It all started with a word that became a seed…

Summer 1985. Last day of primary school. Yeri village, Nicosia, Cyprus. 

Our teacher, Mrs Nitsa has lined us up and one by one, she takes our hands in hers, whispers a few words of encouragement and says goodbye as we embark on the next milestone that is secondary school, in the big city, after the summer holidays. 

When my turn comes, I stand in front of her, silently admiring how she can squat so elegantly in high heels and a fitted pencil skirt. Her perfume engulfs me and transports me to memories of my dead mother, while her piercing blue eyes draw me into her words as if she is about to speak the secret password to the most valuable treasure chest. 

And she does. 

“Michelle, you have gone through much in your short life, and I don’t know what is ahead of you, what you are yet to experience. But I want you to know something and make me a promise.”

I nod, without looking away.

You have a gift to share with the world and your gift is to write. I want you to promise me that you will keep journals of all that you do in your life and that one day you will write and share your words with the world, because you will help others through your words. Promise me?”

I nod, and walk away holding back the tears, but I don’t keep the promise. I go on to experience more trauma, adversity and challenges, all along the need to write never leaving me, but everything around me serving to silence me, to shut me up, to stop me using my voice. 

Until one day, 30 or so years later, I begin keeping journals and writing everything down. I do this partly as a way to hold on to the memories that the ADHD, PTSD and Fibromyalgia seem set on erasing and partly because of the faint possibility that one day I’ll put it all in a book. 

In 2007, another powerful experience takes place to water the seed my teacher planted. 

I am in my living room with my husband and our friends Marie and Dave. We are discussing our hardships and challenges when I refer to myself in a derogatory way. Dave, points his finger at me, stares me straight in the eyes and thunders in his Scottish accent “Don’t ever speak about yourself like that. Your words have creative power to speak life or death so choose your words wisely” 

In that single moment, his words vibrate through my body, and I experience something so profound that it will mark the course of the rest of my life. 

The power of words. 

In that moment, I decide to change the way I speak to myself and others and from then on, my life is marked by lessons that embed the knowledge and wisdom of the power of words. 

Then, in 2018, during a family holiday back in Cyprus, a chance encounter leads to me acquiring my teacher’s telephone number. I dial the number nervously and hear her familiar voice at the other end. At the recognition of my name, she cries and asks, “Are you writing”? And this time my answer is “Yes, I am.”

Because by now, the seed she planted so long ago, has grown roots, and sprouted and is growing through the work of my hands, the words I write, the people I help through the power of those words. 

By now, the vision has been birthed to use my words to bring healing to the world around me, through books, speaking engagements, workshops, retreats and any other way I can use my voice, and turn my personal experiences into healing balm for those who are hurting.

In the last few years, I have been studying and equipping myself with tools to help me bring all my experiences and knowledge together as a catalyst to realise my purpose of using words for healing. 

I have been studying counselling, psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, bibliotherapy, therapeutic writing, and other modalities, in my quest to heal my own body and soul and help others on their personal healing journeys. 

I know in the depths of my soul, that my calling is to be a healer and that I am to use the power of words whether written, spoken, or otherwise to achieve this. 

When I am not working, I am reading, cooking for friends and family, gardening, writing, hiking, and taking my children, husband and friends on dates out for meaningful connection and conversation.

My love languages are words of affirmation (no surprises there) and quality time. 

Michelle Foulia, Author, Coach, Speaker

My favourite places in the whole world are nature spots. My garden in my Welsh home under Hope Mountain, Faros lighthouse on Faros beach in Cyprus, and any of the nature trails I adventure on with friends on hikes.

I am unapologetically a tree hugger. I cannot imagine life without contact with nature or animals. By nature, although chatty (no surprises there either), and sociable, I am an introvert, so most days you will find me curled up under a tree or on a comfy chair, reading a good book, and writing my next story, always mindful of using my words for healing.

 

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