8 Good Things


How Hope Can Keep You Happier and Healthier | 11 Dec 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!

The December holidays are already here, beginning with Hanukkah yesterday. Despite spending all of this year in Los Angeles, the time has gone quickly, albeit in ways none of us would ever have imagined. In a recent National Geographic article, this opening paragraph from 10 awesome science discoveries you may have missed in 2020 sums up well this past year’s events.

“This year has produced an unprecedented news frenzy. As the deadly coronavirus pandemic raged around the world, lives were uprooted. Readers eagerly anticipated every bit of progress toward a vaccine. The killing of George Floyd sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism. Wildfires rampaged across western North America, including five of the six largest fires in California since 1932, and hurricanes tore through coastal cities, with so many forming that scientists ran out of names for the storms. In the final few months of 2020, a historically divisive election dominated headlines.”

May we all have a more peaceful end to the year. Blessings to each and every reader.

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Some personal news to share. On Thanksgiving, I reached my goal to walk 1000 CharityMiles for Stand Up To Cancer. Since May 17th, I have been walking to support patients and caregivers with COVID-19. Every donation is meaningful to those in need. You can still contribute. Just go to my GoFundMe page. From when I began keeping track of my walking, I have logged over 4480 CharityMiles for cancer awareness. I pray for a cure.

Finally, in this edition for those willing to travel, I am highlighting places to check out under Sojourn Getaways. Then, keep scrolling down to see other fun and useful links.

Happy Holidays, as much as it can be this year. May you enjoy this edition.

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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1How Hope Can Keep You Happier and Healthier. If you think hope is Pollyannaish optimism, think again. Hope can actually be a motivator to get the insurmountable done with an upbeat attitude. This article offers ways to build hope. Here is the other benefit of having hope. It leads to a longer, more qualitative life.

2A Global Dictionary of Happiness. Fifteen different ways to culturally experience happiness around the world. We have all heard of the "hang loose" Hawaiian Aloha experience. Though what about Kalasarikannit, which is Finnish for "partying alone." Something many have had to do this year. Find out the other thirteen ways of practicing happiness. Some may surprise you. Others inspire you. [Thanks, Michael Bennet!]

3How to Take Your Winter Workout Outdoors. For those in cold climates that still want to get outside during these next winter months.

Email Email Email
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4You Can Watch the New York City Ballet’s Performance of ‘The Nutcracker’ at Home This Year. The New York City Ballet happened to film its highly praised production of this holiday classic at Lincoln Center pre-COVID. They are now streaming it from December 11th – January 3rd. The performance features over fifty dancers, sixty children from the School of American Ballet, and the sixty-two piece New York City Ballet Orchestra. Sounds like a splendid way to spend a holiday evening at home.

5The 10 Best Books of 2020. If you want to curl up with a good read during the holidays, here is the New York Times editor’s pick for fiction and nonfiction this year.

6The Best of Netflix’s Charmingly Bad Holiday Romcoms. And here is something for those who prefer to sit in front of the TV to enjoy some mindless escapism — no judgment ;-).

Email Email Email
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7National Geographic Reveals Its Best Destinations for 2021. The coming year’s travel list is focused on sustainability, family, nature, adventure, and culture. One of the places highlighted is Greece’s first underwater museum off the coast the Alonissos island. Here adventurers can explore the remains of a 2500-year-old Athenian merchant ship, either by sea or virtually. I have been to Alonissos, and it is genuinely one of my favorite islands in the world.

8Should You [Fly or Drive] This Year. If you are trying to figure whether you should travel for the holidays and do you fly or drive, try answering the questions in this interactive article to find out.

Sojourn Programs

I have recently started doing guided meditations and talks LIVE on the Insight Timer app. I would love to see you online! You can also join my Insight Timer Meditation Circle, where I recommend playlists, offer inspiring quotes, and let you know about upcoming sessions. Meditation is our wellbeing silver bullet.

Over the past few months, I have been writing video content for a new mindfulness productivity app, Centered. I also use it and love it. The app is designed to help you reach a state of Flow while you work and stay there. You can use the app to organize and focus on your day’s tasks. You can listen to their relaxing music as you work or bring in your own playlist. At the start of each day, the app offers videos with productivity tips, inspiring quotes, and mindfulness techniques to improve your workflow. Let me know how you like the videos! Check it out.

