Hi. Michelle Sims here, the Director of Operations at Committed Impulse.
Recently, in class, someone asked Josh Pais what led him to be a teacher. He told the story of how the actor training he received was very logical – but ended up putting all his attention in his head. When he became a member of the Circle Rep Lab he began exploring with a group of 14 actors how he could direct them to fulfill the obligations of a script, but at the same time demand that their performances be spontaneous.
As people started to see the work Josh was doing he was asked to teach other groups of people what he had been exploring.
Josh passed on these offers declaring he wasn’t a teacher.
It became clear that he never set out to be a teacher. He just finally stopped saying “No”, and, despite never setting out to do it, became incredibly good at teaching .
Josh’s curiosity about everything is what, in my opinion, makes him such a spectacular teacher. He isn’t interested in controlling every aspect of class; his classes breathe and change in an organic way as the evening goes on – he is always open to changing up the schedule for the night if the best way to deliver the information requires moving in a different direction.
So when he had the idea for opening up his blog to his students, it seemed like the perfect extension to the way Josh works.
He has always learned and moved forward by listening to others; his ability to listen is close to otherworldly because it is so focused and intense that he can intuit what people are saying way below the surface.
So, here are some thought about Committed Impulse from folks who have experienced it first hand. Enjoy!
So I Did!
Hey! I’m Allie Schulz. I am a singer, actress, dancer- I perform Rockin’ Theatrical Shows, and I’m also the founder and owner of EzerLife, a chic activewear line (Check it out here: EzerLifeNY.com)
Committed Impulse has been a part of my life (thank the heavens!) for about five years now. This past session I did launched me into my most joyful and empowered self. Surriously. I booked about five acting jobs throughout the span of the class, commercials, theatre, television, and voice overs. I started making better money than I have in a long time, having more fun auditioning, AND I was challenged by the class to put on a live show. SO I DID. The energy that Josh gives his students, and then in response the students give each other, encouraged me to follow through with a dream I’d had for a long time.
This morning I was reading something in A Course in Miracles about teachers and learners (aka students, ha) and it said that a good teacher is one who hopes to one day fill their students up with so much wisdom and strength that they no longer need the teacher. A good teacher also, as described in this book, has no ego attached to their ideas and longs to see their students burst forth, beyond even the teacher’s knowledge into their greatness. The great teacher believes in the students boundless capacity for growth. Josh came to mind immediately! I have always felt that sort of support in Committed Impulse- the sense that both Josh and my fellow classmates are always excitedly awaiting my next leap forward in life- whether in my career, financial freedom, or all around KICK-ASS living.
The limitlessness of fun, and joy, and love and support in CI is something I find each and every time I take the class. It feels like Josh and every classmate of mine has decided to set aside our so called “limits” and believe that we are capable everything we’ve ever dreamed and more- CUZ WE ARE! THERE ARE NO LIMITS!
The fun in class, mixed with the accountability of staying on track with active steps toward our dreams is what makes CI something I will want to practice for a long long time.:)
Love to ya alllllll
Teaching my brain to reconnect.
I was fortunate enough to engage in the work of Committed Impulse on and off for several years. And even though it has been a few years since I participated in a class session, it’s safe to say that the work is integrated into my body.
In January of 20012 I suddenly suffered from an Aortic Dissection (aneurysm) This is the exact heart stress that killed John Ritter,George C Scott , Lucille Ball and Joe Strummer of The Clash. Basically my aorta exploded and I was unaware that my Heart had been bleeding internally for almost two years. I had to have the valve in my heart replaced by a Bionic one, and as a result of the Dissection, I suffered from a left side Paralyzing Stroke less than two weeks later.
I was told I would never walk, use my left arm, or swallow again. I spent to three months in New York City’s Bellevue Hospital, all of 2012 and a portion of 2013 in out-patient therapy. I had to learn how to walk again, and teach my brain to reconnect with my left hand, arm, foot and leg.
Not to mention the fact, the Dissection had affected my ability to sweat and labored my breathing.
So in other words, my connection to my impulses and my will to recover was all that I had physically. From the first time I could move a left finger to the first step I took without the aid of a cane, I relied on what I was feeling to navigate me along the long, windy road of recovery.
