Discover and enjoy the amazing soulful voice of young Angelina Jordan. It is jaw-dropping great!

June 7, 2021

I may be a little late to have discovered this unbelievable musical phenomenon, but Angelina Jordan continues to impress and inspire me daily. The more I found out about her, the more I wanted to hear her sing and uncover more of her story. This would account for the length and breadth of this new post. There’s enough here to keep you informed, inspired, and entertained at your own pace.

I want to sing for the whole world. Singing is as important as breathing to me. I just love to sing. Angelina Jordan

I recently discovered and am thoroughly enjoying listening to an amazingly talented young artist—Angelina Jordan Astar from Oslo, Norway. Born January 10, 2006, this musical child prodigy started singing very early in life.

Thanks to her grandmother, Angelina began listening to classic American jazz artists when she was a very young child. She started singing around 18 months and by 3 knew that’s what she wanted to do with her life—become an international singing superstar.

Luckily, her family has supported her in that direction. As a young child, Angelina attended the Oslo Waldorf School and participated in the Oslo School of Music and Performing Arts after-school program where she received vocal training. In addition to singing, she also learned how to play 4 instruments—piano, violin, guitar, and flute—and she paints! She speaks several languages. For years she has been covering other artists and is now starting to record her own songs.

Enters Norway’s Got Talent at 7 years old and wins

In earlier videos, it’s totally incongruous to see such a small young child performing old American standards on Norway’s Got Talent. In her audition she sang Billie Holiday’s Gloomy Sunday. The judges could not believe what they were hearing. Some were at a loss for words; others were teary-eyed. Watch the final full show where she sings Summertime and goes on to win NGT with 46% of the vote at 7 years of age! See Angelina Jordan All Performances On Norways Got Talent.

She puts a spell on you

Here is another jaw-dropping, mind-blowing experience. Watch Angelina, now 9, belt out I Put A Spell On You in a studio with musicians, and later, live on Germany’s Little Big Stars. Often covered in the past, this 1956 song was written and composed by Jalacy “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins. His own recording of it was selected as one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. You have to wonder how she discovered such historically significant artists.

Angelina has recorded over 130 covers that she’s posted on Facebook and YouTube over the years. She arranges her own versions of popular songs and directs musicians how to play them. This video ranks as one of the most outrageous mind-blowers, with hundreds of reactor videos and millions of views! I love to see reactors try to respond in disbelief when they hear her sing this song. It’s a double enjoyment for me—reacting to their reactions, as well as my own, again!! Here are two examples: Soul Reacts, a songwriter who cannot comprehend what he is hearing; and joethemaster with his over-the-top reaction.

Pontus Österlin at PO Talks put together a brilliantly edited 8-minute compilation of a range of many reactors’ reactions as Angelina belts out I Put A Spell On You. During the credits listing them, he included footage of Jay Hawkins screaming out his song, with parallel clips of Angelina. This is definitely worth watching!

Another song that’s up there is Feeling Good. She was 10 years old when she performed it at Allsang På Grensen – TV2, and later LIVE on The Stream Gir Tilbake.

America’s Got Talent Golden Buzzer

Six years later, Angelina appeared on America’s Got Talent: The Champions 2020 when she was 13 years old. She told Heidi Klum that she had waited 10 years to sing for Simon Cowell. And it was on the biggest stage in the world! This was her moment. She auditioned with a spellbinding version of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, which won her a Golden Buzzer from Heidi, who could hardly contain herself.

Angelina later said: “When Heidi stood up it felt like time stood still. I can’t believe it. The confetti felt like millions of gold stars were falling on me. It was really the best moment of my life.”

As the judges and audience members were on their feet applauding wildly, I heard an excerpt of Eva Cassidy singing Over The Rainbow playing in the background and thought, how appropriate! One amazing angelic voice honoring another as her dream finally, really did come true!

Angelina later returned for The Champions 2020 final round to sing her unique take on Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. She blew the judges away again, and the crowd went nuts in joyful disbelief. Watch Angelina Jordan: ALL Performances on America’s Got Talent Champions.

Angelina later recorded Bohemian Rhapsody for her official channel. She also sings many cover songs by today’s great artists, like Adele’s All I Ask and her cover of Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love. She even sounds like Amy Winehouse in Back To Black. Her performance of Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing is filled with emotive power and heartfelt feelings as seen in this screensaver from a video of her singing the song.

Angelina may emulate these artists, vocally and emotionally as she inhabits their songs, but she interprets them in her own unique stylistic way, oftentimes better than the original! Like any great jazz artist, she is developing her own sound, finding her own voice, and now performing her own music. We are all in for many surprising treats.

Worldwide online reactions

Besides her impressive vocal skills, what gives listeners goosebumps and moves them to tears are the powerful soulful feelings she puts into each song. How can someone that young, who has not yet experienced life’s ups and downs, express such emotions and understanding? It boggles the mind! There is no doubt that Angelina is an old soul in a young body—something the judges at NGT and AGT said, as well as others who have commented on her performances.

She has 2 billion Facebook views and over half a billion on YouTube. There are many compilation channels of her music and 100’s of reaction videos of people responding to some of the many songs she’s posted. Most of them are visibly moved, jaw-dropped at a loss for words.

One of the more qualified reactors is Spanish-speaking vocal coach Ceci Dover. She explains things in detail, sharing valuable advice. See this one she posted of Angelina covering Lana Del Ray’s Born To Die.

In this enjoyable video (select English subtitles), Ceci uses excerpts of Angela singing between ages 7-13 to give us an informed overview of the evolution of her amazingly talented voice.

