May 2012

  

 

 Theosophical Order of Service
Liaison News
Photo by Tatiana; Licensing
Dear TOS Liaisons and TS Group Leaders,
 
In last month's newsletter, I introduced myself as the new TOS Liaison Coordinator, and invited you to let me know if there is someone else in your group who has been designated as liaison who should be receiving this newsletter.  Appointing a liaison between your TS group and the TOS is a great start in putting theosophical ideals into action.
 
This newsletter is intended to inspire active service within local TS/TOS groups, whether it is done as a group or by individuals, each in their own way.  We'll do this by feeding each other ideas about service activities large and small.
 
So please do reply and share what your group is doing in the way of service, or even share something you tried that didn't work--we can learn from that too.
 
And remember, if it's only money standing between you and service work that is truly needed in your community, you can apply through me to the TOS for some seed money to get you started.
 
In service,
 
Kathy Gann
720-987-6323

Salt Lake City, Utah

New TS group gives from the heart

Each year since its inception in 2008, the Salt Lake City Study Center has had an eye . . . and a heart . . . for service.  Just prior to Christmas, the group selects a family in need from an "Angel Tree" sponsored by local retailers.  First, the group members learn each child's first name, age, and any Christmas wishes they might have expressed.  Then the shopping begins, filling the children's wish list of things like down vests, soccer balls, and books.  One little boy longed for a "hoodie" so the TS shoppers made sure he received a really cool one.

The group has also donated yearly to the Theosophical Society, the TSA Education Department, or the Theosophical Book Gift Institute "so that others might know."

Fast forward to 2011, when the TS shoppers took it to a new level.  Two families were adopted last year, each with four children.  Not stopping there, the group turned its attention to the Humane Society, and helped out with its wish list too, donating dog and cat food, treats, toys, dog bones, and blankets.  Recalling the four years of holiday service, Claradene Wycoff, the Study Center's Secretary, remembers best of all, "Just how much fun it was."

Lynette Scott is the TOS Liaison for the Salt Lake City study center, and has served as the group's Secretary.  Her father was President of the Salt Lake Lodge in 1948-49.  In the 1960's and 1970's, through the national lecturer program, Eunice Shipp Layton and Jean Tappendorf Gullo came to Utah, after which a study center was established in Salt Lake City.  Lynette was secretary of that study group.  She traveled to New York City and London, England, for the Centennial Celebration of the Theosophical Society in November/December, 1975. Lynette has been a TS member for 52 years, having joined on November 16, 1959, at age 18!

Lynette volunteer teaches Astrology and Esoteric Astrology at the Sandy Senior Center, has tutored 5th grade students at a special needs school, and serves as a mentor in TSA's Prison Mentor Program. Lynette shares her home in Sandy, Utah, with four feline companions.

America's Captive Wildlife Crisis
              

Do you know where the largest tiger population in the world is today?  You're probably thinking Africa, right?  Indonesia? Would you have guessed the United States?  And did you know that there is a larger population of captive tigers in the state of Texas than exist in the wild all over the world?  Tragically, many of the captive animals live in squalid and inhumane conditions.  Some are kept in cages in basements, others in roadside zoos (translation: cages).  It ought to go without saying, but . . . large predators do NOT make good pets.

Now for the brighter news:  rescuers from The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado, traverse the United States to rescue captive animals and give them a "home on the range" along with regular meals, good shelter and regular veterinary care.  Unable to be released and live in the wild, these animals are given a second chance and a good life on a 720-acre sanctuary.  There are 70 such shelters in the US; the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado is one of only 15 that accept big cats.  So when local officials or citizens become aware of animals needing rescue, they call the Wild Animal Sanctuary.  Phone: 303-536-0118.  Website: www.wildanimalsanctuary.org.

Why is it important to know this?  Because awareness is power. Report animal abuse to local officials and make them aware of the Wild Animal Sanctuary; or just call the Sanctuary directly.  As more people become aware of America's captive wildlife crisis, more light is shed into this dark corner that is completely unknown to most people.

True rescue stories:

Romeo.  Montana Fish & Game Confiscation—Chained by the neck in a Montana man's backyard, Romeo was confiscated and came to TWAS at just a year old. He is our biggest Mountain Lion, weighing 170 lbs., and has a wonderfully friendly disposition—thus his name, Romeo. He chirps (a mountain lion's way of displaying affection) whenever spoken to.

Bo & Panda.  Private Forfeiture— Bo and Panda were kept in concrete and steel cages at a Taxidermy shop in South Carolina by a man who had decided it was a good way to make money (by raising animals to kill and mount). The man died, and his family didn't want to keep the bears any more - so they decided to kill them - but a nearby zookeeper stepped in to save them by calling us. We immediately drove to South Carolina to rescue Bo & Panda, as well as two Grizzly Bears they had there.

