8 Good Things


Here’s Why Planning a Trip Can Help Your Mental Health | 29 May 20

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Great information! Thank you Maria! ~ Dawn S.

I also appreciate your 8 Good Things newsletter — it is a ray of light in these Trumpian times. ~ Jeff W.

Best COVID help email I’ve seen yet. Well done and hope you and your loved ones are well. ~ Michael D.

Thank you so much for this wonderful and positive reading material list. Too many groups I’m on keep sending doomsday links and emails and just instilling all sorts of fear out there. But I love the silver lining in your 8 good things. Time to stop and reassess. ~ Maria K.

I can’t think of a better time for your 8 good things. ~ Jim B.

Your opening comments in this edition, as well as your line "Let there be a pandemic of compassion, love, and gratitude" made me a bit emotional and hopeful this morning. I look forward to reading 8 Good Things every other week. Thank you! ~ Erin F.

Thank you so very much today’s 8 Good Things posting. The inspiration and depth of thought is as truly amazing as it is healing during these oddly configured times. ~ John H.

Really well curated & done. Brava. ~ Steven P.

This is an especially good “8 Good Things!” I didn’t know that you were studying with Jack Kornfield. I’ve read several of his books. Thanks for sending this, Maria. ~ Mike M.

Loved your 8 good things today. ~ Brenda S.

Your 8 Good Things email always brings me joy whenever I get the chance to read it. ~ Gabrielle A.

Just your newsletter - Masters of Love. Your articles make me stop and think! I often evaluate my actions and it opens my eyes how to live better. Thank you for sharing these articles. ~ Betty M.

Maria,  I just can’t get over how good this is. I am so glad you do this! ~ Mark J.

Love it Maria. Always a GREAT read to jump start the weekend. Have a great one!~ Matt R.

Once again, thank you so much for the very nice articles. I printed out the one on Senior Health. Also, the story on Doris Day is quite touching. ~ Mark M.

Your newsletter is sooooooo goood. ~ David V.

Always a good read on a Friday. Thx Maria. ~ Matt R.

Thank you so much for your 8 Good Things. I always enjoy reading them. Thank you, especially for your commentary on Agnes Varda. ~ Mark M.

I am loving your newsletter and insightful articles on Self-Care and Self-Awareness. You are doing incredible work. ~ Erahm C.

I enjoy a lot your newsletter. It is one of the few newsletter I normally end up clicking on something. I often show it as well-made newsletter. ~ Jorge P.

Gratitude to Maria Baltazzi for sharing this article [Live Like a Stoic] in her weekly 8 Good Things email. Especially worth signing up for in today's trying times. ~ Morgan R.

I particularly found the content of [21 Weird Ways the World Changes in Autumn] very interesting, practical and useful. 3 [Live Like a Stoic], 4 [Fall Asleep Instantly with This Breathing Technique], and 5 [Try Any of These 33 Habits of Happy and Successful People] were particularly applicable for my worldview and circumstances. ~ Ian R.

Great read. You touched upon some good topics. Thanks. ~ Matt R.

Nice hearing about all your adventures. I love what you are doing.~ Marci K.

Thanks, Maria! I love Brene Brown. Thanks for the suggesting the meditation app. I loaded it on my phone and will try it this weekend. ~ Amy C.

Hi, Maria. Or should I say hi DOCTOR! Big, big congrats! Always love seeing 8 Good Things and what awesome news along with this latest set. ~ Eric R.

Congratulations on your PhD! You are certainly racking up lifetime achievements. And, thank you for including me on your mailing list. I enjoy your 8 Good Things. ~ John. V

Congratulations, Maria, on your doctorate. Enjoyed your letter and love the 20-secs to courage. ~ Loyelle E.

Great newsletter this week. Fabien’s book looks good. ~ Ethan Z.

Love you. Such great info you share. Xo ~ Brenda L.

My favorite newsletter yet!! Thank you ;-) ~ Allison C.

