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Author: Wonderstruck Productions

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Experiences of awe and wonder can transform us, awaken our intuition, inspire vision and cultivate our creativity and imagination. Such Wonderstruck moments can, in fact, change our lives and the world. From the everyday extraordinary to the beyond incredible, we talk about the what, wonder and wow of being. Delving deeper through levity and thoughtful curiosity, Wonderstruck explores consciousness and those both humbling and empowering experiences that connect us to something greater than ourselves, while generating a sense of community with others and our natural world. Sometimes these tales are so astounding, they are misunderstood, dismissed and even ignored as they don't fit our tendency for tidy rationality and reductionism. Join awe-embracing host Elizabeth Rovere, a clinical psychologist, yoga teacher, Harvard Divinity School graduate and seeker, and a collection of experts and experiencers, shamans and scientists, agnostics, academics, artists, atheists, and more as they share their stories, wisdom, and insight. Every week on Wonderstruck, they'll unpack life's mysteries by bringing the "out there" in here.

Presented by Creative Visions, Wonderstruck Productions, Baillie Newman and FreeTime Media. 

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18 Episodes
Emma Mumford is the best-selling author of Hurt, Healing, Healed, and Spiritual Queen, and host of Spiritual Queen’s Badass Podcast. There, she covers topics like manifestation, out of body experiences, The Law of Attraction and processing trauma. Emma’s own spiritual awakening came as a surprise. She had found professional success after years of personal struggle, becoming a popular couponing advocate and presenter in the UK. Nevertheless, she still suffered from depression and anxiety. A moment of surrender changed Emma’s life. “I remember looking out the window and saying, ‘Universe, help me.’ And that was it,” Emma tells Wonderstruck’s Elizabeth Rovere. As Emma let go of control and led more from her heart, she opened up to newfound teachings, therapy, and self-help tools. She began tapping into deep personal wells of agency and creativity, working through childhood trauma, developing her intuition and, ultimately, drawing upon her learnings to help others find happiness. “When you find yourself in the trenches of life,” Emma says. “There is a purpose to that. You may not know it at that time, you may not know what abundance or happiness or joy awaits you." https://wonderstruck.org Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
What do you want? Who are you bound to? Who are you, really? And what will you do when faced with difficult decisions? These are some of the questions at the heart of religion and tragedy, dramas about extreme situations, impossible choices, and their consequences. William Robert, a professor of religion at Syracuse University, studies religion by studying tragedies, since both ask the same kinds of big questions about being human: questions about love and connection, about purpose and passion, about morality and mortality. And they’re persistent questions that don’t have final answers. In performance-based classes and workshops, and in print, William uses tragic dramas to rethink how religion works, what it does, and why it matters. His most recent book, Unbridled: Studying Religion in Performance, won the American Academy of Religion’s Religion and the Arts Book Award. On this episode of Wonderstruck, William and host Elizabeth Rovere discuss performance and pedagogy as practices of wonder that generate learning. Using teaching methods that draw upon embodied participation, earnest curiosity, props and disarming playfulness, William breaks down the barriers of academia to reach new and transformative conclusions. "When we're using our bodies, we are inevitably thinking and feeling together," he says. "The intellectual and the affective and the corporeal dimensions are all mixed together. And that's much more powerful than just the intellect."https://wonderstruck.org Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Seeking relief from her migraine headaches, Dr. Sue Morter turned to meditation. As a new meditator, 24 years ago, she sat down to meditate as part of a group. As she followed along chanting a mantra, her mind was stilled and she was instantaneously transported into a higher state of consciousness, that she explains "was completely altered from where we operate on a daily basis." Dr. Sue shares with Wonderderstruck's Elizabeth Rovere, "I could see 360 degrees...I could see in every direction simultaneously...I was a ray of light. And I had always been there. I knew instantly that this was the truth of who I was. " Her life's work has evolved from this formative moment and the multi-dimensional experiences and understandings she continues to access as she works to embody this greater truth of who we are, teaching it and sharing it with others through her Energy Codes coursework, BodyAwake Yoga, Spiritual B.E.S.T. (Bio Energetic