Hector and his search for Happiness

by Tanya Monteiro on 03/07/2019

The world needs this movie.

It’s a fable written by a phycologist, about a psychologist.

Hector is very good at treating patients, but he can’t seem to do much for those who are simply dissatisfied with life, it starts to depress him. So he takes a trip around the world to learn about what makes people happy and sad.

Listing his observation about the people he meets along the way as he journeys around the globe and into the human soul. There’s so much to love about his travels and his insights. 

This is a link to an audio interview with the director Peter Chelsom. Enjoyed hearing why he made this film. How he mentions that ‘having a dog is unconditional love but it won’t make you grow’. And how he loved South Africa. (about 15mins in or so)

He reads a quote at the end that sums up the film. 

“Kindness” covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.

A really great movie,


Leaving Neverland

by Tanya Monteiro on 03/06/2019

They say an onion has many layers, I guess ‘they’ hadn’t come across sexual abuse yet. This to me is one of the most deeply layered issues of our time.

Last night Oprah interviewed the people involved in making the documentary……..

…..Leaving Neverland

Obviously, it’s a topic that’s very close to my mind and to this day it still surprises me how many layers there are to this reality, but what struck me about the article I read was what Oprah said more than once.

The story is bigger than any one person. And don’t let any person in your world make it just about what Michael Jackson did or did not do,” she said. “It’s about this thing, this insidious pattern that’s happening in our culture that we refuse to look at.

Slowly but surely we are all having to find ways to make sense of this complicated multi layered, very large onion.


The Two Parts to an Apology

by Tanya Monteiro on 03/05/2019

This recording is from a series I watched.

It’s called Criminal Minds, what I found fascinating is that it was produced by a man who was sexually abused as a child. He defended himself in court, got the attention of the FBI, worked for them and then years later produced this gripping TV series.

In this episode I found myself standing in front of the TV recording what I never could articulate.

“Apologies are just words, I want to make AMENDS and that takes work”

Those words felt like a puzzle inside of me had just been completed. They said exactly how I felt for a very long time but could never express it in words.

Now when I say sorry I really think about how I can make amends with my actions and not just my words.

There are two parts to an apology, words, and actions.

02 April update: Chatted to a friend, Jessica Uys, an enneagram coach whose succinct response had to be added to this post.



by Tanya Monteiro on 03/04/2019

Rachel Botsman studies trust. A topic I am fascinated with. Her writing and research is about how technology is transforming trust and what this means for life, work and how we do business.

These points below jumped out at me in the talk.

“Trust is a bridge between the known and the unknown”

“Trust is a confident relationship to the unknown”

“Money is a currency of transactions. Trust is a currency of Interactions”

Responsiveness over time
Consistency over time

Aligning our words with our actions and
Aligning my intentions with your intentions.


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.