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The "Adventure Lab" is an idea incubator and collaborative resource hub for women over 40 who are hungry to create epic adventures, even on a shoestring budget. With a focus on asset-building and mentoring, we deal with the whole person in a way that is inclusive, regardless of financial means, and that creates opportunities for women at risk both in our local communities, and in developing nations.

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You are browsing the archive for The Viewing Room Archives - ᘡ Adventure Lab ᘠ ... rock paper estrogen.

Field Report: Sandra rebuilt her Haiti workshop & hired 5 people!

November 20, 2016 in , by Sue Braiden

Kiva Diva Field Report: Sandra in Haiti - November 20, 2016

It’s always exciting when we receive a field report on one of the women that we have invested in through the “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” project. This one is especially cool because it comes from the entrepreneur herself!

Back in October 2014 we helped an artist named Sandra rebuild her workshop in Haiti after her entire shop was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. It’s a relief that this report comes in on the heels of yet another natural disaster in Haiti, the recent hurricane, and that it finds Sandra safe and well.

Yet more great news? She not only used the Kiva loan we helped provide to rebuild her shop, but actually created jobs for 5 more people! Watch and share her inspiring story.

Sandra has been making and selling different kinds of scarves and sarongs since 1980. Here’s a bit more about our original investment in this wonderful artist back in 2014.

Borrowing a little childhood magic to reboot a bad day

June 30, 2016 in , by Sue Braiden

Childhood Magic

You don’t have to be Alexander to have a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Sometimes, you just have to get out of bed, and that’s enough.

So when you have one of those days, what to do?

I’ve found that one of the most powerful reset buttons is the “willing suspension of disbelief” that comes wrapped up in a children’s tale on the silver screen.

Here’s why …

Tomorrow is 90. Today’s the day to do it! (…or as Lorraine says: time to grab life by the balls!)

June 11, 2016 in , by Sue Braiden

Every now and then someone points me in the direction of an “Adventure Diva” that’s is just so full of sass that I end up with tears rolling down my cheeks for hours after from laughing so hard.

90-something New Yorker, Lorraine, is one of those sassy divas. She has a channel called “Ask My Neighbor Lorraine” on YouTube. She invites people to ask her questions, and she answers personally, full of hilarious irreverence, colourful epithets and all.

I wish I had this woman over the backyard fence. I’d invite her in for coffee every, single day … 😀

This is one of her tamer responses. Her parting words tell you all you need to know:

“Don’t forget: tomorrow is 90. Today’s the day to do it!”

Cut through the sass, and this woman’s figured out a thing or two in her 90+ years that the rest of us would do well to tap into <3

Where’s the Beef? (and how a really bad movie can be a really great tool for checking in with yourself)

May 18, 2016 in , , by Sue Braiden

Where's the Beef? (and how a really bad movie can be a really great tool for checking in with yourself)

I’m always on the look-out for good Adventure Diva movies, and when I stumbled across “I’ll See You in My Dreams” on Netflix, I thought I’d found one.

I was wrong.

The premise was a woman named Carol confronting her age, and realizing her life had become predictable and mundane. With a husband who had been dead for twenty-years, and a handful of friends pushing her to get out there and date again (while simultaneously pushing for her to move to a retirement community), Carol is reluctant to change, until a set of chance encounters turns that on it’s head.

So far, so good. Clinging to the familiar and fear of the unknown, even if things have gotten stale, is relatable enough, and I was encouraged by the promise that Carol was about to push way out of her comfort zone and shake things up.

It had potential, until it slid straight into a quagmire of clichés.

I wanted this movie to be great, and while I found it predictable, completely implausible, and definitely disappointing, it served a wonderful purpose: it made me check in with myself every time I complained. If it made me so damned mad, what was it that I thought should have happened instead? I was cheering for these women. I wanted them to be brave. I wanted them to get off their asses and go out there and grab a hold of life and shake the hell out of it.

And that’s what made it great in an unexpected way. Anything that shakes you out of your comfort zone, that gets you questioning what’s important to you, that moves you to want to take a step, make a change, is a tool to be grateful for.

So I ask you, sister Adventure Divas, what is the perfect happy ending? What is it out there in the wild blue yonder that calls to your Adventure Diva soul? What will your life be incomplete without?

