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Jody McNicholas

LongshotsA New Film by Jody McNicholas

“Inspiring the Creative Healer in Us All”

By Nikki Lyn Pugh

In 2010, the American Journal of Public Health published a sweeping review of more than 100 studies that connected the arts to physical and emotional healing. What they discovered was groundbreaking: Art reduced stress responses, increased positive emotions, reduced anxiety and depression, encouraged spontaneity, allowed for the expression of grief, helped develop positive identities, and led to involvement in important social networks.

All the scientific health jargon aside, however, we all know creativity heals because, well, it just feels good when we do it!

And this is exactly why we need films like Longshotsville, the latest from filmmaker Jody McNicholas. In fact, in our increasingly chaotic world, we need films like this now more than ever.

McNicholas is founder of Walk-In Productions, based in Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Before moving to New Mexico, Jody lived and worked for nearly a decade in Chico, where she produced the pioneering documentary film A Wave of Compassion (featuring many Chico locals).

Jody’s latest creation, Longshotsville, tells the story of young actors in small-town Taos and their acting teacher, Metta   Theatre founder and director Bruce McIntosh (who is also a practicing Zen Buddhist). Through intimate interviews and sweeping footage of the rural landscape that these youth call home, we learn about their hopes, dreams, fears, and, above all, the spirit of determination that animates and drives them all.

“There was something magical about being around them,” says Jody about the young people who participated in the yearlong Longshotsville project. “I loved how courageous they were. Following them made me stand true to my own dreams. I went to document their dreams, and it made me reflect on my own life.”

McNicholas herself had a soul-level relationship with the project from the very beginning. She actually started out as a student in one of Metta Theatre’s acting classes and was so touched by the authentic connections and healing that occurred with the youth in that class that she decided that their creative journey must be put to film. Eventually, some of the actors became involved in the project behind the camera as well. The result was a “truly collaborative experience.”

“Much of this project has been about capturing the essence of what Metta Theatre really is,” explains Jody. “Metta is a place where these young people, against all the odds, are really striving for something big—their dreams! What we discover as an audience is that their inner yearnings really aren’t for fame and fortune at all. Rather, they wish to find themselves through connecting with each other in meaningful ways and creating a community of true support.”

Nothing is staged or fake about Longshotsville, the latest creation from a truly gifted and inspiring filmmaker. Honest integrity oozes from the screen with each scene; there is no choice but to cry, laugh, and ultimately root for the success that all of these young actors define for themselves in their own terms. Along the way, what becomes crystal clear is the power of acting as a mechanism for healing. Their love of the art and craft of acting is what binds these young artists together in creative community.

“I would like the craft of acting to be more visible as a tool to engage and inspire our youth,” says McNicholas. “My experience at Metta Theatre—watching the interactions that occurred on stage with no cell phones, no alcohol or drugs —just two or more young people interacting—was one of the most powerful preventative medicines I have ever seen.”

Indeed, in the process of telling their personal stories, the actors in the film inevitably bring up larger issues to consider.

“Everyone has a unique voice, a unique story, and my motivation is to encourage our youth to never give up on their dreams,” says Jody. “We need the dreamers. We need the artists and the creatives. The arts need to be as valuable as any other subject in school today.”

“Longshotsville is a way to reach people who have not had the experience of being part of a group like Metta Theatre,” says Jody. “We can go along for the ride via a film and get a glimpse of the power of this art form and this community.”

As one of the young actors featured in the film, Syndesi, so wisely states:

“I finally came to understand that my path is not to destroy but it’s to create. … You have to go and you have to do what is in your heart. If you don’t do that, then what are you doing? You’re neglecting your talents, your abilities … your love.”

And sometimes the simple act of watching a movie about the healing power of creative expression can inspire us to express ourselves in our own unique way too. This is the beauty, and the gift, of Longshotsville.

So get yourself a digital download of Longshotsville. Keep it close at hand and watch it whenever you need a creative pick-me-up.

Then get to that acting class, pick up that pen and paper, stand before that canvas, or dust off that old guitar. Start creating yourself back to health … and repeat often!