I enjoy your newsletter. ~ Mary T.

I loved the articles and especially the ones you did for “LightWorkers.” ~ Mark M.

Great article on Thought Trains, Maria! I teach Bible study class to a group of high school kids each Wednesday morning. I’m going to use this! ~ Nathan D.

I always enjoy and learn from your emails, thx. ~ Noelle F.

Maria…I LOVE your newsletter. Your faithful reader. ~ Gary F.

I enjoy your newsletters and end ended up watching both “Before the Flood” and “The Way” as a result of your newsletters. Thanks so much for the recommendations and sharing these meaningful flicks! I look forward to reading more of your musing and inspirations. ~ Diane C.

Thank you, Maria! The sleep info very timely ;-) ~ Sylvia V.

Dear Maria, thank you for all you do, it is wonderful. ~ Dean A.

Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience. ~ Mike P.

Hey Maria! Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your Friday emails. Lots of great positive energy to the end the week.~ Randy S.

Hi, Maria. This is just great reading, thank you very much. ~ David M.

Awesome… ~ Matt R.

My husband just forwarded me your email/newsletter. Wow!!! Very impressive. ~ Milica G.

Amazing, amazing. I just love getting these email newsletters. ~ Ursula R.

Good one MB. Love ur work. ~ Kirk W.

Cool! Thx Maria ~ Bob M.

I love these. Thank you for doing them. ~ Carla J.

Really enjoyed this, Maria!! ~ Lynda W.

Maria, such great material in here. It’s awesome. ~ David V.

:)) <3 ~ Steven P.

LOVE LOVE LOVE Maria ~ Jim B.

Thank you Maria. As always, so very good and uplifting. ~ Carla J.

Wonderful!!!!! ~ Steven S.

So glad you send these every week! I always look forward to receiving them. ~ Steve F.

I wish you knew how much I look forward to these Friday emails.  Thank you so much for including me. ~ Maria K.

I LOVE IT!!! ~ Fernando M.

It is a breath of fresh air to see someone working consciously to curate and create opportunities to uplift and inspire others, we need more of that in this world. ~ Kathryn D.

Really enjoy these positive Friday posts. Sorely needed these days. ~ Craig S.

Love your work, Maria. ~ Anthony H.

Thoroughly enjoying the new insights that come with each of your Friday emails. ~ Ian R.

Another great read on a Friday, Maria, thank you. ~ David M.

Thanks for this, Maria!  Keep 'em coming!  Just reading about these ideas and journeys makes me less stressed.  So THANK YOU!!  :-) ~ Meredith F.

To keep getting 8 Good Things, please add explorer@sojourn-intl.com to your email contacts.

Hello Sojourners!

I hope this edition of 8 Good Things continues to find you staying safe and remaining healthy. Unbelievable that we have passed Memorial Day still at home. This year it is more than our veterans that I felt we honored. It extended to all the frontline workers that have looked after us these last several weeks, whether they are healthcare professionals, those bringing us our mail, delivering online orders, operating cash registers, or stocking shelves in grocery stores. My heartfelt thank you to all these individuals, as well as my sorrowful prayers for those lost to COVID-19.

I know many of us, myself included, are over the Zoom calls and just want to get onto whatever is our new normal. I am wondering if wearing face masks in public will become law, like wearing seatbelts. I confess to feeling unsettled when I pass a group of people neither physically distancing, nor wearing masks. I am also grateful for every emotional tool and resource I have to get me through these days. I promise I am using them all. In this edition, I tried to find articles that would offer guidance as we start to go outside again, and some ideas on keeping mental health healthy. Toward the end, there are some donation-based online mindfulness classes that I am offering as well.