Creatively collaborating with Stargate, signing with Republic Records

After turning down many requests to sign Angelina, the family eventually settled on what they felt was the right record company that would allow her to create her own style of music, and not mold her into something artificial for commercial gain. When she was 14, they signed with UMG’s, (United Music Group) Republic Records.

Angelina released her first singles on the Republic Records label: “Million Miles” in November 2020 and “7th Heaven” in March 2021. Both songs are co-credited to the multiple Grammy-award-winning Los Angeles-based Norwegian production duo, Tor Erik Hermansen and Mikkel Storleer Eriksen, aka Stargate. Read how this creative collaboration came about in these postings by this Angelina Jordan Fan Club – The Shield on the WIKI: Angelina Jordan and Stargate.

Republic released 4 videos—2 Live in Studio and 2 Official Lyric Videos: Million Miles (Live in Studio) and (Official Lyric Video), a very personal song about losing her grandfather; and a more upbeat 7th Heaven (Live in Studio) and (Official Lyric Video) about her philosophy of life. The live in-studio videos were filmed in a sparse lounge-like setting. The official lyric videos contain the words to the songs with paintings by her grandmother Mery Zamani. A third, more personal, Angelina Jordan – Million Miles (Official Music Video) was later released in Jan 27, 2021.

Partnering with Stargate and Republic officially launched the career of this young teenage artist. She is now getting to create and produce her own material. There is no question this original artist will evolve into the international superstar she dreamed of becoming ever since she was 3!

RECENTLY ADDED: Republic Records later produced and Angelina Jordan Official posted on July 15, 2021 a new video of Angelina Jordan singing 7th Heaven in a club setting with an audience. The story line includes a waitress listening to Angelina and the band rehearse, working in the kitchen dreaming of what her life could be, then at the live performance. It includes footage of her and Angelina horsing around in the kitchen. Very funny and cute.

The Barefoot Princess / Jazz Queen

You may have noticed that Angelina sings barefoot. There is a reason for that. While living abroad with her family in the Middle East she came upon a poor young girl, her own age at the time, around 6 years old. She was weighing people to earn money to feed her orphaned brothers and sisters. Angelina discovered this when she spoke to her. She also noticed that the girl was barefoot and had scars on her feet.

Angelina asked her what she wanted to become. She replied, a doctor, but didn’t think it could happen. Angelina strongly told her to never give up her dreams. She took off her favorite green shoes and gave them to her. The girl resisted at first, then thanked her, and said she would pray every day for her to fulfill her dream to become a superstar and sing for the whole world. Angelina told the story in this Variety Media interview.

So, in honor of and inspired by that girl, Angelina always performs barefoot and still thinks of her, and the many homeless and shoeless children everywhere. Angelina actually went on to raise millions of Euros for children and families in need. Talk about putting yourself in other people’s shoes, or in this case, giving your shoes to someone in need! Angelina’s empathy and compassionate heart are expressed through her actions as well as her amazing voice!

Angelina’s empathy and compassionate heart are expressed through her actions as well as her amazing voice!

Publishes “Between Two Hearts

At 9 years of age, Angelina became Norway’s youngest author when she published a book about this story. Between Two Hearts is illustrated by her grandmother Mery Zamani, herself a child prodigy who became a famous poet and painter at a very early age. Mery exposed Angelina to jazz before she could read or write, and is responsible for her desire to become a jazz singer. They create art together, and design and make her own clothing. Mery tapes the many videos of Angelina singing. She also paints the backdrops for some of them, including images in the animated sequence for the lyric version of Million Miles. Some of her images were made into clothing that Angelina wears, like the colorful pant suit she wore in her first appearance on AGT, when she sang Bohemian Rhapsody.

In a Book Talk podcast published by Angelina Jordan’s publisher, Cappelen Damm, in 2015, Erling Kittelsen, a Norwegian author and poet and friend of the family, talks with Angelina about her book. When he was first shown her diary containing that episode with the barefoot girl, he said it should be made into a book. English subtitles have now been provided by her fan club. In between we hear excerpts of Angelina singing and small extracts from “Mellom to hjerter” (Between Two Hearts). It is very moving and gives us a glimpse into who Angelina really is. For her, “Love is very … Love means everything.” Angelina’s book has been translated into English and is available for purchase as an eBook on her website: https://www.angelinajordanofficial.com/book.

(See a footnote below that I added after ordering and reading the eBook.)

The whole family nourishes and supports Angelina in her career. In fact, her uncle is her manager, her mother handles publicity, and her grandmother is her stylist. They have been very protective of Angelina, wanting her to still enjoy her childhood and complete her education as she pursues her dream to become an international star. Throughout it all Angelina remains unpretentious and is happily focused on manifesting her musical destiny. In a reactor video, GEB Endeavors comments on how Angelina’s uncle became her manager and eventually paved the way for the family to move to LA to pursue her career in music. It’s happening!

It is interesting to note that instead of bowing when an audience applauds her, she curtsies. She always comes across as dignified yet humble, respectful and loving. A rare talent and a very special soul.

Revealing insights into Angelina’s inner world

When Angelina performs, she is in her element. She is calm and fearless. It is natural for her to powerfully project the emotional content of a song. She appears extroverted on stage, yet is in her own world. But ask her questions in an interview, and she gives short answers. She seems shy, introverted. She’s not comfortable expressing herself personally. However, it seems to be easier for her the older she gets.

I think she may be an introvert by nature and inhabits a rich inner world. She comes from a deep place. We get a glimpse of that world when she sings, and are transformed by it. Here are a few hints I’ve noticed in some interviews.

In this 2016 Norway TV News Feature, Angelina tells the interviewer: “I want to sing for the whole world. Singing is as important as breathing to me. I just love to sing.” That says it all.

