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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 Diva Celebs Archives - ᘡ Adventure Lab ᘠ ... rock paper estrogen.

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.

Isabel Allende, on aging, living with passion, and the wisdom of having fun while doing good.

March 1, 2015 in , by Sue Braiden

Isabel Allende, TED Talk, Vancouver 2014

I fell down a rabbit hole this morning, and it left me anxious to share this TED Talk given by 71-year-old Chilean author, Isabel Allende. There was astonishing synchronicity for me, from the quote she shared by another favourite author, Mary Oliver:

“Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with your one precious and wild life?”

to her invitations to embrace the wisdom of adopting an ageless attitude; of living in the moment; a hearkening to care deeply for others, fueled by her mentor, Olga Murray (another Adventure Diva who found her calling at age 60, rescuing more than 12,000 young girls from domestic bondage, changing both the culture and the laws, and ensuring an education for more than 4,000 children); and even a later revelation, as I went on a hunt to learn more about her, in a serendipitous trip to India (something I have been planning for myself).

As I dug deeper it simply left me overwhelmed. There is so much about this woman that I wanted to come back and share, but I didn’t know where to start. I worried about doing her justice, and finding a simple way to bring back such a complex berth of wisdom and “Aha! moments” that I thought I should simply put this aside.

But I’m learning that it’s best to be in the moment, while it’s fresh and full of life something that Isabel reiterates in her talk), so, I simply asked myself the question: “What do you want to say?”. Click through to learn more.

Robyn Davidson’s 1700 mile solo camel trek across the Australian Outback

December 26, 2014 in by Sue Braiden

Robyn Davidson - Photograph by Rick Smolan. (From Alice To Ocean)

So here’s the cool and entirely unexpected by-product of launching a crowd-funding campaign and telling people about it: they come back with the most extraordinary natural allies along the way!

I first met Rick Smolan when he did the “Day in the Life” series some of you will remember. He’s one of the most humble and inarguably gifted photographers there is, and his ability as an alchemist turning those photos into storytelling gold is what has always attracted me to his work. After I posted a note about the “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” project, Rick tucked in a heads-up about a woman named Robyn Davidson who made 1700 mile solo camel trek across the Australian Outback back in 1977 when she was just 27 years old.

It’s the subject of a new movie called TRACKS from the Oscar winning team behind “The King’s Speech”. Rick was the photographer assigned by National Geographic to periodically document her journey, much to Robyn’s initial dismay, also chronicled in the movie which hit the theatres in Australia this past March, and in the U.S. in September.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2167266/

I’m ordering both Robyn’s original book on this extraordinary adventure:

Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback

and Rick’s beautiful “inside look” at it as well:

Inside Tracks: Robyn Davidson’s Solo Journey Across the Outback

I can’t wait for them to arrive, and will be sharing some thoughts on each once I’ve had the pleasure of feasting on them. Hoping Robyn might except an invitation to connect for a short time here at the “Adventure Lab” kitchen table.

Thanks, Rick, for the heads-up on this incredible Adventure Diva, and for the beautiful work you’ve done in capturing her story and sharing it!

Here’s Rick’s own web site:

http://againstallodds.com

and a bit more about his incredible work on Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Smolan

If you’ve read either or both of the books, and/or have seen the movie, why not put your elbows our digital kitchen table and share your own thoughts about them?

Ellen, on finding your own way, mustering up courage, and living with integrity.

August 14, 2014 in , , by Sue Braiden

Ellen Degeneres - Tulane Commencement - 2009

Sometimes being comfortable in our own skin can be one of the toughest battles we face. It can also be fuel for really great adventures. When we think about the things we fear the most, there are often hidden gems inside, things that can be a powerful springboard to new experiences we’ve never really had the courage to embrace.

Ellen DeGeneres transformed the tragedy of the death of someone she loved at an early age into an opportunity to have a comedic conversation with God, opening the door to a truly unexpected life. She made her mind up that she was going to be on the Johnny Carson show, and be the first woman to be invited to sit down. She did, and she was, and well, you likely know the rest.

In spite of her success, happiness still eluded her because she lived with a secret that threatened to ruin it all, and it did. Ellen went on to turn shame and fear inside out to simply be herself, and it’s no surprise that this is one midlife diva who has gone on to have some of the most incredible adventures.

In 2009 she was invited back to Tulane University to give the Commencement speech in her home town of New Orleans, and in a way only Ellen could do, gifted everyone who listened moments of laughter, bumper crops of wisdom, and the way to take hold of a handful of elusive assets and make them your own: living with integrity, courage, resilience, determination, purpose and joy.

Grab a mugga joe (and a box of kleenex) and settle in for the most empowering 17 minutes and 54 seconds of your day …

How Drew Carey’s “Mimi” ditched the pancake makeup and obnoxious bent to help make you “Queen of Your Own Life”.

August 12, 2014 in , , by Sue Braiden

How Drew Carey's "Mimi" ditched the pancake makeup and obnoxious bent to help make you "Queen of Your Own Life".

She’s not Drew’s Mimi anymore! Kathy Kinney wants to make you the Queen of Your Own Life!

You’re going to find that we’re really into “asset building” as a way of helping ourselves get ready for awesome adventures. In a nutshell, it’s a way of taking stock of the things we are equipped with to meet life’s challenges, and figuring out where we need to shore things up, or sometimes add new things to our toolkit altogether. Things like determination, strength, resilience, self-esteem and courage don’t always come as easily as we wish they would, so we’re going to do our best to share resources and create spaces that help you build these assets — and many others — for yourself.

While this may sound like dull, boring work, it’s anything but! In fact, I’ve got a terrific tool I want to give you for your kit to get you started.

I wanted to share this with you because it’s something really simple that inspires me throughout the week, without it needing a lot of time or attention.

If you’ve ever watched “The Drew Carey Show”, you’ll likely remember a really over-the-top character named Mimi. She wore gaudy blue eye shadow and was obnoxious as hell. She was played by an actress named Kathy Kinney who couldn’t be more opposite that character than a person could be.

She’s gone on to do some really neat things, including writing children’s books and producing and acting in a show for kids, but the coolest thing is this little project she has with her friend, Cindy Ratzlaff. They run a blog called “Queen of your own life” and send out newsletters with these little tiny nuggets of wisdom tucked in each week. They’ve drawn from their blog to create a quirky and equally insightful book, with the same intention of helping women claim happiness in midlife.

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