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One other thing. Many know that I am a longtime supporter of Stand Up To Cancer, and love to walk. The day Los Angeles was allowed back on its trails, I pledged to walk 1000 miles to raise $100,000 in support of cancer patients and caregivers with COVID-19. I hope you will consider donating to this cause. It is super easy. Step one, go to my pledge page and decide how much you want to give per mile. Step two, I walk the 1000 miles. Step three, once I complete my final mile, you will be asked for a credit card payment. You can pledge as much as you want, even 5-cents per mile helps a lot. Thank you for giving this a thought.

Click here for my PLEDGE PAGE

8 Good Things is a curated newsletter of inspirational and informational articles, videos, and quotes. If my thoughts about an article or video interest you, please click the ‘source’ button (e.g., NEW YORKER) to learn more. If you come across a story you would like me to consider sharing, please send it to explorer@sojourn-intl.com. This newsletter comes out once every three weeks.

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1 Here’s Why Planning a Trip Can Help Your Mental Health. If there was ever a clickable link for me right now, it is this one! Hint: thinking about trips makes you happy. I know it does me. I was supposed to be in Botswana and Zimbabwe for my birthday on May 22nd, and coming back in time to take a group to Turkey. Like many, the only thing our passports are currently doing is making us wonder when we will be able to use them again. However, some good news for those of us with wanderlust. Just the act of planning a trip and anticipating it, even if it is at an undefinable point in time, brings on substantially more happiness than hitting the ‘1-click’ button on your next Amazon purchase. Planning a trip encourages optimism—couple that with the fact that we tend to expend a lot of mental energy on future-thinking. Ergo, future-thinking around a journey becomes a source of joy because we are anticipating something good to happen. I also like the other point they bring up: people start to ‘consume’ their trip before they even go on it. Enjoying and savoring things like having the perfect Chianti with pasta in Venice. So use this time to learn about a place you would like to visit. Keep your travel dreams alive! I would also invite you to consider what kind of traveler you would like to be post-COVID-19? What types of experiences will be more meaningful to you? I am happy to answer your questions and help you envision the perfect breakaway.

2It Feels Like We Got the City Back for Ourselves. Reflections on major tourist destinations without tourists. Can you imagine having the Roman Colosseum, the Canals in Venice, or Amsterdam’s Red-Light District virtually deserted? People that live around these destinations are re-finding the beauty of the place they call home. Others feel as if they have stepped back in time to a quainter version of their city. Some feel sadness in the emptiness of an area once teeming with crowds. Even though their kids can freely play again. Gardens are being planted to provide food, just in case. Locals are noticing details of their city once overlooked. While some miss the tourists, many do not. Which begs some questions in my mind. When we start exploring the world again, how will we treat the places we are unable to visit now? Will we have a new appreciation for the gift of travel? Be more interested in spending time with the locals instead of observing them like fish in an aquarium? Will we be kinder, more respectful, and open to other ways of life? Will we exchange our Starbucks, McDonald’s, and familiar hotel chains for genuinely immersive, dare I say transformational experiences? I, for one, hope so.

3Face Masks, Blood Tests and Onboard Janitors. Flying’s About to Feel Very Different. First, the bad news, there is a high probability that the era of affordable travel is over, at least for a while. You will have to bring your entertainment and suffice with limited in-flight services. The good news is that there will be less crowded flights. The prediction is that airline interiors will be redesigned with no middle seat use, and they will be more fastidious about keeping high touch areas on the plane clean. Oh yeah, you could be required to have another kind of travel document on you, an ‘immunity passport’ that shows you are coronavirus negative. Spontaneous travel may not be so spontaneous for a while, either.

Email Email Email
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44 Ways to Stay Connected in a Socially ‘Honoring’ World. While we are still being asked to stay safer at home, here are some ways to keep your spirits up. An article I recently wrote.

5Zoom Fatigue: How to Politely Decline a Call During Quarantine. The usual boundaries that once dictated social etiquette around personal time have mostly dissolved. So how do you disconnect? On the flip side of feeling the pull to stay connected is the genuine need to disconnect. I mentioned in the last edition of 8 Good Things that I am crispy by the end of the day. A lot of it has to do with Zoom Fatigue and feel that we do need to set boundaries for our mental and emotional health. We do not have to attend every virtual social call or business for that matter. This article offers ways to decline invitations politely. A suggestion that I do is simply admit that I am overloading on Zoom calls and need the break. People understand and likely feel the same. 

