been included in this wonderful project now on at the Arts Centre Melbourne – check it out if you’re nearby!


A free pop-up storytelling exhibition is coming to Arts Centre Melbourne.

Housed in a giant shoebox, A Mile in My Shoes is a shoe shop where visitors can experience the world from a stranger’s perspective.

Step inside, swap your shoes, slip on some headphones and take a walk as the shoes’ owner shares their story with you. Melbourne’s exhibit will feature a collection of 35 shoes and audio stories based on the theme of water. Discover tales from all walks of life – an 81-year-old rower, a marine biologist, a Vietnam War veteran and even an English migrant with a fear of water.

Created by London-based artist Clare Patey of Empathy Museum, this work explores how empathy can not only transform our personal relationships but also help tackle global challenges such as prejudice, conflict and inequality.

From England to Brazil, A Mile in My Shoes has travelled all around the world. Now it’s Melbourne’s turn to see the world through someone else’s eyes.

For more information,


Where is Mother Earth? 


Wednesday, 13 November 2019 from 6:30-9:00pm

Caz Reitop’s Dirty Secrets

80 Smith Street, Collingwood

Before us, behind us, within us; culture and nature in a dance. Loved and feared, each in their time.

There are many stories.

One is a story of waking up to our vulnerability: to the unforgiving conditions of scarcity, predation, and the randomness of nature.

Another story starts too with waking up. Some of it the same.

Yet to it still there’s something more.

Perhaps the stirring of what was lost, now hard to name. A feeling of sorts; a home within worth cultivating.

Where is Mother Earth?

“…‘Walk the path, journey to the source. These are not metaphors, they are instructions.’ Initiation isn’t abstract.” – Maya Ward

This evening is a deep inquiry into the art of listening; of a knowing distinct from that for which we use words most often.

Part One – A filmed dialogue in an intimate setting for a small audience. (run time circa 50 minutes.)

Part Two – Facilitated group dialogues – a practice of contemplation built on deep listening and authentic speech, for the purpose of making sense, connecting, and realising insight together. (run time circa 50 mins)

Joining Tim Adalin for this evening’s dialogue is Maya Ward.

Maya has worked for 30 years in deepening belonging and connection to place through writing, dancing, designing and teaching. Her PhD in Creative Writing explored the ecological and evolutionary underpinning to archetypal experience, referencing neuroscience, somatics, psychology and shamanistic metaphysics.

**About Tim Adalin**

Tim is here this evening as a philosopher involved in the art of transformation; as an experimenter with participatory knowing practices and transformative dialogue; as current host of Voiceclub, and in joyful anticipation of the potential we can here make actual together.

**About Voiceclub**

Voiceclub is an embodied philosophical project. It’s a platform for transformative dialogue and meaningful experience.

We create podcasts, films, and events, creating meaningful experiences for people who care about making sense, as individuals, connected to community, in service of the whole.

**What previous attendees have said**

– “But mostly, what I wanted to say, was that first group discussion was the most rewarding group discussion I’ve ever been a part of. It got to the essence of life in a really beautiful way with everyone onboard.”
– “Voiceclub is a great open minded space to discover yourself and others through inspiring and thought provoking topics.”
– “Stimulating and deep conversations which challenge the mind and levels of comfort. A much needed space in a world full of shallowness.”
– 6.30pm – arrive and enjoy the intimate, beautiful venue Caz Reitop’s Dirty Secrets, perfect for small group conversation. To take your seat downstairs by 6.50pm.

– 7:00pm – (start of filming) Tim & Maya will dialogue for roughly 50 minutes

– 10 minute intermission

– 8.10-8.50pm – small group conversation-

– 8.50-8.55pm – close, reflection

At 8.55pm the event will be over and we will vacate the basement. There is a free stand-up comedy event happening from 9.30 onwards.Upstairs at Caz are beautiful spots to continue the conversation

The Sacred Act of Pilgrimage

Friday  – 18 October 2019, 8.00pm

Pilgrimage is the act of sacred travel. In Australia, it is ironic that many venture overseas to walk popular pilgrimage routes, unaware of and unconnected to the ancient history of sacred walking that undergirds this entire continent. Yet the violent settlement history of Australia means that deep and soulful connection to place can be a fraught and complex thing. 