Synchronization Technique) and as a best-selling author. Dr. Sue is a transformational leader, teaching us how we're contributing to the expansion of human consciousness as "we're waking to the truth of why we're here and what we're capable of."https://wonderstruck.org Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Nicole Baden's life in Zen began with a crisis. She was 17, overwhelmed and felt she may not survive. With help from her father, and her own intuition, Nicole looked for relief in the form of her 18th birthday gift: a trip to a Zen meditation retreat. Hoping to quiet her existential dread, what Nicole took away from that trip was even greater. It set her on a path that would entirely change her concept of self, and the way she'd experience being in the world. Now known as Tatsudo Nicole Baden Roshi, she is a Dharma Successor of Zentatsu Richard Baker Roshi, and director and a resident teacher at the Zen Buddhist Center Schwarzwald in Germany---the very same place she arrived as a frightened teen many years ago. The way Nicole teaches about Zen clarifies, demystifies and prescribes ways for her students to change their own paths by practicing meditation. "You can start sitting at home in homeopathic doses," she tells Wonderstruck's Elizabeth Rovere. "If you start introducing bodily stillness into your daily life, that would be a really good start." Beginning next year, Nicole intends to do more teaching in the United States, online and in-person, expanding the offerings at Dharma Sangha's Crestone Mountain Zen Center in Crestone, Colorado, where she serves as Assistant Abbot.https://wonderstruck.org Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
In 1950, a 19-year-old Stanford University sophomore named Michael Murphy had a serendipitous encounter that changed his life. Murphy had prepared to sit through more of his pre-med coursework. Instead, he wound up in a lecture hall where the great religions scholar and professor Frederic Spiegelberg delivered a message that shook Murphy to his core, altering his ambitions, his career trajectory and his spiritual outlook. "Walking out of there, one sentence kept going through my head," Murphy, now 93, shares with Wonderstruck's Elizabeth Rovere, "It was like an obsessional thought: you will never be the same, you will never be the same." Spiegelberg's influence set Murphy on a path that would lead him to turn a sacred plot of land on the Northern California coast into a cliffside hub for the study and practice of human potential. Co-founded with Richard Price in 1962, Esalen Institute has left an indelible mark on countless individuals and on a broader culture of seekers and scholars. Wonderstruck's second season kicks off with a story only Michael Murphy can tell, about Esalen's wild evolution and impact, guarding it against drug dealers and cults, and a lifetime, says Murphy, of moving "into this greater life that's pressing to be born in us all."https://wonderstruck.org Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Doctor John Douillard is one of the world’s foremost natural health experts and a leading voice in the fields of Ayurveda and sports medicine. As a certified ayurvedic practitioner, John draws from ancient Indian medical knowledge and cutting edge medical research to treat the ailments of the modern world. A prolific author, podcaster and YouTube presence, millions of viewers have watched John's videos about topics like sleep improvement, brain detoxing, healthy aging, and longevity. On Wonderstruck’s Season 1 finale, John shares his most powerful teaching. He reveals how he eliminated fatigue and found a source of “jet fuel” in his own body. And he opens up about why getting older means embracing the spiritual world in deeper ways, and the connection he’s found between wonder and inner strength. “The whole idea of exploring inner space is such a road less traveled,” John tells host Elizabeth Rovere. “But it’s so full of wonder and awe and joy. Sitting down and meditating and breathing can change your life, and give you an experience of life that is so joyful and so fulfilled that you become what I call ‘weather proofed.’ You know: you’re not happy only when good things happen, and you’re not sad only when bad things happen. You experience them, but you’re weather proofed from letting them change who you are. Nothing has the power to change who we are.”https://wonderstruck.org Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Visionary creator of communities and author of the book Belong, Radha Agrawal is the co-founder and CEO of Daybreaker, a one of a kind wellness movement and gathering of sunrise dancers that has held extraordinary events on five continents—for almost half a million people, including Oprah—over the course of the last ten years. While integrating music, movement and community, all in a substance-free, sun up setting, Radha has developed powerful, transformative ideas about moving past judgment towards a place of wonder and embracing dance as means to radical healing. “It sweeps you out of your head into this sort of spiritual realm,” Radha tells Wonderstruck’s Elizabeth Rovere. “It’s