Wendy Marshall never let the ups and downs of life stand in her way
"Your Light burns brightly and is the Light that shines for many to be enlightened by. This Light that you now own is the new-found self you have been striding towards for many lives. Rejoice: for it is our joy to see Heaven in you." Serge Benhayon
Wendy always had a sense of style that was unique and often celebratory – this was already showing at the age of four. This picture of Wendy reflects the preciousness of what was there to be expressed and clearly her sense of style was starting to unfold.
Wendy Aged 4
Wendy was born at the end of World War II. Her father returned from the war and set about establishing his life in the financial world. She recalls that the house she grew up in was a very authoritarian household, caring but without affection. As a baby she was diagnosed with celiac disease and failure to thrive. In this period of time, following the war, there was little understanding at the time of the lifetime support required to manage this prognosis and her survival was tenuous.
Undefeated by ill health Wendy’s creativity flourished, she recalls that her entrepreneurial life started when she was nine:
I went into business – can you believe it, starting a business at that age? I was making school competition ribbons – they had a certain style and were highly sought after for inter-school sporting competitions.
Wendy’s health continued to be a challenge in her life, at the age of fourteen she was home from school with bronchitis and was seriously ill and absent from school for quite some time. This experience was one that was to be a turning point in her life
On returning to school from this absence Wendy was bullied with false rumours about her absence. An absence of a lengthy period was maliciously turned into a false rumour about an unwanted pregnancy. In this era that was something that was completely shameful. It mattered not that it was not true, it had a terrible impact socially and on the young Wendy, she recalls
I was absolutely devastated. I totally withdrew becoming painfully shy, avoiding people. This loss of self confidence and lack of self worth become my new pattern. I was a very strong tennis player and my game began to deteriorate. I actually failed the leaving certificate and had to repeat the year.
But rather than the defeat that would see many give up, her characteristic tenacity shone through, as Wendy recalls:
Life changed! Always the entrepreneur, I perfected the art of tie-dying toilet paper - can you believe it? You can't give up on yourself! It took off at the markets which gave me a really good start.
You really have to see Wendy’s tie-dyed toilet paper – it reflects her as the master of reinvention and also her delightfully quirky sense of style that makes her standout in life. Although her drive to get herself back on her feet took its toll and she recalls that she again found herself stressed out and her weight dropping back to 42 kilos for the second time. But always the business entrepreneur with enough great and fascinating ideas to launch a thousand businesses she took another direction with a new enterprise creating corporate gifts and confectionary. Wendy also had a sense of what the market was calling for recalling that “this was also the era of outlandish weddings and I discovered my niche in the market place designing amazing settings for star-struck brides.”
However, Wendy always threw herself into her business enterprises with a striving for success and this drive would time and time again lead to her overriding her personal health and in the case of her wedding business it was what she assessed as “my most disregarding enterprise resulting in exhaustion” and it saw her weight again drop dangerously low with a return to 42 kilos for the third time.
For all her great successes and creativity Wendy had not taken care of her physical well-being she was re- diagnosed as coeliac, and a proper diet helped pave the first stage of her recovery but then she sustained her first fracture from a fall, a result of fragility in her bones arising form osteoporosis. When feeling strong enough, she moved to Port Douglas where she worked in art galleries. At age 57 her hair started to fall out, and she sustained another fracture and recognised that her health was deteriorating again.
It is a reflection of Wendy’s tenacity and strength of will that she returned to school, even though she had failed in such awful circumstances and completed her schooling. After graduating from school, she studied to become an occupational therapist, but her artistic and creative flair was never far from her, a natural expression that was irrepressible. Wendy found herself starting another business, yet again expressing this natural flair for fashion, focusing on fashion accessories – this time graduating from the school competition ribbons to ladies' fashion hair bows. It was a great success.
At the age of 23 Wendy married and always the entrepreneur the following year opened an ice cream parlour in one of Sydney's southern suburbs. Her marriage lasted for about seven years but Wendy reflects that in this relationship she “had taken all my lack of self worth and people pleasing ways into it.” Her unhappiness and lack of regard for herself became overwhelming resulting in dangerously low weight with her weight plummeting to 42 kilos. As her marriage was disintegrating she took control of her life, telling her husband to leave, even though she had a three year old and was four months pregnant.
Throughout her life, whatever the circumstances, Wendy has shown a passion for life and a capacity for reinvention that is both inspiring and dynamic. With a modest settlement from her marriage she became an owner builder and was back expressing her creativity again, building a house. Perhaps worth reflecting upon is that taking on being an owner builder is no easy task and at the time it would have been unusual for a woman to take on all the tasks of building a house, yet with Wendy’s tenacity she set forth organising all the sub-contractors and then also successfully sold the house on completion.
With a natural eye for beauty and design another work area opened up for Wendy and she began getting interior decorating jobs, both domestic and commercial, and this was the start of another phase of her life. Wendy recalls this dynamic phase of her life:
At the age of 39, with children in tow, I brought my interior decorating business to Brisbane and also found myself inspiring my students at the TAFE college. In my mid forties, Brisbane was starting to hot up in preparation for Expo 1988. I started buying real estate, developing my own projects which included design, renovations and approvals from council, even a multi-story building.
Unpacking Wendy’s life is no small task as it is clear from her brief description of the 1980’s that there was a lot going on – mother, educator, business owner and real estate developer. At the end of this period she suffered some heavy financial losses and this is what she describes as “my darkest hours.”
Wendy returned to Brisbane the following year and as she states “miraculously landed on Serge Benhayon's doorstep, coming under the wings of Universal Medicine. It was the most awesome constellation of my life!”
Extraordinarily with the support and re-education about self care and the result of what she describes as “my new self-loving regimes’, her bone density began to increase. Wendy recalls that with this,
I brought order to my life for the first time which helped heal much of the shame, overwhelm and judgement I had been carrying.
The process of self-healing was not without its ups and downs as Wendy recalls, with not a hint of self- pity, reflecting the tenacity and liveliness that is seen in her life story:
And then the clearing started! Yes, you guessed it, down to 42 kilos again and another fracture. My long term failure to thrive illness was finally diagnosed as Pyrrole disorder which was unknown in the 1940's. With appropriate treatment for the illness, I am now in the borderline range for this condition. Living a self-loving way of life as presented by Universal Medicine, I celebrate every day
Wendy has learnt a lot in her life, her most important one comes with the wisdom of deep healing and reflection, she shares:
My lesson has been that my Light and what I bring are much more than the circumstances in which I find myself. What has been so amazing for me to realise are the benefits of deeply appreciating myself, the feeling of actually coming home to a true way of living.”
In her own words, Wendy reflects a joy and vibrancy that is unique
So here I am now, at seventy years of age, my own pin-up girl. I made it! I've started to blossom; I feel strong in my self worth; I feel absolutely beautiful with the connection to myself. I can now claim I have a foundation in my life. In fact, what you get now is the whole of me, the loveliness of me. I love my life and celebrate coming home to myself every day.
For those that have the pleasure and joy of meeting Wendy and sharing in a dose of her delight and enthusiasm for life they would also share Serge Benhayon’s words: “it is our joy to see Heaven in you”.
Students of The Way of the Livingness
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