After winning multiple awards at film festivals throughout the country, Longshotsville is being distributed via streaming media by going to

Nikki Lyn Pugh is a health blogger, writer, and coach. You can reach her through her blog,



Stuckey, H. L., & Nobel, J. (2010). The connection between art, healing, and public health: A review of current literature. American Journal of Public Health, 100(2), 254-263.

June 15, 2017 |

Media Reviews for Oct-Nov-Dec 2015

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Media Reviews for Oct-Nov-Dec 2015

The Slow Down Diet: Eating for Pleasure, Energy, and Weight Loss

By Marc David

ISBN-13: 978-1-62055-508-8 (Healing Arts Press, 2015)

We’ve all been there: Eat less, exercise more, and I will lose weight. It doesn’t take long to figure out that without proper nourishment you will lose more than weight. It was Chapter/Week 5 when I started understanding what Marc David was actually getting at when he explains how the metabolic process is directly affected by our emotions, specifically pleasure. That, along with the awareness of simply breathing while I eat, has made a noticeable improvement in my health. In today’s world with the degradation of our food supply, it is even more important to pay attention to this information and our emotional relationship with what we eat. This book marks the 10th anniversary of his first book and it’s even better.

Dhara Lemos, Lotus Guide

The Power of the Herd: A Nonpredatory Approach to Social Intelligence, Leadership, and Innovation

By Linda Kohanov

ISBN-13: 978-1-60868-371-0 (New World Library, 2015)

We have an unmistakable and undeniable failure in our power structures and how and why we choose our leaders. Let’s face it; most of today’s leaders are egocentric predators who have clawed their way to the top. Our leaders have lost their personal connection with society, making social bonding all but impossible. To follow the natural principles of the herd that have obviously been working for millennia seems a logical step for a civilization to take if it wants to continue. It’s definitely a step into higher consciousness where the solutions to today’s problems will be found. Do you want to be a leader? Start here …

Rahasya Poe, Lotus Guide

Mind over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself

By Lissa Rankin, MD

ISBN-13: 978-1-40193-999-1 (Hay House, 2014)

Imagine Dr. Lissa Rankin’s surprise when she saw this startling pattern in many of her patients: Those who were wealthy and practicing good health habits—green juices, yoga, meditation—were inexplicably very ill. However, patients who ate doughnuts, smoked cigarettes, and drank alcohol were quite healthy. Dr. Rankin herself was on seven prescription medications at age 33. The traditional equation of diet + exercise = health wasn’t working. These paradoxical results led Dr. Rankin to a two-year sabbatical from medicine. She had one question: “What do you need to heal yourself?” The results? Whole Health Medicine,” a radical new approach to health care that merges spirituality and science. Mind over Medicine describes the principles of Whole Health Medicine, addressing life situations that cause stress and poor health. Dr. Rankin now trains practitioners and may revolutionize health care.

Mark Light, MD, Lotus Guide

BlindSpots: 21 Good Reasons to Think before You Talk

By Christian de Quincey

ISBN-13: 978-1-62055-446-3 (Park Street Press, 2015)

We’ve all done it—we heard something someone said and it matched with our beliefs so it must be true. Being the publisher of a magazine, I hold myself to a higher standard and have learned to question popular assertions that run rampant in today’s world. Reading this book brought to the surface many of the core assumptions we have blindly accepted through the years. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard two people arguing over who is right, and they were both wrong because they were basing their arguments on faulty suppositions. This can create a dangerous situation in a civilization with advanced technology. The timing for a book such as this has never been more essential than it is right now in our world.

Rahasya Poe, Lotus Guide

Astrology in Ancient Mesopotamia: The Science of Omens and the Knowledge of the Heavens

By Michael Baigent

ISBN-13: 978-1-59143-221-0 (Bear & Company, 2015)

Anyone who has read Michael Baigent’s book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, already knows the academic scholarship he brings to the table. History has been, and still is for most people, a story that’s been force-fed to us by religion and state and very few realize that most of it is deceptive and misleading. Archaeology is finally finding its way by looking at the facts, not at ideas and beliefs that have traditionally funneled our thinking. I thought I knew something about astrology, but it turns out that most of what I’ve been told was based on partial truths passed down through the centuries. This is another academic milestone.