unlike any other experience I’ve ever felt.”https://wonderstruck.org Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Focusing on esoteric rituals, gender and bodies in Hindu traditions, Sravana Borkataky-Varma is a research fellow at Harvard Divinity School, an instructional assistant professor of Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Houston, and sits on the Board of Trustees at Esalen Institute. From early childhood, Sravana experienced both clairvoyance and clairaudience. She sees and hears things others cannot perceive. At eight years old, mindful of these gifts, she began her initiation into Tantra and practices Hindu Śākta (Goddess) Tantra to this day. “Somehow, for a very complex history, Tantra gets understood in the context of sex,” Sravana tells Wonderstruck’s Elizabeth Rovere. “The culture absorbed it in a tiny little sliver.” By pushing back against this misperception, Sravana articulates a much richer narrative about what tantra really is—and why it matters.https://wonderstruck.org Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
In Father Francis Tiso’s second Wonderstruck sit-down with host, Elizabeth Rovere, he reveals more about his Himalayan adventure and gets personal about his own experiences with wonder and awe. From visions of Jesus Christ, to encountering holy visitors in his dreams, Father Tiso shares how his own spiritual practices, and his pursuit of wisdom, prepare him to embody and understand different levels of consciousness across life and death, even soothing cancer patients with visualization and guided meditation. “I have used meditation on a number of occasions with people who are dying,” Father Tiso says. “It does seem to help people connect with the inner structure, their own subtle body, to be strong in the face of death--not just stoically strong, but deeply, spiritually strong to reach the point of luminosity and gratitude.”https://wonderstruck.org Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Father Francis Tiso, a Catholic Priest and renowned scholar of Tibetan Buddhism, shares the unforgettable story behind his riveting book Rainbow Body and Resurrection: Spiritual Attainment, the Dissolution of the Material Body, and the Case of Khenpo A Chö. Khenpo A Chö was a Tibetan monk who, through retreat, prayer, and meditation, prepared his body to turn into radiant light upon his own death. When Khenpo A Chö died, he achieved this phenomenon (it's called the rainbow body), and in the year 2000, Father Tiso traveled to Tibet to report on its profound significance and how it connects to resurrection across other religions, including the resurrection of Jesus Christ. “They started calling me the Jesus Lama,” Father Tiso tells Wonderstruck’s Elizabeth Rovere, marking one of the many surprising and tender moments from his remarkable journey.https://wonderstruck.org Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Mary Reilly Nichols, director of the Yoga Studies program at Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science in New York City, reflects on her transformational relationship with wonder, dating back to her time as a student at Harvard in the 1970s. When Mary first began feeling currents of energy coursing up her spine and into the crown of her head, hearing wind chimes and choral music unheard by others, she tried to distance herself from what it all would mean to her life. “I was trying to tamp it down,” Mary tells Wonderstruck’s Elizabeth Rovere. “Nobody understood.” From that initial state of resistance, Mary soon learned to embrace her awakening, ultimately relying on it as a foundation upon which she continues to elevate consciousness and change lives.https://wonderstruck.org Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Through setting out to find meaning in his own life, John Vervaeke, a professor in the psychology department at the University of Toronto—and a YouTube sensation—has developed a fascinating framework and adopted a series of practices through which others can pursue and achieve a deeply meaningful life, too. In sharing his research and findings from the world of 4E cognition and consciousness (embodied, embedded, enacted, and extended), with Wonderstruck’s Elizabeth Rovere, John reveals the significance and logic of embracing faithfulness over certainty, how to do the work of reorienting ideas about reality and rationality, and why connectedness and love can be improved by a practice called circling. “People frequently say things like, ‘I've been hungry for this kind of intimacy, but I didn't know it,’” says John. “They discover it and they're lit up by it.” https://wonderstruck.org Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
