Stop – Watch this video please

by Tanya Monteiro on 06/09/2016

My office in NYC had an incredible view of the Statue of Liberty and it’s surroundings. I would often catch myself staring out of the window dreaming. But these years were also some of my loneliest. To help me help myself I ordered flowers to be delivered to my office every Monday morning. It was usually a small bowl that could fit on my desk and they always make me happy!

I became friendly with the owner of City Blossoms a women that worked harder than most I know and still, to this day, through some very tough times, has grown City Blossoms into a Thriving business across the city.

Yesterday a friend popped in from NYC, he’s working with flowers and I immediately thought of connecting him to this amazing women. This is what Inna’s last post was on facebook. It made to stop and take a breath.

These past few weeks have been full on, almost NYC speed. I’m so grateful to technology, to old friends, to deep connections and to moments when I am reminded of what counts and I remember to pay attention.

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Criminal Minds

by Tanya Monteiro on 05/26/2016

Discovering Criminal Minds the series was a big deal in my life. It’s a show that, although violent at times, has me hooked. Crimes I can’t believe people even think of let alone act out, but the best part of criminal minds for me is how often they articulate my feelings in such a way that I find myself standing in front of the TV with my phone recording a phrase like the one I am sharing today. It is so spot on that is I have to write it down. Somehow writing it down makes me feel stronger.

“The vast majority of sexual abuse victims don’t grow up to be offenders. I know this because…..and let me be direct. I was also one of XYZ’s victims. It can cause allot of isolation – there can be anger and rage – it can cause pain and suffering – but you can get through it. It can make you stronger – it does not have to destroy your life. It can make you fight back AND it can make you want spend the rest of your life protecting others.”

All this is being said while his perpetrator is watching him on TV saying, “Hell I don’t know what he’s saying, I loved that kid.”

I believe every word in that quote. Everything we experience can make us stronger or weaker, ultimately we decide. What helps me and maybe others is knowing that we are not alone.

And that bit about sexual abuse victims growing up to be offenders, that’s really an old wives tale, just like stranger danger!

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A misfit finds her voice

by Tanya Monteiro on 05/25/2016

A Misfit is a person who missed fitting in. They also generally fit in badly or adapt poorly to new situations. I’ve often felt like a misfit!

Lidia Yuknavitch presentes this inspiring TED all about the idea of being a misfit.

Lidia wrote a book about her life as a competitive swimmer, a little about her crappy home life and how grief and loss can make you insane. She won a prize for this writing which was a trip to NYC and the opportunity to choose and meet three of her favorite authors.

It’s a common dream and I think most of us think that winning it would be easy but Lidia brought along her past on this trip to NYC. The abusive household in which she grew up, 2 failed marriages, a college drop out (twice), rehab for drug use and jail time (twice). Lidia also lost a daughter on the day she was born. She became homeless and it became clear that she missed fitting into any category out there.

On this trip to NYC, meeting editors and authors she had long admired, Lidia found herself speechless and full of shame. Shame for wanting something good, for deserving something good. Feeling like a total misfit.

misfit

But, after many people telling her not to listen to anyone who wants you to shut up or change your story, she finally started to believe it herself.

Sometimes the only way through is by telling our stories, by reinventing ourselves, even through the ruins of our bad choices.

Giving voice to her story and watching this made me reflect on my own experiences of silence.

It’s been almost 2 years since I checked out and retreated into my shell. Watching a person like Lidia helps me to continue to find the courage to share my story regardless of how much I am told to forget it or change it. I think we all know deep within us if our stories are suffocating us or not.

May this give you the courage to keep following your misfit qualities.

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Togetherness

by Tanya Monteiro on 05/24/2016

For all the years I lived in London I never had a TV and I never missed it. However, since moving in with William, and much to the demise of my reading skills, I’ve discovered a newfound love of series.

My latest discovery is Togetherness. Sadly, as I did my research for this post I discovered that they will not continue past Season two. Both seasons are out now and although I have not started watching season two yet I highly recommend this funny and very real show.

Togetherness explores marriage and friendship through the lives of a couple and two singles living on the fringes of Los Angeles. It is so real and true to life in parts that I’ve found myself laughing till I cry.

They cover aspects of married life and coupledom (is there such a word?) that even I, who is relatively new to being in a couple can relate.

The show is a reminder that getting older and having kids doesn’t necessarily spare one from angst, emptiness and confusion over the question posed in the old song, “Is that all there is?”

It zeroes in on today’s yuppie problems, folks thinking they are the first ever to experience any of these emotions. Like having their marriage tested through nagging unhappiness and infidelity.

It also touches on the aspect of searching, which seems to be a human trait regardless of our current circumstances.

As winter finally starts to arrive here in Durban I’m looking forward to watching Season two.

If you have any shows you loved and would like to share please let me know in the comments below. (Thank you Susie for your inspiration today)

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Love oh Love – Lionel Richie

by Tanya Monteiro on 05/19/2016

This song popped into my life again the other day. My father was a devout Lionel Richie fan and I took to his tunes like a duck to water too.

This was one of my favorites, a good reminder of what it’s all about in the end – LOVE

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TED TALK – BJ Miller

by Tanya Monteiro on 05/18/2016

11 000 volts went through BJ Miller’s body after he and some friends decided to have some fun on the top of a train.

His talk focuses on death and dying and how we can actually choose how we live because if it.

How we all need a reason to wake up and without question we will all be faced with moments where we can choose to turn anguish into a flower or let that anguish paralyze us.

The word Patient means one who suffers. We are all patients at some stage in our lives and BJ’s idea is that we begin at the end. Since dying is a necessary part of living he is asking for us to make space for aging because how we die is something we can effect.

At the Zen Hospice Project, BJ focuses on living well not despite death but because of it.