What calls you, know matter how crazy it may seem? And more importantly, what’s stopping you?

Let’s put our elbows on the kitchen table and talk about it!

J. K. Rowling on the Power of Failure and Imagination

March 31, 2016 in , , , by Sue Braiden

J. K. Rowling's inspiring commencement address to Harvard University graduates, June 5, 2008

As adventure divas we may be faced with similar fears: we’re too old, we don’t have enough money, we don’t have enough courage. These old scripts that we read from don’t serve us well. They become self-limiting beliefs, blocking the way to living our fullest lives. How can we possibly have great adventures when we are faced with such daunting challenges?

The power of two simple words — “what if?” — become wonderfully apparent when we look at the incredible journeys of other women who are just like us, and who have shaped inspiring adventures in spite of those challenges.

When I say “women just like us” we might not think of those who have eclipsed any sense of what our own “normal” might be. We might assume that people in positions of power, or lifestyles of privilege or status, are people to whom we could not possibly relate; and in doing so miss the lessons of kindred spirits whose paths started out very much like our own. One of those souls is author J.K. Rowling, one of the richest women in the world, and certainly one of the most renowned in our time.

Would you be surprised to learn that she came from a place of great poverty and suffering, endured domestic violence, and experienced spectacular failure? In spite of this, or perhaps fueled by it, she reinvented her life in inspiring ways, and it’s these experiences that shape the very moving commencement address that she gave to Harvard graduates on June 5th, 2008.

We don’t have to be 20-something to relate to Jo’s chat. Commencement is a wonderful world. It means “to begin”, and for many of us, entering this part of our journey feels like exactly that. In a way, when we enter “act two” in our lives — when our children have grown, when some of us might be retiring from lifelong careers, when we enter that sacred space that is finally “all about us” — we are graduating. And while we are graduating, really, from a lifetime of lessons, some of us may feel woefully ill-equipped to embrace this rich new time in our life.

Ballet at 84! Carla Steenkamp Sheills’ Empowering Class.

November 25, 2015 in , , by Sue Braiden

Holy Estrogen Army moment, Batwoman! I had goosebumps watching this. Dance instructor Carla Steenkamp Sheills & her amazing pupils. The eldest is 84.

Holy Estrogen Army moment, Batwoman! I had goosebumps watching this! Think that’s a funny reaction? Watch this through to the end, and tell me when Prokofiev’s “Dance of the Knights” comes on you don’t get it. An empowering ballet class with dance tutor and choreographer, Carla Steenkamp Sheills, and her amazing pupils, the eldest who is 84!

Always so cool to find another micro-adventure to add to the Estrogen Army treasure chest. Dance is such a great way of reclaiming a vital part of our femininity when we get older and perhaps (for some of us) no longer feel as sensual as we once did <3

What do you get when you turn James Bond into a woman? An Adventure Diva nearly banned from network tv …

July 16, 2015 in , by Sue Braiden

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries -- and an Adventure Diva double standard.

Okay, ladies, I’m about to stir the pot with a little Adventure Diva debate:

What do you get when you turn James Bond into a woman? In this case, 1920’s fictional Aussie sleuth, Phryne Fisher, and attempts to ban her from network television.

Where Bond is considered a man’s man, a suave and almost universal role model for men of adventure, lauded for his bedroom prowess, you might be surprised to learn what happens when you flip the gender switch.

What are you afraid of? (Not much after watching 82-year-old nurse-turned-action-hero, Kay D’Arcy!)

April 20, 2015 in , , , , by Sue Braiden

What are you afraid of? Not much after watching 82-year-old nurse-turned-action-hero, Kay D’Arcy!

Ten years ago if you had asked me what I was afraid of, I would have told you: heights, a world chocolate shortage, and snakes.

Today? Getting old, getting sick, being alone, being irrelevant, peeing my pants and dying.

Aging has a funny way of shifting the lens. (And yes, dignity is often one of the first things to go).

When we understand what we are afraid of, we also understand what we need, and that is the key to asset building.

There are all kinds of clichés I could apply to this (things like “what we fear we give power”, and it would be true), but instead of waxing poetic, I’ve decided I’m going to take that litany of self-conjured horrors and turn it on it’s head. I’m going to turn it into the best damned fuel for a bucket list. Ever.

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