I want to sing for the whole world. Singing is as important as breathing to me. I just love to sing. — Angelina Jordan

Angelina is quite young in this interview when she said: “I close my eyes and go in a different world.” Her mother Sarah said: “I came home one day when my mother looked after her. She was well eighteen months, and sang a Whitney Houston song in bed. I was almost shocked. It was so beautiful! We quickly realized that she had very great interest in music. It is she who is first and foremost musical in the family. Neither my husband nor I are particularly musical.” This video, Angelina Jordan – The Evolution, includes that clip of Angelina singing as a baby.

I close my eyes and go in a different world.

A young Angelina to an interviewer asking her about her singing.

Angelina was 1 of 10 finalists in America’s Got Talent: The Champions 2020, and the winner was going to be announced that night. In this Short Interview from LA in Norwegian TV2 Monday Feb 17, 2020, the interviewer asks Angelina about the public’s response to her singing. She told the interviewer that “it’s absolutely incredible that there are so many people who send so many millions of messages,” and quoted a few.

Q: How do you prevent this from getting to your head?

A: I take it all in…and use it to spread love to everyone all over the world.

I take it all in…and use it to spread love to everyone all over the world.

Angelina Jordan’s response to a Norwegian reporter in LA asking her how she prevents all this attention from going to her head.

On Scandinavian TV, (Singer Angelina Jordan: – I don’t feel like a 12-year-old | SVT/TV 2/Skavlan) Skavlan asks Angelina some deep questions. Her answers are revealing!

At the start of the interview in Norwegian, Skavlan asks Angelina, “What do you find easiest: singing or speaking?

She doesn’t hesitate to answer, “Singing and writing,” which is what you’d expect from an introvert. He confirms her answer by asking, “Singing and writing is easiest? Not speaking?” Smiling and chuckling, she shyly nods her head in agreement.

They then switch to speaking in English.

Q: My first question is, when I see you on stage, I wonder, who do you feel that you become?

A: When I sing I go to another world. In the world, it’s like, endless. It’s amazing. (smiles and laughs)

Q: What do you mean by endless?

A: Like, full of happiness, and, I love… It’s amazing!

Q: Many people say that you don’t sound like a 12-year-old. Do you feel like a 12-year-old?

A: I feel like a 12-year-old when I look at my passport.

When I sing I go to another world. In the world, it’s like, endless. It’s amazing. … Like, full of happiness, and, I love … It’s amazing!

Angelina Jordan answers Skavlan’s questions about what happens to her when she sings on stage.

He mentions a song that she’s written and will soon perform, and asks her what it’s about. She explains, “It’s about someone you love, wherever you are, it’s a strong love, protects you.”

The song sounds like a religious prayer, which could also serve as the theme song for a Bond movie. Skavlan said it reminded him of the Bond films and asks her if she’s familiar with them. She tells him that she got the inspiration for her song from the Bond films. He asks if she would sing a little bit of her favorite Bond song, and she does, acapela, Diamonds Are Forever.

Listen to her sing her song Shield with the band. It is powerful! Skavlan posted it Nov 12, 2018. There’s a video of her performing this song with a band in an open air concert the following year in Norway, Jul 12, 2019, when she was 13.

Describing her destiny

In this Feb 4, 2021 People (Magazine) article, Alyssa Johnson asks her: Where do you hope to see yourself in five years from now?

A: I’ll have an important name in the music industry and to make timeless music that can live forever. Also to give the best music experience to people and for them to enjoy and feel emotional or dance or make memories with the music I make.

I’ll have an important name in the music industry and to make timeless music that can live forever. Also to give the best music experience to people and for them to enjoy and feel emotional or dance or make memories with the music I make.

Angelina Jordan’s answer to a People (Magazine) reporter asking her where she hopes to see herself in 5 years.

Angelina is definitely following her bliss and manifesting her purpose in life! True to her name, Angelina Jordan Astar is an angel and a star sent here to fulfill her destiny and awaken a range of emotions in our hearts and touch our souls with her incredible voice! After Angelina auditioned for NGT, one of the judges concluded her remarks with this statement: You ARE music!

Reacting to Angelina singing Cry Me A River, vocal coach Ceci Dover exclaimed in disbelief: “She can sing like this? This is impossible. Oh my gosh! She’s music. She’s jazz. She’s soul. Oh my gosh, I don’t know what to say. She’s amazing! That’s what I want to say.”

Indeed! That about sums it up.

Angelina Jordan’s social media, fan clubs, and overviews

Visit her official site: Angelina Jordan, and her various social media accounts: YouTube and CoverChannel to see selected videos of her performing well-known songs, including some of her own; and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

This Angelina Jordan Fanclub Mosarz posts clips of family and friends, concerts, and rare behind the scenes footage of rehearsing the song, What is Life? that she composed for the orchestra and wrote the lyrics, and an exclusive backstage rehearsal for AGT.

See Angelina Jordan Fan Club – The Shield mentioned above and their YouTube compilations.

Visit Rusty Shackelford’s YouTube Channel for a complete list of every song Angelina has performed. In Rusty’s complimentary response to voice coach Julia Nilon‘s in-depth technical reaction to Angelina’s performance of “I Put A Spell On You” he gives her a comprehensive review of the young singer’s history that’s worth reading.

Andy Schnell gives a more current and complete overview of Angelina in a comment to the Fairy Voice Mother’s response to Angelina singing Bohemian Rhapsody on AGT. This was the first time this vocal coach ever listened and reacted to Angelina sing. She gave an excellent explanation and analysis of how Angelina was creating the sounds in her voice, and was moved to tears listening to such a rare talent.

