Tough emotions

by Tanya Monteiro on 02/04/2018

It was fabulous to discover this 2min video that made me stop in my tracks, I watched it a few times.

Tough emotions are not something our culture embraces. Yet tough emotions are part of our contract with life.

As Susan David so eloquently puts it avoiding these feelings is what dead people do.


The #TimesUp Movement

by Tanya Monteiro on 01/21/2018

It’s finally becoming a thing one cannot avoid.

Even those who are tired of reading about, or hearing stories about, sexual abuse allegations, even they will simply have to accept that #TimesUp is real, it’s unstoppable, and those of us that found it difficult to talk about the stuff that matters are slowly starting to realise it’s OK to speak our truth.

I watched Scarlett Johansson’s speech from the Times Up march in LA earlier this year. Once was not enough! I had to watch it twice.

It’s clear she thought long and hard about the words she was going to use and the feelings this movement and her involvement in it represent.

And as Ms. Johansson stated, It’s true that for so many centuries women have been taught to be polite, to please and to pander. Becoming victims of this condition become the social norm.

Gender equality must exist within ourselves and we must take responsibility for our actions and for ourselves.

It’s unclear how this #TimesUp movement along with the #MeToo movement will turn out but what is crystal clear, at least to me, is that there is change. People are finally having those tough conversations.

The key is that people are thinking about it, even those who are sick of hearing about it.


The Silent Addiction

by Tanya Monteiro on 01/18/2018

Some time ago I read about the book Dreamlandand as a result have been following the life of the author Sam Quinones. I’d never really considered how “easy” it was to become addicted to painkillers and my understanding of “addiction” was so limited. It was also something I considered “not for me”, it’s just not my thing.

But the truth is that we are all addicts about or with something. I think the best understanding I got on this topic was watching the movie Thanks for sharing.

The most ‘subtle’ of addictions, at least in our everyday, is that of Opioids. Doctors hand out painkiller prescriptions when we are in pain, pharmaceutical companies have build billion dollar businesses on making sure they are easily accessible and somehow Opioid addiction is not understood to be at the same level as Heroin or “drug” addiction, not even as feared and accepted as alcohol addiction. We seem to go along with that I idea that if we, feel a pain, we take a pill. It’s that simple.

Somehow feeling pain is not something we humans will tolerate. There’s a pill for almost any pain you can think of and most of these can be bought at a local pharmacy, but if you do need a prescription, one can easily be arranged.

So for some time now I have been looking into this enormous problem and trying to learn as much as I can on the topic.

What is an “opioid”?

Opium, a narcotic obtained from a kind of poppy, has been used in human societies for thousands of years. From opium people derived a whole host of other drugs with similar properties: first morphine, then heroin, then prescription painkillers like Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin. Opium along with all of these derivatives are collectively known as opiates.

Then there are a handful of compounds that act just like opiates but aren’t made from the plant. Opiates along with these synthetic drugs — chiefly methadone and fentanyl — are grouped together into the category of substances called opioids.

Opioid receptors regulate pain and the reward system in the human body. That makes opioids powerful painkillers, but also debilitatingly addictive.

Addiction to opioids goes back centuries, but the current crisis really starts in the 1980s. A handful of highly influential journal articles relaxed long-standing fears among doctors about prescribing opioids for chronic pain. The pharmaceutical industry took note, and in the mid-1990s began aggressively marketing drugs like OxyContin. This aggressive and at times fraudulent marketing, combined with a new focus on patient satisfaction and the elimination of pain, sharply increased the availability of pharmaceutical narcotics.

An interesting statistic I found, states that enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult around-the-clock for one month = 30 full days. And don’t think this is only specific to America or that it has decreased since 2010. In fact I don’t even want to imagine what the statistics are for 2017.

If you are curious about the topic and want to learn more then I recommend watching the C Span video below.C Span Sam Quinones testifies on the opioid crisis or anything on Sam Quinones, he is walking the talk!


Living on Purpose

by Tanya Monteiro on 01/17/2018

This morning I came across a 12min TED TALK by Damien Mander. Originally trained as an Australian Royal Navy Clearance Diver, who spent years in Iraq and later found his way to Africa (find a purpose in his chaos). Selling everything he had to found and finance an anti-poaching training academy in Southern Africa. Brining military solution to conversation.

