Monika Schott PhD

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Living a life of ‘oh wells’ over a life of ‘what ifs’. Am a writer and researcher of sewerage ghost towns and the connectedness that forms within them and abject communities. I'm awaiting publication of my novel, 'The faraway land of the house and two cows', an undocumented social history of the community once living on Melbourne's first sewerage farm, the Metropolitan Sewerage Farm. I’ve had several short stories published, been short-listed in the Ada Cambridge Writing Prize, won the inaugural Wyndham Rotary Arts Small Business Award and completed a Master of Communication with a thesis on boys and reading and what it is they like to read.

Without the beat of any drum

Weaving and swirling, casting a hand of stealth healing. High they fly, low they crawl. Magical. Merciful. Gracious and humane, forever genuine.

They stride and glide, tip toe in the silent sprinkle of glittering dust, sometimes soaring in whispers as delicate as a flawless feather falling from the cosmos. They go unnoticed in humbling humility and in lashings of hushed becalm, serene in acts of sincerity across the Earth.

Considerate, caring, loving; ever watchful in a compassionate intensity of spirit. Without effort or expectation, they nurture. Unperturbed, they're always on call, always listening for the silent sob hiding in a dark corner.

No judgement, no conspiracy, no mock or disdaining taunt. They feel in the intricacy of fine lace and in that, can hold a thousand breaking aches.

Yet, they hurt like anyone, cry in tears of budding yellow tulips of the collective. And then somehow, they heal themselves to carry on, heal any knife wound piercing deep into a buried abyss.

And what defines them, is their ability to do and act and mend in a nurture that weaves and binds any cracking blare and unveiled glare.

They’re not mythical beings, or celestial, atmospheric entities derived in pagan or religious law, nor do they come from any far flung realm or universe.

They walk among us wearing hearts gilded in gold, hearts that emanate as the king of the universal jungle and with the courage to match. From there, they access an unyielding inner strength to help wherever help is needed.

And they do all this without the beat of any drum, in a flutter of butterfly wings. Nothing stops them, and nothing propels them other than their purest of gold gilded heart.

Angels on Earth, are Angels in Eternity.

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The three Cs

A friend recently reminded me of the power in kindness when she asked, what makes an urban area kind? My first thought was, how can an object or mass of solid be kind? What makes anything kind?

It’s a huge question, with a valley amassed in a field of flowers for answers.

Being kind is about expressing goodwill, whether emotionally, spiritually, physically or materially. It’s the act of being generous and considerate, looking out for the needs of others.

There’s such grace in being kind, just as there is in receiving kindness.

For some, it can be difficult to accept a kind gesture, especially those that give so frequently and don’t make time to receive. And then there are those who feel kindness is associated with the naive or weak. And yet kindness in any and all form is the epitome of courage and strength as it requires an openness that exposes vulnerability, especially when the kindness is being extended to oneself.

To give directions to a lost traveller in a city of skyscrapers

Or buy a second spare bike for yourself so you can give your other spare to a friend

For a son to text his mother late at night to tell her to look up at the moon if she’s still awake …

Kindness can melt a heart, crack a shell to ooze a luscious goo. It’s giving without expecting in return, giving with genuine concern.

Being kind is a gesture that is sincere and doesn’t occur because we should be kind or expect ‘good karma’ out of it. It’s not pity either; there is a clear line between the two. To pity is to be sympathetic to suffering, distress or misfortune, to show mercy and feel sorry.

A warm hug from someone who seems to feel your pain is kindness woven in care. Receiving help when you’re down and not when you’re strong, that’s pity. Pity is fleeting and insincere, can be demoralising; kindness stays with you well after the kindness has occurred.

Offering work to someone who isn’t working, mailing a care package of home-baked biscuits sealed with a smiley face to someone far away … they’re little gestures that can make someone’s day, turn an ugly mood into a gleaming uplift in both the giver and receiver.

Kindness can soothe the beastly harsh and thaw the biggest of ice bergs submerged in arctic waters. It can uplift to breathless heights and become buoyant in puffs of weightless jubilation; a gladness of glee.

Compliment someone on their new red shoes and watch their face light up

Hold the hand of a friend who bleeds out their heart

Be taken to lunch, or have the lunch bill unexpectedly paid … there’s such humility in kindness, a respectful, thoughtful and generous consideration for a person, animal or something.

