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You are browsing the archive for vulnerability Archives - ᘡ Adventure Lab ᘠ ... rock paper estrogen.

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.

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.

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.

Give your inner critic a hall pass: Janet Echelman on using imagination and trusting your gut to fuel your own epic adventures.

December 10, 2014 in , by Sue Braiden

Janet Echelman - TED 2011

Janet Echelman’s TED Talk on taking imagination seriously was a brilliant piece of serendipity for me when I discovered it in 2012, and worth sharing as a tool for adventure divas struggling with doubt.

Having been rejected by seven different art schools after graduation, Janet forged out to become an artist on her own terms. That faith in herself was eventually rewarded with a Fulbright scholarship, and a trip to India. The loss of her art tools enroute led to an accidental discovery that changed her life, and saw her heading up the development of entirely new concepts and programs in architecture, engineering and art.

She shares her journey in this 10 1/2 minute TED Talk, and went on to elaborate on the value of taking imagination seriously in a subsequent article that appeared in the Huffington Post. I found this little snippet full of wisdom and power:

When developing an idea, I remind myself not to start with compromise. I envision the ideal manifestation of the idea, as if I had no limits in resources, materials, or permission. I’ve learned there’s a cost to eliminating options too soon, as some might be more viable than they initially appear.

In early design phases, I try to give my “inner critic” a hall pass to get lost for a while, and that goes for external critics as well. When ideas are young and vulnerable, criticism can be lethal.

I try to imagine my goal as a reality, and then work backwards to figure out all the steps I need to take to make it so. I look to the examples of people who accomplished unimaginable changes. Sometimes, I try to imagine how Gandhi must have felt as he set off on the Salt March, somehow believing his footsteps could change nations. He was able to hold the final vision in his mind, and understand each step needed to make it reality. We all have the potential to do that, but it’s a skill that takes practice.

You can see more of Janet’s beautiful sculptures at her web site, and learn more about how her willing “suspension of disbelief” has turned magical brainstorming into something larger than life:

http://www.echelman.com/

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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