We lost our refuge.

A year of bushfires, lockdowns and disruptions has shattered our ability to find refuge.

First the holiday resorts that are our summer escape caught fire causing Australians to flee back to cities choked by smoke. Then in lockdown our homes became our workplaces, logistic hubs, technology data centres, webinar broadcast operations, schools, boardrooms, and crisis centres every hour of every day. The usual distractions of social media and entertainment became a scene of new anxieties.

A year of exploring the power of boundaries became the struggle to find any. People tried digital detox, deleting apps, gardening, home renovation and other efforts to create new places of isolation, safety and reflection. I found some refuge in my poetry collection and it seems others did too. Poets have prepared deep reservoirs of human emotion and human experience within which we can take comfort, find understanding and begin to process the changing world.

However each of us can find refuge we need to discover that place. Life depends on light and shade. Always on is indistinguishable from always off. Refuge is where we recharge, recover, reflect and renew. Refuge is where we plan and prepare. Refuge is where we wait in difficulties to come forth and support others with change, care and compassion.

As we head into a different kind of holiday season, may you find some refuge from the stresses and the strains. A new year awaits.

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