Theosophical Order of Service
Dear TOS Liaisons and TS Group Leaders,
As a child, Fred Rogers would sometimes see scary things in the news, and his mother would tell him, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."
Time and again, our hearts are broken by tragic events in the news. And time and again, we are inspired and awed by the capacity of human hearts to help and to heal. This newsletter is dedicated to you, the helpers.
Following the Newtown shooting, helping went viral. Started as a tweet by journalist Ann Curry, the idea of performing 20 acts of kindness to honor each child killed soon morphed into 26 Acts of Kindness (to include the teachers). People all over the country are performing random acts of kindness as a way of honoring the victims. Jessica gave 20 flowers to 20 people, each marked with the name of a child whose life was cut short. Mike left breakfast and a $20 gift card for a homeless couple sleeping in a parking lot. Deb paid off someone's layaway at Walmart. Mindi bought a hot sandwich and a banana for a homeless man. It seems that Mrs. Rogers was right--you will always find people who are helping.
With gratitude for the helpers,
TOS Liaison Coordinator
|Houston TOS helps feed the hungry
Zarine Balsara is the TOS Liaison for the Houston Lodge Theosophical Society. Originally from Karachi (then undivided India, now Pakistan), Zarine grew up in a theosophical family. For many years, her mother, Gool Minwalla, was President of a large, very active TS membership. Zarine became a TS member at a young age and participated in the Knights of the Round Table.
Zarine emigrated to the US in 1975 and worked as a Montessori teacher for 40 years, following something of a family tradition. Zarine's mother was trained by Maria Montessori at Adyar and later became Director of Training in Pakistan. Although Zarine has "retired," she can't stay away, and now consults with Montessori schools to help them remain true to the Montessori method and philosophy. "Working with young children," Zarine says, "has been one of my passions, the other being Theosophy."
|On December 8, 2012, Zarine and other members of the Houston Theosophical Society donned t-shirts and hairnets to volunteer at the Houston Food Bank, helping to prevent hunger in their community.
In three hours, the TS workers and other volunteers packed 15,360 pounds of white and brown rice, enough for 12,800 meals! The rice will be used in food packets sent to thousands of families in need.
Way to go Houston for kicking hunger to the curb!
TOS scholarship recipient plans to give back
For the past two years, TOS-USA has awarded a $5,000 scholarship to a student of the Oglala Lakota Nursing College. This year's recipient is Natasha Ferguson, a 27-year-old mother of two. Natasha is a Native-American Oglala Sioux from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota who says her daughters provide her with "motivation and inspiration toward achieving my goals in order to provide them with a successful future."
After earning her Associate Degree, Natasha plans to give back to the Native American community by working as a Registered Nurse with the Indian Health Service. Eventually she intends to complete her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and would "love to enter the specialty of pediatric neurology."
The Oglala Lakota College of Nursing is located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and bases its model of nursing on the four traditional Lakota values: Respect, Generosity, Wisdom, and Courage.
Natasha's scholarship was possible because of your donations. To help with projects like this, visit the TOS website and select "Native American Support" in the drop-down box.
|The Linus Project: never underestimate the power of a blankie
|On Christmas Eve, 1995, Karen Loucks of Denver, Colorado, read about a 3-year old named Laura who had endured more than two brutal years of chemotherapy for leukemia. Laura had a special "blankie" that always accompanied her on trips to the hospital to receive her treatments. Putting down the article, Karen resolved to provide hand-made blankets to the Rocky Mountain Children's Cancer Center, and "Project Linus" was born.
Today, Project Linus is headquartered in Bloomington, IL, and consists of hundreds of groups of volunteers (dubbed "Blanketeers") across the U.S. To date, more than 4,270,084 blankets have been delivered.
Blankets are collected locally in all 50 states, and are distributed to children "in hospitals, shelters, social service agencies, or anywhere that a child might be in need of a big hug."
There are many ways you can help, regardless of skill level. You can make a quilt or afghan, or how about a no-sew polar fleece blanket that comes together in five easy steps. Patterns are provided, or you can fashion your own creation. Monetary donations are another way to help. To learn more or get involved, explore www.ProjectLinus.org.
|Desnos chose light
Robert Desnos was a French surrealist poet who, like many outspoken artists during World War II, was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to a concentration camp where the scene was bleak. Hundreds of prisoners lay sick on bare pallets in rows of wooden barracks. They worked, they tried to sleep. Every few weeks they noticed that groups of prisoners had disappeared. A pall of despair hung over everything.
