Meditative Story

By WaitWhat + Thrive Global

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Meditative Story is a completely new kind of listening experience that blends intimate first-person stories with mindfulness prompts, enveloped in beautiful music composition. Every week, subscribers will receive a new Meditative Story from a storyteller who will transport listeners to the time and place where everything changed for them — a story that may be deeply relatable to the listener’s own life. As the story unfolds, mindfulness guide Rohan Gunatillake (founder of the popular Buddhify meditation app) offers prompts to calm the mind, and help listeners connect with their own observations. The entire experience is elevated by gorgeous music. Shifting between music and vibration, the exquisite sound design rides above the narrative, bringing each Meditative Story to life and giving subscribers the headspace to feel restored and refreshed. Meditative Story is a WaitWhat original series — created by the team who built and led TED’s media organization — in close partnership with Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global. The series is made possible with generous support from Salesforce.

Episode Date
Creating space to stand in truth, by Susan David

Psychologist and author Susan David invites us into the sad days after she loses her father as a child – and the kind teacher who helped her carve out space to feel her grief and sadness honestly. It's a lesson she takes into her own journey as a parent.

Dec 10, 2019
Learning to see what is in front of me, by Siri Hustvedt

To truly see what is right in front us, requires the practice of looking, of careful and sustained attention – without expectation or judgment. Join author and essayist Siri Hustvedt on an hours long trip to the museum spent in front of just one painting. And discover more than just what's on the canvas.

Dec 03, 2019
Standing in my own truth, by Moj Mahdara

As a teen growing up in a traditional household and struggling to share her true identity, Moj Mahdara finds her path through her two grandmothers — who couldn’t be more different than one another. Under blankets, sharing secrets and stories, Moj learns that, generations before her, family members had fought to define themselves too. It is through old souls that Moj finds the strength to stand her own truth.

Hear music from Moj's paternal grandmother, Moluk Anghoz (1934–2007), known as Afat:

See Afat performing at 5:17 in this video:

and at 9:51 in this video:

One more song from Afat, accompanied by amazing photos:

Nov 26, 2019
Starting the story of my life again, by Keith Yamashita

How do you rebuild a life after it very nearly ends? Entrepreneur Keith Yamashita tells his own story of how he learned to live again after a devastating stroke, to nourish himself and the world, and to take each moment as it comes.

Nov 19, 2019
Surrendering my old identity — and finding myself, by Catherine Reitman

As an actor and a new mom, Catherine Reitman felt pulled between two competing identities. To capture her frustration, her sadness, her truth, she wrote it all down. In sharing her darkness, she found a way to turn a light on for someone else.

Nov 14, 2019
Allowing sound to reveal life’s wonder, by Stephen Kuusisto

Author and poet Stephen Kuusisto, who is blind, hears life expressed in sound, the weird and wonderful chance music of everyday life. And he's able to find meaning, big and small, in it all.

Nov 05, 2019
One envelope at a time, by Hannah Brencher

When's the last time you hand-wrote a letter? Author Hannah Brencher shares a simple story about the value of connecting on paper.

Oct 29, 2019
Navigating life in my own skin, by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

In precisely chosen words, the writer, artist and Zen priest Zenju Earthlyn Manuel tells a story from her girlhood, a road trip from LA to Louisiana in 1957. While five-year-old Zenju sits in the back seat dreaming of cowboys, her parents navigate an altogether different landscape. From them, from the trip, Zenju now believes she’s learned how to find her way in the world, in her skin.

Oct 22, 2019
Finding permission to pursue my own dreams, by Josh Radnor

Actor, filmmaker, and musician Josh Radnor takes us back to his very first time on stage — and introduces us to someone who gave him the push he needed to be true to himself. Please note that this episode includes language about self harm.

If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or chat online.

Oct 15, 2019
Hitting the open road to find my way home, by Peter Sagal

NPR host Peter Sagal shares the story of a motorcycle trip he took through the middle of America – and how it gave him the space he needed to navigate.