This virtual tour slideshow offers a look at the sanctuary and its operations.  The video page includes a large-scale bear rescue in Ohio.  Just how DOES one go about rescuing 15 black and grizzly bears?  Marshmallows, sweet-talk and patience came in handy, along with strong cages and a really big truck.  Watch the "Ohio Bear Rescue video" and see the rescued bears step onto green grass for the first time in their lives.

Easy ways to help:  1)  recycle printer cartridges (proceeds help the animals); 2) adopt an animal for $10-$30 per month, depending on size of animal; 3) send an item from the sanctuary's wish list; and 4) increase awareness by letting people know about America's captive wildlife crisis.

"Every animal is a gateway to the phenomenal world of the human spirit.  What most fail to realize though is that what they think of animals reflects the way they think of themselves."   --Ted Andrews, Animal Speak

Knitting Projects with Heart
Can you knit?  If so, your skills can make a profound difference at a critical time in people's lives.  Here are knitting opportunities for three organizations, each making a beautiful difference.

                                

1.  RECOVERY BUDDIES was founded by Bethany, a 19-year-old student whose friends gave her a stuffed pink duck as she entered recovery in 2008 for a life-long eating disorder.  Having the duck to cuddle "meant the world to me," Bethany recalls.  Now Bethany has founded Recovery Buddies and tells people entering recovery, "Recovery can be lonely, but you don't have to do it alone."  Explore Recovery Buddies to learn more.   Not a knitter?  You can sponsor a Buddie for only $5!

 2) KAPS FOR KENDALL was formed by Allison Atkinson when her sister, Kendall, died following a bone marrow transplant.  Kendall had feared losing her hair to the treatments she was facing, so knitted herself colorful caps in advance.  When Kendall died at the age of 20, Allison formed an organization that creates soft, colorful caps for children and adults undergoing medical treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.  Visit Kaps for Kendall to learn how to participate (or to request a cap).

 

 

 
3)  TEDDIES FOR TRAGEDY is a TOS activity ignited by TOS members in Italy.  They have knitted hundreds of teddy bears for heart surgery babies, children with leprosy, and for the mentally handicapped in Tanzania.  Soon after, teams of TOS knitters in Glasgow, Scotland, got involved to send teddy bears to babies in Haiti.  Then the UK TOS group became involved, and about 9,000 teddies have been shipped from Britain alone!  Contact me if you'd like information about this project and I'll see about getting patterns. 
What shall I do?

Whatever you do and however you choose to serve, make it your own.  Often, when new members come into the TS, they soon develop the sense of wanting to serve in some way, but don't always know what to do.  Ultimately, no one can decide for another how best to serve--we must articulate and express our own gifts.  In doing so, it is inevitable that we grow and evolve as we share those gifts through some form of service.  An active TOS group can offer ideas and options for service to new members and can serve as a meaningful place to start putting theosophical ideals into action.  As a member's service grows and evolves, they may find additional ways to serve, either within or outside of the TOS.

"It is better to do one's own duty poorly, than to do another man's well."  Bhagavad Gita

A sense of how to serve may develop slowly within us, or it may arrive as a burst of inspiration.  This 3.5 minute video may change your ideas about service as it shows how Johnny, a Down-Syndrome grocery bagger, found an original way to serve his store's customers . . . and transformed the entire grocery store--employees and customers--in the process.  Johnny's service was transformative because it was real and because it came from his heart.

Visit www.freehugscampaign.org and watch their video--humans are hilarious!

As a TOS Liaison or group leader, you can encourage your group in finding service that's a good fit, whether it's totally original or following someone else's lead. Either way, your group is bound to put its own signature on whatever it does. Make it real, let it flow from the heart, and watch your service become contagious, transforming those around you.

"It is not only your right to be you, it is your obligation." Eleanor Roosevelt

Parents: Connect Kids with Nature

At www.DiscoverTheForest.org, organizations public and private come together to get kids outside to spend some quality time with nature. On this website dedicated to tweens, kids can listen to animal sounds, learn to use a compass, and more. There's also a free e-book featuring our favorite forest-dweller, Shrek, who gives kids ideas about fun stuff to do outside. There's even a forest locator for parents, showing all the finer forests near you.

For children ages birth through five, www.ChildrenNatureandYou.org offers an online nature guide that can be downloaded, and offers ideas for instilling a love of nature.

And for ALL ages:  consider creating a "Nature Circle"--it's like an outdoor book club where you "read" the book of nature and then share your experience of the outdoors.  Nature circles bring people closer to each other, as well as to the amazing natural world.  Visit www.NatureCircles.org and download their e-book, "Tips for Creating a Nature Circle."

"What do parents owe their young that is more important than a warm and trusting connection to the Earth...?" -- Theodore Roszak, The Voice of the Earth

Theosophical Order of Service

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

www.TheoService.org