Also see Wikiwand’s page for Angelina Jordan.

Added footnote: I just bought and finished reading the eBook of Between Two Hearts. I was just as moved by her story and the way she tells it of why she sings barefoot as I am when I hear her sing, even more so. What an evolved soul for such a young girl! Through the eyes of a child, Angelina innocently makes us see and understand the suffering of a homeless little girl, and why she was moved to do something about it in her own small way. This was definitely a life-transforming experience for Angelina that continues today. (And probably for that homeless girl as well.) I understand why she went on to raise money for homeless families. If they publish a hardback copy in English, I would buy it again. Her grandmother’s childlike artwork adds a lot to the book.

Posts on other great musical artists

The hauntingly beautiful voice of Eva Cassidy || Colin Hay’s song—I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You—is so relevant during these tough times || Lissie @lissiemusic and her connections to Twin Peaks, Fairfield and #TranscendentalMeditation || Leonard Cohen said there’s a crack in everything—how the light gets in. It came thru him & lit up a broken humanity. || The hauntingly beautiful music of Davy Spillane played on uilleann pipes and low whistle

#PoetryRx virtual book signing @DoctorNorman Rosenthal @Prairie_Lights, Iowa City Bookstore

May 13, 2021

Best-selling author, world-renowned researcher, psychiatrist Norman E. Rosenthal, MD prescribes poems to his patients, publishes Poetry Rx, donates book sale proceeds to benefit veterans. Virtual book-signing at Prairie Lights in Iowa City, Iowa, a UNESCO-designated City of Literature. Read the book description and connect to this upcoming event

Poems, I now realize, thanks to Dr. Rosenthal, can be a literary panacea for the pandemic.
Jane Brody, Personal Health Columnist, New York Times

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VIRTUAL BOOK SIGNING: The David Lynch Foundation and Prairie Lights Bookstore cordially invite you to “POETRY RX: How Poetry Can Heal and Bring Joy to Your Life” featuring world-renowned psychiatrist, Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D., Prairie Lights Bookstore owner and published poet Jan Weissmiller, along with moderator Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation.

WHEN: Tuesday, May 25 • 7-8 pm (CENTRAL)

ZOOM REGISTRATION: Register in advance for this webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information how to join the event. Click this link to register: https://davidlynchfoundation.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_gxa6il2ITH-wl1pcFjnZfA.

SPECIAL OFFER: 100% of the author’s book sale proceeds will go to the David Lynch Foundation’s Resilient Warrior Program to help reduce the epidemic of suicides among U.S. military veterans.

OVERVIEW: Imagine your therapist writing a prescription for “Hope is the thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson or a Shakespeare sonnet or “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas—before prescribing an anxiety medication…

Dr. Norman Rosenthal is that therapist! World-renowned for his pioneering NIH research on seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and for developing the light therapy intervention to treat it, Dr. Rosenthal’s new book, Poetry Rx: How 50 Inspiring Poems Can Heal and Bring Joy to Your Life (G&D Media, May 4, 2021), delivers potent medicine—without side effects. 

“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has closed down in many ways, depriving us of joy, companionship, love and adventure,” says Dr. Rosenthal. “Against this backdrop of loss and hardship, we are seeking novel remedies, and poetry is a surprisingly powerful remedy, not just for the moment but for our entire life. Poetry can serve both as a balm and a vaccine for the soul.”

Poetry Rx published on May 4 during Mental Health Awareness Month, and on the cusp of National Poetry Month, which marked its 25th annual celebration in April. 

NEWS COVERAGE: The book was recently reviewed by the NY Times, Kirkus, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Dr. Rosenthal’s OpEd (and video) ran on USA Today online, and his in-depth Q&A was featured in Medium/Authority magazine and Thrive Global. Visit Norman Rosenthal’s website for more press coverage on Poetry Rx posted there.

Newsmax: When the Doctor Prescribes Poetry. May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and a leading psychiatrist has just published a groundbreaking book filled with powerful poetic prescriptions to help strengthen mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

ADVANCE PRAISE
Dr. Rosenthal, a renowned psychiatric researcher and clinician, has given us a gift with Poetry Rx. He takes us on a journey through the varieties of human experience and shows us specifically how poetry has the power to help us understand ourselves and to heal. The wonderful effect of Rosenthal’s humanity and lucid analysis is to make us feel that our own experiences are universal and that we are not alone.
—Richard A. Friedman, M.D., Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Director of Psychopharmacology Clinic, Weill Cornell Medical College

Poetry Rx is a great read, entertaining as it teaches. These are, after all, poems the doctor ordered. But what a doctor! And what poems!
—Peter Sacks, Professor of English, Harvard

Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D., is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School and was the psychiatrist who first described seasonal affective disorder and pioneered the use of light in its treatment during his 20 years at the National Institute of Mental Health. He has researched other innovative psychiatric treatments and is the author of several books including the New York Times bestseller Transcendence: Healing and Transformation through Transcendental Meditation and the national bestseller Super Mind.  He currently maintains a private clinical and coaching practice in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. His work has earned him national and international attention in the world of psychiatry and psychology, as well as in the media.

For more background, please visit www.normanrosenthal.com.

NEWER RELATED ARTICLES AND VIDEOS

Taste For Life: Poetry as a Healing Modality. A new book explores the potential. By Lynn Tryba, Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D.

Psychiatric Times: (June 15, 2021) Poetry for PTSD and Preventing Suicide. Leah Kuntz writes: June is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month. One psychiatrist is dedicating a portion of the proceeds from his new book, Poetry Rx, to the David Lynch Foundation (DLF)—specifically the Resilient Warrior program—in the hopes of curbing US military veteran suicides.

iHeartRadio: Healing Quest: Dr. Norman Rosenthal New Help for Veterans with PTSD on SoundCloud for Memorial Day Weekend. Also posted is an earlier interview: Poetry RX and Psychotherapy.

