Within 10 hours on 18th January 2003, 4 people had died and over 500 homes were destroyed when a ferocious fire storm impacted residential areas in Canberra, ACT AUSTRALIA.
My parents home was in one of the worst affected streets, directly across from a large pine tree plantation. With no warning or comprehension of what was about to happen we were forced to flee in a car. Within minutes both sides of the road were alight and we knew we would be lucky to get out alive – thankfully we did however, my parent’s home, their two cars and all of their belongings were destroyed.
As a feng shui consultant and teacher, I had a long time passion for ‘home’ and what it meant to people. On this day everything changed, as I mentally grappled with what ‘tools’ would help those who’d been affected and become physically and/or emotionally ‘suddenly homeless’.
I started by researching the term ‘homelessness’ and discovered that Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Program defined it as:
‘An inadequate experience of connectedness with family and or community,’
I was fascinated and somewhat impressed, that there was no reference to a physical dwelling or structure.
It confirmed my belief that even amidst great adversity, people can have a sense of home, so long as they have resilient community connections and the right support. With these in place, they also have a strong foundation on which to build their new life.
For over 10 years under the banner of ‘Suddenly Homeless: The Journey Home Project’, I connected with other bushfire and natural disaster survivors. However other people also reached out. People who’d experienced personal disasters such as the loss of a loved one, divorce or health challenges and were appreciating what I was sharing. It was clear that alot of people are on a journey home from trauma, grief and loss.
I started to reassess my project and what I was trying to actually achieve. Turned out it’s quite simple….I want to bring disaster survivors hope.
‘Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.’ – Thich Nhat Hanh
Hope that they can and someday WILL feel at home in themselves, their life and this world again. Because I truly believe that when people have hope, they can achieve anything!
Whatever has brought you here, I pray that ‘home’ is a safe and sacred space to you, and that Hope is always by your side…
Lots of love,
EmilyJR aka The Home Alchemist. Learn more at: www.emilyjr.com
I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture.
I pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging and appreciate them sharing this land, their home….with me.