One Year Together, Apart: The Pandemic Redefined Relationships and Self-reliance
March 26, 2021
March has been commemorative in so many ways. It marked one year that we have been hunkered down in our homes. We have been celebrating Women’s History. World Wildlife Day was on the 3rd. The Day of International Happiness on the 20th. The same day as the Spring Equinox. The 21st marked World Inner Peace Day, and sixteen years since, I decided that I would turn the negative things in my life into positive ones. To reframe how I view the world, from unconstructive thoughts to constructive. Life looks very different than it did when I began my journey down the road of happiness. Candidly, it has not always been fun nor easy. I have faced many inner challenges and still do today. However, now I am better equipped with emotional and spiritual tools that were previously lacking. Today, I feel content and on purpose and thank everyone, everything that has supported me along the way. 8 Good Things is a byproduct of my journey and reflects my commitment to serve others and the highest good. I hope you continue reading and sharing it with friends and family. The light in me sees the light in you.
P.S. Where can you travel safely once you’ve had the COVID-19 vaccine?
P.S.S. Please share 8 Good Things with your family, friends, and colleagues. It may brighten up someone’s day. Perhaps, even help somehow live life a little better.
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 email@example.com. This newsletter comes out once every three weeks.
One Year Together, Apart: The Pandemic Redefined Relationships and Self-reliance
A poignant look back on this last year at home. You can offer your thoughts and feelings about this time here. What are you anxious about, fear, cherish, or want answers to? The New York Times gives readers space to describe what their ‘After’ will look like.
10 Pillars of a Strong Relationship
The main takeaway is to realize what is already working in a relationship. It will make working on the issues easier. The ten pillars are good reminders of what makes a good relationship good. For me, they are feelings of true friendship and that we are a team.
6 Links to Longevity:
Having a sense of purpose. Primarily eating a plant-based diet. Being around family and friends. All these rank high as keys to living a longer, happier life. Find out the other three.
Is Walking 10,000 Steps Every Day
As a distance walker, I often hit this mark. It takes almost two hours and equates to about five miles for me. This is a significant commitment to make; most people cannot do this daily. The good news is that you do not have to. You are headed in the right direction if you can do half of that consistently, and it is easier than you think. Walk wherever you can. Try to take stairs instead of an elevator. Park your car further away from a store’s entrance. Your steps will quickly add up, and so will the health benefits.
Why ‘Star Walking’ is the Outdoor Activity We Need Right Now
Yes, we do! This article is about the perspective shift you have when walking at night versus the day. I live near Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and agree walking up there at night is a different experience. The article says that an observatory is no substitute for being completely in nature. However, it is what I have access to and works for me. At night the observatory is quieter. I find myself being more reflective of my place in the world and appreciative of my many blessings. I do agree with the writer that star walking is the perfect antidote for pandemic times. It can decrease blood pressure, heart rate and improve your sleep. And what a wonderful way to learn about celestial bodies.
Take a Virtual Visit to Airbnb’s Most
A while back, I featured an article that said that just the act of planning a trip can improve your mental health. As international skies are opening up more and more, here is some inspiration.
Chasing the Sublime
A short film that is an inspiring reflection on a friendship between two women, being willing to be uncomfortable, and plunging into unknown waters literally and metaphorically. Beautifully captured.
Oscar Nominations: ‘Mank’ Tops List With 10 Including Best Picture; Six Other Films With Six; Female Directors Record Set – The Complete List
This is a historic year for women directors and diverse storytelling. The Oscars will air live on ABC, April 25th. Also, in celebration of women, check out Hidden Figures and Other Essential Feminist Movies You Need to See and Doctors, Playwrights and Feminists: Meet 6 Trailblazing Medieval Women.
A Roadmap to Success
We use maps and GPS on the road, so should we for traveling through our daily lives. Now that we are in spring, a time for birth and regrowth, it is also an excellent time to revisit your 2021 goals. Through my travel partners at Explorer-X, I will be offering a virtual two-hour workshop designed to help reset your GPS for this year.
I write video content for a mindfulness productivity app, Centered. The app is designed to help you reach a Flow State while you work. You can use the app to organize your day’s tasks. They also play music to keep you focused as you work, or you can bring in your own Spotify playlist. At the start of each day, the app offers videos with productivity tips, inspiring quotes, and mindfulness techniques to help you work smarter. Check it out. New productivity videos online now.
I am guiding LIVE meditations on the Insight Timer app. Come sit with me! You can also follow my meditation circle. Currently, I am doing a 30-Day Happiness Invitational. Every day, I share an activity designed to boost your happiness, inspire thought, and nudge you out of your comfort zone. To support this invitational, you can join my morning meditations, 8 AM Pacific Time.
Meditation is our Wellbeing Silver Bullet. For those new to meditation, check out The Mindfulness Movement documentary featuring Dr. Deepak Chopra, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and other renowned meditation leaders.
Camino De Santiago | Spain
September 19th – 28th, 2021 | $4650 Per Person/Double Occupancy
If you have wanted to walk the Camino De Santiago, this year is the time to do it. It is a holy year. This is when the Feast Day of St. James falls on a Sunday. The last time this happened was eleven years ago. I have thoughtfully curated a transformative journey covering the last 100 kilometers of the Camino’s most popular route, The French Way. I also chose this route because it is doable for almost anyone, no matter their age.
The Holy Land | Israel
December 2nd – 11th, 2021 | $4395 Per Person/Double Occupancy
This trip is a beautiful spiritual journey with Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral’s Very Reverend Father John Bakas (Los Angeles.) We have made the pilgrimage twice before. Each time, it was indeed a joyful, uplifting experience for all. Father John has so much depth and knowledge of the Christian teachings and its historical context shared with today’s relevance and good humor. Suffice to say that we laugh a lot on these trips.
