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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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Where’s the Beef? (and how a really bad movie can be a really great tool for checking in with yourself)

May 18, 2016 in , , by Sue Braiden

Where's the Beef? (and how a really bad movie can be a really great tool for checking in with yourself)

I’m always on the look-out for good Adventure Diva movies, and when I stumbled across “I’ll See You in My Dreams” on Netflix, I thought I’d found one.

I was wrong.

The premise was a woman named Carol confronting her age, and realizing her life had become predictable and mundane. With a husband who had been dead for twenty-years, and a handful of friends pushing her to get out there and date again (while simultaneously pushing for her to move to a retirement community), Carol is reluctant to change, until a set of chance encounters turns that on it’s head.

So far, so good. Clinging to the familiar and fear of the unknown, even if things have gotten stale, is relatable enough, and I was encouraged by the promise that Carol was about to push way out of her comfort zone and shake things up.

It had potential, until it slid straight into a quagmire of clichés.

I wanted this movie to be great, and while I found it predictable, completely implausible, and definitely disappointing, it served a wonderful purpose: it made me check in with myself every time I complained. If it made me so damned mad, what was it that I thought should have happened instead? I was cheering for these women. I wanted them to be brave. I wanted them to get off their asses and go out there and grab a hold of life and shake the hell out of it.

And that’s what made it great in an unexpected way. Anything that shakes you out of your comfort zone, that gets you questioning what’s important to you, that moves you to want to take a step, make a change, is a tool to be grateful for.

So I ask you, sister Adventure Divas, what is the perfect happy ending? What is it out there in the wild blue yonder that calls to your Adventure Diva soul? What will your life be incomplete without?

What calls you, know matter how crazy it may seem? And more importantly, what’s stopping you?

Let’s put our elbows on the kitchen table and talk about it!

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!

What have you done that took you past your comfort zone?

May 13, 2016 in , , by Sue Braiden

David Bowie on Authenticity. What have YOU done that took you out of your comfort zone?

David Bowie has some gorgeous wisdom about pushing out of your comfort zone. In fact, I took his advice to heart and pushed way outside of my own. (Click through and I’ll tell you a little bit about that, and then I’m going to bust out my magic wand.)

So, Adventure Divas, what have YOU done that took you past your comfort zone? How did it turn out? Was it the kind of “Aha! moment” that makes you want to do it again?

If you haven’t gone there yet, would you like to? What is it that calls to your soul and scares the hell out of you, all at the same time?

Let’s talk! I’ve set a place for you over at the digital kitchen table, and I’m making it my personal mission to be YOUR fairy godmother! I am going to have your back, girl, and together, with a little help from our friends, we’re going to figure out how to have that Adventure that has been calling you too!

Carpe diem, baby!
Sue.

Soul Pepper | Friday, May 13th, 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.

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.

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.

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