Homeless to Harvard

by Tanya Monteiro on 10/28/2014

I came across THIS article that lead me to this TED talk below, in which Liz shares a beautiful story about Ben. A 3 year old boy who has cancer in both eyes and whose mother makes the decision to remove them and still inspire her son to see with all the other parts of him. Liz goes on to talk about possibility and the idea of falling in love with possibility in our lives at any age or stage.

That TED then lead me to this 3 min clip

and finally that lead me to reminding myself that I can only Focus on what I can control.

It’s a consistant thought in my mind, the idea of what is it inside of us that refuses to label ourselves as Victims.

A powerful reminder that a New moment IS a New Opportunity.



Stop saying I am fine!

by Tanya Monteiro on 10/27/2014

From this moment on I will never use the words ‘i am fine’ again, EVER!

This reminded me of when I decided not to use BUT again, EVER. I’d read this book that talked about how incredibly powerful BUT was at eliminating everything you’d just said. Like, “I am sorry BUT…..”. There is no way sorry and BUT can be in the same sentence and you really mean it, no way.

So this morning I watched a video that reminded me of my need to eliminate BUT and add the word FINE to the list of “I will never use that word again, EVER”.

In my own life there is no question I am fully in the “i am fine” whirlpool right now. I know what I need to do or at least try to do yet I find ways, new ways daily, on how NOT to do the work. So, this is my way of committing to myself and making my life count.

Thank you and Lydia Lee for posting the video onto your facebook page.


Speaking our truth

by Tanya Monteiro on 10/23/2014

I was inspired to think deeply yesterday about how my sharing my truth feels to me.

Actually, the person that ignited this stream of thinking had sent me an email about all the pain and suffering we seem to turn a blind eye to and how she has had enough of others living unauthentic lives and how she wonders why so many of us humans stay married, stay in our churches, families and just plain unhappy environments resulting never really feeling authentic.

For me what I am trying to remind myself of daily is that I only have myself to keep being authentic to and about. The suffering in me lessens, really, it does, lessen AND it makes the suffering outside of me feel more bearable AND the more honest I am to me, the more the people who actually want to change or be authentic stick around and the rest are silent or angry. In my family situation this has had made me deeply sad BUT, also, with a very surprising advantage.

This type of silence has resulted in my feeling far more authentic with my own being. At least I know where I stand, and I no longer have to pretend around them and they no longer have to pretend around me.

As a result I feel more authentic.



Where is Home?

by Tanya Monteiro on 10/16/2014

People often used to ask me “where do you come from?” It didn’t matter if I was living in New York City, LA, London, Estoril or Bali, that question was always asked of me. I wonder how much that question effected my own search for the feeling I now have of belonging?

After 2.5 years of living back “home” this is what I have learnt:

1) Home can equal a variety of options, it can be places, people, feelings and it can even be unrelated to my family of birth. I had a sense of this always but I never felt it viscerally till I started speaking my truth and noticing who was left to be home with me.

2) It can be a feeling, a feeling that runs deep and cannot be explained only felt.

The number of people living in countries other than their own is over 220 000 000 million.

We are in the #Ageofmovement and I’m excited to learn how this type of integration develops.


Crushing Grapes

by Tanya Monteiro on 10/10/2014

Our recent trip to the Douro valley introduced us to Crushing grapes by foot. I never actually did it but took a pic of William and Andrea Schnoor hard at work.

It was interesting to learn that crushing the grapes is a labour-intensive (e.g., expensive) method of making wine and is used infrequently today. However, it is used to some extent in the Douro region of Portugal in the production of quality Port wines.

In addition, many smaller, quality vintners in France, Italy, and other countries still crush red grapes by foot. Using this process to crush grapes is believed to produce a better quality product than can be obtained by mechanical crushing.

Thanks to Quinta de la Rosa and Sophia for this memorable stay.



Sue Monk Kidd Interview with Oprah

by Tanya Monteiro on 08/07/2014

Many years ago now, almost 10, I was sitting in my office overlooking the statue of liberty knowing I needed to find my place of belonging. I quit my job and decided to commit 100% to this adventure. A while back I heard an interview with Sue Monk Kidd saying words that articulate this journey I did not know I had embarked on at that time. ‘A home sickness for your real home’.

For me that translated into finally coming back to live in the Country of my birth, South Africa.

What I learnt is that what brings us alive is what we should follow and that we will need a good dose of Courage.
The Courage = to Fail
The Courage to ask question’s, especially those questions you don’t think you should ask.
The Courage to set the intention and announce it cause that’s the only way to make it happen.

Maya Angelo said,
It only takes 3 things to be a write;
1) you gotta have something to say
2) you gotta have the ability to say it
3) you gotta have the courage to say it at all.

Thats the hardest one, not just the courage to voice ourselves but to find and share the truth of our soul and not the truth of what we think people want to hear.