Picture Perfect Holistic Safari | Zambia + Malawi
November 8th – 19th, 2021 | Inquire About Cost
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 lens. Please join me for this unique small group sojourn. It will give you something to look forward to this year!
Baglioni Resort | Maldives
Forty Percent Discount Offer | Inquire About Cost
This dreamy paradise is just a forty-minute seaplane ride from the airport. Here, the Maldives at its finest meets the prestigious Italian Baglioni brand. Designed for optimum sustainability while making the most out of its sublime natural setting.
Special Guest Invitation | Through December 26th, 2021
Sojourn Explorers is happy to curate a Maldivian experience that is the perfect social distancing getaway. Here is one possibility.
Viceroy | Bali
Sixty Percent Discount Offer | Inquire About Cost
Special Guest Invitation | Through March 31st, 2021
Sixty percent discount on one or two-bedroom pool villas with no cancellation fees up to seventy-two hours ahead of scheduled arrival. No minimum night stay.
Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve | South Africa
Inquire About Cost
One of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World!
Special Guest Invitation | Through June 30th, 2021
Stay four nights, pay for three.
The Great Elephant Adventure | Kenya
Amboseli National Park + Laikipia Plateau + Maasai Mara
12 Days | Choose Your Dates | Inquire About Cost
The Kenyan bush is an awe-inspiring sensory landscape that is humbling to experience. The most iconic way to travel is to move every few days and set camp like the old explorers, except with more creature comforts. I am offering an extraordinary photographic mobile safari camp experience that can be curated to your desires. No detail is too small or unimportant. This adventure is perfect for families and small groups.
Arctic Quest | North Pole
Launches 2023 | Inquire About Cost
This pioneer’s adventure to the North Pole in a modern airship is getting a lot of attention. It is one of the most extraordinary and unique travel experiences you will ever have in your life. Many travel dates are already sold out! The airship has eight cabins and can accommodate up to sixteen passengers. Prices will go up the closer we get to the launch in 2023. If you are interested, book now.
Between May 17th and Thanksgiving, 2020, I walked 1000 Charity Miles for Stand Up To Cancer. I took to the foothills in my Los Angeles backyard. I hiked almost every day to support patients and caregivers with COVID-19. On Christmas Day, I pledged to walk another 1000 Charity Miles. So far, I have walked 415.5 miles. That is about 100 miles since our last edition.
My fundraising page from the last 1000 miles is still open. Every donation is meaningful to those in need. Bless you for caring.
Happy for No Reason was one of the first books I read when I began my happiness journey sixteen years ago. The author, Marci Shimoff, would also become one of my early happiness mentors. Much of my life has been a winding road filled with unexpected events, inner struggles, and now a lot of happiness by intention, design, and choice. This book offers practices that I still do today because they work. If you are ready to take on your own happiness journey, this is a helpful start.
Art & Science of Happiness in Action
Body Scan Meditation
One, bring your attention to your environment, slowly looking around and noticing that you are safe in this moment.
Two, bring your awareness into your body.
Four, notice your body seated or lying down wherever you are, feeling the support of the chair or the floor beneath you.
Five, take a few deep, long breaths, bringing in more oxygen to enliven your body. Breathing out, feeling more relaxed.
Six, notice the sensations of your feet or body touching the floor — the weight, pressure, vibration, temperature.
Seven, notice your legs against the chair or floor — the pressure, pulsing, heaviness, lightness.
Eight, notice your back against the chair or floor, supporting you. If you are not able to notice sensations in all areas of the body, that is okay. We are more connected to some body regions than others at different times of the day.
Nine, bring your attention to your stomach area. If your stomach is tight, can you allow it to soften? Take a breath.
Ten, notice your hands. Are your hands tense? See if you can allow them to soften.
Eleven, notice your arms. Feel any sensation in your arms. Allow your shoulders to be soft.
Twelve, notice your neck and throat. Allow them to be soft. Invite a sense of relaxation.
Thirteen, soften your jaw. Allow your facial muscles to soften.
Fourteen, notice the presence of your whole body. Take one more breath.
Fifteen, be aware of your whole body as best you can. Take a breath. Slowly open up the eyes.
Why this works:
Time Required: 30 minutes | Frequency: 3x per week
Scenes From the 2021
The historic eight-hundred-thirty-two-mile race still carried on in a modified version this year that avoided villages.
Sounds from Around the Milky Way
“A new project using sonification turns astronomical images from NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory and other telescopes into sound. This allows users to ‘listen’ to the center of the Milky Way as observed in X-ray, optical, and infrared light. As the cursor moves across the image, sounds represent the position and brightness of the sources.”
Happiness Theme of the Month
Write a gratitude letter to someone important in your life. Perhaps someone you have wanted to thank, though never had the courage. Find a quiet space, spend a moment reflecting on this person. Then let the words flow. Express how you feel about this person and what they mean to you. Then, read it to them in person, over the phone, or on Zoom.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”
“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”
Stay safe. Stay well.
PhD, Conscious-Centered Living | MFA, Film
Emmy-winning TV Producer | Happiness + Mindfulness Teacher
Transformational Travel Council Advisor
Seven Continent Marathon Walker
Every three weeks, we bring you eight big ideas to help you live better.
Each edition selects topics that reflect The Sojourn Experience’s desire to serve the greater good, both inwardly and outwardly. We are a conscious-centered company with three portfolio brands. The first is Picture Happiness: Take a Shot, which focuses on the art and science of happiness and mindfulness. The second is Sojourn Explorers, which curates transformational travel experiences to extraordinary places around the globe. Part of the money for each trip goes to nonprofit organizations we support. The Sojourn Media Group looks to create 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.
Let us know your favorite things from this week.
Share how your perspective changed this week.