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    Stephen Evans
    Stephen Evans commented on the blog post, Quiet strength

    "Acceptance of the polarity of life" -a phrase rich in meaning.

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    Stephen Evans
    Stephen Evans commented on the blog post, That kid

    So charming.

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    Monika Schott PhD
    Monika Schott PhD updated their profile
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    Monika Schott PhD
    Monika Schott PhD commented on the blog post, That kid

    It's amazing how common sleepwalking is!

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    Monika Schott PhD
    Monika Schott PhD created a new blog post, That kid

    That kid

    Posted in Blogs on Sunday, 17 May 2020

    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.

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    Ken Hartke

    A recent bill was introduced in my old home state of Missouri that would make it a criminal offense for a librarian to allow a child to check out an inappropriate book. What that exactly means is unclear and I don't think the proposed law moved forward (this year). Locking up librarians is one step closer to Dystopia. Is parenting still a "thing"? I wonder. Maybe parents have rediscovered their children during the pandemic lockdown. I wish.

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    Monika Schott PhD
    Monika Schott PhD created a new blog post, Quiet strength

    Quiet strength

    Posted in Blogs on Tuesday, 05 May 2020

    She sobs, walks in a wallowing of bowed head. Her pace is steady. Purposeful. She forces him to walk in front of her, so he’s walking backwards while gripping her elbows, trying to stop her. She lifts her head and screams at him. I can’t make out her scrambling shrieks, or his faint replies. But I’m ready, with phone in hand, to call the police. Who knows what he’s about to do to her. She strides on, pushing against his force. Then suddenly drops to her knees. She screams at him to get away, to leave her alone. But he’s not listening, he’s on his own mission. My finger swipes my phone on. I scrutinise his every move, watch him block her path. That’s a form of violence, surely. To use force to stop her from freely acting as she wants and needs. I’m about the call 000. She drops to her knees again, screams at him to leave her alone. Then sobs into her hands. This is society in lockdown, families under considerable strain as people are forced together. They can’t separate or escape from any dire that might exist, building more frustration in the bind to unhappy homes. It’s well noted that when families spend more time together, family violence increases. Restricting our movements to help stop the spread of COVID-19 is causing violence in homes to be more frequent, more severe and more dangerous. Family violence organisations are reporting a surge in demand for services, and governments have increased spending on crisis accommodation and for those experiencing family violence during lockdown. Some perpetrators are threatening to take their children outside and expose them to the virus, or themselves, so they can carry the virus into to the family. While the spike in family violence is being reported, it is also to some degree, being endured silently. Family violence is what I’m witnessing from my sunroom window before the sun has risen. It’s the kind of dawning day for this woman and man that few will know or hear about. And it’s only one of many scenarios that isn’t being heard or fully understood. There are few who aren’t experiencing their own struggle right now. Many are grieving the loss of freedom, have no work and can’t pay their mortgages or rent or buy food. Millions have locked themselves up in extremes of paranoia, not daring to leave the confines of their homes for weeks. How difficult it may be for some to leave their homes when we're able to move freely once again. Many can’t be with loved ones at their last breaths and at final farewells, can’t grieve together and instead, the pain festers in deep loss and heartache. Those battling mental and emotional demons daily, fighting to stay afloat, are battling harder than ever in a state of confusion and uncertainty. They’re trying to manage their imbalance in a much more complex environment. Even those locked up at home with time to focus on home and self, are battling and digging for an inner strength. The yearning for social contact has its own level of audibility, exposing egos that are craving attention, more than they ever have. And in a world of polarity, these amplified voices are drowning out those battling silently. The ongoing joke in my extended family is to be prepared to be tackled to the ground for hugs when we can be together again. Quiet strength is being drawn upon everywhere. In the many helping quietly and unassumingly in our communities, the organisations and people assisting the elderly and vulnerable. Many act without recognition or a need to make a noise, they pick up food and medications and deliver to those in lock down. Children deliver groceries to their elderly parents and have a cup of tea with them from back door steps or through windows in apartment blocks, parents school children at home while also working from the kitchen bench, and others work from phones and laptops to great effect in a nook in a back corner of the home, continuing to serve their community and society at large. It’s apparent in my street outside and in the vast number of relationships that were fragile and held together by the thinnest of threads before COVID-19 struck, now pushed to limits in confined homes. The suffocation, frustration and heightened irritation, the growing resentment, and deep digging for that inner strength. These hotpots of emotion stew away in cauldrons spiked in poison … and one of those hotpots is exploding outside my window. It’s 6.30am and I can only just make out the two solitary figures, the male towers over the small female frame. They’ve only walked the length of two residential houses. He hasn’t done anything to physically hurt her. He’s not been violent, but he is threatening, attempting to control her. She’s obviously fearful, is besieged on her knees, unable to move. I’m careful to stay behind the curtain. If he’s a violent man, he could retaliate if he knows I’ve called the police. He moves away, his hands in his head. She jumps up, but he’s on the ball. And then as I predicted, a punch is swung. But it’s from her. She’s thrown a punch at him to move him from her path. He grabs her, tries to cradle her. She shakes free and screams at him to leave her alone. She darts past him, her backpack firm on her shoulder. He tells her to get in the car so they can go home. She screams no. He runs ahead and tries to block her again. She sobs, screams. She’s going to swing at him again, I need to call the police. Then I hear her very clearly. ‘Leave me alone. I need a drink. I have to buy a drink.’ My heart sinks in sympathy with the man's slumping shoulders. He stands limp, watches her march towards the shop. She needs a drink. And he’s powerless to stop her. He’s not giving up though. He dashes to his car parked a few houses down the street and drives alongside her. Their conversation becomes inaudible as they move away from my house, but his determination is resolute and he crawls beside her in his car up the street, towards the liquor shop. A good mate of mine, in fact, he’s a beautiful man, he says that everything has no necessary reason and that nothing is contingent on anything. He says that when we understand that, we can see that the world is what it is, and we can transcend all the bullocks. ‘Seeing something simply in its being-thus—irreparable, but not for that reason necessary; thus, but not for that reason contingent—is love’ (The Coming Community, 2013, p. 105). Some might call it unconditional love. Acceptance of the polarity of life, the whole spectrum of life: good, bad, joy and sadness. It’s all necessary. I wonder what he would say about what was happening outside my window, about our isolation and being segregated. He has written a great about that too, people being segregated. Perhaps he’ll write about our isolating life now, in the months to come. I hope so. I’d love be able to ask him what he thinks but I’ve never met the guy, only know him through his words. His name is Giorgio Agamben, described as Italy’s leading philosopher and ‘one of the most delicate and probing writers’. He says a lot that make sense to me and sometimes I just smile in awe at what he reveals. While I believe and accept that life is full of polarity, all is necessary for the balance of life, I do question why things happen the way they do.  The thing is, we’re all here to learn the hard stuff, crack our shells to let our light shine brighter. Hats off to all of us for the strength we must find to deal with our hard stuff. We all have it. But gold-lined top hats off to those steaming along in quiet strength, while making little noise.   Image: 'The fool', by Paul Klee, 1927

