The acting teacher that really changed my art and life was a lanky man from Texas named Clyde Vinson. If he were still around I’d send you all to his door. Alas, life is not always as long as we wish. I’m back. Clyde often repeated the mantra “The way you do things is the way you do things.” Obvious, brilliant, simple. You’ve probably heard it before.
I found myself saying those words in Committed Impulse class last night right before beginning The Series.
The Series, for those who haven’t been in Committed Impulse class yet, is a warm up practice that takes about 20 minutes. The Series accomplishes many things: It shifts your attention out of the running (often abusive) commentary in your head, it profoundly increases the awareness of your body and heightens your connection to your immediate environment ( what’s actually around you right now).
I get emails all the time from people who report doing The Series before an audition only to sail in and book the job. The same holds true for entrepreneurs who have done the series on the morning of an important meeting or before shooting a webinar. They too, had great ease, tremendous presence, as well as being on point during their presentation.
I created The Series 15 years ago. It’s an integration of different forms of yoga ( FYI, I started doing yoga when I was 6 years old and am a certified yoga instructor.). I’m back. The series also includes exercises from the actor training created by the polish director Jerzy Grotowski, as well as exercises I learned from training with Tadashi Suzuki and his amazing company of actors, and a mix of other physically based international actor training disciplines I’ve explored.
So last night I put the emphasis of The Series on presence and commitment.
Since, the way we do things is in fact the way we do things, the way you do The Series will impact the way you do everything else.
It is essential when you’re doing any physical training that you remain present and committed.
Heating up the body while you’re lost in thought disciplines your body, and your whole being, to carry out actions while you’re thinking about something else. Not what you want. Repeat: Not what you want.
Have you ever done an activity only to realize after it’s over that you weren’t even there while it was happening? You were lost in thought.
However, if you physically train while engaging with your body truth, and remain aware of what is actually around you, then you are reprogramming your self to be present.
The first part of The Series primes the body to engage with the intensity ahead. Next, there are sections that are quite challenging for everyone. However, any person can do The Series from exactly where they are, at any age, and at any level of conditioning. But in those moments where it gets challenging is where the mind wants to kick in and pull focus. Often the mind will go to something like…
- I’m no good at this.
- I am so much better than everyone at this.
- I am weak.
- I am strong
- I’ll never get it.
- Poo poo ba ba bee bee.
Here’s the exciting part.
If you can catch your mind amidst the intensity of the moment and return to the present, well my friend, you have reprogrammed yourself to remain present in challenging situations.
The next time you walk into an audition and your heart starts racing…
The next time you turn on your video camera to make a video for your clients…
The next time you walk into a meeting that could bump up your career…
Yes, you may feel intensity in your body. Expect it. And, so what – you’re alive , you’re going to feel stuff. However, If you have trained yourself to be committed and present – you can handle that physical intensity without turning into a bobbling rain man.
As Clyde Vinson said, the way you do things is the way you do things.
I’ll add to that…
Breaking patterns while doing anything physical resets how you do the things you do.
So, even if you don’t know The Series yet – you can start incorporating commitment and presence in the simplest of actions: while you are walking, taking a shower, even eating. Taste that food, see what’s around you.
Have you ever done an activity where you were fully engaged in it?
Have you ever done an activity and after it was over realized that you weren’t there for it at all?
The latter is about to change.
Send a little shout out to your Committed Impulse tribe, and give a brief example of when you were fully engaged in an activity and when you did something and were not there at all.
It’s important for all of us to see the difference. With awareness we have choice.
But wait, also write what you’re going to do this week to explore your own commitment and presence.
Have an awesome week.