The Space

by Tanya Monteiro on 11/05/2020

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Viktor Frankl

This is a ultimate lesson in life, for all of us, over and over again we must remind ourselves that the sweet spot is in the space between what was said or what happened and how we respond.



by Tanya Monteiro on 10/23/2019

A long time ago I watched a programme with Aleesha Barlow and the difficlut relationship she had with her mother. It struck me to my core and I sent Aleesha an email. It was only when I got an email back from Aleesha very recently that I remembered I had sent that message to her over a year ago. Funny how life works!

If there is one thing I wish to share with people it’s to talk early and talk often. The layers of abuse are far more than an onion and the silence surrounding it, in my opinion, causes the many layers to form in the first place.

Through Aleesha’s work with #tellsomebody I’ve been reminded of how important this work is and how easy it is to just keep quite. 

I’ve included some information below on Aleesha’s story and her children’s book Tell Somebody; Volume 1 which I think is particularly important. If we can learn to talk early and talk often mabye we can help stop these cycles of abuse that so often perpetuate from one generation to the next. 

“Aleesha Barlow was molested by her maternal grandfather when she was a child. At age 6, she told her mom and her two aunts, that their dad was touching her inappropriately. They made her promise not to tell anyone, especially the police, and her own father. They told Aleesha not to worry, and that they would make sure her grandfather would stop. They promised that they would send him to jail if it continued. Aleesha did not tell anyone, and the molestation continued. 20 Years Later, Aleesha created Tell Somebody Inc., an organization that works toward ending child abuse of any kind. Telling her dad and the world her story was the biggest step of Aleesha’s life! The Tell Somebody movement is bringing awareness to parents that molestation does happen. 95% of molestation happens by a family member or close friend, so talk to your children, please! Tell somebody is about giving strength to all survivors, to tell your story so you can heal, no matter how long it’s been, it’s time to seek therapy or counseling. It’s time to tell somebody, and if that doesn’t work, tell somebody else. We are survivors, which means we are warriors, and means we are strong. You are strong!


Seeing things

by Tanya Monteiro on 10/22/2019

We had a guest this weekend who did Equus coaching on Saturday. I was reminded the whole weekend of this quote, it’s helped me in so many ways to stop and consider what is going on for me and in me.


The Voices in my head

by Tanya Monteiro on 10/18/2019

Years ago I went with a friend to see Ruby Wax’s play Losing it, it blew my mind. A few years later, when I moved back to South Africa, I discovered it was playing in Cape Town and to this day, almost 8 years later it still plays on my mind.

The world of social media is showing all sorts of perfect lives but actually, suicide rates have increased and real face to face connections, that we humans are wired for, have diminished.

Outside appearances and looking like we ‘have it all’ is only playing a role in our own deception. In this TED talk Eleanor Longden was told NORMAL people do not hear voices, they do not have an inner world. Resulting in her mistrusting people, fearing everything and avoiding life.

As Eleanor so beautifully articulates, we are better off with cancer than a mental health illness.

I was also struck by her comment on people that harmed her vs helped her. There were some that never gave up on her, those are the ones that helped her see that recoving is possible and can even be inevitable. Those were the people that didn’t just try to save her but they also helped her empower AND save herself.

Today Elenor says her “voices were an insight” – I think they are for all of us, we just need to be still enough and connected with ourselves enough to hear them. And if you ever get the chance to hear Ruby Wax speak please do not hesitate.


Cool Resturants on the Linha, Lisbon to Cascais

by Tanya Monteiro on 10/17/2019

With tourism to Portugal becoming ever-popular (mixed feelings about it but that’s for another post) I get asked so many times for recommendations. This list is for the area from Lisbon along the coast (the Linha) towards Cascais and Guincho. (Just discovered that you can actually walk this whole area and stay by the sea all the way, put aside 7 hours or so excluding meals)

Cantinha das lulas in Sao domimgos da Rana/Parede 210 146 565

O Correiro da Areia in Areia (towards Guincho) must order Jaqinzinhos if they have, delicious fried fish.

Kai Kahinha (not open on a Monday) in Parede. Mostly good for lunch, great Mozambiquan curry. Call before to book; 211 931 440 Dinner 214 572 006

Beija da Burro in Oeiras/Paco de Arcos. Named “kiss of the donkey” the owner spent many years in Corporate dreaming of opening and restaurant till he eventually did. Delicious Tapas and house wine is excellent too 961 620 947

Pria de Adraga Great Seafood with a view of the ocean. The beach is small but worth a stroll and if your into hiking there are excellent hikes right from the car park up to the cliffs with views that will take your breath away. Must book

Cacoila in Oeiras, what locals refer to as a Taverna. Delicious home cooked, wholesome meals. 214 460 831 (Closed Sunday and Monday)


Defining Trauma

by Tanya Monteiro on 10/15/2019

Last week a friend and I were chatting about the word Trauma and how some of us react towards hearing it and defininting it for ourselves. My friend did not like to use the word, to her it had a violent connotation that kept her away from using it.