NBC TODAY: (May 25, 2021) A prescription for … poetry? This doctor recommends it. Are there health benefits to reading or writing poetry? These doctors think so. This article by Brittany Loggins concludes with different examples of what poems can do for us citing some poets and their poems from Dr. Rosenthal’s book.

There is also an embedded (May 4, 2021) NBC News report of a nurse sharing a poem she wrote about caring for her patients. It is extremely moving, and powerfully highlights the theme of the article. How a Covid nurse captured her patients’ ‘love and energy’ through poetry.

Iowa City Press-Citizen: World-renowned psychiatrist shares the healing power of poetry in Prairie Lights event by Isaac Hamlet. Some of the media that posted this article are: MSN, Daily Advent’s Opera News, and South Africa’s Free-Mail.

The Iowa Source: Norm Rosenthal on Poetry: Comfort and Connection in Rhythmic Form.

UI’s Iowa Writers’ Workshop: Virtual Reading: Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal Poetry Rx: How 50 Inspiring Poems Can Heal and Bring Joy To Your Life. Also on The University of Iowa’s Events Calendar.

The Prairie Lights virtual book signing for Norman Rosenthal’s PoetryRx has now been archived. You can also see it on his YouTube channel.

CBSN New York: Some Doctors Encourage Those Suffering From Anxiety, Stress To Embrace The Power Of Poetry by Hazel Sanchez. Also on their YouTube Channel: Doctors Say Poetry Can Provide Comfort, Therapy.

AARP: How Poetry Can Heal: A distinguished doctor discusses the power of the written word.

EnjoyTMNews: Poetry Rx: Iconic Poems to Heal, Inspire, and Bring Joy. Dr. Norman Rosenthal’s new book offers medicine for the soul, by Harbour Fraser Hodder.

TMTalks: The Healing Power of Poetry. A conversation with Norman Rosenthal, M.D. (51:18).

Politics and Prose Virtual Book-Signing Event: This archived Zoomcast includes a special video that two-time Tony-award winning actress Katie Finneran made for Dr. Rosenthal, where she shares what the book meant for her, and reads two poems: One Art by Elizabeth Bishop and “Hope” is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson.

MY REVIEW OF POETRY RX

I gave the book a 5-star rating on Amazon and goodreads. In my review I share Norman’s introductory story of how he discovered the healing power of a poem (One Art by Elizabeth Bishop), how it led him to develop the practice of prescribing poems for his patients, and how he came to write this book. Here is the conclusion to my review of Poetry Rx.

Dr. Norman Rosenthal shows us how poetry can serve both as a balm and a vaccine for the soul.

Anyone can benefit from and enjoy reading this book. Dr. Rosenthal guides the reader, showing us how to get the most out of a poem. He explains each poem, points out takeaways, and gives us a backgrounder on the poem and the poet who wrote it. It’s like having a friend of the family over for dinner that shares his enthusiasm for poetry, and in the process, entertains and enlightens us. I highly recommend this book.

In that review, I also mention the poem, ‘Love After Love’ by Derek Walcott, which Rosenthal includes in his collection on page 48. He reads and comments on it in his blog. I had posted the poem around 7 years ago after a friend had sent it to me. It reminded me of an experience I had had about 20 years earlier, about getting over a breakup and reclaiming yourself. But it was more than that.

I had done some research on Derek Walcott and discovered a new documentary film about him called, ‘Poetry Is An Island’. In the trailer we hear his voice reciting that poem as he is seen walking on his property. You can view it here: Love after Love, by Derek Walcott, resonates deeply when you first acknowledge yourself.

Donovan celebrates 75th birthday, releases video of ‘I Am The Shaman’ produced by David Lynch

May 9, 2021

Donovan celebrates his 75th birthday with the release of a video single ‘I Am The Shaman’ in collaboration with David Lynch and launches an appeal for teaching Transcendental Meditation to students in Ireland.

Photographer : Jamue Caldentey : c Donovan Discs 2021

Donovan, world famous singer songwriter, who shot to fame with his extraordinary folk music in the 1960s and spent time with Maharishi and the Beatles in Rishikesh, India, now celebrates his 75th birthday on May 10th 2021. To mark the occasion Donovan is releasing a new video single with iconic filmmaker David Lynch. 

‘I Am The Shaman’ is available on: www.donovan.ie, Spotify, You Tube, and other platforms after May 10th.

At the same time Donovan is launching an appeal for teaching Transcendental Meditation to students in his native Ireland. If you would like to contribute: paypal.me/donovanleitch.

Also, please consider leaving a birthday greeting on his official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DonovanOfficial.

Donovan, who was inducted to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014, says: “David and I are compadres on a creative path rarely travelled, and we bring Transcendental Meditation to the world. Thanks for all your support!”

How it happened

“It was all impromptu,” Donovan explains. “I visited the studio and David said, ‘Sit at the mics with your guitar Don.’” He continued, “He had asked me to only bring in a song just emerging, not anywhere near finished. We would see what happens. It happened!”

Donovan said he “composed extempore … the verses came naturally. New chord patterns effortlessly appeared. He added, “On another day David ‘sound sculpted’ my Ferrington acoustic guitar ‘Kelly’ and he played his unique Modal Chord Ferrington Guitar textures with ‘effects’.”

