Western Australia based educator, author and personal empowerment trainer, Sylvia Marina ND, is in demand in the US, Russia, Asia, Spain, Denmark, Norway, the UK, New Zealand and Australia. – Colleen Clay reports.
Driven to guide others to achieve the lives of their dreams, educator Sylvia Marina ND generously bestows knowledge and encouragement on all who come within her sphere.
In Australia and around the globe appreciative participants have benefited through her courses and workshops. Now, more countries are requesting her presence, sometimes as a speaker and sometimes to teach.
The rare aura of gentle power and determination that Sylvia exudes is recognisable in two other influential women, Oprah Winfrey and the late US poet, writer, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. Their African American ethnicity seems to have endowed them with their enviable strengths and talents. Similarly, could Sylvia’s Maori and Scottish ancestral heritage be at the heart of her success?
Sylvia was raised in NZ by an English family, first as a foster child and later adopted. She grew up among people with pale skin: her adoptive family, their church community, family friends and schoolmates.
Fostered while still an infant, it was many years before she located her biological mother and siblings.
Living with her ‘white’ parents and siblings brought on a sense of confusion. She wondered about her different appearance, and puzzled over the way it was handled by her mother.
“When among fellow church goers, the impression my foster mother gave was that there was no difference between her children and me. Yet with other people, my mother would be sure to mention that I was not her ‘own’ child.
“In later years, my adoptive brother Brian and I had to laugh the first moment we realised our Mother was making sure no one would think she’d been naughty,” Sylvia said.
Brian was a major influence on Sylvia: he became her ‘Rock. He encouraged her to be herself throughout her childhood, and while she grew into adulthood. They share an unbreakable sibling bond today.
An instinctive ‘knowing’
Having a ‘native’ sister was fascinating for Brian. She often displayed an instinctive ‘knowing’, which included a desire to eat raw fish. This request brought forth strong admonishments from their mother, who called it a ‘native’ meal, unfit for her household.
Another ‘knowing’ Sylvia experienced was ‘tickling fish’ in streams and creeks to catch them. In Scotland, this is known as ‘noodling’.
As well as being a successful noodler, for many years Sylvia had a recurring dream in which she was a schoolteacher and all her students had Scottish accents. Decades later, she found a Scottish uncle in her biological family tree, a member of the Cameron clan. And a Scottish female schoolteacher is among her ancestors. Sylvia has traveled to Scotland to visit members of her family and remains in touch with them.
After discovering her Scottish and Maori heritage, Sylvia realised her desire to eat raw fish, her innate noodling skill and her dream of teaching Scottish students were ancestral memories in her DNA, carried through in the genetic makeup of her forbears.
Life was wholesome
Throughout childhood, growing up in a rural area, there were adventures in nature to be enjoyed with Brian. Life was healthy and wholesome, although her foster family was struggling.
Some issues that marred her early years included being told by other children that she was a ‘Welfare kid’, and the government paid her foster parents to keep her. Another sadness was her foster mother’s anxiety and depression. Sylvia vowed to herself that one day she would find a ‘cure’ for her mother’s condition. She wanted her mother to be happy, to enjoy her life. At a profound level, this compassion has guided Sylvia to the work she does today.
Being so different in appearance from her siblings and classified as a Welfare kid, Sylvia wanted to be ‘white’. At bath time, particularly if her mother told her to “go and scrub yourself’ as an admonishment for getting grubby while playing outside, Sylvia would do just that: almost scrub her skin off, trying to wash away the dark tones of her skin, hoping white skin would emerge.
Teachings of ‘Mr T’
When Sylvia left school and began an apprenticeship in a bakery, her first boss, a Mr T. taught her sound financial and business practices. There were life lessons, too, woven into their workdays. Mr T. provided important insights, positive reinforcement and mentored Sylvia, paving the way to her future successes. The wisdom of Mr T. continues to help light Sylvia’s way.