6 The Surprising Science of Happiness. As of May 24th, 18,744,626, people in forty-five languages have viewed this 2004 TEDTalk. Why? Because it is relevant. We all want to be happy, especially now, as we struggle to re-envision our lives in a COVID-19 world. Dan Gilbert, the author of “Stumbling on Happiness,” talks about how we typically think that we will be unhappy IF we do not get everything we want. That would be an erroneous thought, and science backs this up. The reason is that we synthesize happiness. Meaning we learn to like, even prefer what we end up with instead of what we do not. So, if you wanted a red Mercedes and ended up with a blue one, you would come to prefer having a blue Mercedes. This talk is funny and offers some surprising data on what does or does not make us happy, especially when we have no choice about a decision or outcome, kind of like now. I chose this talk because I thought it might offer some insights into reconciling how life will go in the coming weeks and months. I wanted to spend my birthday in Africa. Instead, I was in Los Angeles and had one of my favorite birthdays. If I synthesized a happy day, I am okay with that. It beats being depressed that I could not be somewhere else.

TED

7 8 Ways to Go Out and Stay Safe During the Coronavirus Pandemic. This article makes a point that I have been thinking about lately, in light of states and other countries beginning to reopen. When the HIV/AIDS epidemic was at its height, we had to learn about safe sex because the reality of abstention was just not going to happen for most people. Somewhat similar today. Yes, we will be the safest at home. However, it is not realistic to think that we will never venture outside in the coming weeks and months. I have to go outside every day to walk for my mental sanity. So, similar to safe sex, we need to learn how to go safely into the world again. Think about the concept of ‘harm reduction,’ looking at risk along a continuum to find the best way to minimize it.

VOX

Email Email Email
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845 New Books You Need to Read This Summer. This reading list just came out on May 22nd. You may find yourself reading more this summer, so I thought I would share this article about new and soon-to-be-releases. Though it is not on this list, I just finished “American Dirt.” If it were not for my book club, I would never have picked it up. However, it is a riveting read about migrants crossing into the US from Mexico. It is a well-crafted and written tale of a mom and her young son forced to make the terrifying journey to the US after a drug cartel kills sixteen members of her family, and are now in pursuit of her.

Thoughtful

“A single footstep will not make a path in the earth,
so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind.
To make a deep physical path,
we must think over and over the kind of thoughts
we wish to dominate our lives.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

The Art and Science of Happiness in Action
Use Your Strengths

First, think about one of your strengths – creativity, kindness, curiosity – and how to use it in a new way today.
Second, take a moment to write about one of your strengths and how you plan to use it today. Then, do it as much as possible.
Third, do this every day for a week. You can use the same strength or a different one.
Fourth, at the end of the week, write about your experiences with your strength. What do you notice? What did you learn?
Why This Works: It reminds you of your positive qualities, which gives you confidence and self-esteem, thus increases happiness.

Levity

A Flamboyance of Flamingos
Stunning images of these oddly beautiful, sometimes funny creatures.

Sojourn Programs

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All through June, as a way to stay inspired, to be resilient, and to stay happy, I am offering donation-based online courses.

Mindful Creative Writing Salon | Weekly
Fridays, 12:15 - 1:30 pm Pacific Time. Suggested donation, $12 for each session.

Being Resilient Practicum | 4-Week Series
Saturdays, 10:30 - 11:45 am Pacific Time. Suggested donation for the series is $40, $10 for each session.

Mindfully Happy: Creating Your Inner Sanctuary
Tuesdays and Thursdays for two-weeks, 6:30 - 7:45 pm Pacific Time. Suggested donation for the series is $45.