Kindness comes with affection and warmth, gentleness too, to want to do something good. It’s the giving of time and patience, of wanting person, animal and environment to feel better than they are. Being kind is to love, whether in friendship, romantic, parental, environmental or spiritual love.

To sit with a family pet for two hours after her surgery

Be the angelic guardian of a brother’s galaxy

Talk to a friend who is reluctant to talk and after an hour, hear the glee in their tone.

That’s the bonus of course, the delight we can feel in imparting kindness, to know we’ve done something good, helped someone feel better or special, helped something, Mother Nature. But not pity them.

To see kindness in action is enchanting, captivating. It’s a desirous quality layered in modesty that can never be measured.

Kindness is a simple smile, a thank you, or a helpful hand to a stranger. As Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama, says:

The true essence of humankind is kindness. There are other qualities which come from education or knowledge, but it is essential, if one wishes to be a genuine human being and impart satisfying meaning to one’s existence, to have a good heart.

Be concerned, caring and considerate. Be kind. Accept kindness. Expose it in all its glory. And honour it, for it’s in us all.

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
True kindness has the power to change circumstances, whether given or received. Kindness makes the world go round and can determin... Read More
Monday, 24 August 2020 11:00
Monika Schott PhD
True, Rosy. Kindness can change anything; it can soften a heart, arouse a smile, and much more. ?
Wednesday, 26 August 2020 01:16
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Expectations

Over the years, I’ve written about some of life’s certainties — birth, death, time and change. You can guarantee we will all experience those things.

Birth and death are at the centre of our existence. We are birthed onto this Earth, to leave it again. No matter where we’re from, how much material wealth we may accumulate or what colour our skin, the scent we exude. Us humans are birthed into this world to die. Animals and plants too.

Birth and death occur in tandem with time, which leads to change. Life is in a constant state of flux, sometimes deep and challenging, other times gloriously joyous and uplifting, tender and sensuous. Change happens as time passes, ticking over every minute, day and year. Tick, tick, tick …

Rushing, darting, dashing, being somewhere, anywhere, and nowhere. Time, there's never enough, we always want more. Time to act and do. Time to be and play and have fun, time to walk and run.

Faster, quicker, need it yesterday ... I don’t have time. More and more, more time to work and more work. Time’s ticking, always ticking.

Time to feel, time to heal. Time to see and be. Time to love and be loved, and feel the love. Time to feel sad and hurt and heal from the sad and hurt. Or, we can have too much time. To think, and do nothing. The trepidation in time.

Life’s certainties don’t stop there though because we also have the dreaded: Expectations. We all have them, no matter how hard we try not to.

Expectations come from the act of expecting, wanting, requiring. Demanding. They can be ego driven, selfish and ungracious, and can creep in like muted millipedes found curling in a corner of your home. Black, hard little critters. Or they can thrash in as a heavy, weighted monster that won’t budge.

The problem with expectations is when they aren’t met, they lead to all sorts of frustration and disappointment. I’d go so far as to say that unmet expectations can be killers. You set your mind to attaining something, and when you can’t achieve it, become disheartened.

It becomes doubly so, tripled and quadrupled even, when that something hindering your ability to reach your expectation is something you have no influence over. An expectation of a sound sleep can be lost to a neighbour playing loud music at 2 am; the expectation of juicy apricots in summer can be lost once insects bore into the 20-year-old apricot tree, and dies. Most obvious is COVID-19. Without banging on about the obvious impacts, the expectation of many to carry on with our ‘usual’ life has been quashed by the outside influence of COVID-19. Many expectations pre COVID-19 are today unmet, and the impact of that can be debilitating.

Unmet expectations aren’t necessarily in the extreme and can be as simple as expecting to walk your puppy around the block in 15 minutes, only to be gone double that time because your puppy wants to sit or chase a butterfly, or refuses to walk and instead wants to bite at the lead.

Of course, it can go the other way too. That rascally puppy who runs amuck in the backyard, chews the skirting board of your home, might be the epitome of the model walking dog. The expectation of mayhem and mischief on a walk is a pleasant surprise when the puppy walks tall.

The challenge is in managing those expectations, especially when they’re unmet, is letting go of them before they twist you into a tourniquet that’s too tight to untie.