The video was released today, May 10 for Donovan’s 75th birthday, in hopes of raising money to help him “give students TM Meditation.” Transcendental Meditation is a type of meditation that is taught to students one-on-one. Lynch is another major proponent of it, and organized a livestream festival benefitting his Meditate America initiative for the David Lynch Foundation. Donovan stated, “David and I are ‘compadres’ on a creative path rarely travelled. And we bring TM Meditation to the world.” 

Some news coverage

wxdmw: This article goes into how the song and video came together in David Lynch’s LA studio: Donovan Enlists David Lynch to Direct New Video for “I Am The Shaman”.

Pitchfork: David Lynch Directs New Video for Donovan Song “I Am the Shaman”: Watch. The song was produced by Lynch and mixed by collaborator Dean Hurley.

Rolling Stone: Donovan Taps David Lynch to Direct New Video for 2010 Song ‘I Am the Shaman’. Filmmaker also co-produced the song, which first appeared on the folk legend’s album, Ritual Groove.

IndieWire: David Lynch Directs Psychedelic Music Video to Celebrate Donovan’s 75th Birthday — Watch. With black-and-white images of stars and skulls and a droning soundscape, “I Am the Shaman” is a very Lynchian affair.

NME: David Lynch directs video for new Donovan song, ‘I Am The Shaman’. “David and I are ‘Compadres’ on a creative path rarely travelled”.

Stereogum: David Lynch Directs Donovan’s “I Am The Shaman” Video.

This news was reported on IMDb and many more places on the internet.

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The last time Donovan was in Fairfield he performed at the Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts and at Fairfest 2016: Sunshine Superman Donovan is a Very Mellow Fellow, a Hurdy Gurdy Man with Loving Vibes.

B. Nina Holzer’s final entry in her journal shows us how she is an innocent instrument for writing

March 30, 2021

One of the most enjoyable books I’ve ever read on the creative writing process is A Walk Between Heaven and Earth: A Personal Journal on Writing and the Creative Process by Burghild Nina Holzer. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in wanting to express themselves in writing. The book ends with this final journal entry found on page 124.

EVENING

One day
I walked on the mountain
and the flute song
went through me.
That’s all.
I became the reed
and the wind went through
and I wrote it down
in my journal.

Read my first blog post about this wonderful book: Burghild Nina Holzer inspires us to write and discover who we are and what we have to say.

I include an excerpt from one of her entries that the publisher edited down to put on the back cover. The four-sentence paragraph starts: “Talking to paper is talking to the divine.” I include that paragraph and the full eight-sentence journal entry from which it was taken. Together they represent the essential message of this inspirational little book.

A 4-line poem by John O’Donohue says a similar thing—how he was amazed by each revelatory moment and turned them into poems.

A recent post on the writing experience is intimately expressed in this lovely poem, “Morning Prayer,” by Deborah J. Brasket.

Last year I discovered inspiring quotes about writing and the writing life by this Canadian aboriginal author that I shared in these blog posts: Coincidences happened that introduced me to the great Ojibway storyteller Richard Wagamese | Insights from Richard Wagamese’s Meditations | Richard Wagamese bravely entered the cracks in his life to reveal the hidden gold buried within.

Another writer worth listening to what she says about her writing life is Sue Monk Kidd on empathy and the purpose and power of literature to enter the common heart.

I’ve posted earlier entries on writing you may also find worthwhile: Writing—a poem on the writing process; INSPIRATION, a poem by Nathanael Chawkin; Elizabeth Gilbert—Some Thoughts On Writing; Writers on Writing–What Writing Means To Writers; and Words of Wisdom on Writing from Literary Lights.

Transcendental Meditation effective in reducing veterans’ PTSD, sleep difficulties, depression and anxiety symptoms by 50% in 3 months: new study

March 22, 2021

News Release 18-Mar-2021 | EurekAlert! Summary & Press Release

Veterans with PTSD who practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique showed significant reductions in PTSD symptom severity, according to a new study published today in Journal of Traumatic Stress. Fifty percent of the meditating veterans no longer met criteria for PTSD after three months compared to only 10 percent of controls. The randomized controlled study also showed significant reductions in veterans’ symptoms of depression and anxiety, and sleep difficulties.

IMAGE
IMAGE: Fifty percent of veterans who practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique for three months no longer met criteria for PTSD compared to only 10 percent of controls. Meditating veterans also showed significant reductions in symptoms of depression and anxiety, and sleep difficulties. This figure shows the unadjusted mean change in PTSD symptoms, based on the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), for the Transcendental Meditation group compared to the treatment-as-usual control group (all P values <.05) over the three-month intervention period. Credit: Maharishi International University Research Institute

Transcendental Meditation effective in reducing PTSD, sleep problems, depression symptoms

Veterans with PTSD who practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique showed significant reductions in PTSD symptom severity, according to a new study published today in Journal of Traumatic Stress. Fifty percent of the meditating veterans no longer met criteria for PTSD after three months compared to only 10 percent of controls. The randomized controlled study also showed significant reductions in veterans’ symptoms of depression and anxiety, and sleep difficulties.

“Transcendental Meditation is a non-trauma-focused, easy-to-learn technique that was found in this study to improve PTSD symptoms, likely through the experience of physical rest,” said Mayer Bellehsen, Ph.D., director of the Unified Behavioral Health Center for Military Veterans and their Families, Northwell Health, and study principal investigator. “In contrast to commonly administered therapies for PTSD that are trauma-focused and based on a patient’s recall of past traumatic experiences, this intervention does not require extensive review of traumatic history, which some individuals find difficult to engage in. This intervention may therefore be more tolerable for some individuals struggling with PTSD.”