It’s almost been two years since my medical saga began, and I’m close to accomplishing my goal of being able to run, and I’ve even done some acting work this year.
I’m convinced that the Committed Impulse work was ingrained in my body, therefore serving as a compass to direct me in getting better every step of the way.
Thank you for reading,
Committed Impulse – My Story of Terror
I really don’t know why exactly I signed up for CI. Maybe it was the stories I heard from other entrepreneur friends or just the fact that it took me a year to sign up because every time I tried it was SOLD OUT and the waitlist was endless. Needless to say – one day I lucked out and managed to hop in the CI wagon.
Now know – I am NOT an actress, singer, movie director or anybody who PERFORMS for living, for that matter. I am an academic, researcher of shame, guilt and genocide. Oh, and I teach advanced statistics at one of the NYC universities.
But…I have to interact and talk to people, unfortunately.
And as any introvert knows – this can be very painful, especially when you have to carry a shallowly-polite chit-chat about food and weather. I guess it’s the pain associated with a) being human, b)living in NYC, c) owning an internet marketing company :/
The moment I walked into the 1st CI and figured out that I’m the ONLY non-actress/performer/singer etc., I freaked out.
Actually no – I was completely petrified. I immediately located the exit door and planned to sneak out during the break and NEVER, EVER come back AGAIN!
I don’t think anybody would notice at all.
But instead, I stayed, in psychological, emotional and physical pain. In fear and complete uncertainty. And I kept coming back for more – not missing a single class. I hated it and loved it at the same time. I stayed with the fear and the panic – they were holding my hands on both sides – like mom and dad when I was little.
And the more I hang out with them the less scary they were and the more I felt I could connect with those weird creatures in my class called actors. I saw them cry, scream and laugh in the span of a minute (!). I saw them in fear and pain. Just like mine. And I saw them BE REAL – and it shook me to the bones.
So you ask – what did I get from the CI – well….I’m still not an actress, nor plan to be.
I am not a singer, performer or a stand-up comedian. Nor plan to be.
But I feel a little bit more human now. Not a floating brain connected to a vehicle called BODY.
And I see the humanity in others.
And I let our humanity connect on a deeper, more visceral (and maybe darker) level. My creature and your creature interacting and being real to each other. And the healing power of being and staying with IT, whatever it is.
Oh…one more detail about me…I’m a psychologist.
Patrycja Slawuta is a NYC-based researcher and entrepreneur. She bridges psychological science and real-life application to bring aliveness to the people and organizations she works with. http://www.patrycjaslawuta.com/
My Favorite Audition Stories
Why I love CI?! There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not over the top grateful for CI. It’s the best acting class I’ve ever taken, because it’s not only about acting it’s a lifestyle. A glamorous, super exciting, leading edge lifestyle.
I attended NYU and while studying at the Atlantic Theatre Company I was introduced to the Josh Pais… I was a bit thrown back by the technique and then I just said F*ck it, dive in… And I did.
Since graduation, I’ve taken his Thursday night master class twice, and every class I get more in tune with who I am and my acting successes sore.
#1 fav success story: For a Hanky Panky commercial, I was chosen out of 500 girls, and I made it to the final 10. As I waited for my turn to audition, my ego kicked into full drive, screaming “You SUCK” and a whole lot of other defeating phrases. And then I screamed back, “I’m Back.”
I began talking myself of the cliff, by feeling the vibrations inside and seeing what’s in front of me. I began to say to myself with more vigor with every phrase: “See that clock, see the pencil, see that bag, what color are the walls?, see the walls, see the doors…”
And then my name was called, and low and behold, I was now really back, and I booked the gig.
#2 fav success story: It was another commercial audition and the scenario was a date between two lovers. He poured the girl (me) champagne and I said how lovely and magically the night was turning out. Well in the midst of doing the scene I got an impulse to kiss the other actor, I thought: “I can’t do that” … And then I thought: “Why not, if I don’t act on the impulse it’ll read as untruthful, stop thinking and just do it!” And then I did it, I kissed an actor without their permission, maybe not my highest moment.
The audition finished and I began to doubt my performance, maybe I went too far. But then I remember what Josh philosophized in class: he believed the actor that left the audition in the room usually got the job. Now the actor that continued to think about the audition long after the audition usually didn’t get the job. So I decided, “I’m Back,” I left the audition in the room, and went about my day.
