Hundreds of women attended the Christus LiveWell Women’s Conference on Thursday, May 9, at the Ford Park Event Center to learn about women’s health, peruse various shopping booths and listen to the keynote speaker, singer/composer Jewel, who wowed the crowd with amusing anecdotes, sentimental stories and some of her most popular songs.
Diagnostic booths lined the walls of the Ford Park Exhibit Center for women who wanted to know their cholesterol, blood glucose levels and more. Educational brochures were distributed on varying health issues facing women, and promotional booths from local businesses gave away items like pens, bags and even oven mitts. Clothing and food vendors with colorful displays were accessible to those in attendance. Women at the conference were served a delightful meal as they sat to listen to the speaker talk about her experiences.
Jewel addressed the women with a positive attitude and told them how she had to overcome obstacles to achieve happiness in her life. She spoke of perseverance and optimism, and talked about her husband, seven-time World Champion All-around Cowboy Ty Murray, and son, Kase Townes Murray, who she said have brought much joy to her life.
Originally from Alaska, she said she grew up “bar singing” with her father. She moved to San Diego in her youth to help take care of a sick relative. While there, she lived in poverty, struggling to pay rent and literally staying in her car for shelter when she was unable to do so. She said as she struggled, she was so desperate at times she resorted to shoplifting items like carrots, which she jokingly described as “the gateway vegetable,” and other food items. She told those gathered she rationalized stealing by telling herself she was “cheating the man, whatever the man was.” She said she realized her stealing was starting to escalate when looking at a sundress valued at $39.99 that she “coveted.” She said that is when she decided she was only hurting herself.
“It was just a very surreal, strange moment in my life,” Jewel related. “It was like a lightning bolt struck me, and I suddenly thought, ‘when did I lose faith in myself? When did I stop thinking that I could earn $40 for myself?’ I was suddenly so insulted that I had been shoplifting because really it was an insult to me, and I wasn’t cheating anybody but myself.”
Inspired by her epiphany, an 18-year-old Jewel wrote the song “Hands,” which she performed for the seated audience.
She encouraged the women gathered to focus less on negative thoughts and what they do not have and to think more about what makes them happy and brings joy to life.
“I was determined to turn my thoughts around,” she said regarding the bad attitude and anxiety she once exuded. “I was getting sick all the time. … It was an awful, awful time in my life. I thought, ‘How can I mobilize rather than be paralyzed?’”
She said she decided to consciously replace her fear and anxiety with excitement, which elicits a similar biological response. She said by taking control and relaxing, she was able to overcome her fears and realize success.
The women gathered stood up to applaud for the superstar when Jewel concluded her inspirational speech.
Christus representatives say they have been lucky to get the talent they have succeeded in providing for the last few years during the LiveWell Women’s Conference events — Helen Hunt, Hillary Swank and Joan Lunden, to name a few — and they will continue their endeavors in the pursuit for excellence for future events and for the health of the community.