Oct 08, 2019
Finding my own reflection, by Jane McGonigal

What's is like to be an identical twin? Game designer Jane McGonigal tells a story of similarity and divergence as she explores the magic of sharing DNA while becoming an individual.

Oct 01, 2019
How to find -- and feed -- your passion, by Danny Meyer

Restaurateur Danny Meyer takes us back to where it all began for him: a family trip to Europe and a simple plate of pasta. That memorable meal sparked a lifetime practice of discovery that continues to feed his creativity and his soul.

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Sep 24, 2019
The perfect photograph I never took, by John Moore

While filming one day in the Congo Rainforest, legendary photojournalist John Moore pursued the vision of a perfect photograph -- a vision that literally brought him to his knees. He shares the magic that can occur when you let go of the desire to control the outcome.

Sep 17, 2019
I let go of my plan — and found myself, by Krista Tippett

Krista Tippett, the host of "On Being," talks about the time she took a break from the intensity of life and just stopped to check in with herself – with deeply unexpected results.

Read Krista's latest book, "Becoming Wise."

Learn about The On Being Project

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Read the transcript for this episode.

Sep 10, 2019
Fighting my fears – and winning in spite of losing, by Thomas Page McBee

Author and journalist Thomas Page McBee takes us into the boxing ring at Madison Square Garden, where he finds answers to some of his most profound questions through fighting – and along the way discovers what happens when you stop trying to win.

Show notes:

Book: Amateur, by Thomas Page McBee

Web: Learn more about writer Thomas Page McBee

Sep 03, 2019
Building a bond with my son, by Dan Harris

Broadcaster Dan Harris shares a candid look at his attempts to connect more with his son, Alexander, on their first father-son trip.

Aug 27, 2019
Our tiny meaningful lives in the vast universe, by Michelle Thaller

Renowned astronomer and science commentator Michelle Thaller shares a story about cosmic awe and deep connection — both to our fellow human beings and to the universe around us.

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Read the transcript for this episode.

Aug 20, 2019
To visualize ... and then make it so, by Larry Jackson

Despite a lifetime of creative success, Apple Music’s Global Creative Director, Larry Jackson, didn't believe in the power of manifestation -- until he learned a valuable lesson from Jennifer Hudson and her Pomeranian, Grammy.

Aug 13, 2019
Life and love and the moment, by Arianna Huffington

Join a young Arianna Huffington on her journey from Athens to Cambridge, as she shares a lesson she learned from her mother of embracing life’s journey without being attached to the outcome.

Aug 06, 2019
A home that had been waiting for me forever, by Pico Iyer

Travel to Southeast Asia with writer Pico Iyer as he reveals what happens when we allow ourselves to be pulled forward into the unknown, when we wander and let ourselves experience the magic of the scenes unfolding around us.

Aug 02, 2019
My funny, feisty, thoughtful, brave girl, by Lucy Kalanithi

A mesmerizing story about the wisdom and delight you can find — even in the midst of tragic loss — by seeing life and death through the eyes of a child. Storyteller Lucy Kalanithi is the widow of Paul Kalanithi, who wrote the best-selling memoir "When Breath Becomes Air,” published posthumously in 2016. This story is a coda to his memoir.

Read "When Breath Becomes Air."

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Read the transcript for this episode.

Jul 30, 2019
Introducing Meditative Story

Every week, you’ll receive a different Meditative Story from a storyteller who will transport you to the time and place where everything changed for them — a story you might find yourself relating to deeply. As the story unfolds, mindfulness guide Rohan will offer gentle prompts designed to calm your mind and help you connect with your own observations. Your entire experience will be elevated by gorgeous music that rides ethereally above the narrative. Shifting between music and vibration, the sound design brings each Meditative Story to life, with the aim of giving you the headspace to feel restored and refreshed.

Jul 22, 2019