The next day, I found out, I booked my first national commercial 🙂
Those are my 2 top success stories, and I could have written so much more but in summary: CI has helped me to quiet my resistance, and focus on what really matters: staying present, breathing, and having oh so much FUN!
Cheers to more present moments for all, happy 2014… #imback
Much love, light, and gratitude,
Good Ego is Bad, Too.
I often see actors beat up on themselves – in the audition room, the green room, on set, and in classes – with the imaginary perception that they screwed up.
This may be “backed up” with feedback they got, but more often by imaginary feedback that the actor only believes or supposes someone thinks. The casting director, the agent, the teacher, the janitor, whoever.
We can add our own egos to this list. Just another imaginary voice in our heads (but the most treacherous, because we think it’s ourselves.)
I call this “Bad Ego,” or, the imaginary self-assigned identity of Bad Actor.
Just say I’m back from that – and Come Back – as quickly and as often as possible.
Let the thoughts do their thing in the background. (You’re not stressing about the song on the radio, this can be as irrelevant as that.)
But just as often I see actors rewarding themselves with “Good Ego,” or, the imaginary self-assigned identity of GREAT Actor.
I know it’s an awesome rush to do great work and you have every right to celebrate that. But when the ego gets ahold of it and turns it into another imaginary identity, well, that’s the problem: it’s just as imaginary.
What’s wrong with a little mental role-playing, you might ask? Well, it actually took me a while to come to this, but: it sets you up for the opposite.
That’s what makes the downswing into Bad Ego so bad – that you listened to the Good Ego so long, it set you up like dominos.
Good Ego is Bad too.
So who do you believe?
How about no one?
How about just say I’m Back and come back from ANY of those imaginary voices.
When you’re here, in your body, in the room, breathing, you don’t need any imaginary feedback.
You’re just present, and you can do the work for the work’s sake. Just play the part you’re playing. AKA just play.
Like Bryan Cranston talks about in this short interview:
Thanks and Break Legs! Do great work – and book great work in 2014!
Ben Wood is an actor/filmmaker in NYC and tries to take as much CI as possible. He’s new to blogging, and his website? Well that’s another New Years resolution, so this is all you get for now! Happy New Year!
Series Challenge 2014.
Let’s do the Series daily in 2014!
I’ve challenged myself to start the New Year right with the Series on 1/1, and every day I can.
I’ve never done this before but it’s something I’ve wanted for a long time.
Since starting any new habit can be challenging, I set up some tools to help me:
– policy of compassion for lapses: no beating self up, say I’m back from that!
– simple form to track progress, one day at a time: let’s do this – join anytime:
Committed Impulse Facebook Page
– community accountability. Putting ourselves out there for each other. Again, emphasizing simplicity and leniency
All that matters is that you do the Series today, but scroll right if you need inspiration.
THIS IS WHAT I WANT.
Thanks CI community! And thanks Josh for CI, the Series, and turning your blog loose to us in January.
2014. It’s ours.
Ben Wood is an actor/filmmaker in NYC and tries to take as much CI as possible. He’s new to blogging, and his website, well… that’s another New Years resolution, so this is all you get for now!
The Secret I Learned in Committed Impulse About How to Succeed in Business Presentations
The story starts the same:
You prepare for a meeting presentation, have everything in order and then show up early to give your presentation… and then the fun begins:
For starters, you begin to notice that the audience doesn’t grasp the point of the presentation, they’re not engaged and they’re buried in their smartphones and laptops … their attention carried away to another place where you don’t exist.
Why? Probably because you weren’t really there either, so they tuned out.
Turns out, competition for one’s attention in presentations is getting harder and harder as the distractions from technology around us grows. That means you can’t get your point across and the purpose for your presentation fails. You want to drive your message across to them and get them to understand you so you can succeed.
So what’s a person to do? How can you connect and get your point across?
Well, first and foremost you need to be organized and have your presentation material down pat.
But there’s more.
And this is where it gets interesting.
So, in Committed Impulse I learned about the 4 access points:
Breathe, See What’s in front of you, Feel the sensations in your body and then say “I’m Back”.
Yes, You need to be there 100% too.
