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

Field Report: Sandra rebuilt her Haiti workshop & hired 5 people!

November 20, 2016 in , by Sue Braiden

Kiva Diva Field Report: Sandra in Haiti - November 20, 2016

It’s always exciting when we receive a field report on one of the women that we have invested in through the “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” project. This one is especially cool because it comes from the entrepreneur herself!

Back in October 2014 we helped an artist named Sandra rebuild her workshop in Haiti after her entire shop was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. It’s a relief that this report comes in on the heels of yet another natural disaster in Haiti, the recent hurricane, and that it finds Sandra safe and well.

Yet more great news? She not only used the Kiva loan we helped provide to rebuild her shop, but actually created jobs for 5 more people! Watch and share her inspiring story.

Sandra has been making and selling different kinds of scarves and sarongs since 1980. Here’s a bit more about our original investment in this wonderful artist back in 2014.

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!

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.

What does an Adventure Diva conquering fear look like?

in , , by Sue Braiden

What does an Adventure Diva conquering fear look like? Kristina Paltén on a 1,144-mile journey of trust.

What does an Adventure Diva conquering fear look like? Kristina Paltén on a 1,144-mile journey of trust. The Swedish ultra-runner began her run through Iran on August 29th 2015. She was to become the first woman ever to cross Iran by foot.

Take a peek at the trailer for “Alone through Iran – 1144 miles of trust,” a documentary about Kristina Paltén, a lone Swedish woman, who wanted to challenge her own and others prejudices against Islam by running across Iran.

“I will tell people about the incredible kindness I have met.” — Kristina Paltén.

J. K. Rowling on the Power of Failure and Imagination

March 31, 2016 in , , , by Sue Braiden

J. K. Rowling's inspiring commencement address to Harvard University graduates, June 5, 2008

As adventure divas we may be faced with similar fears: we’re too old, we don’t have enough money, we don’t have enough courage. These old scripts that we read from don’t serve us well. They become self-limiting beliefs, blocking the way to living our fullest lives. How can we possibly have great adventures when we are faced with such daunting challenges?

The power of two simple words — “what if?” — become wonderfully apparent when we look at the incredible journeys of other women who are just like us, and who have shaped inspiring adventures in spite of those challenges.

When I say “women just like us” we might not think of those who have eclipsed any sense of what our own “normal” might be. We might assume that people in positions of power, or lifestyles of privilege or status, are people to whom we could not possibly relate; and in doing so miss the lessons of kindred spirits whose paths started out very much like our own. One of those souls is author J.K. Rowling, one of the richest women in the world, and certainly one of the most renowned in our time.

Would you be surprised to learn that she came from a place of great poverty and suffering, endured domestic violence, and experienced spectacular failure? In spite of this, or perhaps fueled by it, she reinvented her life in inspiring ways, and it’s these experiences that shape the very moving commencement address that she gave to Harvard graduates on June 5th, 2008.

We don’t have to be 20-something to relate to Jo’s chat. Commencement is a wonderful world. It means “to begin”, and for many of us, entering this part of our journey feels like exactly that. In a way, when we enter “act two” in our lives — when our children have grown, when some of us might be retiring from lifelong careers, when we enter that sacred space that is finally “all about us” — we are graduating. And while we are graduating, really, from a lifetime of lessons, some of us may feel woefully ill-equipped to embrace this rich new time in our life.

What are you afraid of? (Not much after watching 82-year-old nurse-turned-action-hero, Kay D’Arcy!)

April 20, 2015 in , , , , by Sue Braiden

What are you afraid of? Not much after watching 82-year-old nurse-turned-action-hero, Kay D’Arcy!

Ten years ago if you had asked me what I was afraid of, I would have told you: heights, a world chocolate shortage, and snakes.

Today? Getting old, getting sick, being alone, being irrelevant, peeing my pants and dying.

Aging has a funny way of shifting the lens. (And yes, dignity is often one of the first things to go).

When we understand what we are afraid of, we also understand what we need, and that is the key to asset building.

There are all kinds of clichés I could apply to this (things like “what we fear we give power”, and it would be true), but instead of waxing poetic, I’ve decided I’m going to take that litany of self-conjured horrors and turn it on it’s head. I’m going to turn it into the best damned fuel for a bucket list. Ever.

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.

Ellen, on finding your own way, mustering up courage, and living with integrity.

August 14, 2014 in , , by Sue Braiden

Ellen Degeneres - Tulane Commencement - 2009

Sometimes being comfortable in our own skin can be one of the toughest battles we face. It can also be fuel for really great adventures. When we think about the things we fear the most, there are often hidden gems inside, things that can be a powerful springboard to new experiences we’ve never really had the courage to embrace.

Ellen DeGeneres transformed the tragedy of the death of someone she loved at an early age into an opportunity to have a comedic conversation with God, opening the door to a truly unexpected life. She made her mind up that she was going to be on the Johnny Carson show, and be the first woman to be invited to sit down. She did, and she was, and well, you likely know the rest.

In spite of her success, happiness still eluded her because she lived with a secret that threatened to ruin it all, and it did. Ellen went on to turn shame and fear inside out to simply be herself, and it’s no surprise that this is one midlife diva who has gone on to have some of the most incredible adventures.

In 2009 she was invited back to Tulane University to give the Commencement speech in her home town of New Orleans, and in a way only Ellen could do, gifted everyone who listened moments of laughter, bumper crops of wisdom, and the way to take hold of a handful of elusive assets and make them your own: living with integrity, courage, resilience, determination, purpose and joy.

Grab a mugga joe (and a box of kleenex) and settle in for the most empowering 17 minutes and 54 seconds of your day …

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