As a student of Bharatanatyam, a form of sacred Indian classical dance, Daniela Riva connects with the divine using choreography that dates back more than two millennia. In developing her expertise, and her following as a performer, teacher, and author, Daniela tells Wonderstruck's Elizabeth Rovere that it took years of dedication and surrender to understand how to move profound currents of energy throughout her body. During a period of awakening, while stomping her feet in service of her dance training, Daniela recalls feeling a jolt. "My teacher has a beautiful way to describe this," Daniela tells Wonderstruck's Elizabeth Rovere. "She used to tell me, 'Daniela, this is like current. It's like electricity. We need to channel this energy--otherwise, it is just pure energy, and it's everywhere.'" Now, having harnessed this energy, Daniela shares how each of us can activate our own bodies in pursuit of empowerment, happiness, and spiritual growth.  https://wonderstruck.org Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Groundbreaking scientist, psychology professor and best-selling author Dacher Keltner's latest book, AWE: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life is an instant classic. Supported by field work, cultural survey, and autobiography, this essential volume explores the many benefits of pursuing, encountering, and embracing awe as an emotion--and as a regularly occurring experience to which we all have access. As Dacher tells Wonderstruck's Elizabeth Rovere, awe is also crucial to the future of social reform, urban planning and education. But, as Dacher explains, his own relationship with awe had been interrupted by grief after the death of his brother. "What went with him?" Dacher asks. "My capacity for awe." In intimate detail, Dacher reveals how he reclaimed it.https://wonderstruck.org Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Russell Brand, comedian, actor, author, seeker, and Stay Free podcast host reveals to Wonderstruck’s Elizabeth Rovere why spiritual pursuits keep him alive, which teachings anchor him, and how he manages his own “beautiful monsters” in the hope of converting anxiety into action and accessing efficacy through chaos. With singular humor, wide-ranging scholarship, and a heart-led connection to the profound, Russell shares how he negotiates the pull of ecstasy against the need for serenity, why he thinks he might miss out on true greatness, and, in tender detail, what’s brought him closest to the divine. “There was nothing between me and God for that little moment,” he says. “It has happened other times. It will happen continually if I forget myself.”https://wonderstruck.org Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Through her private yoga and coaching practices, and in her role teaching Compassion-Based Resilience Training at Nalanda Institute in New York City, Rahshaana Green helps students manage stress and heal reactivity by developing greater clarity, self-knowledge, and grace. But, as Rahshaana tells Wonderstruck’s Elizabeth Rovere, her own path to becoming a practitioner meant overcoming pain and trauma. “When you literally have to have an injury make you stop and pause,” Rahshaana says, “there’s a few things that aren’t working.” Reflecting on her own life— from the complexities of her childhood in Houston’s inner city to embracing her mother as a source of empowerment to the surprising evolution of her career—Rahshaana shares how she ultimately learned the value of vulnerability and stillness, and how she carries forth an intimate, ongoing relationship with wonder that was once beyond her imagination.https://wonderstruck.org Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Growing up in a British working class, non-religious family, TV presenter, best-selling author and Happy Place podcast host, Fearne Cotton, felt the presence of the spiritual world from an early age. "I just looked at the stars and felt completely overwhelmed," she tells Wonderstruck host, Elizabeth Rovere. "It was like, wow, there's something else going on here. It can't just be going to school, coming back, and having my tea." As a girl, Fearne's mother encouraged her daughter's nature as seeker, and her curiosity about seemingly inexplicable, but powerful things, taking her to yoga before yoga became a popular suburban pursuit, and even bringing Fearne to a rebirthing guru after a brush with teenage heartbreak. Now in her 40s, Fearne shares why her work with healers, rituals, and ancient wisdom is more important to her than ever before as she continues her search for self-acceptance, compassion, freedom, and love. For more Wonderstruck content, please check out:https://wonderstruck.org Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Be open to the wonder in your own life! Host Elizabeth Rovere, clinical psychologist, yoga teacher, Harvard Divinity School graduate, and seeker, introduces Wonderstruck, a new podcast about the transformational experiences of awe and wonder. From radical visions to fire-based rituals, from pursuing a rainbow body in Tibet to finding the luminous in your everyday walk, we dive deep into the what, wonder and wow of being with levity and thoughtful curiosity. Starting March 1st, join Elizabeth and guests like Fearne Cotton, Rahshaana Green, Russell Brand, Dacher Keltner, John Vervaeke, Daniela Riva, Father Francis Tiso, Mary Reilly Nichols, Sravana Borkataky-Varma, and Radha Agrawal on the first season of Wonderstruck.For more Wonderstruck content, please check out:https://wonderstruck.org Hosted on Acast. See for more information.