A Giant Leap for Womankind!

IMG_7586On August 21st, 2015, history was made.  In addition to ninety-four men, two West Point women graduated from Ranger School, known to many as the Army’s most mentally and physically demanding combat leadership course… and one that, until recently, has only been open to men.  I was thousands of miles away from Fort Benning, GA where 1LT Shaye Haver and CPT Kristen Griest were receiving their coveted Ranger tabs, but every ounce of me was there in spirit!  I am thrilled many of my fellow West Point sisters were there to witness the event.  I personally celebrated in quiet reflection (aside from some fun but respectful banter with my Ranger qualified husband).  I actually pulled out the tab I once pinned on him after he successfully completed his own grueling journey through the mountains and swamps and pondered what this historic accomplishment will mean to countless women who follow in their footsteps.

The achievements of these two women, exemplify the limitless potential in all of us when we are afforded opportunity.

Most of us are quite adept at placing limitations and boundaries on ourselves.  One of the most common issues I hear from yoga and meditation students or coaching clients is regarding negative self-talk.  “I’m not good enough,” or “What if I fail?”  1LT Haver and CPT Griest turned these two statements into “I AM good enough!” and “What if I don’t GO FOR IT?”  Their determination and consequential success has personally inspired me to look deep within, see doors opening, and courageously step over the thresholds before me with unwavering determination and focus.  I am not alone in this sentiment, as others have affirmed to me they’ve felt some extra wind beneath their wings this past week!First 2 FEMALE Army Rangers

I believe the monumental achievement of these two trailblazers represents a big step forward in terms of our country’s social progress, one that transcends our military ranks.  Shaye and Kristen stand as inspiration for ALL women, whether they choose to use their strength, wisdom, and determination to raise a family, blaze trails in the military, bust through glass ceilings in the corporate world… etc.

For those of you who think that women still should not be in combat… well guess what?  We already are!  In fact, there are women who are living and serving in combat zones right now.  Some, like my dear friend and West Point sister, LTC Jaimie Leonard, have given their life in the name of freedom for a country that is, slowly but surely, recognizing that – WE CAN DO IT!  464px-We_Can_Do_It!

There are many articles floating around about our newly tabbed female Army Rangers, but this one on “How it Really Went Down,” by Ranger Rudy Mac, is one of my favorites.


And if there are any Rangers out there who question as to whether the standards dropped to accommodate women, you’ll see here that Major General Scott Miller, commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, has invited you to come back and re-validate your tab if you so desire:


I am no longer serving in the active duty army, but I am still actively involved in serving our military community in other ways – through my business, Ola Lokahi Retreats, organizations such as Warriors at Ease, and of course, supporting my spouse who is a career Special Forces officer.  I understand the unique challenges of being a woman who is living a military life – whether you are are service member or spouse.  Because of this, I’ve created a special “Relax & Renew Retreat for Women in the Military Community.”  If you know of a woman who is a veteran, service member, spouse, or Gold Star mom/wife/daughter/sister who could use some R&R in Hawaii, please direct them to: www.mindbodyaloha.com

Ola Lokahi offers longer retreats in Hawaii and throughout the globe, but this particular event is intended for our robust military community here in Hawaii.  It was designed to be brief and affordable in order to accommodate single military moms and moms with a deployed spouse (situations where child-rearing responsibilities create challenges and often extra expense).  If you, your business, or organization is interested in sponsoring a woman to attend and/or providing goods or services for this retreat, please contact Susan Pualani Alden at olalokahi@gmail.com for details.  These retreats are quarterly events, and we appreciate any and all support as an extension of your gratitude for the extraordinary women who live, serve, and sometimes die on your behalf.

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