Rahasya Poe, Lotus Guide

AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda (DVD)

ASIN: B012BUQQ4K (Alive Mind, 2015)

Paramahansa Yogananda’s life-changing Autobiography of a Yogi was given to me at the age of 17 and my life forever changed. Religion expanded into a rich inner exploration filled with profound possibilities and the quickening of spirit. Yogananda’s message for me was inclusive, fresh, and expansive, allowing me to experience what had previously been only a matter of faith. Now, more than 50 years after its publication, the message is just as relevant. Apparently, it was the only book on Steve Jobs’s iPad; has sold more than 4 million copies; and foreshadowed recent discoveries in neuroscience. AWAKE is a visual celebration of the relevance of these profound spiritual teachings for our times.

Pat Basham, Lotus Guide

September 28, 2015 |

Food Matters-A DVD Documentary

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In today’s world of misinformation fueled by corporate interests Food Matters gave us down-to-earth information which will allow us to make better choices in our lives. It’s always been my experience that people make better choices when they have better information.

Rahasya Poe & Dhara Lemos, Publishers of Lotus Guide Magazine ( )

More information at View Trailer:

May 27, 2014 |

Finding Happiness

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DVD-finding-happiness-webWhere can we get more happiness?

Sages of all traditions and times have asked that question. They tell us we’ve been given five tools for the journey: body, feelings, will, mind, and soul. When people use their happiness tools wisely, in ways that increase health, love, strength, wisdom, and joy, their smiles grow wider. When they narrow their awareness, becoming selfish and self-involved, they grow ill and unhappy. It’s an ancient and timeless formula that will never go away, because it’s rooted in human nature:

Expanding awareness = happiness. Contracting awareness = the blues.

Now imagine a small town where the people know this simple formula. They’re intent on practicing it themselves and supporting one another in their common quest. Let’s give our new town a fanciful name—we’ll call it Ananda, a Sanskrit word that means “bliss.” We’ll buy a gold rush–era farm in the foothills, 80 miles from Chico, and we’ll begin our happiness experiment. And if we’re successful, perhaps 45 years later we’ll make an inspiring film about our long and happy experiment (now our happiness experience)—to show the world that the eternal-bliss formula still works today.

That’s the story behind Finding Happiness, an inspiring new film starring Elisabeth Röhm (award-winning American Hustle, Law and Order, Miss Congeniality, Heroes, The Client List). Röhm plays Juliet Palmer, a fictional magazine journalist in New York City whose editor assigns her to write an investigative piece about Ananda. Founded in 1968 on a 67-acre parcel, acquired as part of a group purchase with iconic counterculture poet Gary Snyder and Zen Roshi Richard Baker, Ananda now has 200 residents who live, work, and raise families on 1,000 acres about 12 miles north of Nevada City.

Finding Happiness is somewhere in the ballpark of a docudrama, but not quite; it’s a visually rich travelogue that follows Juliet’s encounters with the real-life Ananda members—an idiosyncratic bunch of young and old organic farmers, solar engineers, software developers, environmental scientists, web designers, mothers, doctors, architects, nature guides, and writers—whose unscripted words and happy smiles tell the story. Included is some of the last-filmed footage of Ananda’s visionary founder, Swami Kriyanada, who left the body at age 87 in April 2013.

Much of the movie was filmed at The Expanding Light Retreat, which is Ananda’s spiritual retreat for yoga, meditation, and health. Open year-round, the retreat welcomes “truth seekers” from many paths. For more than 20 years it has been a place where residents of Chico, Paradise, and the region go to renew and learn more about living a happy life.

Finding Happiness is a stunningly inspiring movie and a highly enjoyable theater experience for its soaring music, interesting people, and wonderful visuals. Probe deeper, and the subtle message of Ananda is clear: The secret of finding happiness is the same now as in ancient times.

Finding Happiness is coming soon to the Paradise Center for Spiritual Living—7pm on Friday, April 11, a $5 donation. The movie is also available on iTunes, Yekra, and for purchase on the movie website.


