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

Soul Pepper | Friday, May 13th, 2016

May 13, 2016 in by Sue Braiden

"It's not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves." - Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mt. Everest.

“It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” – Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mt. Everest.

The case for micro-adventures, and getting out of your own way.

April 22, 2015 in , , by Sue Braiden

I live with something called “Graves Disease.” It reared it’s ugly head the week Hurricane Katrina blew in back in 2005, a fitting harbinger for the health storm that was about to come along for the ride. When I get sick, instead of my immune system attacking the illness, it attacks my organs. There is no cure, and at the moment it’s kicking my butt.

While there’s no magic bullet to knock it down, there are certainly things I could be doing better to manage it. A lot of us underestimate the importance of getting enough rest, managing the stress in our lives effectively, and maintaining a healthy headspace. I’m finding as I get older, ignoring these 3 comes with a much greater price. There are days I am physically ill, others when I can barely hold up the weight of my own head, and more when the pain is crippling.

So how the heck do I expect to live the life of an Adventure Diva with that mess on my plate?

Quite well, not in spite of it, but -because- of it.

Making choices that make me happier, less stressed, help me sleep better and feel more connected are also the choices that will keep me well. Adventure has medicinal effects. It lowers stress, reducing the flow of cortisol that wreaks havoc on our system (high blood pressure, lower metabolism, depression, diabetes and osteoporosis). It releases endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, the “happy drugs” our body self-medicates with, reducing depression and improving memory. It gets us moving, connecting, and changing habits and behaviours that have been feeding into a cycle of at-risk health.

The kicker? You don’t have to be rich to do it, to get out there and start having those adventures.

So I’m on a mission.

I’m going to experiment boldly and broadly until I find the secret sauce: micro-adventures, epic adventures, volunteer adventures, pilgrimages, and more. I’m starting small, and bootstrapping my way up.

Click through to learn more about my journey with micro-adventures, and to share some of your own …

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.

Boundless Adventures: busting the myth of limitations, baby!

February 12, 2015 in , , by Sue Braiden

Sue Austin goes deep-sea diving in her wheelchair!

Reason #107 why I frigging love my job: I get to research Adventure Divas who have been out there proving that our notion of limitations is pure B.S., AND fall down the Pinterest rabbit hole at the same time 😉 Tell me it’s not a great job when you get to be inspired by a woman who goes deep-sea diving in her wheelchair, another who does belly dancing in the same, and a quadruple amputee who lost all of her limbs to bacterial meningitis, and is kicking butt as a fashion model? Remind me again why I think I can’t have epic adventures? Yeah …

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?

Rock. Paper. Estrogen. (Guess which one wins every time?)

September 4, 2014 in , , by Sue Braiden

The Star Inside - Hidden Potential

I remember sitting in the reading circle in kindergarten while our teacher shared a story about an amazing house that had a star inside. What she was describing was an apple, and when she cut it open in front of us, I gasped out loud like every other child in the class. It was pure magic.

All my life that moment has remained emblematic of the hidden potential we each have.

There was a time when tradition would have us believe that we were “the weaker sex”, and fragile things. Thank heavens we’ve tossed that script away!

Discovering our own potential often happens during times of trial. When pushed to our limit, we dig down deep and discover resources we didn’t even know we had.

Think about a time when you were truly tested. What is it you drew on to survive? Were you surprised to find you had those inner resources? Have they come in handy in other situations since?

We are capable and deeply resilient, and it’s these secret “super powers” that can shape some of the most life-changing soul treks along the way.

Diva, gear up!

When getting ready for adventures, big and small, we often make lists of the things we need to prepare ourselves with. While money and gear and couches to surf are of course very handy, we might also want to consider a different set of assets worth equipping.

Over the years we’ve cultivated some pretty epic social, emotional and intellectual tools for seizing the day, and it can be helpful to take stock of the ones we’ll need most as we set out on roads less traveled.

When we’re mindful of a journey’s challenges, it helps to know what we can draw on, and where we might need to spend a bit of time shoring things up. Being mentally and emotionally prepared for an adventure can make a tremendous difference in how it plays out.

Take 5 …

Why not take just 5 minutes to open your Journal and create a new page in it? Write down 3 things that surprised you when you were faced with something really tough; resources you discovered you had that might come in handy when you’re plotting epic adventures.

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 …

Ready for the Rocker? You Had Me at “Hell, No!”

April 1, 2014 in , by Sue Braiden

Are ya ready for the rocker? You had me at "Hell, No!"

Ready to retire to that rocking chair on the porch and gaze off into the sunset now that the kids are grown?  Me neither!  This is where the good stuff starts.

You’ve devoted your life to your kids, your partner, your job, your community.  Maybe you’re about to be an empty-nester.  Maybe you already are.  Maybe you found yourself lopping off big parts of who you were in order to make the choices you’ve made along the way fit.  Maybe, just maybe, you’re finding yourself saying “now it’s time for me” …

Choosing to realign your goals and wishes to be more focused on you isn’t selfish, and act two in your life doesn’t necessarily mean slowing down.  What do you want to do for the first time?  What. do you want to take back?  What do you crave?  Where do you want to reinvest your energy and passion?

So you’re ready for an adventure …

Maybe a big one.  Maybe one that will change your life.  But where to start?  There are so many things to think about, and maybe it seems like it’s just too big to -really- be do-able.

Your first job is actually quite simple, and an awful lot of fun:  you’re going to tell your own story to make it real.  You’re going to describe that perfect moment, that perfect place, that perfect adventure.

Close your eyes.  Picture what it looks like.  How do you feel when you’re there?

That’s where you start.

You’re not going to think about limits.  It doesn’t matter if you think you can afford it, if you’re brave enough to do it, or if you know how.  All you’re going to do right now is dream out loud.

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