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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 joy Archives - ᘡ Adventure Lab ᘠ ... rock paper estrogen.

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

Letting go of trauma to clear the way for Adventure

May 17, 2016 in , by Sue Braiden

Sue Braiden, Rochelle Zohn, Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca

Twelve years ago I was attacked on a subway platform in Boston as more than twenty people stood by and watched.

No one intervened.

When I finally broke free from my attacker, and was running for the stairs, I fell. My hand was broken. I was crying, begging for help, but no one stopped. One by one, people disembarked the train, stepping over me, some on me, without ever looking back. When I finally reached street level, telling subway officials in the toll booths what had happened, they simply pointed me to a bank of 4 pay phones. 3 of them were broken.

No matter what I did, or who I asked, I could not get help.

May 17th has been in my calendar since 2004.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to hang onto it. Maybe to remind myself to be more vigilant (I made some stupid, tourist mistakes). Maybe to remember to be grateful that I’m still alive (especially given the very detailed account of what my attacker told me he was about to do to me). Mostly I think it’s just because I wasn’t ready to let go.

Somehow the trauma became part of what defined me. It’s also been one of my greatest blocks to getting on with the business of Adventures.

Come put your elbows on the kitchen table, and let’s talk about the ways we can stay safer as we’re creating happy experiences and memories …

Making Peace with Your Body and Aging

May 15, 2016 in , by Sue Braiden

Sue Braiden -- making peace with aging.

Today I am incredibly aware of the way age is invading my body — the crows feet around my eyes, the smile lines at the corners of my mouth, the loosening of my skin around my neck and jowls, the wrinkles on my hands, the Botticelli curves — and I’m oddly at peace with it. When did this happen? This learning to be cool with being in my 50s? It scared the hell out of me for so long, and yet when I look in the mirror I see every story that I’ve lived written all over my face, and I love it. When did we buy into the script that getting older — looking older — is less? I’m tossing it out. It’s crap. I’ve never been happier in my life. Old chicks rock!

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.

On embracing vulnerability as an asset, and banishing shame.

February 2, 2015 in by Sue Braiden

On embracing vulnerability as an asset, and banishing shame.

Seems like a heavy talking point in a space about adventures, doesn’t it? Let’s just call it “clearing the log-jam” that causes some of us to stumble right out of the gate.

ALL of us want to have adventures, but sometimes we struggle with the unspoken idea that we don’t entirely deserve them.

Seem silly? More people struggle with this than you might realize! There are a whole lot of reasons for this, and we’re going to devote an entire section on unpacking them really soon.

For now, let’s just acknowledge that “vulnerability” and “shame” can be stumbling blocks that get in the way of even starting to plot our adventures, and put them into a context that helps us find our way through.

We have all, at some point in our lives, experienced deep and profound shame. We are also likely to have caused it for someone else. This is not a kind part of human nature.

Today I found a teacher in an unlikely place. She is a person whose caricature has been allowed to stand in her place for 16 years. She became a pariah at the tender age of 22, and remains an almost universal allegory for the fall from grace. I am ashamed to admit that, like most of the public, I have been guilty of holding this young woman in a place of disdain for many years. I allowed the media circus to define both her truth and her value.

16 years later, Monica Lewinsky did something impossible: she stood up and became an advocate, and a voice of wisdom, about something that everyone of us has felt, witnessed and perpetuated.

You did it too, didn’t you? — flinched when I just said her name. I’m inviting you to invest the next 25 minutes to listen to something that will change the way you think not only about Monica Lewinsky, but about the internet, about assumptions, and about the responsibility we each bear to create safe spaces that don’t include shaming. Click on the tab to the right when you’re ready to listen to what Monica has to say.

This talk affected me in the same way that vulnerability researcher Brené Brown’s callings-out do, and I’d encourage you to take a few more minutes to listen to those too. You’ll find that I’ve shared them in a tab to the right as well.

I suspect every single one of us will find a take-away in these moments of wisdom, first, from Monica, and then from Brené. At a time when such big parts of our lives are lived online, openly, publicly, fragile-ly, taking the blinders off and thinking about the impact of that is a very good thing.

Spontaneity: the gateway drug to mirth, and an Adventure Diva’s best friend.