That’s right, I said it. Too often we all get so wrapped up in our own material that we forget that the presentation is for the people with whom you’re communicating.
And they are the ones that have to receive and understand it.
And for them to receive the message of the presentation, you have to be there too.
So how does Committed Impulse come into the picture?
Well, first, feeling and being cognizant of one’s breathing grounds you physically to your body and makes sure you vocalize with full supply of air in your lungs. That feeling of not breathing can really lock up the works.
Second, Seeing what’s in front of you, (in this case “your audience”) grounds yourself to your surroundings so that your speaking is relevant to the audience at hand. This access point helps you connect with them on a personal level like you’re speaking to each and every one of them.
Third, feeling the sensations in your body is a way for you to authentically represent yourself and your emotions to the point where you are not fighting your feelings of nervousness and trying to “act calm” while you’re actually anxious. I always looked at this phenomena as “two presentations” simultaneously taking place in front of the audience: “The rehearsed one” and “The one actually happening”. Seeing someone “trying to be calm” can really wreck a presentation. Be yourself, and they will know its authentic.
Finally, Saying “I’m Back” synergizes those first 3 steps and drives them home. Now you’re acknowledging your new place of communicating with your audience with the real, authentic you (the person they came to listen to in the first place.)
It’s really that easy, and then the magic happens. Once you’re there you can start engaging with and really communicating more effectively with your audience so that your presentation can be successful.So, next time you’re giving a presentation or watching someone else present … think about these 4 access points and how they influence positive communication… and before you know it, people will start putting down their Blackberries and iPhones and leaning forward in their seats to listen to what you have to say.
I had been taking classes with Josh Pais for 2 or 3 years. The year was maybe 2008; Atlantic was in the new space because we were in Studio 4.
I was using CI in many aspects already; I thought the Series was teaching me never to give up because every time I did it I wanted to quit. Stream of consciousness was melting my guile and bullshit so that my work was more spontaneous and surprising. I had started breathing as well.
But I was still clueless to the bigger possibilities.
One Thursday night I was standing in front of class. I had waited to go up and so I was last and class was almost over.
The room was dim (we know how Josh likes a gentle lighting situation).
I finished my monologue and stood there in a quiet room. I waited.
Silence. I remember Ben and Andy and Susan and Joyce and Tom’s faces. The old gang.
Then Josh said it seemed like I had a dark cloud over my head. I was taken aback for a moment but pretty quickly I knew what he meant.
I tried to explain.
Josh wouldn’t let me.
I tried again.
Josh wasn’t interested.
I had this need to EXPLAIN things; what it was in my life that made me frustrated and hopeless.
But I just stood there. And all of a sudden my perspective shifted and I had a huge fucking realization – I remember it like it was yesterday.
It didn’t matter WHY I had a dark cloud over my head.
It just mattered that I walked around under this dark, angry cloud.
And, if I may paraphrase Valerie Cherish; ‘Who wants to SEE that?’
That was the revelation from the inside out.
Once I understood, I had to face up to the bigger picture or what was I taking class for? I consciously shook off the dark cloud whenever I felt it weighing me down; on the subway, at home, whenever. (And interestingly, shirking that cloud whenever possible has slowly made it disappear from my body, too.)
It was a practice and I still work on it all the time.
But that moment was when I began to realize that being present and breathing and listening and seeing what is around me is something that applied to my whole life and that if I tried I could do it most of the time.
Under the Influence of Committed Impulse.
We want to hear from you now.
Let us know any experiences (terrifying or not 🙂 ) that you’ve had with Committed Impulse.
Really – we’d love to hear from you below.
Pat Maloney says
My name is Pat Maloney and I wanted to share with everyone my story of how Committed Impulse changed, moved and rocked my life.
I am currently a Second Year Student at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. However, that sentence still brings a tear to my eye every time I write it and think about it.
During my downtime between my first and second year of studies I received a letter from the building that brought out the best in my creativity and work, informing me that I was no longer able to continue a second year of training.
I was devastated when I found out that I got cut. Sadness and depression set in quickly. My family was baffled and I was convinced that my dream was crushed. I kept saying to myself “There is no WAY that I can’t finish with a degree”However, second chances are common in life and I knew that their decision was wrong. I had to fight to get my way back to school.