Sojourn Getaways

Scubaspa   |   Maldives
If you are up for holiday travel, here is a dreamy floating resort in the Indian Ocean. It combines the best of diving with a luxury spa experience. The water in this part of the world is sublime, and the temperature is lovely year-round.

Special Guest Invitations   |   Through December 2020
Fifteen percent discount if you book travel forty-five days before arrival, including 2021 trips booked now.

If you travel December 19th through 26th, save up to $1870 per person.
*Only one promotion applies.

Kuria Hills Lodge   |    N. Serengeti, Tanzania

Magnificent wide open spaces, teeming with elephants and big cats. On my last trip to Tanzania, I saw more wildlife at Kuria Hills than any other camp, which is saying a lot. There was an abundance of wildlife throughout that trip, though this location in particular. We had a chance to see a family of cheetah cubs, so sweet.

Special Guest Invitations | Through March 2022


Twenty-five percent discount for stays of four nights or more.

Fifty percent discount on the second night of a two or three-night stay.

First child (5 - 15yrs) sharing a room with one or more adults is complimentary.

Honeymoon Special

Groom’s first night is complimentary. The bride enjoys a fifty percent discount with a minimum five-night stay.

Also, click this link for an article that lists the African countries open for tourism and their entry requirements as of October 18th.

Camino De Santiago   |   Spain
September 19th – 28th, 2021

Taste what it is like to carry the pilgrim’s symbol pointing you toward Santiago, a scalloped shell on your backpack, and wish others who are also following "The Way," a Buen Camino. This is a thoughtfully curated transformative journey covering the last 100 kilometers of the Camino’s most popular routeThe French Way. This route is doable for almost anyone, no matter their age.

Picture Perfect Holistic Safari   |   Zambia + Malawi
November 8th – 19th, 2021

I have partnered with our Zambia + Malawi specialist to curate and guide a photographic safari that combines everything you want in an African adventure through a mindfulness experience lens. Hope you will consider joining me for this unique small group sojourn. It will give you something to look forward to next year. According to research, even planning a trip can boost your mental health.

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Arctic Quest   |   North Pole
Launches 2024

I am super excited to be offering this pioneer’s adventure to the North Pole in a modern airship.

Sojourn Invitation

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A great gift idea! Charity Checks is a beautiful way to give during the holidays. The organization was founded by fellow Explorers Club member and award-winning writer Lisa Sonne. It is simple to do. You order the charity check in any amount (and get the tax donation.) The check gets sent to a loved one, friend, or business colleague. They choose the charity they want to support and send them the check. One hundred percent of the amount on the check goes to that charity — what a heartful gift to give this year.

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I am an advisor for a courage movement called Scare Your Soul, and sharing our newest project, called “Lost and Found in 2020.” It is so powerful and timely given what is happening in the world. Until the end of the year, people are invited to share personal stories about life during Covid-19. These stories will be featured in a free e-book. There is a great contest too! The top ten entries get to be recorded by you or a professional actor. Your entry will also be part of an audiobook! Please join this wonderful project. Here is the link: www.lostandfoundin2020.com

! Amazing
2020 Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar.

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Picture Perfect
See the Best Wildlife Photography of 2020
Smile!

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The Art and Science of Happiness in Action
Eliciting Altruism With “Out-group” Members

One of the most significant barriers to altruism
is group difference.
We feel less inclined to help someone
if they do not belong to our group.
There may even be some
hostility toward outsiders.
Instead of seeing the differences,
look to what is similar across group boundaries.
Regardless of political, cultural,
or religious beliefs, we all have the shared
experience of being human and have common wants and challenges.

Why This Works: Reminding people that we are connected, seeing victims as real people rather than a statistic,
and acknowledging our common humanity can go miles to
replacing obstacles to altruism with feelings of compassion.

Time Required: Varies  |  Frequency: As much as you want

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Thoughtful

“To practice five things under all circumstances
constitutes perfect virtue. These five are gravity,
generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.”

~ Confucius

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, Seven Continent Marathon Walker

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 Media 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.