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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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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

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 …

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.

Little altars: re-imagining our social networking spaces to empower a life of adventure.

February 24, 2015 in by Sue Braiden

Little Altars

How often do you find yourself wanting to pull the plug on your favourite digital kitchen tables? Facebook and Twitter can be wonderful ways to connect with kindred souls. They can also become noisy, toxic drains of energy, contentment and peace.

How do we look at the virtual kitchen tables that we choose to put our elbows on, including the ones we do here, and re-imagine them as the healthy, happy spaces we want them to be?

I had an “Aha!” moment today. A few things came up on my Facebook feed that lifted me up in a wonderful way. As I was sitting there thinking about it, trying to imagine how I might distill that moment into one of intent, it occurred to me that I try to treat my Facebook wall as a “little altar”: a place to leave gifts for myself, and for my friends to discover, that allow me to invest my energy in ways that uplift and inspire, that invite reflection and action, and that feed my own soul.

It might be a tiny thing, to simply change the way that we -think- about our shared virtual playgrounds, but the shift is an important one. Our attitudes drive so much of both our emotional well being, and also our physical health. If we’re going to prepare ourselves to have epic adventures, it makes sense to surround ourselves with the people and things and thoughts that move us forward in significant ways.

It occurs to me that this is an example of “the positive flip,” something a colleague once taught me to embrace. In a nutshell, it’s the difference between asking “what works?” instead of “what’s broken?” We tend to see life as a series of problems to be solved, and this “problem addiction loop” comes with a lot of baggage attached. I want to take some time to share a bit more thinking on these two things in a post of their own, because as tools they are very, very empowering.

When you think about this shift of perspective in the context of how it empowers a life of adventure, it makes a whole lot of sense. We learn the wisdom of packing light; and how jettisoning the heavy baggage frees us up to get off the beaten path, go further and deeper into wonderful places.

Instead of focusing on the work of the journey, we can simply enjoy the journey itself.

What kinds of treasures do you love tucking into your own “little altars”? How do they shape you as a person, as an ally and friend? When you’re thinking about a life of adventure, how can you use them to lead the way?

Why not join me at our own kitchen table to share your thoughts?

Collect “experiences” instead of “things”: how a new dad’s advice might be the ticket to kickstarting your own adventures.

December 10, 2014 in by Sue Braiden

Adam Baker - TEDx Asheville

Challenge: collect “experiences” instead of “things”.

“There are thousands and thousands of people out there living lives of quiet, screaming desperation who work long, hard hours, at jobs they hate, to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.”
 
— Nigel Marsh.

This video really resonated with me when it first came out awhile ago on TEDx, and I was grateful for the chance to reflect on it again. Good gut-check with a whole new crop of New Year’s resolutions waiting to be broken just around the corner again.

You’ve seen some iteration of this wisdom before:

“There are thousands and thousands of people out there living lives of quiet, screaming desperation who work long, hard hours, at jobs they hate, to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.”

It’s a quote from Nigel Marsh, shared by a young man name Adam Baker who has a whole lot of wisdom beyond his own 20-something years on the planet.

The day they brought their newborn baby home from the hospital, Adam and his wife sat down and asked themselves some really hard questions about the kind of life they wanted, and whether or not that was congruent with the one they had. Not surprising that the typical western cycle of mountains of student debt fueled by the hunger of consumerism and the need to “keep up with the Jones-es” takes many of us about as far away from our own ideals as we possibly could be. The Bakers made a really courageous decision, and while we kind of get bombarded with this stuff until it just feels like a whole lot of saccharine tripe, this isn’t that.

There was something in particular video that sat me back on my heels, and that was Adam’s challenge to start collecting “experiences” instead of “things”. It’s funny, because my business coach, Linda Lord, had me do an assignment not long ago asking me to prioritize what was of value to me. In a page full of words, I was only allowed to choose 4. The first thing I circled? Experiences. Receiving this reminder today reinforces it.

Adam nails it in less than 20 minutes, and it was this video that had me make a lot of my own tough choices when it first came out, at a time when I’d put the adventure I’m now embarking on with the Estrogen Army project on the back burner for more than a decade.

Worth sharing! Grab a mugga joe and settle in for a few, then head over and put your elbows on the kitchen table toshare your own ideas about and experiences.

Have you made the switch to collecting “experiences” instead of “things”? How did you do it? Was it hard? Exciting? What words of wisdom and resources might you share with your sister adventure divas who are thinking of taking the challenge to fuel epic new adventures?

I can’t wait to hear what you’ve got to share!

What if this is THAT moment? On gutchecks and living life on purpose.

July 1, 2014 in , by Sue Braiden

Last night my son and his girlfriend were hit by a drunk driver. My heart jumped into my throat when I got the news. It’s a mother’s worst nightmare, to get that call. You play it over in your head a hundred times when they’re out there beyond the reach of your arms, having to admit that you cannot protect them from so many things.

How does it end? A life snuffed out? More ruined?

Your head is going a thousand miles an hour, living through every horrifying scenario, making bargains with whatever higher power you pray to or hope might be there to listen: just let them be okay, and I promise to do/be (… and this is where you fill in the blank).

Have you ever made that bargain? Clutching your stomach with the wind knocked out of you? That moment where time actually does stand still?

How does it end?

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