Some say to have a goal and set a plan in action to achieve it, but be prepared to change the plan if it isn’t achieving your goal.

Perhaps it’s as a friend said to me the other day, who believes everything derives from and is love. Life is about ‘the love of the self, to become sovereign to the self.’ I liked that and took it to mean being respectful of one’s self in all one’s entirety, in all beauty and flaw. And to be grateful for what is, appreciate who you are and what you have and don't have.

In our constant motion of time, look around and breathe in what we see, drink it in and savour it, whether bad, sad or positively blissful and everything in between.

Wonder at life. Be inspired by the expanse of red soil that meets a horizon of blue in the distance, find the awe in the incandescence of snow laden mountains illuminating at 2am in an Arctic winter. The natural world is full of marvel and being in awe of it puts expectations into perspective and can shrink them into a manageable insignificance.

Sit with a young child that’s waking in your arms, and appreciate their faith in your love and protection. Meditate with the birds calling in sunrise, or fall asleep to waves that never stop their rumble into shore. Take a three hour lunch with a friend on a sunny winter’s day, chat with someone who has known you over lifetimes; appreciate kindness.

I love this quote from Julia Baird in her book, Phosphorescence: on Awe, Wonder and Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark, for it’s a reminder to take the time to appreciate:

We need to learn how to regard and pay attention, to mine our inner strength, and accept the possibility that we can emerge from pain and grow by moonlight — in times of darkness — that we can push ‘right back’ on winter and find inside a summer. We also need to seek and settle upon a purpose in life — something many people seem to discover once they fully open their eyes (Baird, 2020, p. 204).

Perhaps that’s another of life's certainties: learning how to let go of, and manage expectations.

Maybe it’s a case of expect the imperfection in life, where expectations are one of them. And take note of those moments of satisfaction and fulfillment in simple pleasures.

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
You have vividly highlighted the dangers of automatic expectation which can so rapidly morph into a demand for perceived rights an... Read More
Sunday, 02 August 2020 15:29
Monika Schott PhD
Rosy, I'm so touched by your beautiful description of my writing, it's never been described in that way before - thank you! Inter... Read More
Monday, 03 August 2020 11:29
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That kid

Mopping my floors is a time consuming, mundane job when most of what we walk on in our home is polished wooden boards. No one’s home on this particular mopping day and so it’s just me and my damp mop, one of those Enjo-Sabco types that when wiping over the floors requires more muscle means the cloth pad of the mop is drying out and needs water. This requires either sliding the mop pad off and rinsing it under a tap or pouring water onto it from a cup that moves with me from table to bench top. It’s even dull writing about it, but stick with me.

Mopping around the heater vent in the front entry, I chuckle out loud. The spike of autumn shoots through the flyscreen door and I glance into the street for anyone walking by that might catch me laughing at nothing. People are always walking past our home, more so during the Corona lockdown.

It was a few days earlier that I first glimpsed a round container full of white, thick goo on the floor by this heater vent I just mopped around. At first, I wondered whether I’d put my sour dough starter there, only to quickly realise that my starter was growing in a jar and not in a plastic container. I laugh again, remembering the container, and keep mopping. That kid, always inventing or exploring something science and engineering. I kept meaning to ask him what he was doing with the container but he’d been flitting between work and online Uni classes and I couldn’t catch him long enough to ask. I didn’t dare open the lid, didn’t want to discover anything disgusting growing or brewing with the heat. I laugh out loud again, this time so hard that I had to stop mopping. That kid.

The same morning of finding the container by the heater vent, I was in the sunroom on the phone to friend when I heard music. I followed it into the lounge room where my son’s phone lay on the floor, beside a blanket. It was his alarm sounding to wake him for work. I thought it odd as he always takes his phone with him into his bedroom. He must’ve fallen asleep on the couch and dropped the phone and blanket on the floor as he got up to go to bed. I took his phone into him and asked him why it was in the lounge room. He didn’t know. Making breakfast 20 minutes later, I asked him whether he’d fallen asleep on the couch. He replied again that he didn’t know. I smiled, thinking he was probably still half asleep. He’d been working long hours over the past week.

Later in the evening after finishing work, my son walked through the backdoor.

‘Hey sweet, how was work?’

‘Good,’ he says, smirking. ‘I don’t know what happened last night, but I think I was sleep walking.’