All are welcome. Sessions via Zoom. Donations are not required, though much appreciated.

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Part of The Sojourn Experience's mission is to help our community cultivate a healthier mind, body, and spirit. While we are all staying a social honoring distance apart, I would like to share some other offerings to support your at-home self-care.

First is a downloadable PDF guide and recording to my Love, Gratitude meditation practice. Two things we can all use a lot of right now, and always.

Second, you can enroll for free in my online course, Happiness: Art of Life Balance.

Stay safe. Stay well.
Maria and Team Sojourn
Learn More

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Maria Baltazzi
PhD, Conscious-Centered Living  |  MFA, Film


Emmy-winning TV Producer, Happiness and Mindfulness Teacher, Transformational Travel Ambassador

About
The Sojourn Experience is a conscious-centered company with a portfolio of three entities. Sojourn Explorers curates transformational experiences to extraordinary places around the globe. Part of the money for each trip goes to nonprofit organizations that we believe in. Through Picture Happiness: Take a Shot, Maria helps professionals uplevel the quality of their thoughts and habits. She designs Happiness programs and workshops as well as leads retreats. Finally, Sojourn looks to create media partnerships with writers, producers, and directors to get their projects sold to production companies and various platforms.

Special thanks to Astrid Martin, article and video content research, and Michael Tobias, editorial review and formatting, for their ongoing contributions to 8 Good Things.

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Join for more 8 Good Things
  • Before opting into our newsletter, please take some time to review our Privacy Policy.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Great information! Thank you Maria! ~ Dawn S.

I also appreciate your 8 Good Things newsletter — it is a ray of light in these Trumpian times. ~ Jeff W.

Best COVID help email I’ve seen yet. Well done and hope you and your loved ones are well. ~ Michael D.

Thank you so much for this wonderful and positive reading material list. Too many groups I’m on keep sending doomsday links and emails and just instilling all sorts of fear out there. But I love the silver lining in your 8 good things. Time to stop and reassess. ~ Maria K.

I can’t think of a better time for your 8 good things. ~ Jim B.

Your opening comments in this edition, as well as your line "Let there be a pandemic of compassion, love, and gratitude" made me a bit emotional and hopeful this morning. I look forward to reading 8 Good Things every other week. Thank you! ~ Erin F.

Thank you so very much today’s 8 Good Things posting. The inspiration and depth of thought is as truly amazing as it is healing during these oddly configured times. ~ John H.

Really well curated & done. Brava. ~ Steven P.

This is an especially good “8 Good Things!” I didn’t know that you were studying with Jack Kornfield. I’ve read several of his books. Thanks for sending this, Maria. ~ Mike M.

Loved your 8 good things today. ~ Brenda S.

Your 8 Good Things email always brings me joy whenever I get the chance to read it. ~ Gabrielle A.

Just your newsletter - Masters of Love. Your articles make me stop and think! I often evaluate my actions and it opens my eyes how to live better. Thank you for sharing these articles. ~ Betty M.

Maria,  I just can’t get over how good this is. I am so glad you do this! ~ Mark J.

Love it Maria. Always a GREAT read to jump start the weekend. Have a great one!~ Matt R.

Once again, thank you so much for the very nice articles. I printed out the one on Senior Health. Also, the story on Doris Day is quite touching. ~ Mark M.

Your newsletter is sooooooo goood. ~ David V.

Always a good read on a Friday. Thx Maria. ~ Matt R.

Thank you so much for your 8 Good Things. I always enjoy reading them. Thank you, especially for your commentary on Agnes Varda. ~ Mark M.

I am loving your newsletter and insightful articles on Self-Care and Self-Awareness. You are doing incredible work. ~ Erahm C.

I enjoy a lot your newsletter. It is one of the few newsletter I normally end up clicking on something. I often show it as well-made newsletter. ~ Jorge P.

Gratitude to Maria Baltazzi for sharing this article [Live Like a Stoic] in her weekly 8 Good Things email. Especially worth signing up for in today's trying times. ~ Morgan R.

