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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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On the objects of my affection, and the lessons of a captain and his bride.

January 29, 2015 in , by Sue Braiden

The Captain and His Bride

30 years ago I was a very young woman on a very big adventure. Traveling West through several provinces on business, I was treated to a night up in the mountains at the Banff Springs Hotel. My colleagues and I were dining at a table next to the Calgary Flames NHL hockey team, who had just the day before won the Stanley Cup. Their boisterous celebration was eclipsed by this amazing couple, gliding around the ballroom floor with their feet barely touching the ground. They were on a trip around the world, celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, and the way they looked at each other made you absolutely, positively believe in true (and lifelong) love.

We sent a bottle of champagne over to their table, and they came and joined us. He introduced himself as “The Captain,” and his wife was simply beaming as they shared stories from their incredible life together.

Their biggest adventure? Raising a family.

To this day their picture remains within reach on my desk. In front of them rests a mala, blessed by the Dalai Llama, and given to me by my friend, Pam, during a really hard time. Next to these treasures is a bird to remind me of my late mum. Every important thing in life is held in celebration here. ❤

How a “mindful friendships” self-audit can unearth some unexpectedly awesome adventure buddies.

August 17, 2014 in by Sue Braiden

The Trouble Twins

“God is not a 911 operator.” These were the first words I read when I opened Facebook this morning. This little reminder from a friend got me thinking about it in a much bigger context, and how we sometimes treat friends and family in this way too. Most of us have been on the receiving end of this kind of relationship, where we feel we’re just there when someone needs something from us, and of course, it makes us feel like crap. Many of us have also been the perpetrators at some point, and until something shakes us out of the comfort zone of our daily sleepwalk, we might not even realize we’re doing it.

Reflecting on that Facebook post made me feel a little guilty. I realized that, regardless of whatever sense of spirituality each of us may embrace, the notion that we sometimes let our lives “just happen” to us is often at the cost of forsaking all kinds of relationships, and a really meaningful life.

The Gutcheck …

Whenever I catch myself feeling guilt or shame, I try to take a moment to understand what “the takeaway” is. That is, I look for what is making me feel badly, and ask myself if there is something I can do about it, some good that can come of it. In this case it has me really thinking hard on the idea of cultivating “mindful friendships”.

Back to Facebook for a moment: it’s a great example of how we sometimes dilute the value of “mindful friendships”. We might have hundreds of people on our list, but how many are people that we genuinely feel a yearning to break bread with at that digital kitchen table each day? Are we collecting social trophies? Reconnecting out of a sense of novelty or nostalgia? Are the relationships healthy, or toxic?

What would happen if we were to go down that list and distill it into another: the kindred souls with whom we really share a mutual social, emotional and intellectual feast?

There’s an unexpected perk to doing a “mindful friendships” self-audit: some potentially awesome adventure buddies!

A healthy alliance is mutually beneficial. We can inspire each other, support each other, and have all kinds of adventures together, and in truth, sharing adventures is a pretty great way to rekindle a friendship again, no? Whether it’s something small, like picking apples and drinking cider in an old orchard barn, or cutting down a Christmas tree together; or something more epic, like planning a trip to Tuscany to feed your diva souls, the very art of conspiring ways to suck the marrow out of life is both a fun way to bond, and live well.

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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