Posted by: Noni | July 5, 2020

The New Normal – A Poem

Confined by fear and uncertainty. 

Billions cowering like well trained dogs.

Masked, distanced and conforming as instructed.

Lashing out at dissenters …those, murderous, selfish beasts.

Hoarders snatching from each other’s loaded carts.

Less fortunate begging for meager rations.

Social media the venting ground. 

Algorithms silence legitimacy for consistencies sake.

Citizens betrayed by those they trust.

Together We Can, Be safe/Stay home, Black Lives Matter.

A barrage of slogans clogging our feeds and our minds. 

Swallowing a pill called Democracy.

Our votes an illusion cloaked in the deceit of election.

Candidate Blue or Candidate Red; same Puppet Masters.

Billions enslaved by a few. 

Days playing out like a sci-fi thriller.

Bio warfare, DEW’s, social engineering; …weapons of the elite.

Rigged systems, electoral fraud and decayed education fuel our demise.

Social media amplifying fear, division and suspicion.

Conspiracy Theory, Fake News, Russian Bots and Chinese Trolls.

Injustice sparks public outrage.

Balled up fists and cardboard signs collide in futility.

Mainstream News masquerading as impartial authority.

Celebrities with megaphones regurgitating hypocrisy. #MeToo.

We share a prison made of our own stupidity. 

Rub the sleep from your eyes. 

Turn on your critical thinking.   

Search for, and arm yourself, with truth.

Question everything, verify all.

Never give in, to the new normal.

Namaste

Posted by: Noni | July 1, 2020

Announcing, Earth One Media

Please see the full story on my new EarthOneMedia.com website.

The vision for EARTH ONE MEDIA took over 5 years to become reality. (Although, it will always be a work in progress)

The soft-launch of the website was May 29th, 2020. It has been reviewed by a select group of participants and is being updated accordingly with a revised layout and simpler, quicker accessibility.

Earthonemedia.com

Don’t neglect to check out the video stories as well. 30 episodes were recorded all over India in summer 2019.

This about page shares the full history and current status of the organization.

The first 3 Episodes of Ally’s Thali (an Earth One Media production) have been posted for premiere viewers. One new episode will be posted each week and be sure to make a membership (free) so you can comment and join the conversation.

True Stories filmed in India

https://earthonemedia.com/about-earth-one-media/

Be sure to leave a comment, like and confirm that you are subscribed.

Posted by: Noni | July 1, 2020

Multi Lingual Mastery

Thank you Denis Dossmann for sharing this meme. When I read it I was overwhelmed with such a sense of wonderment and pride. I could read it without hesitation!

In 2012 I suffered a stroke that affected my memory and mental acuity. The Neurologist suggested I take up a musical instrument or study a language in order to re-train and exercise my brain. I choose French and moved to Montreal for full immersion. It took 14 months of full time study then another year and a half of practice before I became bilingual.

Learning a second language after the age of 50 holds challenges (sans les problèmes médicaux) without brain injury.

I continue to push myself into new territory having also learned basic Spanish while living in South America.

Today I’m facing new barriers because Hindi, the main language in India, has a completely different alphabet and structure. Can’t read it like French or Spanish which use A-Z along with a few accents.

Damage to both ear drums makes it even harder with hearing loss and tone limitations…. I have no idea what the words are supposed to sound like. Trial and error can be exhaustive but eventually I am able to reproduce proper pronunciation.

Language has broadened my horizons and given me a gift of cultural understanding.

It’s never too late to learn new tricks.
The rewards can bring more than you expected.

Namaste

Goa, India
Posted by: Noni | June 12, 2020

Watch “BIRDS OF GOA”

I was invited to attend a bird festival in Goa earlier this year and the adventure turned into a productive project to promote eco tourism and conservation.

I’m blessed to be able to participate in such important events and my love of nature and especially my feathered friends resonates with each word I speak.

Please enjoy this beautiful masterpiece created by a team of dedicated artists who have made outstanding achievements at capturing the marvels of Nature.

