December 2015

 

Theosophical
Order of
Service
 
 
Spirit
of
Service

A newsletter for TOS liaisons and TS groups--because theosophy in action changes the world for good!

December, 2015
 
Warm greetings,
 
Dora Kunz wasn't kidding when she wrote about "that peculiar atmosphere of goodwill so noticeable at Christmas." (Christmas of the Angels)  All over the world, people's attention turns to giving and sharing, setting up a palpable atmosphere of goodwill as we round the corner into a new year.
 
You have no doubt heard of the disastrous flooding in Chennai, India, including the flooding that took place at Adyar, international headquarters of The Theosophical Society.  To get a glimpse of how students at Adyar's School of the Wisdom coped with the power outages during their stay at Adyar while the rains raged around them, take a look at Tim Boyd's Facebook page--the video at the top shows students singing "Amazing Grace" by candlelight.  This, I think, is exactly what Dora was talking about. 
 
Below you'll find information on how to help: the TOS is collecting funds to help the citizens of Chennai rebuild their lives. 
 
I invite you to join me in a TOS healing intention for the people and animals of Chennai, India.  "Om . . . we ask for and direct healing energies of love and light to the people and animals of Chennai, India, who are suffering from the recent flooding.  May they be filled with unshakable strength, comfort and peace.  Om . . . "
 
Please write back and let me know about any service projects, large or small, that your group has taken on this past year.  Even small acts of kindness DO change the world for good, providing just what the song says, "the thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices."
 
Wishing you and yours all the blessings and beauty of the season,
 
Kathy Gann
TOS Liaison Coordinator
720-987-6323
 
Photo above by Elaine R. Wilson; terms of use
Flooding in Chennai, India:  How to Help

Historic amounts of rain have produced disastrous flooding in Chennai, India, including flooding at Adyar, international headquarters of The Theosophical Society.  While buildings at Adyar sustained comparatively minimal damage, the City of Chennai suffered devastating damage, with more than 50,000 homes destroyed.  As often happens, the worst of times brings out the best in people, leading the Times of India to conclude, "The recent floods in Chennai brought people of the city together in a way as unprecedented as the rain this year. Whether it was opening their doors to strangers, offering to charge mobile phones for free or distributing food, clothes and medicines, the young and old, students and professionals, NGOs and corporates, all came forward to provide relief."

Rescue operations have ceased, and the arduous, long-term task of rebuilding has begun.  The TOS-USA is collecting monetary donations and will forward the funds to the TOS in India for distribution to areas of greatest need.

Click here to help the citizens of Chennai rebuild their city and their lives; select "Chennai Flood Relief" from the drop-down menu.

Pictured at left: buildings on the Adyar campus surrounded by flood water.

2016 Oglala Lakota Scholarship Recipient: Tate Locust

Tate Olowan Locust

The TOS 2016 Scholarship for the Oglala Lakota College (OLC) School of Nursing has been awarded!  This year's recipient is Tate Locust, a Native American student who wrote, "I cannot thank you enough for helping make this scholarship possible and taking a big weight off my shoulders enough to give me breathing room to continue to try and do what I have come to love. Caring for and taking care of people."

Tate's path has been of the "steep and thorny" variety that HPB spoke of.  After dropping out of college due to financial pressures, Tate took a class offered by a local ambulance company (while working full time), and became a certified Emergency Medical Technician-Basic.  After a few years of working as an EMT, Tate wanted to do more for the people he responded to.  Still working full time, he took classes at Western Dakota Tech and became a certified EMT-Paramedic.

Tate is now pursuing his nursing degree at OLC to expand his medical knowledge beyond emergency medicine.  He says, "I’m still working full time as a Paramedic and working full time doesn’t usually qualify me for the majority of scholarships and assistance to continue going to school. That’s why this scholarship was so important to me."

Please help the TOS keep the scholarships coming, year after year, so that solidly dedicated students like Tate can stay in school, graduate, and use their education to serve their communities.  Donate here and choose "Native American Support - USA" in the drop-down box.

Theosophical math:  3 Members + 2 Turkeys = One Life

This year, at least three TOS members adopted turkeys as part of Farm Sanctuary's annual "Adopt a Turkey" program.  Celebrating "Turkey Day" by providing care for a turkey rescued from slaughter is a wonderful way to honor the One Life in all creatures.  Proving once again that great minds think alike, two TOS Liaisons adopted the same turkey--Pamela!  Another member adopted Christina.  Enjoy getting to know "the girls" from their bios below, excerpted from those posted by Farm Sanctuary. 

If turkey adoption appeals to your group, you can start a "spare change" fund and have members toss in some coins at each TS meeting.  By the end of the year, you should have enough ($30) to symbolically "adopt" a turkey.  Adoptions are available from October through Thanksgiving and help Farm Sanctuary in their mission to "protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the ways society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassionate vegan living."

During the rest of the year, of course, Farm Sanctuary gratefully accepts donations to help support their shelters in New York and California.

Pamela was rescued and brought to Farm Sanctuary as an adult, a rare occurrence as domesticated turkeys raised for food are typically slaughtered when they are barely four months old.  While Pamela was once viewed as a commodity, at Farm Sanctuary she can show off her true personality!

She enjoys following her caregivers around her new home and wants to be involved in everything that they are doing. She also loves being hugged and petted under her wings, and will fall asleep in her friends’ laps or under the sprinklers on warm days. We are so fortunate to be able to celebrate Pamela’s first Thanksgiving with us and are excited for her to show the world just how fun and sweet turkeys can be!

Christina was one of 11 baby turkeys left anonymously at our New York shelter this past spring. Her beak tip was seared off, indicating that she probably came from a factory farm.  Fortunately, a Good Samaritan noticed Christina’s plight, and rescued her and her friends from an early death.

Just like people, she experiences a wide range of emotions; depending on her mood, she can be bold and bossy or sweet and gentle. Christina is proof that turkeys are not the unintelligent, undifferentiated products that people justify them to be.

Denver TOS Collects Shoes for Sherpas

Members of the Denver TS/TOS know that a "good sole" is a terrible thing to waste.  So when they discovered that the Colorado Nepal Alliance was collecting "Shoes for Sherpas," they stepped up and got busy.

The Sherpas are an ethnic group living primarily in the mountainous regions of eastern Nepal, and many make their living as porters in the tourism trade as well as in the day-to-day transport of goods from village to village.   Since quality footwear is often either unavailable or unaffordable, the goal of Shoes for Sherpas is to provide as much "used but still usable" footwear as possible to those living in the region.

With an emphasis on sturdy hiking shoes or athletic cross-trainers, Denver members scoured local thrift shops to find footwear looking for a second life.  Shoes and boots were collected for men, women and children, including one brand-new little pair of red-hot-happy Mary Janes.

All donated shoes which did not meet the requirements of the Shoes for Sherpas program were donated to Soles4Souls, a non-profit social enterprise committed to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of shoes and clothing.

Drops in the ocean

Photo by Roger McLassus; Terms of Use

The noblest view of work is that it can be the way we make our love visible in the world, a means of sharing generously with others.

It may feel like what we do is only a drop in the ocean, but the ocean is made of millions of drops.  So is love created by the millions of acts of kindness that we can all carry out.  Love is exponential; our gifts multiply and spread out like ripples on a pond. 

--Nick Williams

"A union of those who love in the service of all that suffers."

www.TheoService.org