Sheila K. Collins Website



June 2012   

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It's looking like a busy month ahead; a writers' workshop in Iowa which will give me the opportunity to teach at the University of Iowa in Iowa City and connect with the Interplay community in Des Moines on my way home. One of our teaching interns is hosting a Free Sample at the library in Sewickley, PA before she returns to her native Germany, and the Wing & A Prayer Pittsburgh Players will perform at the Mt. Lebanon Village Intergenerational Summer Games.


Details about all these events are included below. And since life is also about what happens when we're busy making other plans, take a look at my essay Courting Surprises. I'd love to hear your take on responding to the unexpected when it comes your way.




Sheila K. Collins


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Courting Surprise


red presentWhen I was managing a behavioral health care clinic a number of years ago, I didn't like surprises. In fact I set out as most directors and managers do, to avoid surprises. I asked my colleagues and employees to let me know ahead of time if they were making decisions that would affect me. People didn't always comply with my request so on some occasions, in the middle of the work day, I would open an envelope containing news I wasn't expecting. Someone was resigning, or needing to cut back on their hours, or moving to Alaska. I would struggle to handle these surprises like one handles a punch below the belt in a boxing contest. I would carry on trying to live the advice given by self-defense experts. "Expect nothing. Be ready for anything."


But now, instead of attempting to arrange my life in such a way as to eliminate surprises, I've taken to inviting them. Yes, knowing what you want can increase your chances of getting it. And yes, as the hypnotist, Milton Erickson advised, "You can pretend anything and master it." But one of the secrets of this embodiment of desire is to stay open to how things get delivered. Quite often it involves a surprise.


Through the years I've come to admit I don't always know what's in my best interest, especially in the long run. I remember a story my then teenage son told about when he was preparing for his first job, to serve as a counselor for a summer day camp. All the way to his first day on the job, he was praying, "Dear God, don't give me the little kids. Don't give me the little kids." Of course, when he arrived he got assigned as counselor to the little kids, while his friends were assigned the older ones. After about a week, his prayer became, "Thank God I got the little kids," as the six and seven year olds jumped over each other to do whatever he asked of them. Meanwhile his friends were struggling to herd their charges into any semblance of discipline or order.


Making things happen in the world involves processes of both yin and yang. As creative people we learn from our creations. Writers ask what does my manuscript need from me? Artists, after acting bolder from their visions, listen to what the half finished canvas is asking for. In my InterPlay improvisational troupe, we know that what's new will be something outside the box of routine familiarity. We follow the movement and/or the story till we discover "the thing, " that which is trying to emerge. And how do we know we've found it? When what arrives surprises us.



Sheila K. Collins 2012

Exploring Creativity Through InterPlay,  

University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA


A playshop for writers, artists of all types, and those who have not yet claimed such  titles.


Exploring Creativity Through InterPlay

With Sheila K. Collins, PhD



  • Do you find yourself too often staring at an empty page in your notebook?
  • Are you tired of gazing at the clouds or that blank white space on your computer screen?
  • Would you welcome some fun shortcuts to spark your imagination and access your creative juices?

Come try InterPlay, an improvisational system that uses movement, voice, storytelling, song, and stillness. Practiced in 60 cities in the US and on five continents, it is an active, creative approach to unlocking the wisdom of the body. Expect a fun journey to the other side of your brain.


What we'll do - Using simple forms that any body can do, we will tell snippets of stories in the moment, practice moving/writing/moving, and as a group, we'll make up songs together on the spot. See if you notice what InterPlayers round the globe have claimed, playing with a challenge can often take us further than working on it.


Wednesday June 13, 2012

7 - 9 pm

Halsey Hall Room 203

University of Iowa Campus

Fee: $10 or pay what you can



Deep Play - An InterPlay Event in Des Moines, IA
When: Sat, June 16, 1pm - 4pm
Where: Des Moines Valley Friends Meeting House, 4211 Grand Ave (corner 42 & Grand), Des Moines, IA. 50312 (map)

 A playshop for people who want to swim in the deep end of the play pool. Deep Play Lead by Sheila K. Collins, PhD

Does hard work tend to sometimes take over your life? Are you ready to explore the power of play? Would you welcome some shortcuts to finding ease and fun in an affirming group of grownup playmates? Are you curious to learn what your body knows that you don't?
 Click here for more info...


 New Calendar of Events!
 Calendar of EventsThe website now has a new Calendar of Events page. 

Bookmark this page and keep up to date on all of Sheila's upcoming events!





Sheila K. Collins, PhD 
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