February 1, 2015 in , by Sue Braiden

Spontaneity: the gateway drug to mirth, and an Adventure Diva's best friend.

I’ve been thinking about a moment riding the bus, when a mother boarded, pushing her son in a stroller. As she stopped to pay the fare, the toddler looked straight down the aisle, then hollered “Hey, everybody! How ya doin’?” The entire bus erupted into laughter, and in an instant the invisible cord that had tied us all to our seats, silently bound by some misguided sense of propriety, had been broken. Everyone was talking with each other and laughing the entire way home. It was brilliant!

Kids have such incredible social capital. How do we manage to rob ourselves of that as we grow up?

And what does that have to do with this picture? Well, it captured a moment when I knew the value of that. It was snapped just hours before an earlier picture I shared of a couple celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary at the Banff Springs Hotel. (If my clothes don’t give it away, this was in the early 80s … lol). I was on a business trip in the west, and before going to dinner my colleagues and I were driving through the mountains, and stumbled upon the icy Bow Valley river where Marilyn Monroe had sprained her ankle filming in her first starring role in a western back in 1953. Not one to miss an opportunity for hijinks, I dragged one of my allies out onto the rocks in our heels. She had the sense to take hers off and leave them on the shore, but there I was, heading out to a spot just below the rapids, dragging her in.

It’s one of those moments that’s stuck with me all my life, because, 30 years later, I can still remember how good it felt to say “to hell with propriety, we’re going in!” and how much we laughed our heads off the entire time. Spontaneity is highly under-rated. It’s the gateway drug to mirth, and an Adventure Diva’s best friend.

In case you hadn’t noticed, age isn’t a 4-lettered word (and how a drag queen’s pink coat might be your next parade) …

August 8, 2014 in , , , by Sue Braiden

In case you hadn’t noticed, age isn’t a 4-lettered word (and how a drag queen’s pink coat might be your next parade) …

It’s cold out today. Last night was so chilly I actually pulled my fleece lounge pants on. This wouldn’t be so surprising if it wasn’t still early in August, the supposed “dog days of summer”.

I was thinking about this as I was making a cup of tea to warm up, and it occurred to me that I had already been pining the “near end” of summer way back in July. I catch myself doing this each year, already ringing my hands over the loss of the precious heat and inevitable slide into fall, even though the season might be just weeks old. As much as I love fall, look forward to picking apples and making pumpkin pies, I never really shake off the notion of it as “an end”.

And this is why I still have not learned to embrace being 51. It feels like my autumn. My hair is more than touched with frost, and there are plenty of the tiny but ever-marching betrayals of my body as it sheds the gifts of youth and becomes something I no longer recognize as myself.

Why does aging come with so much grief? Why do we dread it? Go to such lengths to hide it and push it off? And how do we turn this wasted angst into something more productive that helps us learn to love this very moment where we are right now?

Kiss my assets. One of the most eloquent responses you’ll ever read from a woman confronting the bullies that body-shamed her.

August 4, 2014 in , by Sue Braiden

Kiss my assets. One of the most eloquent responses you'll ever read from a woman confronting the bullies that body-shamed her.

You’ve spent months planning an epic adventure. You feel courageous as hell, until you eye up that little bikini your girlfriend talked you into buying for the occasion. What were you thinking? You can’t wear that! Your hand is shaking as you try to will it into the suitcase.

There is no shortage of things that chip away at our self esteem as we get older. The battle of the bulge is often one of them. Shame and that inner critic rob us of so many awesome opportunities to feast on joy when we deny ourselves the freedom to just be ourselves.

Sometimes it can be damned hard to love our own bodies, especially when there are people out there bent on feeding our anxieties. Whether it’s the media’s relentless campaign to edit the reality of our Botticelli curves, or the disapproving look of a passer-by, we get the message, day in and day out, that who we are is not okay.

Tanis Jex-Blake is a 33 year old mother of 5, and she’s about to be your hero.

All those things you wish you had? — like courage, strength, dignity and self-love — are served up in one seriously epic, wisdom-packed wallop to the wiseasses who put her sense of worth under assault. Take a peek at how Tanis responded through a Facebook post when she wore a bikini to the beach for the first time in 13 years, and was body-shamed by a trio of strangers. I promise you’ll be standing on your chair cheering by the time you get to the end.

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