I’m drawn to people that find the courage to live their lives in service of others. Especially those who find a passion that they care deeply about and then dedicate their lives to the cause completely.

Not only has Damien changed his life entirely, he has also stopped eating meat.

These are some of my favorite quotes from this talk.

There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right. – Martin Luther King

My greatest fear is that I grew up like the Lion in The Wizard of OZ, without Courage.

I had a tattoo done across my chest, “Seek and Destroy”. I thought that would make me big and brave. But it took me almost a decade to GROW INTO THOSE WORDS.

And that was a simple choice of deciding YES or deciding NO. It was that one act that defines me completely and ENSURES there will never be separation between WHO I AM and WHAT I DO.

Would I be brave enough to?

Will I stop being DESTRUCTIVELY OBEDIENT and be courageous enough to know what I need to do?


Infinitely Polar Bear +++

by Tanya Monteiro on 05/04/2017

Last weekend I watched a remarkable movie called ‘Infinitely Polar Bear’.

As a kid I remember learning that my grandmother had spent time in a psychiatric hospital, it didn’t mean a whole lot to me then but as the years have gone by and I’ve dug deeper into mental health, I’ve come to appreciate that it’s a very real and a surprisingly common fact of human existence.

So, when I came across this article 9 Must-See Movies About Bipolar months ago, I made a note of the movies and have been making my way through watching them.

Bipolar disorder was formerly called manic depression. What’s interesting is that you can’t have bipolar disorder without also having had an episode of clinical depression.

Mania is the distinguishing symptom of bipolar disorder and what differentiates it from clinical depression.

Sadly today I am unable to sit down and speak to my grandmother about her experiences and our family history.

But that has not stopped me learning more and more about this disorder and the many other ways that mental health can show up in us all and how we can trace behaviour, patterns and certain genetic makes ups.

It’s a long journey to keep exploring but I had to share this for anyone else whose interested in how and why we tick. And, for anyone else that thinks Mark Ruffalo is the most gorgeously interesting man alive today.

My other favorite movies of his, in no specific order, include ‘THANKS FOR SHARING:

A moving and very real life interpretation of how we all have our different addictions and what it takes to live with them, live without them and not loose our connection with other humans and ourselves as we do it all.


This one is a heartfelt modern day normal family. A lesbian couple’s 2 kids want to find their donor biological father. It’s funny and honest with insight into all sorts of human emotions that play out in us as we figure out the meaning of our lives.


OK so I’m getting carried away with his movies but who cares right. They are so good!

This one’s an uplifting, it’s never to late, don’t ever give up, feel good story of loss, love and connection. Truth is I am not a Keira Knightley fan so I very nearly did not see this one, but I did, and I learnt yet again, that people can change.

And Of course this very special, very important, very well articulated film called SPOTLIGHT. Never ever tell your kids or believe in Stranger danger, it’s almost always the most charismatic, well liked, popular human that is doing bad things at the same time as he/she is doing good things.


Bill Cunningham New York – Documentary

by Tanya Monteiro on 11/22/2016

“We all get dressed for Bill,” says Vogue editrix Anna Wintour.

For decades, the bicycle-riding (29 bikes in his life time) cultural anthropologist Bill Cunningham has been inventively chronicling fashion trends for the Times Style section.

This documentary “BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK” is a delicate, funny and poignant portrait of a dedicated artist whose only wealth is his own humanity and unassuming grace.

Although I studied fashion design, with time, I now see that actually my interest and curiosity had far more to do with the way people put things together, and their why’s, than it ever had to do with fashion itself.

Biographies are my first love and this documentary will not disappoint.


HUMAN by Yann Arthur de Bertrand

by Tanya Monteiro on 11/09/2016

A long time ago, just when websites were beginning, I was responsible for creating a marketing plan for the start up I was working in. At that time our goals were unique and we were breaking into a very well established market with some very new technology.

At the same time Yann Arthus-Bertrand had launched his photographs of the world from above and I had fallen in love with the way he captured our magnificent world.

I contacted his office and asked permission to use specific images for our website, without any difficulty or hesitation, they agreed.

Ever since I became have been a SUPER FAN of anything YAB works on. So, to my absolute delight I recently discovered HUMAN.

