Welcome to the Adventure Lab!

Have fun. Do good.

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.

user Login

To start connecting please log in first. You can also create an account.

You are browsing the archive for reflection 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.

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?

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. ❤

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!

The Humbling Months

November 14, 2014 in by Sue Braiden

Instead of aching over winter, I want to embrace it this year as the humbling months; the season of sweaters and snuggles; a hibernation into good books, hot chocolate and sherpa throws; hearts softened by yuletide; and an invitation to reflect on the inevitable spring. When things are always the same, we lose appreciation for them. Change invites us to take stock in what we truly value in the things we have, and to be open to the gift of new things -- people, ideas, experiences and adventures -- so today I am happy for the snow.

Today I woke up from a 3-day slumber in the grips of a wicked, feverish flu and the world outside is changed. I walked out into the snow barefoot this morning, just because I could.

Instead of aching over winter, I want to embrace it this year as the humbling months; the season of sweaters and snuggles; a hibernation into good books, hot chocolate and sherpa throws; hearts softened by yuletide; and an invitation to reflect on the inevitable spring.

When things are always the same, we lose appreciation for them. Change invites us to take stock in what we truly value in the things we have, and to be open to the gift of new things — people, ideas, experiences and adventures — so today I am happy for the snow.

Our Customer Happiness Center. Spelunking toward 365 days of Adventure Diva mirth ...

We're Here for YOU!

We\'re Here for YOU! We're an adventure incubator for women, helping you find ideas, resources and allies to create awesome adventures!

Our Tools. YOUR Adventures.

Click here to learn more about our vision, and our promise to be inclusive.

Community Kitchen Table

Click here to join us at the Community Kitchen Table Elbows on! Every family has a cozy place to connect and unwind, and it usually starts here.

Grab a cuppa joe, pull up a chair, settle on in, and say hello ...

Click here to join us at the Community Kitchen Table.

Hey, neighbour! Need some help?

Are you a registered member? Drop by the Help Desk and leave us a note to tell us what's troubling you, and we'll get on it ...

Not a member yet? No worries!

Click here to lean over the fence and give us a shout!

Meet Our Newest Adventure Divas

Meet Some of Our Tribes

Learn More About Our Latest Kiva Divas

Join Us!
Skip to toolbar