The randomized controlled trial, conducted at Northwell Health in Bay Shore, New York, assigned 40 veterans with documented PTSD to either the Transcendental Meditation (TM) group or treatment as usual control group. The TM treatment provided 16 sessions over 12 weeks, with twice-a-day daily home practice. PTSD symptom severity was assessed with the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5), and patient self-report with the PTSD Checklist for DSM -5 (PCL-5).

The results showed large effect sizes, indicating a strong TM treatment impact in reducing trauma symptoms for both PTSD measures. Other factors associated with trauma, such as depression and anxiety symptoms and sleep problems, also showed a strong impact of TM treatment.

“This trial corroborates the findings of a large clinical trial published in The Lancet Psychiatry,” said Sanford Nidich, Ed.D., Director of the Center for Social-Emotional Health at Maharishi International University Research Institute, and study co-investigator. “The current study further supports the effectiveness of Transcendental Meditation as a first-line treatment for PTSD in veterans. The availability of an additional evidence-based therapy will benefit veterans, both by offering them a greater range of options and by serving as an alternative treatment strategy for those who don’t want to engage in trauma-focused treatment or who aren’t responding to a previous PTSD intervention.”

The authors point out in their research paper that TM may positively affect trauma symptom severity through the reduction of hyperarousal symptoms. Previous research has shown that TM practice decreases physiological responses to stressful stimuli. In addition, recent research indicates that TM may improve resilience and positive coping strategies, providing further benefit to both veterans and active military personnel.

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This study was supported by David Lynch Foundation. The article is titled, “A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation as Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Veterans.” Northwell Health, New York University, and Maharishi International University Research Institute collaborated on the trial. Preliminary results had been previously presented at the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies conference, November 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

Source: EurekAlert!

Northwell Health posted their release on March 22, 2021: New study shows transcendental meditation effective for reducing veterans’ stress. The study, led by Mayer Bellehsen, PhD, showed that the technique resulted in significant reductions in symptom severity.

Many science and international news outlets posted the news, including this excellent report in Medical News Today (PDF). And Jim Dwyer MD produced and tweeted this 60-seconds MediBlurb: Transcendental Meditation for PTSD in Veterans, which airs on regional radio in Arizona.

This little poem, “Morning Prayer,” by Deborah J. Brasket, just might leave you feeling sanctified

March 21, 2021

Enjoy this profound blog post by Deborah J. Brasket: Like Flowers Falling Everywhere: A Poem. Click on the title to see an accompanying painting by Odilon Redon. This beautiful little poem, aptly titled “Morning Prayer,” is soft and mysterious, filled with an intimate silence that just might leave you feeling sanctified.

“Morning Prayer”
Deborah J. Brasket

Everywhere I look I see you,
I see us. This fragile hand,
this blue pen, this yellow pad.

These fingers gently folded,
Embracing the eagerness of
your movements across the page.

This tender paper accepting
All we write. These words that
rise up and lay down, so simple.

You are what I feel. This beating heart,
this circling breath, this wide sphere of
silence that enfolds us. Your soft sigh.

The day waits. It pours out of us whole
and clear, unending. How kind you are.
Kindness like flowers falling everywhere.

* * * * *

I asked a writer-artist friend who she thought is speaking in the poem, and to whom. She nailed it with this reply: “It sounds like the poet is speaking to herself about her writing life, and the love she feels for it.”

This reminds me of what B. Nina Holzer wrote in her lovely book, “A Walk Between Heaven and Earth,” A Personal Journal on Writing and the Creative Process. This edited journal entry is on the back cover:

Talking to paper is talking to the divine. Paper is infinitely patient. Each time you scratch on it, you trace part of yourself, and thus part of the world, and thus part of the grammar of the universe. It is a huge language, but each of us tracks his or her particular understanding of it.

You can see the complete journal entry here: Burghild Nina Holzer inspires us to write and discover who we are and what we have to say.

Speaking of kindness and writing about morning rituals, here are two related poems: “Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye, and one I wrote, “Sanctifying Morning.” It was published in Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace.

The heart of The Red Poppy in Louise Glück’s poem speaks to us from a different perspective

March 16, 2021

Louise Glück was awarded The Nobel Prize in Literature 2020 “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.” She served as Chancellor for the Academy of American Poets and was the Library of Congress’s twelfth poet laureate consultant in poetry. Click on her name to read her biography filled with many publications and awards.

In The Red Poppy, Glück shows us the glory of the heart, but from a different perspective. She does not use the word, love, but the opening and closing to it is powerfully implied.

red poppy bloom in post-sunset light
The Red Poppy
Louise Glück

The great thing
is not having
a mind. Feelings:
oh, I have those; they
govern me. I have
a lord in heaven
called the sun, and open
for him, showing him
the fire of my own heart, fire
like his presence.
What could such glory be
if not a heart? Oh my brothers and sisters,
were you like me once, long ago,
before you were human? Did you
permit yourselves
to open once, who would never
open again? Because in truth
I am speaking now
the way you do. I speak
because I am shattered.

Glück’s conclusion to this beautiful poem, “I speak because I am shattered,” may be due to a deep loss of connection with the Divine, her “lord in heaven called the sun,” where she permitted herself “to open once, who would never open again,” brokenhearted, “speaking now the way you do.” From the flower’s perspective, it is like a death. In another flower poem, The Wild Iris, death is not the end: “whatever returns from oblivion returns to find a voice.” See her read that poem on YouTube. Both poems were from a May 11, 2016 Lannan Foundation Literary Event.

This loss is reiterated in her quote from a human perspective: We look at the world once, in childhood. The rest is memory. As humans, there may yet be a chance for illumination and grace. Rumi wrote: “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” Leonard Cohen sang in his song, Anthem: “There is a crack in everything/ That’s how the light gets in.”

