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What have neural pathways got to do with acting?!

You beautiful humans, what are you putting your attention into?

Is it getting you where you want to go?

Or are you secretly hoping for an easier short cut?


When people come to class, we begin an exciting, revealing and vulnerable journey to

explore and establish the places you go to easily and effortlessly; those programmed responses that are just already there, in your neurology that you have easy access to. Some of which maybe uncomfortable to pay attention to, which is why it's a vulnerable process to embark upon. However, all of these responses are the building blocks to your current casting bracket. It's important we learn to embrace them.


For example.

When someone starts to dominate Sarah her programmed response is to makes herself smaller, her eyes drop and her attention becomes drawn inwards.

But when someone does the same to Aanya her programmed response is to grow bigger, take up more space, push back.


Neither good or bad, right or wrong, just how each individual has learned to respond to a certain set of circumstances.


Once we've begun to establish those, we get to start to expand.

Expanding, building new neural pathways (change) is not an effortless process, it can be sticky and frustrating. It's something that you need to practice, it takes time, commitment, consistency and patience but cor it's worth it!


Very similar to treading desire lines in a park or the countryside. Each time we walk the same way, we flatten the grass until eventually it turns bare to form a clear path.


For many reasons I spent years hiding from lust (for example). It was completely unconscious, it simply wasn't an option. If it came up in class or rehearsals (and life) I would find myself pulling away - the pull to run, to evaporate, was very real. I've invested time and energy consciously working through it so it's not a fear response any more. I could have been cast as Lady Macbeth but she would have been missing those shades, those colours, those lustful possibilities. But now, I have wider access to myself which offer up more possibilities.

I know so many actors who are wanting those new neural pathways, those new possibilities, those new options but without doing the work. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to not have to do the work too, I'd love to be the most accessible version of myself without having to invest in the process but alas, Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven (But Nobody Wants To Die...!) (An excellent song, have a listen)


We need to get to class to practice that stuff, to explore the things that we are avoiding, the things that we run away from and shut down, the things that wake up the fire in us, we really need to give them the space to breathe, you know?


So I'm wondering, when was the last time you got to class, that you made a commitment?


I think of all the people I've trained over the years. Those who have shown the most monumental changes in themselves as humans, their relationships and their craft, their work and their place in this industry are the people who have shown up as often as they possibly can.

There might be a gap while they're touring or a chunk of time where life-is-doing-life-things, but every opportunity, they're looking to see when can they come back to class.


And honestly, it's mind blowing, how different they are for it. (And therefore how different their casting bracket is).

Someone going from mild, meek and apologetic to powerful, murderous to lustful. That mild and meek person just never thought that their casting bracket could expand to that place. And now it does.


And then there's the people who, just kind of pop in every couple of years and wonder why it's not getting any easier. If we want change, we have got to commit.


There are four steps to neuroplasticity:

Awareness

Focused attention

Deliberate practice and

Accountability.


Within my training, I do my utmost to build in those four steps along the way. We learn to pay attention to the detail in class, we go again and again and again. I do follow-ups after the intensive retreats, we stay connected in between with the retreat Whatsapp Group, the FB Group and the Accountability Programme. We play, stretch, repeat all so you can tread those new neural pathways.


It's very exciting when you commit. It's one of the best parts of my job, seeing people grow and change and become something they never thought possible.

It could just be a thing that you did once that was interesting and stuff...










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