When my Mom was my Girl Scout troop leader, we chanted this at every meeting. Although I’m admittedly chanting less these days, I felt blessed and appreciative of my friendships as a young Girl Scout and I still do today. Research continues to support the fact that true, real friendships benefit our health. Along my focused journey of developing my method, I have been blessed to make some of my best friendships and sisterhoods, but I have also met some people who embody the true definition of “fairweather friends,” or opportunistic faces. Being left with the feeling of being used or under appreciated is just as toxic to our health as the bright light of a true friend is beneficial, providing nourishment for our bodies and souls. None of us are without imperfections, but to be without self-awareness or to easily justify our own poor behavior by blaming others is not to be a friend. I think it feels really good to own up to the mistakes we all make, which allow us to grow and learn to be nourishing to others, enabling them to also move forward instead of being stagnant in their own development.
When I meet women who are really, honestly for other women, it is like the brightest of all light. In the midst of something that appears too good to be true, it’s so easy to detect a saboteur who is trying to create a dysfunctional environment. If the good “girls’ girls” stay consistent and continue to evolve their own standards, then we can pick up and encourage those of us who have the most roadblocks. There is very strong research on how we are affected by what happens to us when we are little creatures still developing, and how we in turn either know or don’t know how to really be a part of something good, whole, and consistently valuable. Depending on the circumstances they had to live through, different children develop different coping mechanisms as they become adults. Much of what we have to overcome in this life is so that we can be our adult parent selves, a “grown-up” who is present, forgiving, and loving enough to allow for healing and growth to happen later in life. There are a few remarkable adults I know who were given the worst environments to develop in, yet somehow were able to shield their souls from the darkness and let the light of theirs shine brighter and stronger than any negative influence ever could.
I fully admit, I’ve spent many years not wanting to give up on certain people; it is an inherent part of who I am to believe in everyone. I am the eternal optimist, believing, perhaps naively, that people can improve, and I do still believe that on some level, but what I also believe in now more than ever is that those people who have the most roadblocks to achieving complete health and happiness need to feel safe. They need to feel a light that is so much brighter than the darkest of any of the dark places they have been to in their past or that their mind can go to. To me, that means a community of light. As I’ve learned from the Girl Scouts, from research, and from my own experience, people do need people. Friendships are vital to improving health, life expectancy, morality, and in the constant fight against stress.
This week, I am interviewing Monica Duarte, the brightest little gem of a light any petite woman could ever hope to be. She is for everyone. She is not reserved, keeping her joy all to herself, rather, she just gives and gives and gives some more. Her smile is contagious and her peppy, positive position on everything is incredibly refreshing. I know I can say with certainty, you all have a real friend in Monica.
All of my love,
I was born in Lisbon and grew up in a small fishing town, until I was 12 years old, when I moved with parents to Holland. It was a hard time for me, but a great experience that taught me so much about working for what I want! Of course, I had to work for it, even so young! It took me too long to learn the language, I worked so hard. I grew up between a mixture of cultures. I had a hard time finding friends, fitting in, the language was a problem but once I learned it, I lived the Holland life and I completely fit in! By the age of 18, I came back to Portugal with my parents! It was a bittersweet time, I was a teenager feeling torn between Holland and Portugal. “I wasn’t the beach and I also wasn’t the snow”! I had a hard time finding myself, I felt like I didn’t belong here, but I ended fitting in the Portuguese lifestyle again! Fish, beach, fun and sun.
Growing up I studied sports. I became a fitness instructor teaching for 5 years, and I was so passionate about it! I loved it with all my heart but I felt like I needed to learn more, so I went to university for sports and rehab.
Today I work in an institution for adults with special needs. I do the sports classes , the acting classes, the aqua fitness classes, the dance classes, and the swimming lessons. Believe me, the method is so present in what I do, by how I show up for my special ones, by how I inspire and encourage them to move better, to dance more graciously, to excersize, to express themselves through movement… The method is in me and deep deep in my heart I wish I could be a TA trainer… In my heart I am, and by doing what I do at my job, I always play a bit of the method with my special ones.