Posted by: Noni | June 8, 2020

Earth One Media – Rabbit Holes

From Vancouver to Los Angeles to Dubai to the Amazon jungle, I was led on a journey because I listened for instructions from the Universe.

Introduction to Ally’s Thali

My first attempt to document these events was back in 2010. I created a website, a lead character (NONI), avatars and artwork to entice an audience who would guide me on a quest in search of prince charming. 

I called it Noni’s Happy Ending and the idea was to explore and travel until I found a suitable ending for my tale. I opened myself to all type’s of possibilities.  I listened to encouraging speeches from my well meaning friends who assured me that I would find a lovely ending for my story. I deserved that, so much of my life had been drama and tragedy; it was my destiny to find my happiness.

Or perhaps I still had lessons to learn?

I wasn’t ready to tell the story; I still had lots of healing  work to do before destiny would deliver my knight in shining armor.  Eight years later I finally realized that life is not a fairy tale. Life is fucking reality. It was time to let go and move on.

I didn’t want to be afraid anymore. I didn’t want to feel embarrassed or stupid about what I had done, or more correctly what had been done to me. It was over. Living in fear of retaliation or discovery was killing my spirit. It was time to reclaim my freedom. It was time to take control.

My plan was to purchase a small parcel of land, build a simple home and plant a sustainable garden. During the 6 months that I had lived up river from Puerto Maldonado, a small village in the Peruvian Amazon, I had learned about the medicinal power of many plants. 

I decided to create a healing center.

I had been shopping for land in Ecuador. My dream was to create a healing and meditation garden that featured traditional medicine plants from around the world. After much searching I found a plot of land on the northwest coast of Ecuador that was ideal.  Esmeraldas met my desired ultimate dream offering both beachfront and fertile farmland for plant medicine cultivation.

The location was perfect for food production as well since the soil was incredibly fertile due to having an estuary close by.  I was dumbfounded to find oceanfront property, at an affordable price, conveniently near a natural bird sanctuary and with Mangrove trees at the shoreline.  Bonus points also for perfect neighbors! A small technicality prevented my purchase; it was considerably out of my price range. Since Trump’s presidency the dollar was higher and stronger than ever. Ecuador utilizes US currency and a modest land transaction was going to cost me to lose several thousand on the exchange from Canadian currency.

So, instead of borrowing the difference or negotiating a smaller plot of land, I came up with a brilliant plan.  My idea was to travel to India and spend 6 months writing a book about the failed relationship that I was determined to keep a secret. For years, literally years, I had listened to people exclaim, “You should write a book! Your life is like a movie!” 

I figured my story was like an ace in the hole. I could easily earn back the cost of the project and a nice sum to set my plans in action for the meditation gardens.

I didn’t need a bunch of people telling me, it’s full blown Technicolor, no doubt that my life is like a movie.  Let’s go down the rabbit hole shall we?

Oh, speaking of rabbit holes, do you ever feel like the Universe is trying to send you messages? Well, mine seem to show up as murals in places I live.  After many months of tweeting with the hash tag #followthewhiterabbit I checked into a hostel in Northern Peru to continue laying low. 

The previous 6 months I had been living in a remote sanctuary in the Amazon jungle. Upon a recommendation I booked a volunteer experience in a tiny seaside village where I would help out with reception and housekeeping at a surf hostel. The arrangement was that if I worked for 4 hours per day at the reception desk I would receive accommodations and a staff meal. 

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The arrangement was a perfect since I was on limited budget. Volunteering would allow me to stay longer without spending too much money. When the manager of the hostel showed me to my sleeping quarters I was dumbfounded to see that a mural of Alice in Wonderland was painted on the front of my room.  There, right on the door was the white rabbit himself!

It was incredibly comforting to receive a message from the Universe which seemed to be telling me I was in the right place. I moved in happily. 

There have been many more signs since that one, each coming at a time when I was in transition from once place to another. I kept listening intently to make sure I was doing the right thing.  Sometimes when we’re focused on something we keep seeing it. Like when you’re trying to quit eating sweets but everywhere you go, all you see is deserts and candies. I realize that Alice in Wonderland is an internationally renowned story and the fact that it showed up at the place I was staying could have been random coincidence but I don’t think so. Especially since I rented a small apartment in India where I had planned to edit and package my videos. When I entered the hallway to my new “hideout” in Goa I found it to have a white rabbit painted right inside the doorway.