I laugh and stop clearing the kitchen bench from the onion skins. ‘Why, what makes you say that?’

‘I don’t know,’ he says, sounding unsure. ‘I don’t know how my phone got onto the lounge room floor but I think I remember getting up after going to bed, to watch TV.’

‘You used to sleep walk when you were little, but you haven’t done that in years.’

‘Yeah, I sort of remember that,’ he says.

‘I used to lock the doors at night because I would find you in some strange places and I was worried you’d one day walk out of the house.’

‘That’s a bit dangerous, deadlocking the doors when we’re sleeping. What if we had a fire, and couldn’t get out quick enough.’

‘I know, but I was more worried about you sleep walking into the street and being hit by a car. One time I found you in the dining room,’ I laugh. ‘Do you remember that?’

‘Yeah, I was asleep on the floor.’

‘Asleep under the bloody chair, exactly where the dogs lay when we have dinner!’

‘I remember,’ he chuckles.

‘You must’ve been four or five at the time. Honestly. Sometimes I’d wake for no obvious reason to see you standing in the hallway, trying to work out where you were. I’m not sure what would wake me but one time, I woke to hear you call me and I found you standing in the dark in the laundry, not doing anything. Just standing there, calling me.’

‘I know I did it, but I don’t remember doing it.’

‘You sleep walked for a few years, maybe from when you were about three until about eight years old I think. And then it just stopped. Until the other night!’

After two days of looking at this science experiment container on the floor, I’m in the kitchen making a pot of tea. As the kettle heats the water, I draw open the curtain in the lounge room and notice the container in the front entry had disappeared. That kid, he must’ve done something with his experiment after I went to bed last night.

My son wakes soon after and almost prances into the kitchen. ‘I know what that container was.’

I look at him, thinking yes, great, the experiment’s finished. I know that.

‘It was the houmous.’

‘What?’ I begin smiling.

‘It was the houmous. I went looking for some in the fridge last night, for a snack, and couldn’t find it. Then I walked past the container near the heater vent and thought, that must be the houmous.’

I laugh out loud. ‘What do you mean?’

‘I think when I was sleep walking the other night, I must’ve eaten some houmous and then went to put it away in the fridge but for some reason, thought putting it near the heater vent was putting it in the fridge.’

We both break into raucous laughter.

‘Are you nuts!’ I say. ‘How can the heater vent be the fridge!’

‘I don’t know. I was sleep walking.’

I can’t say whether he was laughing as hard as me that morning, as I couldn’t see through the tears I was laughing.

That kid.

Recent Comments
Anonymous
Oh my god i love it!!! Thars just too cute .
Sunday, 17 May 2020 13:50
Anonymous
Great story! Can relate as our son did the same as a child. One night we heard the front door opening and, to this day, we still ... Read More
Monday, 18 May 2020 09:38
Monika Schott PhD
It's amazing how common sleepwalking is.
Wednesday, 20 May 2020 00:20
1035 Hits
4 Comments

Writing For Life

We are a small, friendly community who value writing as a tool for developing a brighter understanding of the world and humanity. We share our passions and experiences with one another and with a public readership. ‘Guest’ comments are welcome. No login is required. In Social Media we are happy to include interesting articles by other writers on any of the themes below. Enjoy!


Latest Blogs

          Out of the night that covers me,       Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be       For my unconquerable soul.  ...
Weaving and swirling, casting a hand of stealth healing. High they fly, low they crawl. Magical. Merciful. Gracious and humane, forever genuine. They...
A friend recently reminded me of the power in kindness when she asked, what makes an urban area kind? My first thought was, how can an object or mass...

Latest Comments

Rosy Cole Invictus
30 August 2020
Loving Shepherd of Thy sheep, Keep Thy lamb, in safety keep; Nothing can Thy power withstand, None c...
Monika Schott PhD Invictus
26 August 2020
Beautiful ?
Monika Schott PhD The three Cs
26 August 2020
True, Rosy. Kindness can change anything; it can soften a heart, arouse a smile, and much more. ?
Rosy Cole The three Cs
24 August 2020
True kindness has the power to change circumstances, whether given or received. Kindness makes the w...
Nicholas Mackey A life in trees
08 August 2020
Thank you, Rosy for reading and commenting.