Sheila K. Collins Website



December 2013  

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Here we are at the holiday season with Christmas cards and holiday music proclaiming our good wishes for Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men.

This year, due to our connection with the art show ENOUGH Violence, I've been thinking about how we might help sustain ourselves and make our wishes come true. In this month's writing I look at some reasons and ways to attend to this pressing issue and with the help of the arts, find a modicum of peace for ourselves.


Inspired by Contemporary Craft's exhibit, ENOUGH Violence: Artists Speak Out our improvisational troupe, Wing & A Prayer Pittsburgh Players we will be hosting an InterPlay workshop this Saturday at the gallery on Smallman in the Strip District from 10 am - 12 noon. If you live near enough, come join us.


Wishing you joy and peace now, and throughout the New Year.



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Performing the Book Warrior Mother by Sheila Collins
Sheila K Collins will Perform the Book twice in January
Thursday December 5, 2013

They say you never forget your first, and that's held true for me. I can still remember in much detail my first massage. Part of its memorable nature involved the striking beauty of the place where it occurred,.....



Tuesday November 26, 2013

The evening started with a family ritual. My husband and I had been invited to attend a Friday night Shabbat dinner at a friend's house. I felt honored to be included in what, for this family, is a weekly event....



 Last Saturday morning, while visiting the Bay Area, my husband and I were walking in a seaside park dedicated to the memory of the farm labor organizer, Cesar Chavez. As we walked the weather gave a clear demonstration of the micro-climates of the bay area;...



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On Ending Violence


"An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind," Mahatma Gandhi said. This makes one wonder, has that already happened? With whatever eyesight we have left we watch pushing, shoving, punching, exploding, shooting, killing, television shows, movies, and video games. Daily newspapers and

ENOUGH Violence
ENOUGH Violence
newscasts describe the latest murders and the crime scenes turn out to be our schools, shopping malls, and neighborhood streets. I imagine raising children in this surround-sound environment proves even harder than in my day, when after denying my children toy guns, my son fashioned his morning toast into one.   


Many writers have tried to find words to explain violence. Columnist Chris Hedges called violence a disease that corrupts all who use it regardless of the cause. And though our Christmas cards and songs proclaim, "Peace on Earth, good will toward men," when violence reigns in our communities, people feel anxious and unsafe in their own homes and neighborhoods.


The science fiction writer, Isaac Asimov called violence "the last refuge of the incompetent." It takes skill and restraint to negotiate, but it also takes a feeling of hope that peaceful methods can succeed. The makeshift signs I've seen in some Pittsburgh neighborhoods, "Don't shoot. We love you," seem to be aiming at the young people who have given up on themselves, on their own futures, and on the adults in their community.

Enough Violence: Artists Speak Out - Maimuna Feroze Nana
Artists Speak Out  
 Maimuna Feroze Nana


We know some things that could help build peace like getting guns out of the hands of people who do not have the strength and wherewithal to not use them on their neighbors. In spite of multiple community tragedies this hasn't been able to happen in most parts of the country.


Guandi stated that "Poverty is the worst form of violence," so we know we need a stronger safety net of services, including better mental health and drug treatment programs, along with establishing a high enough minimum wage so parents don't have to work two and three jobs to feed their families, leaving their children without their guidance.


The gap between what we know can help and the time and energy it's taking to make any of it happen puts us in danger of despair. Because we can't do some things doesn't mean we can't do anything. As Jean Shonoda Bolen puts it, "Activism is a personal choice. It is a passion for a cause expressed through actions, funding, communication, as well as prayer, rituals, and art."


That's why we'll play with movement, music, song, and story at the ENOUGH Violence exhibit, to strengthen our resolve and "to work for peace by uprooting war from our own hearts as Thich Nhat Hanh suggests. Then we will no longer be victims, perpetrators, or bystanders.


Peace On Earth MGM 1939.
Peace On Earth MGM 1939.
Calligraphic Meditation
Calligraphic Meditation
Enough Violence: Artists Speak Out - Julie Sirek
Enough Violence: Artists Speak Out - Julie Sirek
Sheila K. Collins, PhD 

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