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I once again was reassured that I was in the correct place. I decided to extend my stay in Goa to complete the project there. I unpacked my backpack for the first time in almost a year. It felt good to have a place for my toothbrush and cupboard for my clothes but the top perk of having my own space again was the kitchen.  Oh, how I love to cook!

I posted a message on a Goa Life Facebook group seeking help in editing the content that I had collected over the years. I was excited to have invented a new storytelling technique but afraid it could potentially fail.  

Fear was the all too familiar emotion that flashed its frightening face throughout this process. The trick was to slay those fears and move forward confidently. People use words like courageous and brave to describe me but I didn’t agree, I’m driven by sheer stubbornness and the desire to expose the truth. I refuse to be silenced any longer. I am done being manipulated and will not conform to the social engineering or media influences.

There are 2 things you can never hide, eventually they show up and shine light, the sun and the truth.

Copyright © 2020 Alison Richards, All rights

Introduction to Ally’s Thali

Posted by: Noni | January 29, 2020

Crocodile Ceremony

When a friend called to invite me to a ceremony for crocodiles I had no idea what to expect. We spent the morning in the wetlands of south Goa searching for rare and exotic birds then ate lunch and drove to a small village outside Margoa to meet the locals who would share their annual ritual with us.

Wetlands near Margao, Goa

We arrived in a quiet farming region with a small lake and irrigation channels where the annual ceremony would take place. The event was scheduled for 3 pm but like most timings in India started a few hours later.

Typical dwelling for agricultural or fishing families

There was only a handful of attendees but I was to learn later that besides the locals I was amongst the world experts on Crocodiles. The first step was to clear a spot beside the dyke and start bringing mud up from the river.

There was a journalist from Hindustan Times (Mumbai) and a filmmaker who were also documenting the ritual.

The farmers shaped the mud to form a crocodile after which they decorated with shells; using straw to depict the claws. The crude form was then adorned with flowers and offerings were prepared while prayers recited and incense burned


The men used shells and flowers to adorn the mud sculpture
Local family names are called from a book to verify their attendance. Those who don’t participate are held responsible for any future attacks.
They tied knots in an accounting string that shows each family who were represented. (All males)
An egg was placed in a hole at the top of the crocodile but apparently in past they used live chickens.

We also visited a site at the other end of the village where another group had left their offering.

No one knows how long this puja has been used or how many people’s lives have been spared but there are still random occasional attacks.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to witness these precious moments. Since last May I have be privy to a plethora of experiences that date back hundreds or thousands of years. The culture and history of India is fascinating and marvelous and I have learned many valuable lessons from this exotic land.

Please share and subscribe.

Namaste 🕉

Posted by: Noni | December 22, 2019

Looking back at 2019

One of my most incredible experiences in 2019 was teaching in India. I didn’t come India to teach. I came to write a book. I surprised myself by doing both.When I first arrived in India my camera operator was delayed so I decided to volunteer at an English school, 2 hours by train from Calcutta’s Howrah Station was a rural village, Panskura.When I arrived it was a fews days before Ramadan and I was being hosted by a Muslim family. After one day to settle in I was immediately thrust into classes. We had two age groups of students.Over the next 3 weeks I learned a great deal. With mix of half and half Hindu/Muslim I was given instruction on both belief systems. My students enthusiastically shared their culture and traditions.I even got lessons on the rules for CRICKET. The final day before leaving, a couple of the girls came to take to the small farmland they came from. I didn’t realize that they lived over an hour away from the school.

Posted by: Noni | July 30, 2019

Lost but not forgotten – Vimeo Video Prize

I couldn’t believe it when I received an email, on an outdated account that auto-forwards, that someone liked my video on Vimeo. I thought, I don’t have an account on Vimeo for video??? But I followed the link and low and behold their it was, the full 22 minute version of a drunk driving re-enactment that I produced way back in 2003.