I find this allot in conversations with others and with myself, it’s a word that might be used a bit too much in certain circles yet it’s a word that I think is underutilised in others.

Today I came across the best description of trauma that articulates how I feel about it.

Trauma is about broken connection. Broken connection to our body, broken connection to our vitality, to ourselves, to reality and to others. Trauma is broken connection. Peter Levine (via Bogdan Petroiu on Facebook)

That’s it to me exactly, Trauma is Broken Connection.


Something About Amelia – Movie

by Tanya Monteiro on 09/18/2019

It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a movie that describes a family dynamic that is common, complicated and often a hotbed for disfunction.

What a surprise it was to me to watch this 1982 Drama about a father having sex with his daughter and the many repercussions of telling the truth.

There’s no doubt in my mind that so very often sexual abuse continues, especially within a family unit, when silence is upheld. Sadly, a lot of the time people don’t even realise they are being silent about something.

The performances in this movie but ALL the actors has me thinking about it non stop for days. Credit to the producers and everyone involved in making this movie, 37 years later and still this type of story is happening all the time. (clearly, this never tarnished Ted Danson or Glen Closes careers)


Ricardo Groenewald

by Tanya Monteiro on 06/10/2019

While buying a gift for a friend this weekend I was struck by the music in the store, I stayed longer than I needed to listen. Then this song came on and I had to ask the guy helping us is it was Micheal Jackson, he laughed and said no he’s a local guy.

Ricardo Groenewald was a huge hit in South Africa in the ’80s. Sadly there’s no wiki page on him but from the little available online, it seems Ricardo got his first hit at 8 years old.

He was born in the Eastern Cape town of Humansdorp. Where his father spotting his son’s singing talent early, moved the family to Joburg by the time he had started school.

His hit song “I love you Daddy” was released in 1987 and it catapulted him into a badly managed career and life, he left school in Standard 5 and never went back. At 18 he performed with Stevie Wonder in Japan but his hit was fading into memory and Ricardo’s drug and alcohol abuse took over as it so often does when money and fame come early.

He moved to Cape Town where he spent his last 21 years, making eight other albums and became a proud “man of God”.

Having been ‘pushed’ into music it landed up being the only thing he felt he knew how to do and he spent a lot of time before his death in November 2015 (age 43) advising younger musicians on how to take care of themselves. A very similar trajectory to Michael Jackson after all.


Notre Dame in Flames

by Tanya Monteiro on 04/16/2019

Watching Norte Dame go up in flames last night really made me sad. 856 years it’s been standing strong, that’s many generations of families enjoying it’s magnificence.

When I did a bit of research about its history and how it came to be, I was inspired to read that France has rebuilt it’s iconic cathedral before. Notre Dame has endured ill-advised remodeling, revolutionary ransacking, and pollution-induced decay. Hitler once had it slated for demolition.

In the early 1800s, Notre Dame was half-ruined when a writer used the crumbling structure as the setting for one of his greatest works, setting in motion a rescue operation nearly as grand as its original construction. That book was “The hunchback of Norte Dame”.

The first stone of the cathedral was laid in 1163 in the presence of Pope Alexander III. The altar was finished about 20 years later and the two towers were constructed between 1225 and 1250, and the entire cathedral was completed in 1345.

During the reign of Louis XIV (1643-1715), Notre Dame underwent a rather unfortunate renovation. Then the French Revolution era was even worse for it. It was seized by revolutionaries and dozens of statues were destroyed.

It was only after the success of “The hunch back of Notre Dame” that people suddenly cared about the eyesore on an island in the middle of Paris.

Restoration projects have continued over the years. Another had just begun this month.

“In the Middle Ages, you would’ve believed that God sent the fire because God wanted a better cathedral. But you can’t hope for a better cathedral at this point. The question is, how on earth are we going to find the resources to rebuild this one.”

Somehow I know that this “symphony of stone” (Victor Hugo) will rise again and in doing so it will unite us all because this global jewel stands for human innovation, faith and creativity.


If I had kids…..

by Tanya Monteiro on 04/15/2019

Part of my healing journey has been learning to re-educate myself. Giving the small tanya a chance to rewire those connections that were selfdestructive. So, very often I listen to someone speak or read something and I know that’s me re-educating myself.

But learning to unlearn and re-learn is harder than learning it the first time round, so if I had kids I’d encourage them to listen to this TED talk and talk with them as much as they’d let me about Maisie Williams insecurities. This way they’d not feel like I was interrogating them and they can tell me all about someone else when in fact they would be telling me about themselves.

These are the values I’d repeat at nausim.

  • Trust that your good enough
  • Ask stupid questions
  • Refuse to hold yourself back
  • Dare to dream big
  • Learn to feel on the inside

I’ve included the short 16-minute TED talk video because Maisie Williams tells the story of her ordinary life in such a succinct inspiring way. She also grew up with the internet and knows nothing else so her new venture the APP called DAISIE is something worth keeping an eye on. (watch the video)

With no formal qualification to her name, Maisie, in my opinion, is the future. She represents harnessing our insecurities and self doubt to keep remembering that we are ALL perfect for something.