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    Monika Schott PhD

    I'm pleased you enjoyed it, Christine. And thank you.

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    Monika Schott PhD

    Hi Rosy. I'm sorry I didn't see your comment until now! Thanks for your reflective words. I agree totally. Humans are strong and we come out more spirited than ever when challenged. I believe too that our planet can be transformed. Absolutely. :)

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    Nicholas Mackey
    Nicholas Mackey commented on the blog post, Every Leaf In Springtime

    Thank you for your uplifting article with lovely pictures suggesting that spring is here - a wonderful balm for these troubled times, Rosie.

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    Stephen Evans
    Stephen Evans commented on the blog post, The Best Thing for Being Sad

    That is always a learning process!

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    Rosy Cole
    Rosy Cole commented on the blog post, The Best Thing for Being Sad

    The best thing for being sad is to write (a book). It covers everything :-)

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    Ken Hartke
    Ken Hartke commented on the blog post, Every Leaf In Springtime

    We were in London on March 2 before the restrictions were much in place. I was very surprised by the flowers that early.

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    Stephen Evans

    The Best Thing for Being Sad

    Posted in Blogs on Friday, 17 April 2020

    “The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” ― T.H. White, The Once and Future King

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    Rosy Cole
    Rosy Cole commented on the blog post, Every Leaf In Springtime

    As I see it, Ken, there's no point in not having a hopeful view. Disastrous situations will happen, but turning them on their head is the stuff of Life. I'm not saying grief and pain can be avoided, or that we don't need help and support. But casting our net on the right side guarantees a positive outcome, though it may differ from what we envisaged. There's a transforming power in it.

    I'm so glad you had a good time in Britain, despite all the restrictions beginning to kick in. My demographic has thirteen weeks of lockdown, but it's turning out that so does everyone who's not in basic key services and operations. The rules are necessarily draconian and certainly won't be lifted in a hurry.

    Love the quote about flowers. It sums it all up. I went into the garden last weekend intending to photograph just the pear blossom on the garage wall, so it was a delightful surprise to see how, almost overnight, so many other things were coming into bloom. It really did reflect Easter joy. Things are about one month ahead this year in the South of England. I've lived in the area twenty-one years and have never known it happen before.

    Thanks for your kind comments and all the interesting posts!

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    Ken Hartke
    Ken Hartke commented on the blog post, Every Leaf In Springtime

    Thank you for a hopeful view of days ahead. I always think of spring being downhill from winter. You can see it in the distance and it seems easy to get tnere. But this year it seems more distant and clouded over. My lilacs are very cheerful right now but other blooms are delayed for a few weeks. We still have cold nights a few times a week and some snow a few days ago. But that is the end of winter, they tell us. Our botanical garden is blooming with spring bulbs and tree blossoms but it is locked up tight thanks to the virus. I hope the bees and butterflies are enjoying them. I was in UK and Ireland last month and every park and garden had something blooming in spite of the clouds and rain (and the pandemic). It was very uplifting. “This is what l love about flowers. Wherever possible, they just grow; in between the weeds, through a crack in a stone, in the middle of mud or moss - they just grow fearlessly, so confident of their short-lived beauty.” ― Asma Naqi

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    Stephen Evans
    Stephen Evans commented on the blog post, Fishing in the Sky

    Thoreau is a marvelous observer - he is strongest in the details. His vision is narrower than Emerson, and comes across as stronger for it I think. Thoreau was concerned with how to live, Emerson with what to be. A difference they never bridged, as close as they were.

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She sobs, walks in a wallowing of bowed head. Her pace is steady. Purposeful. She forces him to walk in front of her, so he’s walking backwards while ...
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Latest Comments

Stephen Evans Quiet strength
25 May 2020
"Acceptance of the polarity of life" -a phrase rich in meaning.
Stephen Evans That kid
25 May 2020
So charming.
Monika Schott PhD That kid
19 May 2020
It's amazing how common sleepwalking is!
Chris That kid
18 May 2020
Great story! Can relate as our son did the same as a child. One night we heard the front door openi...
Susan That kid
17 May 2020
Oh my god i love it!!! Thars just too cute .