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Tom Ford – A Love Story

by Tanya Monteiro on 05/17/2016

Every now and again I come across a story that is just beautiful and I must share. When that story is about a long term love relationship I am drawn to learning what I can about how they made it work and why they are together.

Goodness knows I’m a novice in the world of relationships with a partner.

In June William and I will celebrate 4 years together, a record for me and one I am not taking lightly.

It’s still an area of my life that I consider to be at it’s infancy but it’s a partnership I am deeply grateful for.

I have always found it easier to be alone. As I child I spent hours and hour plotting how I was going to run away and I think I created a default pattern for myself in my own mind.

love relationship growth

But, even though I still often want to run away these four years have shown me that I am learning way more in a relationship about myself than I ever did controlling it all alone.

I add here that I don’t think a love relationship is the only relationship we have that forces us to grow. I believe all relationships, if real engagement is happening, force us to grow or hide more. We choose.

So back to what moved me so much about this article.

When Tom Ford’s husband, Richard Buckley, got throat cancer some friends assumed he had AIDS and they might catch it. Without hesitation Tom Ford cut all ties with those friends, standing by Richard.

I’ve experienced this on more than 3 occasions with William in the 4 years we have been together.  Both with family and with friends he has made it clear in words and actions that he supports me.

Not the kind of support that is blind and unreasonable. I’m talking about the kind of support that someone like me, whose boundaries are not very well defined, can be reminded that some behaviours are just not acceptable.

I also love this excerpt ;

One of the things that always amuses me — amuses isn’t even the right word, because it doesn’t amuse me — but often, I’m at dinner parties with very close friends, straight, and they realize that Richard and I have been together 24 years, and the response is often, ‘Wow, you guys have been together 24 years! That’s so amazing. I don’t think of gay men being together that long.’ And I’m, like, ‘Why? What are you talking about?’ Some of the longest relationships I know of are same-sex couples. A lot of my straight friends have married and divorced and married and divorced in the time Richard and I have been together. I think that preconception, from even very educated liberal friends, that being gay is possibly more sex-based than emotionally based, is surprising and shocking in today’s world. I’m someone who likes being part of a couple and always wanted that and always sought that, and it would probably be true for me whether I was gay or straight. Richard and I are bound together, and I think that’s what that recognition is when you look someone in the eyes and you feel like you’ve known them forever. It is a kind of coming home.

Tom Ford and Richard Buckley

Tom Ford and Richard Buckley

Although this article was published in 2011, their story is not old and they have gone on to have a son in 2012 and got married in 2014. It must be going on to 29 years together.

Mazel Tov to them both.

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Never play to the Gallery

by Tanya Monteiro on 05/16/2016

In 1 min David Bowie nails why he brought so much art, feeling and connection to the world.

He reminds us to never work for other people in what we do – I wonder why are we not taught this at school?

He also mentions how important it is to feel a little out of our depth because that’s where the real growth and genius lives.

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Mobile Counciling

by Tanya Monteiro on 05/13/2016

This week I sat in on an invigorating talk by the co-founder of a hugely successful South African Cleaning Company called Sweepsouth.

The cleaning industry, in South Africa, especially on the domestic front, has not changed – ever! SweepSouth has turned the old model on it’s head and gives 80% of the earnings to the workers. Think Uber App for cleaning staff but better because I’m biased to any local, home grown company.

But today’s post is not about this incredibly inspiring and disruptive company. At this event I also met the first employee of Sweepsouth Luke who pointed me in the direction of the first ever mobile clinic in Cape Town.

An incredible initiative that is not just needed desperately but essential if we are to see a bright future in our Country.

Having grown up in Khayelitsha himself Banetsi Andreas Mphunga knows all too well the stigma attached to seeking help and visiting a psychologist. Not to mention the lack of mental health resources and the costs attached to this type of treatment.

Banetsi is Normalizing this essential service.

The clinic belongs to the Khayelitsha community with the financial backing from the SACAP.

The idea is that mental well-being is the springboard for learning, thinking and communication skills, as well as emotional growth, resilience and self-esteem. It’s also an opportunity to train other future psychologist and counselors.

These types of services are often not available where the need is greatest and Andreas is turning this model on it’s head.

Mphunga said his long-term goal is to have a fleet of healing mini-buses throughout the country where vulnerable youths can seek health services in a judgement-free space.

The Kombi Councillor and Emotional Ambulance has a huge future ahead of it. Thank you Luke!

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Real Bowing

by Tanya Monteiro on 05/12/2016

I heard this beautiful story recently. It reminded me of why I believe it’s so essential and often so difficult to connect the heart and the mind in order to live a full life, one in which we know the feeling of connection and meaning deep within us.

Also, there is a notion in most religions or those that choose a spiritual path, that the heart can and should rise above the head. In my own interpretation I like to think of it as finding a way to let the ego take the back seat. That’s not to say the ego should always take the back seat but mostly, it should.

bow

The story goes like this

A group of people gathered to reconcile a big difference they all had. They wanted to honor this discussion so the facilitator suggested that everyone take a bow in respect and in honor of each other and the work they had just done.

Everyone bowed, it was a beautiful moment and it felt right however, a chinese lady came up to the facilitator afterwards and suggested that the bows they had just demonstrated weren’t really bows at all and she asked if he would like to learn real bowing?

This lady suggested that real bowing is bending so far over that the heart winds up above the head and that that is the true nature of a bow, to have the heart be above the head.

To lead a bow with your heart means you bow down to nature, to new ideas or ideas that are foreign as well as bowing down to each other. In this deep bow the head and the mind is more firmly connected to each other and the ego which is always trying to protect us is no longer leading.

Old notions and interesting stories that I find valuable. I’ve included the full discussion, including the story below.

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