8 Good Things


Jack Kornfield – How to Find Peace Amidst COVID-19, How to Cultivate Calm in Chaos | 27 Mar 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 Fellow Sojourners!

I hope this edition of 8 Good Things finds you not too overwhelmed by all things COVID-19. While the articles and podcasts in this edition mostly relate to the coronavirus, I tried to share some tangential thoughts, offer alternative perspectives, and just give you a nice pause from all the breaking news. We are in surreal times, indeed. My hope and prayer are that the by-product of this pandemic is that it will give us a global wake-up to come together as a human species. To find love, generosity, compassion, and support that will connect us versus divide. In the new era of social distancing, I prefer to use the term social honoring. The light in me sees the light in you. May you and your loved ones be safe and healthy.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you,
but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

~ Maya Angelou

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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1These Cool Caves Are the Ultimate Adventure Destinations. While, for the moment, most of us will not be taking out our passports to venture beyond our country’s borders, we can still be armchair adventurers. I have to agree with this article’s title, caves are cool. They seem so otherworldly. I have visited two of the eleven caves listed: Waitmom Glowworm Caves in New Zealand and Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.

2 The Dos and Don’ts of Gift-Giving Around the World. Now that we have what I call, Coronavirus Etiquette — frequently washing your hands, keeping a socially honoring distance apart from others, and staying home unless you go out for essentials — you might want to consider other types of etiquette for when you are no longer banned from travel to distant lands, like gift-giving. Believe it or not, the wrapping paper you choose, how and when you gift, how you give, and the way you receive matters, as does your thank you.

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3Jack Kornfield – How to Find Peace Amidst COVID-19, How to Cultivate Calm in Chaos. If you do not know Jack Kornfield, he is a world-renown mindfulness teacher and best-selling author of numerous books about the topic. He is also my mindfulness teacher. I am half-way through the two-year teacher training that he does with Tara Brach, also a world renowned author and teacher. Recently, Jack was interviewed by Tim Ferris. Here are two calming meditations that he suggests. First meditation. Go outside and find a tree, stand next to it. Feel its roots going deep into the earth. Consider how the tree lives through winds and storms. Feel yourself reaching into the soil to stand the winds of change as well as outwardly being rooted, steady, yet flexible. Then, look inward to find these qualities inside yourself. Second meditation. Write your worries on a piece of paper. Allow yourself to feel the energy, emotion, and fears. Then, offer it all to your higher power — however, you define this for yourself — to hold them. Now instead of feeling fear, shift toward sensations of spaciousness, vastness, opening to steadiness, and calm. Either meditation is something you can revisit again and again as you feel emotionally compelled. (Thank you for sharing, Carole Landry from Toronto.)

4The Gifts of the Coronavirus: How to Find the Silver Lining in a Crisis. As someone who has spent years studying the art and science of happiness and mindfulness, I have been thinking about this a lot, what positive could possibly exist in this pandemic? I agree with the article that it will take a shift in perspective to see its beneficial by-products. With each passing day, you are seeing this shift not only happening, it is also growing and spreading throughout the world. Let there be a pandemic of compassion, love, and gratitude.

5A Reflection on These Times. This thought was one of my social media posts that I thought I would share here too. “Like many, I have been trying to make sense of this pandemic. I believe in an intelligent universe, so I keep asking myself, what is it that we are being told and not hearing? And I find myself going back to the same thought. We are only recently waking up to a Climate Change Crisis. The preservation of our wildlife is in crisis as well. Now, we have this, COVID-19. What is being told to us to do to stem the tide of the virus is quite simple. We hear and read it everywhere, wash your hands, keep six feet from others, and stay home. Now that you are home. Take this time to be still to know better what is in your heart. Take this time to connect via our amazing technology to family, friends, and others you have not spoken to in a long time. Take this time to assess how you want to be in this world from now on, the difference you want to make. What this moment in time is telling me is that there are a few simple things that we can each do to become better, both as an individual and as a collective. If we can manage this, we could genuinely save the world.” I am also sharing a video that sums up many of my feelings. (Thank you for sharing, Edward Oleschak from Los Angeles.)

6What Can the Coronavirus Teach Us? One is a realization that there are some genuine benefits to working remotely. I have thought this for years! Two, social distancing is already all too familiar to us. However, there could be positive change once this virus dissipates. How much more are you talking to friends and family on Zoom these days? Three, what matters in one place, matters everywhere else. We have already seen this to be true in the effects of climate change and the worldwide wildlife crisis. (Note: this was written on March 5th, and so much has already shifted.)

7Cooking, Cleaning, and Sewing Are the New ‘Wellness’. I like the subtitle for this article: “1950s housewife chores have been rebranded as meditation and self-care.” Since you are at home a lot more now, and there is so much emphasis on clean everything, you might appreciate a new way of looking at sterilizing the doorknobs and countertops in your home. I am also sharing this in the wake of recently realizing that I was finding making my bed, sweeping floors, ironing napkins, and doing dishes to be relaxing and soothing. In the mindfulness tradition, wisdom teacher Thich Nhat Hanh talks about a practice of just doing dishes. You are not ruminating, thinking about the past, nor thinking about the future. Instead, you are present to the sounds of the running water, its temperature, the feel of each dish and utensil. This article talks about how household chores are increasingly being practiced as a form of self-care — the repetitive actions helping one to feel in control.

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820 Extraordinary National Winners Of Sony World Photography Awards 2020. I thought you might enjoy taking a break from reading about the coronavirus to look at this year’s winners of the Sony World Photography Awards. These are not photographs. They are works of art.

Thoughtful

“For my part, I know nothing with any certainty,
but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”

~ Vincent Van Gogh

The Art and Science of Happiness in Action
Feeling Connected

First, think of a time when you felt a strong bond with someone. It could be having a great conversation. A time of support. Or, experiencing a life-defining moment, like now.
Second, write about why the experience made you feel close and connected to the other person.
Why this works: Connection is a basic psychological need.
When you feel and cultivate connection, it motivates you to be
kind and compassionate, which we could use more of right now.
Time Required: 10 minutes Frequency: 1x weekly

Levity

The First Cookies Baked in Space Have Returned to Earth.
Even in space, NASA astronauts want to connect with home.

Upcoming Sojourn Experience | Postponed Until December

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11-Day Pilgrimage to Istanbul with Loyola Marymount University Lecturer of Modern Greek Studies V. Rev Father John S. Bakas, the Dean of Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Los Angeles
This trip includes luxury accommodations, most meals, all transfers, expertly guided sightseeing tours, entry fees, and domestic flights.
Visit: Istanbul, Izmir, and Cappadocia

Words from Past Pilgrims

“If you’ve got the chance to travel with Maria, TAKE IT! Every detail is expertly executed, the food will be superb, and you’ll be well informed at every destination!”

“I feel truly blessed to have taken the journey with you at the helm Fr. John — for always lifting us up, encouraging us to be our best.”

“Inspirational, mystical, spiritual, powerful, peaceful, magical, and full of love and blessings.”

“A trip of a lifetime! A dream come true! Thank you! The best experience — new friends, fond memories.”

Sojourn Programs

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Happiness: The Art of Life Balance
As a longtime television producer, stress was my middle name. I have spent more than a decade studying what to do about it. Now, I teach the habits of successful happy people. I have put together a program that can fit into anyone’s schedule and can be joined anytime.

Happy Weekend!
Maria and Team Sojourn
Learn More

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


Emmy-winning TV Producer, Certified Happiness Trainer, 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.