All of us have ancestral memories, and one of Sylvia’s workshops is Transforming DNA Memories. In this workshop, Kinesiology is used, in Sylvia’s words, “to waken the dreams our ancestors dreamt for us and continue their dream of making this world a better place for all of our future generations”.
It happens that I have attended this workshop, and have been deeply affected. Applying Kinesiology, I was taken back to the dreams of my childhood to the extent of feeling those same sensations I felt during a creative endeavour. The signal is to find a way to explore a talent that was left in dust in the rush of life. There is more, but this is Sylvia’s story.
Trained in Kinesiology
Becoming a ‘leader of leaders’ began in WA for Sylvia when she was completing her studies in Natural Medicine and Behavioural Science. At this point, she was introduced to Kinesiology and the Touch for Health system. In WA, she was first trained in Kinesiology by a graduate Touch For Health instructor from Victoria, David Bridgeman.
This prompted her to sponsor a visit to WA by the late Dr John Thie, a US based chiropractor and trainer of the Touch for Health system. Here, Dr Thie taught Sylvia and other therapists his skill.
Others she sponsored to conduct trainings in WA included Dr Bruce Dewe of NZ and Gordon Stokes of the US. Dr Dewe and his wife Joan founded the International College of Professional Kinesiology Practice. They developed a four-year Kinesiology course, the first of its kind in the world.
Kinesiology fitted well with the path Sylvia was already on.
Her interest in human health and wellbeing had begun in childhood, when she longed to find a way to help her adoptive mother ‘feel better’. Her first step onto this path was to train as a dietitian in NZ. After moving to WA, Sylvia worked as a hospital dietitian, and during this time she formed a strong interest in natural health care.
For several years she co-ordinated retreats for cancer patients held in WA by BALYA Cancer Self Help & Wellness Incorporated. Working alongside Doctors Ian Brighthope, Ivy Bullen and Jason Tan, she discovered the power of natural medicine, nutrition, meditation and behavioural science.
Her joy in life is contagious yet never overwhelming. It is her passion to share with others what she knows about living joyfully and authentically.
Her list of activities and achievements speaks volumes about her thirst for knowledge and her tireless drive to share that knowledge with others.
In 1984, Sylvia opened the first kinesiology adult learning school in Perth. Since then, the workshops and courses she has designed include:
- The Purpose & Vision Board Workshop – Reconnect To What You Really Want In Your Life
- Getting The Love You Want – How To Use Your Emotional Energy
- Public Speaking Training – Win Business, Keep Business And Build Better Relationships
- ‘Speak Up’ Master Class – Become a Leader
- Transforming DNA Memories – Resolving Past Issues and Awakening Your Intelligences
- Return To Love – The Yin and Yang of Being You
Her hands-on experience includes;
- Conference Speaker, Natural Medicine, Behavioural Science, Wholistic Management, Physiognomy plus an additional 19 complementary methodologies.
- Founder, Touch For Health Association of West Australia WA – changed to AKAWA, Australian Kinesiology Association of WA Inc.
- Founding Member AKA, Australian Kinesiology Association Inc.
- Honorary MC and Presenter, Balya Health Retreats for Cancer Patients & Carers in West Australia and Singapore – 6 years
- Youth Swap (Students With A Purpose) and the I’m Special Program working with youth, building self esteem, social skills and life journey practicalities – 10 years
- Ambassador, International Grief Support Foundation Inc.
- Chair, Business SWAP WA.
- Chair, Business Women Today Inc.
- Chair, WA Marae Inc.
Her life continues to be packed full of activity, yet through the years she has found time to paint, draw and write books.
Books she has published so far are:
- Wellspring – Finding The Source Within
- In Love With Life – Soul Notes
- Laugh With Life – A Practical Handbook to Managing Stress
- Promises – Putting yourself Into The Heart of the Matter
- 21 Life Lessons – Good Medicine and Sage Advice
Sylvia expects her next book to be published in 2017