His latest project interviews men and women telling their stories facing the camera. It’s powerful, moving, mesmerizing and a reminder that we are all so very different and so very much THE SAME.

All three Volumes of HUMAN and available online free. If you have trouble finding them, send me an email and I’ll send you the links.

And, if you missed his previous movie HOME. here’s a link to the trailer. It’s also available FREE online, the whole movie!!

AND, if like me, you are a SUPER fan of the incredible man behind this important work, watch this interview below talking about WHY he does what he does………….


It’s gonna be OK

by Tanya Monteiro on 09/29/2016

My high school was an hour and a half away from my home. As a weekly boarder my mother would drive me to school on a Monday morning, I have clear memories of singing word for word the songs I liked on the radio. For some reason I could hear a song once or twice and remember the words super easily.

My mother would often say to me, “I wish you knew your school work like you know these songs”.

School was all about sports for me, the academic side was simply something I had to get through but to this day I can remember words of songs after listening to a song once or twice.

Music and more often the lyrics have been one of the most moving and healing tools in my life.

So when I hear a song that speaks to my insides and I relate to the words I have to share.

It’s going to be ok.


The Piano Guys

by Tanya Monteiro on 09/08/2016

For some time now I’ve subscribed to a blog called A learning a day and learning, I have.

Each year I choose a song and a word that I use to help me stay focused and remember why I am doing what I am doing. 2016’s song is Rachel Platten’s “The fight song”.

Today’s discovery on A learning a day was a group called The Piano Guy’s. I absolutely love the sound of the piano and this version of the Fight song holds almost as much power for me as the one with lyrics.

My work with family sexual abuse is slow and often gruelling. It’s where the pain lies for me and it’s also a conscious choice I make each day to move towards my fear or my pain and as I do I realise it’s not nearly as powerful as I think it is when I am only thinking.

For me one of the most powerful tools to help me connect to this power and to my why is music.

Music gets me back in my body, it helps me feel when my most comfortable place is living in my head.

Recently, I was told, by someone I care deeply about, that my speaking out about my own abuse and the work I do with others to help break the silence is “my taking revenge”.

But, just like this song, it’s actually where my power is, where our power is. And the sooner we can start to say those things that we did not say the sooner we will release those internal wrecking balls and let go of the power they have over us.

For those like me that love lyrics here they are below:

Fight Song by Rachel Platten

Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

And all those things I didn’t say
Wrecking balls inside my brain

I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

Losing friends and I’m chasing sleep
Everybody’s worried about me
In too deep
Say I’m in too deep (in too deep)
And it’s been two years I miss my home
But there’s a fire burning in my bones
Still believe
Yeah, I still believe

And all…


Grit, get it and give it

by Tanya Monteiro on 08/31/2016

For most of my life in the finance world I did not feel qualified to be there. I would work harder than most people to try to understand phrases like credit default swaps and other financial terminology. Very often I would have snide remarks made to me by engineers, in their minds I did not have a physics degree or a phd, basically I was not qualified enough to be selling trading and risk management software to our clients who were Investment Banks and Hedge Funds.

Fast forward a few years and I look back with 20/20 vision and realise that what got me through was my abundance of GRIT.

Defined via google grit is “courage and resolve; strength of character” – so when I came across Angela Duckworth and saw her 6 min TED I finally found words to describe how I got through and get through things in life.

Angela left a demanding job as a management consultant in her late twenties to teach math to seventh graders in the New York City public schools. Several years in the classroom taught her that effort was tremendously important to success.

To begin to solve the mystery of why some people work so much harder and longer than others, Angela entered the PhD program in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, (no, the irony is not lost on me) where she is now a professor.

What we need to succeed in our lives is Grit defined in Angela’s words as passion, perseverance and stamina. Sticking to our goals and living life like it’s a marathon not a sprint.

Social Intelligence, Good Looks, Good Health and high IQ’s contribute, to be sure, but they are all useless if we do not have GRIT.

What Angela also discovered is that building GRIT in kids is about teaching them to have a growth mindset


They need to understand that the ability to learn is not fixed it can grow with effort and it can keep growing. They also need to learn that it’s ok to fail, to be willing to be wrong.