It’s a paradox to get comfortable living with with the uncertainties. And I have to keep reminding myself and prompting myself to reconnect with this place of belonging that I feel within myself.

Remembering that what we pay attention to becomes our god.

Here’s a short 2min excerpt that I found of that interview online.


The forest man

by Tanya Monteiro on 08/04/2014

A wonderful 16 min story of a man who is planting trees in order to save his island.


Undress me

by Tanya Monteiro on 07/18/2014

Earlier this year there was a youtube video making it’s rounds with strangers meeting for the first time and kissing. Now the same producer has released one with strangers getting undressed and in to bed together.

I grew up feeling that I had to hide my body. Wearing clothes that covered me up totally, were mostly baggy or big for me and even though I was very aware of fashion I never showed off my figure let alone my flesh.

This type of video reminds me of what I’ve had to teach myself over and over again. We are ultimately all the same, yes, some colours, sizes, preferences might alter but when it comes down to being naked humans, we really are the same all over the world. As Joanne Wilson said in her blog post, this is some kind of Brilliant.

and incase you missed it, below is the video of strangers having a first kiss


The High Cost of Keeping the Family Secret

by Tanya Monteiro on 07/08/2014

Weather you call it a secret or dirty laundry my guess is that almost all families have a little of this ‘tag line’ in their lives.

“In cases where the father, stepfather or other close family member is the abuser, what happens to the other family members in these situations?”

This is a question most prefer not to ask but in my case I’ve had no choice, it’s the core reason I did a little and not allot for a long long time. This article is so well articulated I had to share an expert of it. Finding words to express my feelings or thoughts has been one of the most challenging aspect to my life so far and till I can find a better way to describe this delicate core, I will continue to share others words to bring light where it needs to shine.


‘Most “non-offending” parents will quickly tell you that they were unaware of any inappropriate sexual activity within the home. Is this the truth or do these non-offenders also slip into denial? Is it a coping style for them also? What is the purpose of denial in these family situations? How does one begin to break out of the darkness that is created by denial? These are all questions that I hope to answer in this article. 

Sadly, that burden is placed upon nearly every abuse victim. It is one of the commonalities of abuse. Most of us learn our lessons well and keep the secret for decades.

Group leaders helped me to see the truth in situations that I faced. I simply could not afford to run back into the safety of denial in order to keep my family happy. I had to keep pushing my way out of that darkness, no matter how my family chose to respond to me. I had to make the choice for myself. 

Emotions become shut down, no one really “feels” (to me this is the absolute core of abuse of any kind, we get so good at shutting off it can take a very very long time to reconnect with our own true feelings)


Denial allows abuse to continue passing from one generation to another until someone begins to find the courage and boldness to speak out

Coming out of denial can be quite traumatic. “At first the truth was shocking, but no one in my family denied it (the abuse). It’s not that they had knowledge of it before I spoke about it, but when they put the pieces together, it all made sense to them.”

The day and time we grew up in was so different than now. No one spoke openly about abuse of any kind and there were few treatment facilities available to help anyone who had suffered from this type of childhood. Society just wasn’t ready to deal with incest or any other type of sexual abuse, rape, and repeated molestation of its children. Fortunately, those days are gone. (We have come a long way, but we still have a very long way to go!) 

One of the main avenues I have used to break free from denial is right here before your eyes; the words on the page. I write and write and write.”

(And thank goodness Vicki Messer writes and writes and writes. Now I’m going to write a letter to her and say Thank you, every word counts.)

silence noise


Show people your brain

by Tanya Monteiro on 07/07/2014

This commencement speech by Ellen DeGeneres made in 2009, came to me via a friend this week.

As I listened to Ellen (twice over) share a little about her own life and the tragedy that ignited a fire in her belly to write about what she would say in a phone call to god which was the first step in her first career I was struck, once again by her deep honesty, her humour and the humbleness with which she speaks.

No doubt her climb has been tough, reaching to ‘the top’ and then not being able to live with yourself because of the Shame and Fear inside is something I relate to. Then loosing it all and going from having her own sitcom to loosing that sitcom and not getting a phone call for any job for 3 years must have been a mini kind of hell in her mind. BUT, during that time Ellen was receiving letters from people saying how her telling her truth had saved them or changed them or helped them in some way and slowly she realised her purpose and made that her engine.

By loosing everything she learnt how to fuel her life from the inside out and mostly she learnt to live with integrity and without the shame and fear that caused so much pain before.

As I go through my own stages of honesty and face the fact that allot of my family would much rather “the family laundry” be kept to themselves, I hear real stories like this and it reconnects me with that place in my soul that know’s “dirty laundry” is so often the real truth and that it’s ok to be honest, to find that place within us that we know we need to shine a light on regardless of what others might think.

Ellen ends by saying “show people your brain”, I’d add that we can also show people our hearts and ultimately, I believe, when we do share from this place of transparency the connection we feel cannot be described only used as fuel to keep surviving and find ways to Thrive.