Monika Schott

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A life of 'oh wells' are greater than a life of 'what ifs'. I write to express life in all its glory, to spark thinking … I love to swim outside, practise hot yoga and hit the boxing studio. I'm currently undertaking a PhD research to capture the social history of the community that lived on Melbourne's first sewerage farm. I've had several short stories published, my latest being 'The Teacher' in 'These winter months'. I was short-listed in the Ada Cambridge Prize, won the inaugural Wyndham Rotary Arts Small Business Award and have a Masters of Communication where I looked at boys and reading and what it is they like to read.

Growing

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A new energy is blowing in on the swirl of dry and dusty 35 knot, north winds. Its force rattles windows throughout the house as an exasperated energy eager yet unwieldy in its drive to blow through, loaded with new adventures and challenges. It comes as gusts that ignite grass and bush fires to clear remnants of the old and rejuvenate for the new, of hope for better. 

‘Forget last year and focus on the new year,’ I’ve heard it said so many times already. Last year brought its challenges and many want improvement. But why forget last year and all its teachings that have made us who we are today, ready for this new year and new adventures? Without the year-after-year of building upon previous foundations we wouldn’t be ready and capable to take on this next year of 2015. I certainly wouldn’t be.

Last year brought a wild ride of endings and beginnings, challenges and triumphs. And with that came all manner of change that toughened and transformed thinking on both global and personal levels. 

Conflict and crisis continued around the world and impacted many, like the 12-year old suffering leukaemia who could not receive the appropriate medical attention because of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. That child died. There was the Ebola outbreak that began in Guinea and spread to neighbouring countries and the two Malaysia Airlines flights that saw 537 people die - one being shot down by a missile over Ukraine with the question of who fired that shot still unanswered, and another that disappeared without a trace. Gough Whitlam died. He passed the Racial Discrimination Act in Australia and introduced free tertiary education and paid maternity leave in the 1970’s. And then there was the quest to land on a comet. So much more news from 2014 can be found at http://www.google.com.au/trends/2014. 

My year sparked from the high peaks of the roller-coaster in palpitating and flirtatious heart beats, to my gut being wrenched in crazy plummet from those highs. I questioned honesty and integrity, and what I considered extremist and calculated behaviour when confronted by bullies and a level of betrayal of my openness and honesty. It made me realise once again that what is important to one person may not be important to another and that passions and beliefs fuel actions that are individual to all of us. Simple in its prose but quite a process in thinking!

Success and celebration abounded too, of my children’s achievements and of my own, with people believing in my writing, whether for adults or for children. Sometimes those celebrations came with a twist of quirkiness, as in waiting up until 2.57 am to quietly see in a thirteenth birthday with the birthday boy! 

Then Christmas came and suddenly I found myself questioning traditions. A tradition after all, is simply a custom, behaviour or habit that we develop and act on. In my growing family, I never thought we had traditions as each year was different from the next. Until this year when the question was raised about breakfast on Christmas day and how we must have our cooked ham, eggs and croissants as always, regardless of having to prepare for 43 lunch guests, which in itself was another break in tradition. As was New Year’s Eve celebrations when for the first time, the two older boys went to friends’ parties to wait in the new year.

Ultimately, last year was a year that pushed boundaries and thinking and in reality, was an undertone that existed in all previous years too. It highlights one thing: the need to live in fluidity. 

There will always be want and desire, challenge and triumph. Some things we desperately desire, others we’re happy to sell off! In the end, all we can do is be limber in our movement through the clearing, in all its frenetic and subliminal under currents.

Best I slide open those windows for as Gough Whitlam once said, "When you are faced with an impasse you have got to crash through or you've got to crash."

 
Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
You're right about using the experiences and knowledge of the past year(s) as a building block for the year to come. Happy New Ye... Read More
Sunday, 04 January 2015 09:29
Monika Schott
Thanks Katherine. Happy New Year to you and yours too. ... Read More
Sunday, 04 January 2015 19:29
Rosy Cole
'It made me realise once again that what was important to one person may not be important to another and that passions and beliefs... Read More
Sunday, 04 January 2015 13:00
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10 Comments

A weather change

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Writing by candle light seems right given the rain that falls on leaves outside my window. It’s a trickling patter that dulls to a thump when it hits the ground. It’s in this dawn before the dawn that life is clearest, as if the rain is washing away a layer to reveal the next delight in fresh rawness.

It’s so transfixing when stopping to listen. Quiet time out. I want to turn up the volume for more!

A rattle of an open window and flicker of flame accentuates a breeze that’s barely audible. But it’s there. Blowing hellos onto my neck that’s undressed, cleared from the old in preparation for what must be part of this next wave blowing in.

