Radical Intimacy and Disaster Preparedness: Recapping Day One, Session Two of the 2023 InDependent Wellness Summit

by | Mar 11, 2024 | Articles, Environmental, IWS23, Marriage, PCS / Moving, Preparedness, Wellness Summit

The InDependent Wellness Summit is our free, annual online event for all military and first responder spouses – past, present, and future. Learn more about the program here.

Day one of the Independent Wellness Summit 2024 started with a rather edgy conversation with Zoe Kors, an author and certified sexologist. Then we led into a more practical interview about preparedness with Diane Vukovic. Each interview had key points that stood out and made me think a bit differently.


Let’s start with the interview, Rediscover Connection in Your Marriage, which covered the rather raw, vulnerable, and sometimes difficult topic of intimacy. Zoe defined intimacy as the experience of being deeply accepted in our natural state, seen, and accepted for who we are.

How many of you can say, “I feel true intimacy with myself and others?”

Zoe discussed what she calls the “Trifecta of Anti-Intimacy.” Internally, we experience obstacles that keep us unable to connect.

  • Denial (ignoring the problem, saying, “It’s ok,” or there is never a good time to talk) 
  • Deflection (getting angry or upset about something other than the real problem)
  • Distraction (comfort foods, ice cream, wine, or binge-watching TV) 

I found myself nodding “YES” to each one of these experiences. I think life is busy and hard every day, but the military lifestyle brings on a whole new set of obstacles when it comes to intimacy. Communication becomes even more important but also more difficult at times. Even the best relationships will encounter difficulties at times, especially during deployments. 

Zoe reminds us that relational happiness is directly correlated with a regular sex life. 

But how do we have a healthy sex life when we are hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles away from each other?

I felt myself automatically get anxious inside as I listened to Zoe talk about sex. The thought of using technology for sex has always been an uncomfortable conversation between my husband and me. Even the thought of phone or video sex makes me feel vulnerable and quite uncomfortable. I’m one of those unfortunate ones who fits into the generational gap where sex was not discussed as being pleasurable. Instead, the conversation was, “Babies come from having sex. Make sure he’s the right one.” 

The conversation about intimacy and sex comes easy for some, but not all. I hope Zoe’s interview can help you to be present and open to possibilities in your marriage. I know it has allowed me to put more thought into where I am in my life, and where I would like to be in the future.

“There is intimacy with other, and there is intimacy with yourself. The basis of all of our relationships is our own relationship with ourselves. That might sound sort of like – well, of course – but one of the things that we’re really not taught in this culture to do is to really cultivate a deeply connected relationship with ourselves, to really know ourselves.”

Zoë Kors


Now, let’s change topics completely and look at the interview, Emergency Preparedness: Be Prepared, Calm, and Safe. Diane took this opportunity to explain to us that “preparedness” is being aware of which bad things can happen and taking practical steps to prepare for them.

All I have to say is, “YIKES!” I have lived in a hurricane-prone region for two years and am NOT prepared. After listening to this interview, I realized that, as a family, we need to become better prepared for the natural disasters that can occur where we live.

Diane provided a list of hands-on steps to prepare for realistic disasters. With each step, she went into detail about how military families could make each step fit their situation. I’m going to give you her quick list along with my key takeaways from each step. I’m sure as you listen to the interview, each step will impact you in its own way.

  • Bugging out and evacuation
    • Takeaway – have a PLAN
  • Constantly moving to new areas with new situations
    • Takeaway – research, learn, watch videos
  • Disaster Supplies
    • Takeaway – gradually stock up
  • Communications
    • Takeaway – plan out backup forms of communication

Through listening to Diane’s interview, I learned how to take baby steps toward preparing my family for natural disasters that are most likely to occur in the location in which I live. I plan to start researching our next duty station’s known natural disasters so that I will have peace of mind knowing that we will be better prepared. 

Diane did an amazing job providing us with resources and tips to help us along the way. I can see how being prepared and self-reliant can be empowering and great for our mental health. I hope that you too will take the steps necessary to be proactive and prepared.

“In terms of wellness, I really think that getting prepared for emergencies is great for your mental health. When you start taking these small steps to be more self-reliant and kind of in control of all the bad things that can happen to you, it is really empowering.”

Diane Vuković

This is Day One of the InDependent Wellness Summit: Rediscover You, presented by Legacy Magazine. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! More recaps will be coming each day this week, so stay tuned.


Michelle Ann is a proud military spouse to a Navy Diver and homeschool mom to her three energetic boys. She has a Bachelor’s in Language Arts and Psychology along with a Master’s in Elementary Education. She is a writer and the owner of Embrace Life Writing Agency. She loves to encourage military families by volunteering for the content team at InDependent. Her philosophy over the years has become, “Embrace Life” because you never know what opportunities will come your way! Michelle is a Staff Writer for InDependent.


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