After looking through a Telescope Louise Glück identified with the silent enormity of the stars. In this earlier post, I later included news of her being awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature, followed by the actual presentation over 2 months later, still during the time of the coronavirus, so she and her presenter were wearing masks.

I don’t know if the poet had this in mind, but the red poppy has traditionally been the symbol of death, renewal, and life. See The History of the Red Poppy as a Symbol of Remembrance.

Thomas Merton’s golden poem, Song for Nobody, is about a yellow flower with a different enigmatic message.

Related posts: Selected Wise Words From Rumi and Leonard Cohen said there’s a crack in everything–how the light gets in. It came thru him & lit up a broken humanity. And Richard Wagamese bravely entered the cracks in his life to reveal the hidden gold buried within.

Quotes from famous thinkers on the nature of truth, its rejection, and acceptance over time

February 27, 2021

It seems to take a generation for scientific truths to be accepted as facts. Even in today’s political arena, science and its findings are either accepted or rejected depending on vested interests. Each group holds on to its version of the truth and is threatened by opposing views. Same thing occurs in the scientific realm.

What is it that turns the tables from non-truth to truth, from fiction to fact, from illusion to reality? Time, and the evolutionary growth of knowledge and understanding, which becomes the conventional wisdom.

This phenomenon is known as a paradigm shift, a concept identified by the American physicist and philosopher Thomas Kuhn. It is a fundamental change in the basic concepts and experimental practices of a scientific discipline. Even though Kuhn restricted the use of the term to the natural sciences, the concept of a paradigm shift has also been used in numerous non-scientific contexts to describe a profound change in a fundamental model or perception of events. (Wikipedia)

Throughout the ages, now famous scientists and philosophers experienced this kind of repression during their lifetime. Since their findings could potentially shake up the status quo, challenge current authority, like the church, they were threatened, and their work was not allowed to see the light of day. Here are a few wise quotes about this unfortunate situation in the history of human thought.

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. — Galileo Galilei (1564–1642)

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. — Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. — Max Planck (1858-1947)

Two versions of understanding and living life by Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)

It is perfectly true, as philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forwards.

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.

See more here: Two kinds of knowledge about living and learning.

Understanding the physical universe with consciousness

When it comes to the unseen yet measurable influence of large group meditation on stressful societies, the same resistance shows up with many scientists not accepting this phenomenon, even when demonstrated by a growing series of scientific studies.

This all depends on their worldview, whether they see consciousness as the epiphenomenon of physiology, or the other way around, with consciousness being primary. Same with the natural extension of the different ways we can influence our surroundings.

In his comprehensive review of a new book, An Antidote to Stress: Evaluating the Evidence, by authors Barry Spivack and Patricia Saunders, David Orme-Johnson, Ph.D., concludes his comments with a description of how knowledge progresses, challenging the current worldview, in this case, The Maharishi Effect, and its ability to reduce negative trends in society. He writes:

The Maharishi Effect is not everyone’s cup of tea, and this is how it should be. Science advances through a dialectic between conservative forces that try to hold on to the prevailing worldview, and evolutionary forces that try to expand knowledge to a more comprehensive framework that encompasses more of reality into a consistent picture, in this case integrating our understanding of the physical universe with consciousness.

Source: A thoughtful and well documented account of the greatest scientific discovery of our time.

Also related: Rainer Maria Rilke and Carl Jung on learning how to live with life’s unanswerable questions.

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

February 27, 2021

Wendell Erdman Berry (born August 5, 1934) is an American novelist, poet, essayist, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer. He has published more than 50 books. Berry is an elected member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, a recipient of The National Humanities Medal, and the Jefferson Lecturer for 2012. He lives in Port Royal, Kentucky. Click here to listen to him read this poem, and 5 others posted at the On Being website.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

(The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, Counterpoint, March 1, 2009)

Two other poems of his posted on this blog: Wendell Berry’s stepping over stones in a stream shows us how he writes a poem and takes a stand | Wendell Berry’s “No going back” is about the generosity of the evolving self through time.

Another great American nature poet is Mary Oliver. I created a memorial post after I discovered she had passed. It contains links to some of her beautiful poems that I liked and posted over the years, as well as articles, interviews, and readings: RIP: Mary Oliver. Thank you for sharing your poetic gifts with us. They are a national treasure!

Rainer Maria Rilke and Carl Jung on learning how to live with life’s unanswerable questions

February 22, 2021

Sometimes, certain questions about life grip us, but we have no answers for them. In time, with more of life’s experiences, understanding may grow, and some questions will eventually get answered, resolved.

On the other hand, some of those questions may no longer seem relevant, and will be replaced by other more practical pressing problems.

In Letters to a Young Poet, I remember the now famous wise advice Rainer Maria Rilke gave a young man who wrote to him looking for answers to life’s unanswerable questions.

I recently came across a similar notion in a quote by Carl Gustav Jung. What they both said makes sense, each from their own perspective.

Read what Rilke and Jung had to say about this idea and let us know if you agree or disagree. Leave your comments below.


“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

― Rainer Maria Rilke (December 4, 1875 – December 29, 1926)

Read more quotes from Rainer Maria Rilke. Read these profound poems by Rilke posted on this blog.


“The greatest and most important problems of life are all in a certain sense insoluble…. They can never be solved, but only outgrown…. This ‘outgrowing’, as I formerly called it, on further experience was seen to consist in a new level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest arose on the person’s horizon, and through this widening of view, the insoluble problem lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms, but faded out when confronted with a new and stronger life-tendency.”

― Carl Jung (July 26, 1875 – June 6, 1961)

Read selected powerful quotes from C.G. Jung


Read the rest of this entry »

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