People generally want to be happy, healthy and fulfilled and we are often told that positive and optimistic thinking is a valuable asset. It can help us to feel better ‘inside’ and generally happier but life often gets in the way of us putting these principals into practice.
A recent masterclass held in Paphos by visiting holistic therapist, healer and author, Thalia Alexiou offered the perfect opportunity to learn how to take our happiness into our own hands and underline things that we really know already.
Thalia is the founder of the Western Mala School of Gratitude and has dedicated her life to studying the art of healing. When meeting her, I was struck by her elegant but diminutive stature. She is a colourful figure, dressed in smart, bright clothes with a wide, inviting smile. I liked her instantly.
Her Wheel of Fame masterclass, on the sidelines of the 11th Cyprus International Film Festival, was held in an upstairs room at Suite 48 in Paphos, and attendees were connected, in some way, with the film industry.
The masterclass consisted of a small group of actors and film makers, and huge glass windows with spectacular views of the castle at Paphos harbour and a wide expanse of sea were a powerful setting.
After an initial introduction, Thalia asked us all to form a circle, of which she was part, face each other and hug. We then had to turn to each other, one by one, look into the opposite’s eyes and pay a compliment. I have to admit, I felt slightly uncomfortable doing this to the man on my left. He seemed like a lovely guy, but after all, we’d only just met.
Then we had to look into each other’s eyes and say ‘I love you.’ Yikes! I reprimanded myself for feeling slightly uptight and told myself to let go. I did and it wasn’t so bad, not as embarrassing as I thought. And I did feel a closer connection to these people that I’d just met and was sharing this experience with.
That over, we all sat down, pen and paper in hand, to listen to Thalia’s thoughts on life and how to get what you want out of it. We also took part in three different meditations.
She imparted so much information about almost everything in life, and asked us to interact, to talk about what we most want. Some spoke of work, some of relationships. It felt intimate and personal and although I was out of my comfort zone, the class was both enlightening and invigorating.
“I love this workshop,” Thalia said. “There are many elements. I will teach you the 12 stages of feelings, and focus on what you really want. We’re going to erase the negative words and fears inside your own thoughts.”
Thalia spoke about many things which most of us already knew but life often gets in the way and we forget to “be present” and “thankful” for who we are and what we have, and sometimes the act of implementing positive changes in our lives is difficult. Over the hours, she gave us the tools to do this and the confidence to try things for ourselves. Some points were obvious, but served as a gentle reminder of what life should be all about.
As we were encouraged to open up about ourselves, so too did Thalia. She was candid about a first marriage that wasn’t fulfilling and how she is now married to a man who ticks all of her boxes.
We moved on to the Wheel of Fame and she explained: “We don’t have to be in Hollywood to be famous, we can start with our friends and there is no limit on how far you can go.”
The wheel is literal, a simple drawing of an old style wagon wheel, a small circle in the centre with twelve spikes (sections) surrounded by a larger circle. In the centre, you have to write what you most desire and in each section, different positive statements related to what’s written in the middle.
Different wheels can be created, but not until the first one has been achieved, she advised.
Thalia put a lot of emphasis on the subconscious and stressed that if you keep repeating something, which at the time may not be true, it will in time become a reality. Also, she advised letting go of judgements.
“The centre of our body (our stomach area) stores all of our emotions, it is the centre of how we feel and how we connect. When we judge, we will attract – so don’t criticise.”
Thalia works with many people with chronic illnesses, such as cancer, and said that we should all have a vision of ourselves in seven years’ time. This will register in the subconscious and she reiterated, the subconscious is a very powerful tool. “You have to visualise, to think of what you will be doing, who you will be with, feel it, see it,” she said.
Taking a more hands on approach she also taught us about tapping, which involves tapping two fingers on your head around the ear. You start with the left side releasing whatever negativity you have, or ailments you may be suffering from. For example, you tap and say ‘I no longer believe I can’t hear’. You then repeat the tapping around the right ear, saying something positive, such as ‘I am able to hear everything around me, I am enough.’
“Programme and project, that is important,” Thalia said. “Stress can cause so many problems and diseases are caused by guilt and living in the past. You have to let go. New cells mean new memories, it takes 90 days to renew the body’s cells.”
She also gave us a few important pointers on how to improve our lives, starting with reasons to be grateful, such as family, friends and health. “Believe in yourself, your skills and your talents, clean your house – mentally and physically – learn something new every day, go on a daily walk and observe what is around you, be present, read a few books of wisdom every year, take action towards your goals, stay hydrated, set a schedule but be flexible and think like a winner”.
She then went on to cover a range of subjects including the importance of Feng Shui and colours – the colour of clothes and items around you as well as the colour of food and drink you take into your body. “To attract wealth, you should have a blue or gold wallet. Some people seem to think it should be red, I don’t know where that came from, but it’s not right,” she said. “It’s shoes that should be red.”
But it all came back to the gratitude, shifting your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present. Acknowledging that everything about your life is a miracle is important, she told us. “Be grateful for who you are and what you are. Being positive works and it can even have health benefits.”