This Veteran’s Day, jane iredale continued its mission of supporting women in the journey to health, wellness, and radiating confidence from the inside out by gifting a wellness retreat to Stevi, an Iraq war veteran. We are pleased she chose to share her story with us, and we are excited to share it with you. Enjoy!
“Emotional well-being equals powerful living equals increased interest in and access to pleasure of all kinds.” -Evelyn Resh
I am a combat veteran and a woman. It seems like a truly empowering statement to make but sometimes feels like more of a cross to bear. I served 8 years in the Army National Guard and a 15-month deployment to Iraq in 2006. My experience was not for the faint of heart. It was just upon arriving in the country that I sustained a debilitating back injury, to later being preyed upon by a fellow soldier, to having my appendix removed in emergency surgery in a tent without solid floors. Oh, and there was a war going on! To say I came home broken, much like many of my brothers and sisters in arms, would be a massive understatement. I was angry, resentful, and could not find where I left my empathy and compassion for others. I knew I needed a reset, a restart, a recalibration.
Over the past 12 years, I have enlisted the help of complementary and alternative medical therapies to aid in my personal recalibration. I loved it so much I even graduated with a BS in Health Science with a focus in CAM modalities and became a Licensed Massage Therapist. This journey of reintegration, self-love, emotional/spiritual well-being, and empathetic and compassionate retrieval is the story I care most to share.
Health, Beauty & Wellness at Canyon Ranch
Most recently, I was chosen to join an eclectic group of women on a wellness retreat hosted by Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA. It was led by Heather Thomson who is an entrepreneur, adventurer, philanthropist, and true force of wellness nature.
At this retreat, I sat quietly under a Sycamore tree, exercised in 80’s leg warmers, cleansed the spirit with singing crystal bowls, had a natural ability for archery (who knew?), and got some serious zen on in the spa. My most memorable part was having the luxury of being the model for a full makeup tutorial by the talented jane iredale team. I do not wear makeup on a daily basis and can very easily admit my knowledge of makeup rivals that of a Neanderthal. In a room full of women, watching me transform from ‘daytime to playtime,’ I really embraced the femininity and power I suddenly felt. It never felt as if I was hiding my inner truth from the world, conversely, it felt as if the world could finally see the confidence I carried on the inside. I can honestly say I have continued to wear makeup since returning home and every time I look in the mirror I gasp and say “Damn, I’m Gorgeous!” I continue to be a work in progress on my path to health, healing, and Goddessness but I smile, breathe, and take it one small victory at a time.
A huge thank you to jane iredale for sponsoring this tomboy veteran to attend such a magnificent and truly decadent experience. Your team was delightful! Thank you to Heather Thomson and Remembrance Staber for being two amazing people who continue to fill up the love cups of others.
Share Your Stories
How do you reset, restart, and recalibrate? In the comments below tell us about your self-care rituals and routines.