I particularly found the content of [21 Weird Ways the World Changes in Autumn] very interesting, practical and useful. 3 [Live Like a Stoic], 4 [Fall Asleep Instantly with This Breathing Technique], and 5 [Try Any of These 33 Habits of Happy and Successful People] were particularly applicable for my worldview and circumstances. ~ Ian R.

Great read. You touched upon some good topics. Thanks. ~ Matt R.

Nice hearing about all your adventures. I love what you are doing.~ Marci K.

Thanks, Maria! I love Brene Brown. Thanks for the suggesting the meditation app. I loaded it on my phone and will try it this weekend. ~ Amy C.

Hi, Maria. Or should I say hi DOCTOR! Big, big congrats! Always love seeing 8 Good Things and what awesome news along with this latest set. ~ Eric R.

Congratulations on your PhD! You are certainly racking up lifetime achievements. And, thank you for including me on your mailing list. I enjoy your 8 Good Things. ~ John. V

Congratulations, Maria, on your doctorate. Enjoyed your letter and love the 20-secs to courage. ~ Loyelle E.

Great newsletter this week. Fabien’s book looks good. ~ Ethan Z.

Love you. Such great info you share. Xo ~ Brenda L.

My favorite newsletter yet!! Thank you ;-) ~ Allison C.

I enjoy your newsletter. ~ Mary T.

I loved the articles and especially the ones you did for “LightWorkers.” ~ Mark M.

Great article on Thought Trains, Maria! I teach Bible study class to a group of high school kids each Wednesday morning. I’m going to use this! ~ Nathan D.

I always enjoy and learn from your emails, thx. ~ Noelle F.

Maria…I LOVE your newsletter. Your faithful reader. ~ Gary F.

I enjoy your newsletters and end ended up watching both “Before the Flood” and “The Way” as a result of your newsletters. Thanks so much for the recommendations and sharing these meaningful flicks! I look forward to reading more of your musing and inspirations. ~ Diane C.

Thank you, Maria! The sleep info very timely ;-) ~ Sylvia V.

Dear Maria, thank you for all you do, it is wonderful. ~ Dean A.

Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience. ~ Mike P.

Hey Maria! Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your Friday emails. Lots of great positive energy to the end the week.~ Randy S.

Hi, Maria. This is just great reading, thank you very much. ~ David M.

Awesome… ~ Matt R.

My husband just forwarded me your email/newsletter. Wow!!! Very impressive. ~ Milica G.

Amazing, amazing. I just love getting these email newsletters. ~ Ursula R.

Good one MB. Love ur work. ~ Kirk W.

Cool! Thx Maria ~ Bob M.

I love these. Thank you for doing them. ~ Carla J.

Really enjoyed this, Maria!! ~ Lynda W.

Maria, such great material in here. It’s awesome. ~ David V.

:)) <3 ~ Steven P.

LOVE LOVE LOVE Maria ~ Jim B.

Thank you Maria. As always, so very good and uplifting. ~ Carla J.

Wonderful!!!!! ~ Steven S.

So glad you send these every week! I always look forward to receiving them. ~ Steve F.

I wish you knew how much I look forward to these Friday emails.  Thank you so much for including me. ~ Maria K.

I LOVE IT!!! ~ Fernando M.

It is a breath of fresh air to see someone working consciously to curate and create opportunities to uplift and inspire others, we need more of that in this world. ~ Kathryn D.

Really enjoy these positive Friday posts. Sorely needed these days. ~ Craig S.

Love your work, Maria. ~ Anthony H.

Thoroughly enjoying the new insights that come with each of your Friday emails. ~ Ian R.

Another great read on a Friday, Maria, thank you. ~ David M.

Thanks for this, Maria!  Keep 'em coming!  Just reading about these ideas and journeys makes me less stressed.  So THANK YOU!!  :-) ~ Meredith F.