A sip of tea, a gulp in decibels not normally measured.

A puff of air swirls in and down to my bare feet hooked under my desk. My toes tingle in a gentle wake up call. I hope the spiders lurking in the dark don’t wake to join in the toe tingling!

Change is stopping by once again. A clearing of the staid like this can only mean change.

The breeze becomes constant and travels around to waft under my nose and cool my lips moistened by tea. Each breath in is sheerer than the last, cleaner, and travels deeper within. The dross is being filtered to expose a new layer.

A gentle faraway rumble …

Here comes that ride of extremes, of loss and happiness and humblings of caring kindness, of passions that can question all that life is. It’s almost as a storm chase of dreams on the curve of any rain drop daring to carry.

Come, change. Every molecular zephyr is welcomed!

Another swirl of breeze, a sip of cooling tea. Chirping song wafts in through my window. All is awakening.

Change equals love, of the self and others. Accepting that change and appreciating it for its place in life as an unknown journey to somewhere new is the key.

A rustle of leaves outside. Change is not easy for many. Taking leaps of faith into unknowns can be more terrifying than anything imagined, crippling. That rumble grows to a thunder … heavier rain sweeps in.

Trusting in that change is part of the change and realising it’s not just about arriving at any end. Change is individual and always laced in a newness nourished by the freshness of more rain.

Change can make any heart sing, even when it can’t be heard. The heart knows what it truly needs. The trick is in letting the heart be to do what it needs to do. And maybe dance with it and the rain, and the rumbles of thunder now cracking.

Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
Monika, your piece touches the heart. It's so beautiful. And so true.
Monday, 08 December 2014 19:16
Monika Schott
Thanks for saying that, Katherine. Like most writers, I sometimes question what I write!
Monday, 08 December 2014 19:59
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2 Comments

Life is yin and yang

  

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Life flows as natural as waves roll into shore, swirling with sand over and over as the yin and yang of the ocean, free-forming and blending in a forever time.

Tides never fail to move in synch with the moon. As day and night, solstices and equinoxes, they move in and out in constant balance of one another.

People too, can roll together as free as those waves. Sometimes, struggling to stay afloat in peaks of soaring oceans, in a volatility that carries beyond extremes to be stuck in a futility of flooding submerge.

Other times, we can bathe and soothe as tranquil bays or lagoons of azure, brimming in nurture.

It’s an ease of comfortable togetherness where time stands still and nothing else exists. It’s intoxicating, morish. Delicious.

It can come without the physical touch of a hand or gentle press of lips coming together in exhilarating delight. It comes in the purest of words, in the purposeful listening and sharing, with a heightened awareness of curiosity and concern. It’s supremely safe, surrounded by the securest of safety nets.

Sometimes, those words of nurture and unassuming support linger as only a millisecond of the free-forming yin and yang of the ocean. They dissipate as quickly as a moon glistening over a night ocean is smothered by thick clouds storming in.

In a fleeting flash, that time is gone and we’re left with an almost pang of desire for more of that serene yin and yang of the ocean.

Until the next clearing of storms ... we wait.

 

 

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That black hole of love

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A gut in endless summersault, a head in spin ... an attack is now. It’s personal. It’s senseless. Humans can be senseless, actions and words can be careless and pointless, even if they come from a place of passion. Whether that’s misguided or not, whether I understand or not, is irrelevant.

Then from nowhere in this tumult that rages as a wild sea, mother instinct kicks in and big sister armour spikes out. The loyal friend shell hardens, ready for any skirmish that may come. Passion heats as a cauldron of boiling oil and the fierceness of the King of the Jungle emerges.

Yet underneath the layers of shields and barbs of thousands, a stomach still wrenches in subterranean caverns, over craggy mountains jagged that scrape any soul bare, through bogs of black and bracken that render all motion, motionless ... those children, leave those children alone!

And suddenly, physical reactions to instincts that aren’t seen give way to a heart that needs no armour, a heart that is the core of existence. A heart knows the depths of love of family and friends where limits are non-existent. A heart knows that in the slightest breath of a whistle call, those hearts will come together to become a black hole of love with its own life force. It’s the black hole of love of the universal family where distance is no barrier and passion is its own entity that runs deep through a complex stratal network that can’t be unravelled.

It’s obvious as we stand to farewell one of our own, that we are who we are, in numbers that double and triple, as beings that reverberate beyond this space. 

And in that moment, the first spike of armour retracts, the shell begins to soften. Fear starts to dissipate into that black hole of love of the universal family, a love that in times of farewell shines from crevices normally submerged. There’s no place for fear when a family unites in invisible armour. Our children are fine. Our armour together is invincible. 

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