For related websites, visit, , and

March 31, 2014 |

The Happiness Prescription by Deepak Chopra

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The Secret to Experiencing a Joyful Life- DVD (Gaiam)

ISBN: 978-0-7662-3624-0

  Living in a world where most prescriptions come from a bottle it was refreshing to watch and listen to Deepak as he defined a path to clearing negative thoughts, handling stress, and leading a more fulfilled life through increased consciousness. By simply replacing fear with love we can once again come into balance.

Dhara Lemos, Lotus Guide Magazine 


January 21, 2014 |

A Wave of Compassion ~ DVD Documentary

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by Jody McNicholas

A “longing of the spirit” and a profound “loneliness” are some of the underlying truths that are gently disclosed in A Wave of Compassion, a documentary about addiction. Director Jody McNicholas has afforded us all an opportunity to listen to the diverse reflections of what needs to happen for healing to take place in the lives of addicts and alcoholics. Addiction and recovery both need to be well understood in their nature and complexity so that the hope and inspiration needed to re-install purpose in the lives of addicts and alcoholics can take place. This documentary validates that need. Virginia Eagan, MFTA Wave of Compassion is available online at and also S&S Produce in Chico, Eco-centric Store in Graeagle and East-West Bookstore in Sacramento, CA.

Rahasya Poe, Lotus Guide

January 21, 2014 |

Rhythm Therapy and Muscle-Brain Integration (DVD)

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By Tone Cardenas


Whether it’s between nations or mind and body, integration seems to be a key factor in health. Using this DVD produced by a physical therapist, in a few short minutes I was able to integrate a bilateral movement I had been working on for years with no success. This information is a perfect complement for anyone seeking mind-body integration by increasing hemispheric balance in the brain. Visit or call 877-YOGA-GYM (877-964-2496).

Rahasya Poe, Lotus Guide magazine

January 21, 2014 |

You Can Heal Your Life (2-DVD set)

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By Louise L. Hay and Friends ISBN 1-40192-029-6 (Hay House, 2007)

  Entering her eighth decade of life, Louise Hay is an inspiration for all of us. There is a depth of communication, when it comes from direct and profound experience, that is inescapable. This was what I found while watching and listening to such people as Wayne Dyer, Greg Braden, Doreen Virtue, Candice Pert, Christine Northrup, Louise Hay, and many more on the subject of using affirmations and “changing your life by changing your thought.” From the very roots of her transformation while practicing religious science techniques to the experiences gained during a lifetime, Louise shows how we can all become the miracle we’re waiting for. Timely information for all of us.

Rahasya Poe, Lotus Guide magazine


January 21, 2014 |

The Sacred Sites of the Dalai Lamas, A Pilgrimage to Oracle Lake

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A DVD Documentary by Steve Dancz ISBN: 978-1-932907-21-6

  In turbulent times when actions seem to fail us, it’s a change of awareness that can push us through a shift of consciousness. In watching The Sacred Sites of the Dalai Lamas one can not escape the need for a new consciousness when dealing with conflict in our world. It is truly impossible to come up with solutions from the same level of awareness that created the problems in the first place. By following the footsteps of enlightened beings we can for a brief moment experience something truly mystical. Watch this DVD and experience the adventure for yourself.

Rahasya Poe, Lotus Guide Magazine 


January 21, 2014 |

Pregnant in America (DVD)

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Written and directed by Steve Buonaugurio
Intention Media (

   This is a well-balanced view of the health system surrounding being pregnant in America. It asks questions such as: “Why is it that the cesarean rate is 30 percent in the United States while the rest of the world considers 7 percent too high? Why are we charged so much more for fewer services in our hospitals than in other countries? Why do we give a drug to induce labor when it clearly states on the label: “Do not give to pregnant women”? Why do most childbirths happen Monday through Friday in our hospitals? Why are we discouraged and even penalized for not wanting a cesarean birth or wanting homebirth? If you’re looking for answers, you’re not alone—order this DVD.

Rahasya Poe, Lotus Guide magazine

January 21, 2014 |
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