Maya sought to explore these issues in depth by walking the length of the Yarra River from the sea to the source. She traveled along a Wurundjeri Songline, a sacred path in existence for perhaps 40,000 years, now fractured with fences and private ownership. She traveled with the blessing of Melbourne’s Wurundjeri people and the support of many river lovers, and her 21 day pilgrimage was a powerful experience of reconciliation, surprising in it’s initiatory intensity, resulting in a profoundly deepened experience of place, water, and rivers. 

Her understanding that pilgrimage is a doorway into the archetypal nature of walking, precipitated by her embodied immersion in this most ancient way of moving, led to her desire to share her experience. Her book, The Comfort of Water, seeks to build bridges of respect and understanding between indigenous knowledge and European wisdom traditions, including depth psychology. In this talk, Maya will also share her understanding of archetypal experience, enriched through her recent PhD studies of evolutionary biology and neuroscience.

For more information, click here.

Deep listening, deep feeling: being present in emergent knowing

A conversation between Nora Bateson and Maya Ward

Tuesday, 26th February at 7pm

In times calling for radical transition, how do we listen to what is most essential? How do we access larger wisdoms: wisdoms of ecosystems, of bodies, of communities? This conversation between Nora Bateson, (Filmmaker, writer, educator, lecturer and President of the International Bateson Institute, based in Sweden and the USA) and Dr Maya Ward, (dancer, writer, educator, permaculturist, based in Wurundjeri Country) seeks to attend to these realms.

The perception of interdependency is not only intellectual, it is also physical, emotional, cultural, linguistic and lives in our imaginations. This emergent, improvised conversation will be an immersion into this other way of knowing, a co-creative act with time, place and participants.

For more information, click here.

To book, click on this link.

River Walkshop

Sunday, 20 October 2019, 10.00am – 4.00pm 

This ‘walkshop’ is an immersion into the archetype of the pilgrim. Through readings from her book The Comfort of Water: A River Pilgrimage, and practices of walking meditation and river contemplation, we seek to connect with the ancient imaginal power of walking through sacred land. Directed to share this work after her river pilgrimage in 2003 by senior Wurundjeri elder Joy Murphy Wandin, Maya will introduce the concept of Country. 

This word in Aboriginal English refers to the animate, aware ecosystem and our entanglement with it.


MEETING PLACE – We will meet at The Abbotsford Convent and walk to Collingwood Children’s Farm, where Maya once lived, and has many stories of farm life. We then journey along the river to Yarra Bend Park and Studley Park boathouse, where we stop for lunch. 

We then return to our starting point, walking the other side of the Yarra through some of the most beautiful natural places within the inner city. It will be a gently paced walk of about 5km, and we will be accompanied by spring wildflowers and abundant bird life. Please be prepared for Melbourne’s variable weather with sunscreen, hat, umbrella and rain jacket, comfortable walking shoes and a small backpack for snacks and water bottle. Bring a picnic lunch or buy food and drink from the cafe.

For more information, click here.

Waterfront: Forgotten Ecologies of Birrarung

Join a Andy Fergus (design advocate at the City of Melbourne, Co-Director of Melbourne Architours and teacher at the Melbourne School of Design) and Mark Skiba (Landscape Architect, Vice President of AILAand fellow Co-Director of Melbourne Architours) on a 12km bicycle tour exploring the oft-forgotten ecologies of the Yarra River, stopping along the way to meet with experts in the pre and post contact history of the lower Birrarung (Yarra River), including researchers, ecologists and landscape architects.

The tour commences in Richmond at the former Burnley Basalt Quarry and finishes in the west at Stony Creek with a short journey across the last Punt in Melbourne. From remnant vegetation, to the blasted stone of the falls, and a colony of mangroves, the journey is punctuated with a series of stops at moments which connect us to the river’s former condition, with story sharing from a series of designers and researchers who are exploring how the history of the river might inform the future possibilities for its regeneration.

Guest experts include:
Maya Ward – Author, ‘The Comfort of Water – A River Pilgrimage’
Ros Rymer – Researcher, Historian and Landscape Architect
More speakers TBC

Waterfront is presented by Open House Melbourne as part of Melbourne Design Week—an initiative of the Victorian Government in collaboration with the NGV. Forgotten Ecologies of Birrarung is co–presented by Melbourne Architours.

Access Requirements: Bike tour, BYO bike and helmet.

For more information, click here.