At 21, Marlaina believed her fate would be in film scoring, but life and health took unexpected turns and prompted her to pursue writing, art, and in her 30s, professional certifications in therapeutic bodywork modalities and clinical essential oil therapy. When health allowed, she also enjoyed cooking and catering professionally for wellness and environmental centers, private families, and special events with a gourmet focus on organic and alternative diets. During this time, she was honored to have the opportunity to cook for activist Julia "Butterfly" Hill and author Gary Null.
After some time in the Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia suburbs, Marlaina returned to her rural roots. Today, from her corner of the world in the beautiful Lake Wallenpaupack region of Pennsylvania, she opts out of owning an iPhone and creates a nourishing home with her husband of eleven years, Jos. C. Donato, an author of historical fiction and avid lover of the outdoors and all-season hiking. On any given day, she can be found painting in her art studio or whipping up healthy gourmet feasts in her kitchen filled with sun-drenched plants, a multitude of Mason jars, and an extensive medicinal herb pantry. She loves to swap her passion for clinical aromatherapy with natural cosmetics including artful, slow-aged perfumes from an extensive palette of essential oils and double-boiler herbal infusions.
Marlaina's greatest influence was her mother Winifred, a multi-talented Renaissance woman who managed health food stores in Manhattan in the 1950s and independently studied nutrition and holistic endocrinology. Marlaina witnessed medical "miracles" during her childhood when her parents were employed at a groundbreaking holistic medical center, Clymer Health Clinic, in Bucks County Pennsylvania. This early foundation sparked her own passionate interest in alternative and integrative medicine and helped her navigate her own health challenges.
Marlaina's maternal grandfather John Troyano was a Vitagraph Studios silent film actor, art photographer and piano prodigy who played New York City's Carnegie Hall at age eleven.
As WillowWynd, she is a composer and recording artist, her diverse work used in film, meditation videos, and small business promos. Her music has been featured in award-winning short films by director Tara Gadomski, and she is also a background supporting actor in Gadomski's 2019 inspiring film Signs of Aging. She has released 18 albums in the genres of semi-classical solo piano, world/new Age, and pagan/Celtic. She plays all instruments on her recordings including piano, keyboards, acoustic guitar, bowed guitar, hammered dulcimer, and percussion and also layers her own vocals. Marlaina enjoys the creative freedom of producing her own music videos and was delighted to have The Quickening officially selected for the Black Bear Film Festival in 2019.
Inspiration and Sustenance
As of May 2020, despite many followers, Marlaina made the decision to withdraw from the fray of social media platforms to sustain an inner healing space and to invest in the 'real' world. After decades of sometimes severely compromised health due to the largely misunderstood myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFIDS or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and fibromyalgia, she is grateful for the mind-body tools that ignited a deep cellular transformation and complete remission in 2016.