Sheila K. Collins Website



November 2011 

Masthead Sheila K. Collins from Website



Does it seem like we are all busier than we've ever been?

Maybe it's just that everything clusters together to happen before the holidays, but this past month has kept me hoping.

Thank heaven for the gift of writing about my life as it gives me a chance to slow down and reflect - in InterPlay we call it "noticings."

I'd love to hear your noticings on the pace of your life and how you stay connected to what matters most.

To share your own noticings go to Sheila k. Collins-Dancing With Everything. 



Sheila Collins 


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Upcoming Events

Nov 19th - InterPlay Intergenerational Playshop
(See below for details and Flyer)

Sheila's Blogs


All the focus on the fact that our calendar hit the recent date, 11.11.11 got me thinking about my own relationship to numbers. Unlike my sister and father, I wasn't good with numbers.  In fact, I developed [...]...


This past week was the 113th anniversary of cheerleading, which according to the Writer's Almanac, made its debut at the University of Minnesota in 1898.  All male pep clubs had been around before that, but it took a desperate need to raise team [...]...


"How'd you sleep?" was a common morning greeting in our family. My father's regular reply - "It was good, what there was of it."  Now, in recent years, sleep cycle researchers have taught us a lot about the importance of those hours we spend in bed [...]...


I've always had "a sensitive body," one of those good/bad things, like being way taller or way shorter than other people. My body sends me messages that are hard to ignore, like red blotches on my face and puffiness around my eyes when I eat something like  [...]...

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These Little Lights


Yesterday morning I drove my friend Soyinka to the Catholic Church in our Pittsburgh neighborhood so she could light a candle for her five-year-old goddaughter who was being prepped for heart surgery in California. A network of people across the country had been enlisted to pray in their own way for this little girl, even some who didn't know her personally.  Having lit many candles on my own daughter's behalf I appreciate that when faced with life threatening surgeries or illness, especially involving children, we recognize how fragile life is and how small we are.  At times like these we seem more willing to reach out for the support of friends and for the help of forces greater than ourselves.

Thanks to Skype, my friend was able to join the little girl and her family as they visited the zoo yesterday, a special treat before her upcoming stay in the hospital. Seeing her smiling face and hearing her giggles, we adults admired the child's ability to stay in the moment and enjoy her good health before undergoing what everyone hoped will be the last in a series of operations.

Entering the small chapel, the scent and lights from the white candles in tall glass cylinders reminded me of all the candles my mother had us light in Catholic churches when I was a child. The candles, like many other things in modern life, have been supersized, and burn much longer than our small votive ones did then.  When I was five years old, I thought each candle represented something Mother wanted, like healing for my several months old baby sister, Mary Jane, who was near death after her surgery. Looking around the anteroom I wondered about the people who lit the 40 or 50 candles flickering under the statues of Jesus and his mother Mary. What prayer requests do these candles represent?

In addition to this little girl facing surgery, and my own family and friends, who or what other situations would I light a candle for?  I thought of the people we'd met in just the last few days, each with their own special light, during events our InterPlay improvisational troupe had participated in:

  • The 7th grader at the Sarah Heinz House who expressed worry for his family in what he called "this financial depression," and gratitude that "it's good we have this place."  

  • The women at the Bethlehem Haven homeless shelter we visited yesterday. Some appeared exhausted, resting their elbows on the table, holding their heads in their hands. Others responded enthusiastically as we meditated, moved, and sang together. One woman noted when we finished, "I feel less pain." The weather's turning cold. Is someone lighting candles for them?

  • The hundred or so women and a few men we met at the Minority Health Conference, many of who risk vicarious trauma in their work with trauma survivors. After we had taught some InterPlay forms to help them let go of the stress of their work and the traumatic circumstances of their clients, one woman gave a graphic physical description of what she saw happening. "We went from this" she said while standing stiffly as a solder at attention, "to this" (as her body softened and her arms floated in the air).  

  • The Orff-Schulwerk music teachers from around the country, holding their national conference at the convention center. They blessed us by joining in with their hand instruments as we toured the Heinz History Center exhibits together. May our stories of the cultures that helped to found Pittsburgh and the many innovators who created the advances we all enjoy today, be as lighted candles for them as they use improvisational forms to teach music to children.

Sheila K. Collins 2011


InterPlay Intergenerational Playshop

The Kelly-Strayhorn Theater and InterPlay Pittsburgh



InterPlay Intergenerational Playshop


Soyinka Rahim, a dancer, musician, and certified InterPlay Leader is an

artist-in-residence with the Wing & A Prayer Pittsburgh Players. She brings her multi-generational workshop to Pittsburgh, where through play and the arts

they are building creative, caring communities. If your clients and your organization are experiencing the stress of "doing more with less," consider inviting staff, clients, and families to discover what results when children and

adults build creative bonds through artful play.



Saturday November 19th 1 - 3 pm

Dance Alloy Studios 5530 Penn Ave. Pittsburgh, PA. 15206   


  Call for agency discounts and group rates



 Click here to download flyer                                         



Several weekend InterPlay trainings will be held in Pittsburgh in 2012  


January - The Secrets of Leading InterPlay

March - The InterPlay Way for Helping Professionals 

April - InterPlay Life Practice Program

For details contact me at or 817-706-4967

Sheila K. Collins, PhD 
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