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“How often do we really feel what’s happening within and around us, allowing ourselves to be moved, to be inspired, to be filled with gratitude for the mystery, and the beauty of this universe and of this life?”
That’s the ask from Matthew McConaughey as he opens narration duties on “Wonder,” one of Calm’s Sleep Stories selections. The Oscar winner is one of several high-profile stars — LeBron James, Harry Styles among them — lending a voice to the popular meditation and relaxation app. And millions have dozed off to McConaughey’s infamous drawl.
During a Lincoln Motor Company-hosted “The Future of Wellness” virtual meditation and panel discussion Aug. 12, McConaughey was joined by Calm’s head of mindfulness Tamara Levitt who confirmed that McConaughey’s bedtime story has been listened to “more than 11 million times” since its 2018 debut.
“We’ve definitely seen an uptick in our usage,” Levitt says, in relation to the pandemic. “They are coming to our app to look for meditation, to deal with stress and anxiety, and sleep of course.”
Longtime Lincoln spokesman McConaughey was joined by Levitt, Lincoln North America director Michael Sprague, and neuroscientist and meditation guide Nkechi Deanna Njaka in a conversation moderated by goop’s chief content officer Elise Loehnen. The event coincided with the car maker’s collaboration with Calm, the popular sleep, meditation and relaxation app.
As for the tools McConaughey is utilizing to deal with the pandemic, the Oscar-winning actor says that creating ritual is important, exercise is a constant (“Trying to make sure I break a sweat once a day”), long drives in his Lincoln Navigator have become regular (“to nowhere in particular”), he’s listening to music more than ever (“I’ve listened to it three times more than I used to”), and spending much more time in the kitchen (“it’s a great room for family gatherings”).
Also during the event, McConaughey opened up about how he came to see a green light to shape his upcoming memoir, Greenlights. “I’ve been keeping a diary for 36 years. A couple of years ago, my wife gave me a kick in the backside to say, ‘You’ve been talking about sitting down with those for 36 years and seeing what it is for a while. Now’s the time. Get out of here,” he explained, adding that he went on a solo retreat to the desert for 12 days during which time he discovered the foundational themes to make a book.
Though it will cover his life’s most challenging moments, like the 1992 death of his father, ultimately, it’s an optimistic look at lessons learned. “It’s stories, prescriptions, poems, prayers, people and places and a whole bunch of bumper stickers that I gathered. I’m very honored with it. It’s my favorite piece of art that I’ve ever been a part of creating.”
The book comes out Oct. 20 and is currently on presale. As for the panel’s other promotional news, Lincoln is gifting a complimentary 12-month subscription to Calm through the Lincoln Way app for current owners of a 2000 model year or newer vehicle with a registered vehicle identification number.
A version of this story first appeared in the Aug. 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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