Sheila K. Collins Website



April 2013  

Masthead Sheila K. Collins from Website
DearGreetings! ,
Spring has been taking her sweet time coming to my part of the world. I had a respite the first weekend in April when I attended a woman's retreat in Texas, and got the bonus of seeing my seven month-old granddaughter, Kyra Joy. She already knows something about the subject I've written about this month - the importance of the body in learning to think about the world.

Returning to Pittsburgh, I still haven't put my boots and sweaters too far away but
I'm hopeful the birds chirping outside my window are a reliable harbinger that
tomorrow will be warmer than today.

Upcoming events include a fund-raiser this month for the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers through a showing of their film "For the Next 7 Generations". This Saturday we're hosting a free sample InterPlay class, and some company members are participating in a   Gospel Dance Festival.

This month's article, "The Body/MInd Partnership" was inspired by an opportunity
to work with my husband, Rich on a corporate training program on resilience. I'd love to hear
your thoughts on this subject.

Sheila           Find me on Facebook   



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Hands writing

Monday April 15, 2013
My friend Jim was a good son. A professor of religion at the university where we both worked, he was in his early 60's. His mother Margaret was a widow in her early 80's who loved to dance so Jim took her ballroom dancing twice a month. ....
Monday April 1, 2013 
"That happened in the olden days," my children would tell me. Their dismissive tone indicated they didn't see any relevance to what I was relaying about the past and what they were experiencing in the present. I, on the other hand, have always been curious about "the olden days," especially as far as family stories are concerned.

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The Body/Mind Partnership

As a dancer, I've always been fascinated by the connection or partnership between the body and the mind. For me, listening to the messages coming from my body has proved invaluable to my own health and well-being. I lessen my stress by noticing and adjusting the rhythm of my breath, altering my posture, and responding in particular moments to my body's need for movement, stillness, food, water, and social contact. This practice of attending to the physical body conserves my energy and lessens the stress and strain of excess effort that daily activities can sometimes take.


But in teaching InterPlay, a system that involves accessing the wisdom of the body,

I often run into the power of a 17th century notion - that of the "disembodied mind."

In this view, the mind is all-important as the location for our thoughts, spirits, and some might even say, souls. The expression, "living in our heads" seems relevant here. The body is seen as a high maintenance transportation system to carry our brains from place to place.


Recently I've loved learning about George Lackoff, the cognitive linguist and research in the field of embodied cognition. "Every idea you have is physical because you think with your brain," Lackoff says, but his work goes way beyond this self-evident fact that the brain is a part of the body. Lackoff and his colleague Rafael E. Nunez, UCSD maintain, "the very structure of reason itself comes from the details of our embodiment." [CLICK HERE FOR MORE] 


Here are some highlights I found from the field of embodied cognition that

demonstrate the profound importance of the body's affect on the mind:


Metaphors come from our bodily experience and give us ways to think and

communicate about abstract concepts.

In relating to the concept of "love"we use the metaphor of a container - "falling in and out of love." If love is a journey in our minds we might say "we're going our separate ways," or thinking of love as madness - "I'm crazy for her."


Our physical experience affects our perception and judgments of the external
A person holding a warm cup of coffee or sitting in a comfortable chair is more likely to make a positive judgment about a stranger than a person holding a cold cup. People carrying a heavy pack up a steep hill judged the trip longer than people carrying a lighter pack.


Writing down our thoughts changes our relationship to them. And what

we do with the paper afterwards affects its continued influence on us.

In a 2012 study in Spain, participants were asked to write about what they liked

or disliked about their bodies. Then the paper was either trashed, or kept

and checked for spelling and grammar errors. When people discarded the

representation of their thoughts and feelings, they mentally discarded them

as well, and used them less in forming judgments.


Here are some suggestions for ways to use this information for our own well-being:  

If you wish to get rid of negative attitudes and thoughts, write them down,which, in itself will change your relationship to the ideas, feelings and thoughts. Next trash or burn the paper or if you used your computer, place the document in the trash on your desk top and then empty it.


If you wish to adopt or enhance positive attitudes, write about that and this time, save the writing, preferably on your person. That will increase the

changes of your continuing to be influenced by what you wrote.[For More Information] 

Idea Framing, Metaphors, and Your Brain - George Lakoff 
Idea Framing, Metaphors, and Your Brain
George Lakoff
Sheila K. Collins, PhD 

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