I’d love to know what these kids are up to today, young adults now, since we worked on this amazing project.

Every 15 Minutes (IMDb) was a logistical challenge to shoot since it was a live performance (re-enactment of true events) with a massive cast. Real life heroes; police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, teachers, doctors, emergency room staff, mortuary employees, detectives, city workers and students joined the technical crew to produce a realistic depiction while exposing the repercussions of drinking and driving.

I’m not sure what the statistics are today but back in 2003 Every 15 Minutes someone died as a result of an alcohol related traffic accident. The preparation for this project was over 6 months long; rehearsals, counseling sessions for the teens, meetings with parents and community, liaison with hospital and emergency services… it took a village! More accurately, it took the City of Hawthorne, California.

The event was planned and executed with military precision timing. From a video production standpoint we had 9 camera operators who followed the real-time action, multiple locations, over 24 wireless microphones (editing was super challenging) and an outdoor sound system to broadcast live audio to the 1500 students who were seated in grandstands erected by the city for the occasion.

A special effects and make-up crew from CSI (television show) arrived at the crack of dawn to make our students look convincingly dead or mangled.  One of the parents broke down weeping over her daughters body in the ER at Hawthorne Hospital where she was pronounced ‘dead‘ shortly after her arrival. I don’t know how she did it, but that young actress never broke character, even with her mother sobbing on her shoulder. (While editing that footage I could hear the camera operator sniffling.)

I stayed up all night sifting through the footage to select clips to play at the ‘Memorial’ assembly in the high school auditorium the next day. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. All in all, it was a highly emotional experience for not only the students that were involved but the entire student body, the teachers, parents, cast and crew. It’s an experience I will never forget; one of the most demanding projects I have ever been involved in, but also the most impact-full and rewarding.

I was recently asked by the main organizer and event producer, Sgt Jim Royer (now Captain) if I would be interested in making a new version. It would be an honor to work with him again.

Jim Royer of the Hawthorne Police Department is one of the most caring and dedicated law enforcement officers I have ever met. The impact he had on the kids, parents and community is priceless.  His passion elevated the professionalism and raised the bar to an extraordinary height.

I have copies of the DVD I created on that memorable day but didn’t remember posting this clip online.  Each of the students from the Graduating class received a copy of the documentary which also included behind the scenes and footage from the assembly. TRT 97 minutes.

Dedicated to all those who have lost their lives because someone drove impaired.

Posted by: Noni | July 19, 2019

When children ask…Who is your God?

kidsAllahabad3

I was sitting in solitude, telling my story to the camera when I was mobbed by curious children. They came in one by one, then they saw the camera and realized we were filming.

Going through all my files and starting to edit my transcripts. This is one of my favorite experiences so far in India. I was talking about education and the importance of teaching children and as if on cue, I was surround by inquisitive minds. They were fascinated by our video shoot, some of the children were gathered around Ragesh, (my cinematographer) and the camera and some with me.
Afterwards when we realized it was impossible to continue shooting (I sit alone telling my story on camera) we packed up and walked through the park with an entourage of kids in tow. The children were dressed in their fine clothes for Eid as it was the end of Ramadan.

kidsAllahabad1

One by one they took turns shaking my hand and introducing themselves

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After our introductions, we took selfies together.

They asked me if I was Muslim, I said no. They asked if I was Hindi, I said no. Those are the 2 most followed religions in India. They asked who my god was, I stood for a moment thinking about how I could communicate a complex theory of my god to these children considering the fact that we didn’t share common language.
I pointed to a tree and said,God.
I pointed to a bush and said,God.
I pointed to a flower and said,God.
I pointed to a bird and said,God.
I pointed to the grass and said,God.
I pointed to a child and said,God.
Then another child, God, another child, God, another…
Then I pointed to myself and said, God.
The group immediately understood and began running around pointing at different things in the park exclaiming, God, God, God!
Then one of the older kids came back to me, pointed at himself then at me and said, ”Same God”
Yes, same god.
God is nature, God is creation, we are all God.
This was such a beautiful moment, I had to share it.  Can you please share this too? Thanks!

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