I had a meeting with my student advisor so I could get the low-down on why exactly my Acting Technique was not up to par and he told me some very key information that led me on the start of my CI journey. The main reason that my Technique was not up to par was that I had difficulty living “in the moment” and I was always self-conscious about every decision I made while on stage. As I took these notes, I knew that I had to write a letter of appeal in order to gain my second chance.
While constructing my letter and spending endless hours editing and re-editing, I made sure to include that I would be taking extra classes over the summer with some top teachers to get my technique to it’s top-notch potential. Yet, I had no idea where to go. With the help of my father, I was told to check out a really rad chick in my hometown of Boston MA who could get my moment to moment skills at unbelievable levels. Her name was Lyralen Kaye and we decided to meet up and run a few exercises to see where I was at.
Right away, Lyralyn knew what the problem was and told me the secret potion that would get rid of every negative and horrible thought that would pop up in my head while on stage. She gave me four words. Committed Impulse, Josh Pais.
I rushed home to find out that Josh graced me with his presence in one of my all time favorite films “Phone-booth” and I later found out that his class seemed exciting and easy to learn. With an open mind and a wild heart, I took the class while still writing the letter that would make an impact like no other. I wanted to see what Josh had to offer, so I signed up.
My father and I took a gamble and decided to take an offer on a studio apartment in New York. In order for me to live there, I had to get a letter of acceptance from my school so that the landlord would know that I was going to continue studies while living in the facilities. The letter HAD to arrive at his office the first month I got down there. With barely any food or personal belongings, I hopped on a bus the day before my first C.I. experience and got my booty in gear for a weekend like no other.
With only three days time I met some of the smartest people I have ever met, worked in a beautiful environment and let go of some of the worst social and personal leeches that have been sucking on my big ol’ brain. With the help of Josh and Committed Impulse I learned that I can be a complete bad-ass and not give a damn about what others were thinking of me.
Each exercise got us on our feet, moving, thinking, dancing and discussing everything there is to make anyone be the best that they possible can. By the third day I was on a mountain of confidence and charisma. I was ready to explore worlds, climb mountains and swim in seas thousands of miles away. None of these things were even fathomable to my 19 year old mind.
Something changed in me on the last day. I was able to bring forth my fears and regrets in my life and I ridded my body, mind and soul of all self doubt. By the end of the lesson everyone was a giant family and the love was oozing from our voices, eyes and bodies. I felt safe and accepted.
When I finally got down-time to briefly thank and speak to Josh about why I had come to the city, he immediately gave me the warmest bear-hug that I have ever received. Before I could go any further with speaking, something inside me said that everything will be taken care of. I knew that in the end, I had made one of the greatest decisions of my life to spend the weekend with Josh.
Everything that I took from C.I. gave me the tools to not only tackle any role that came my way, but to tackle anything that life had to throw at me. From the first 4 steps to my final moments with the legendary Josh Pais, I felt incredible and invincible.
As my life went on I sent my letter to the school with a lot less doubt in my heart than normal. My father came down to visit me a week after I moved into the apartment to drop of supplies. While taking a break I received an email from the Department Head of The Academy. They turned the letter of appeal in my favor and I held my father like Josh held me on my last day. Tears of joy and laughter filled my body and I was so pumped to use my technique and show the school that I could rock my second chance.
So far my year has kicked major ass with the tools that Josh had given me. I had made an impact and I am so excited to be graduating in April of 2014 with flying colors thanks to my man with the plan, Josh. He changed my life for the better and I came out on the other side as this majestic butterfly I had no idea even existed.
No matter what happens in my life, I will always know how to handle it thanks to Josh and his magic.
Signing with admiration and verve,
Feel free to check out my Youtube channel featuring my three short films that have been entered into festivals in Boston and New York City. Also, don’t forget to check out Josh in “Touchy Feely” now streaming on Netflix. His performance had me laughing all the way through and it is a fantastic example of what C.I. can do. Long live Committed Impulse!
Josh’s experiences definitely led him on an interesting path. Becoming a teacher as a result of not saying “no” to sharing his own lessons makes for a unique opportunity to share his “spontaneous” tips, as opposed to the all “in your head” acting education he had.