I am a lucky happy girl living with the most kind guy, my dear @antonio_serrao and with my darling, dog Safi #tampup.
I started in April 2012, in my garage with the Mat DVD for one month, and I got great results. My transformation had begun and I was amazed by what I saw! After that I started metamorphosis… I was in love with it , I followed Tracy’s rules and the results kept coming… I did continuity years one, two and three.
Year one was amazing. I was fully committed always! By that time I got Tracy’s book and I started to change my diet.
By year two I had already eliminated processed foods and all the GMO products. So with proper diet and the method my body was responding like never before. I had lost a lot of weight. I loved year two, the chair and the hoop did me so good. By this time I was feeling the method with my heart and all the moves came from my inside…. I was doing the method with so much love! I still do every day.
During year two I built my mini TAM studio in my garage! It is like my temple! The only thing missing is the cardio fly super G floor!
Year three was more challenging with the band. When I was at the first trimester of year three, streaming was launched and all I wanted was to start streaming. I was aspiring to it!
In January 2015 I finally started streaming and it is the cherry on top of the cake. It is so real, so raw, so good and so strategic. The energy is so vibrant, the music is amazing. Every Wednesday is Christmas Day! And this keeps getting better and better! Since I started streaming, every single day I imagine myself at the studio near Tracy!!! And I made it happen! And it will happen again.
But now I do the method anywhere, anytime… Rome, Paris, Barcelona, NYC, Monaco… On A cruise, in hotel rooms, in Antonio’s grandma’s room. One of the the coolest things that I adore about it, as long as you want, you can do it…
I feel deeply grateful for having access to this unique method, It’s so well designed. I have the tools to be the best version of me, in every way… Mentally… Physically…
I got @wisperingwillow, @angiediher, @saraham4tam and @emerychapman helping me on that! It is not easy but I am closer and closer… Sometimes it just takes a few steps back to move forward… But I am closer to my comfort zone…
Oh boy! Where should I start? Because there is so much to say! This beautiful group of sensational woman from all over the world, just makes my day, every day! I have never found so much support and love from women. #tamily is love, light, encouragement, guidance! Women supporting each other is the most powerful thing in the world! It should always be this way! I don’t get that often! And now that I have it, I find myself the luckiest girl in the world because #tamily is power on, and I am a part of it ! Lucky me! I am so honored to be a part of this! There is nothing more empowering than women supporting each other!
I have so much love in my heart for these women, so much respect and admiration! They are my inspirtaion! God bless them all! Muahhh!
Every single member of #tamily inspires me: @ek4tam works out at 5:00 am, and she inspires me to get it done on those busy busy days… @melissagdon just look at her before and after picture! @gilliancory brings all the good energy and vibrancy to my heart. @wisperingwillow always lifts me up and reminds me to go easy on me. @emerychapman teaches me about finding inner peace. @morgenschick teaches me how to take good care of my skin. I can see @shanmasters ‘s eyes all the time! Every time I go to #tarealtime I see beautiful women all connected, showing up for themselves, trying to be the best version of themselves, guided by the most powerful inspiration, the one and only Miss Tracy Anderson! How about that for inspiration?
Besides IG, I connect with some girls by facetime, skype, phone, we talk on whatapp all the time, we leave voice messages there. Isn’t that awesome? We share so much! We help each other… We hold each others. We have each others’ back! We are always there for each other. At the end of the day, we know that there is a safe place to come, to be raw, to get it out, to cry and to laugh! Isn’t that a blessing?
Find your time, even if it is at 5 am like @ek4tam does… Streaming is the key and on #tarealtime you will find the perfect inspiration and support! Get organized. Plan your meals and your time. Make it happen! YOU are a big deal! You are totally worth!
ONE THING THE #TAMILY HAS IS STYLE. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE OUTFIT TO EXERCISE IN?
Well at first it depended on the theme of the week, and by that I chose the colours. But now I like to combine my outfit like if I was in the studio, which I actually am in my mind and in my heart.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TA MOMENT?
Oh my God I will never forget the past October when I was in NYC in my first Vitality weekend with some girls. I dreamed about this so much! I visualized it every day! The first moment was when I saw the first girls @nadineandrea, @ek4tam, @shanmasters, and @gippersmith I started to cry ϑ ϑ ϑ That was the dream happening and coming true! It was real and the girls I admired on #tarealtime were hugging me! We made it! The second moment was going to the Tribeca studio, OMG it was so electric!!! When I got there I felt like I was in the heart of the method and I was finally breathing it! It wasn’t a dream! It was happening! A few times after this crazy moment I met some some trainers like the gorgeous @lashonna1020, the beautiful @janelle1227! They were so nice and friendly!
And then, when I met the rest of the girls it was a hysterical moment! All of them were there! I was praying for that hottie girl that I was seeing every week near Tracy @claudiasaezfromm to be there, and to my surprise, she walked in! It was amazing! What a moment! But the best was yet to come, and when I saw Tracy I was so amazed by her shine! My heart was beating even faster! She was sparkling! She was shinning! When she recognized me, I held her so tight! It was a dream come true that I wished for, for so long! Oh I hold that moment in my heart! I came home so happy, with my heart so full of joy, light and love!
Working out with Tracy, with my girls and with great trainers was an amazing moment in my life that I have to repeat ϑ soon!
I could not leave NYC without meeting the fanTAstic @evanleebreed. It was on my last day there and I came back to the studio on purpose to meet her and there she was, vibrant as always! What a beauty!
My pre-workout meal is fruit. My favourite indulgence is dark chocolate, raw made by me! I eat it everyday, aie aie, aie!
By eating some dates with almond butter
By doing absolutely nothing in stillness
By drinking my smoothies and green juices
By practicing reiki and meditation
By doing the method 6 days a week of course
By coming to #tarealtime
and by making my dreams happen
Raw cold pressed green juice: 1 cucumber, 1/2 apple, ginger, 1 lemon.
I have progressed so much! My butt is higher, I am toned. I am leaner, I am fit, I love my abs! I feel great in my body! I am lighter. I am stronger today than I was yesterday. I am better today physically and mentally and tomorrow I will be great! All thanks to the method that has helped me so much to become a better person in so many ways! I truly love this unique approach to movement! The Tracy Anderson Method means more than a workout, it is a lifestyle, it is a way to be and I am where I want to be!
Tracy rebuilt and reshaped me and I love how I look. But I am a work in progress… And Tracy keeps challenging me every week!
About my internal self I love my commitment, my honesty… I love my courage, and my strength.
FAVORITE CURRENT QUOTE:
“EVERY ACTION IN OUR LIVES TOUCHES ON SOME CHORD THAT WILL VIBRATE IN ETERNITY”
– EDWIN HUBBEL CHAPIN, MINISTER
FAVORITE ALL-TIME QUOTE:
“BE CAREFUL OF YOUR THOUGHTS,
FOR YOUR THOUGHTS BECOME YOUR WORDS.
BE CAREFUL OR YOUR WORDS,
FOR YOUR WORDS BECOME YOUR ACTIONS.
BE CAREFUL OR YOUR ACTIONS, FOR YOUR ACTIONS BECOME YOUR HABITS.
BE CAREFUL OR YOUR HABITS, FOR YOUR WORDS BECOME YOUR CHARACTER.
BE CAREFUL OR YOUR CHARACTER, FOR YOUR WORDS BECOME YOUR DESTINY.”
CURRENT FAVORITE MOVIE:
The Walk by Robert Zemeckis
ALL-TIME FAVORITE MOVIES:
Within by Dr. Habib Sadeghi
ALL-TIME FAVORITE BOOK:
Marley & Me by John Grogan
ADVICE MONICA WOULD PASS ONTO YOUNG WOMEN THAT SHE WISH SHE
HAD KNOWN EARLIER ON IN LIFE:
Take good care of your body, by that I mean exercise and eat clean!
Have self worth. Be true to yourself. Have a voice! You are your number 1!