One day Desnos and others were taken away from their barracks. The prisoners rode on the back of a flatbed truck; they knew the truck was going to the gas chamber. No one spoke. Soon they arrived and the guards ordered them off the truck. As they began to move toward the gas chamber, suddenly Desnos jumped out of line and grabbed the hand of the woman in front of him. He was animated and began to read her palm. The forecast was good: a long life, many grandchildren, abundant joy. A person nearby offered his palm to Desnos. Here, too, Desnos foresaw a long life filled with happiness and success. Jumping to life, the other prisoners eagerly thrust their palms toward Desnos and in each case, he foresaw long and joyous lives. (From an account told by Susan Griffin.)
Last-known photo of Robert Desnos
The guards became visibly disoriented, tentative, no longer sure they were in charge. Desnos had so effectively created a new reality that the guards were unable to go through with the executions. They ordered the prisoners back onto the truck and returned them to the barracks. Within a year, the camp had been liberated and Desnos had died of typhoid.
We know this story because so many prisoners lived through that day to tell it. They lived because Robert Desnos used his imagination at a time when there seemed to be no cause for hope. He had no plan, was said to be an atheist, and could not have guessed the outcome. But at the moment of greatest darkness, Desnos chose light.
|Updates on The Tapping Solution for Newtown: Stress and Trauma Relief Project
Lori Leyden, Ph.D.
In a restaurant window
In the last issue of this newsletter, I wrote about a trauma team being assembled by Nick Ortner and his family to work with those most deeply affected by the Newtown tragedy. Nick chose Lori Leyden, Ph.D., to lead the trauma team.
Dec. 27, 2012, update from Lori Leyden after working with first responders from the Connecticut Medical Examiner's Office: These are a group of unsung heroes who hold jobs that only a tiny select few people in this world are capable of. The courage, focus, attention to detail, stamina and heart they showed under the most heartrending of circumstances awes me beyond words. What drops me to my knees in tears is their most earnest expression, that while no one may ever realize the extent of their efforts, they each hold in their hearts the hope that their tender work made a difference to these loved ones and their families.
Jan 11, 2013, update from Nick Ortner after they worked with a 6-year- old who survived the shooting by being locked in a bathroom with her teacher:
She was super shy but so cute. She didn't say much (she was there with her mother), but we had some great breakthroughs, in bringing up the "bad thoughts" and using the tapping to make them go away.
This is one of the places where tapping (and other body processes) blows away the conventional approaches to healing trauma: She didn't have to talk but got great results. You could see her distress when thinking about school and the "bad man" and you could see the shift happen when she tapped.
To support this work with a $15 donation that gets you a copy of Nick Ortner's movie, "The Tapping Solution," click here. Showing the film to your members and the public is a wonderful service, as they will easily learn a meridian tapping technique that works quickly and powerfully to release emotional and physical pain. Read about the science and research here.
|Spiritual Activism: Path of Transformation
The embrace of the path of Spiritual Activism enables individuals or groups to develop the noble qualities of compassion, wisdom and gratitude. It is in itself a Path of Transformation – a Spiritual Blueprint for living. We can shift our perspectives of reality through seeking service beyond self by practicing the Gifts of Service. The core dynamics behind the Spiritual Keys of Activism are creativity, adaptability, understanding and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
1. All Action MUST be based on Compassion
When championing a Cause, the mindset must be altruistic and the motivating emotion must be positive. Spiritual Activism is action for the benefit of something, not against something.
2. Compassion flows from the understanding of the Connection between all living beings
We are all connected through our shared Humanity. When you learn to see that our differences are superficial and our similarities manifest, sympathy (or worse, pity) gives way to compassion. Our actions shift from one of "us helping them" to one of "for the good of All". We become One.
3. Compassion must be applied with Wisdom
There are more Causes that exist than an individual or group can possibly be involved with. It is important to choose your causes carefully. Learn to Act instead of React.
4. Apply synergy and teamwork to accomplish goals
Synergy is the process where two or more actions combine to produce an effect greater than the sum of its individual parts. Like ripples in a pond, spiritual actions combine and build on each other to magnify an effect beyond what each could do individually. Whenever possible, team up with others to acquire a multifaceted and more holistic approach.
5. Spiritual Activism is the pursuit of service for the good of all, not for the advancement or benefit of individuals or selected communities
The mindset behind your actions must be noble, holistic, Universal and non-partisan. Be mindful that ego and self-service have no place in Spiritual Activism.
6. Pursue Integrity, Honesty and Dignity in the conduct of your Actions
Embrace Mindfulness in the application of your activities and be aware of how your actions may be perceived by others. Machiavelli's "The ends justify the means" has no place in Spiritual Activism. If our methods are not noble, our results will not be either. Practice Spiritual Transparency, allowing negative energies to bypass your system without harming it.
7. Do not defame your detractors or those who doubt you
A confrontational approach leads to a defensive reaction. Approach others with Openness and Compassion in your heart. Build on the commonalities between you instead of focusing on the differences. As much as possible, detach yourself from the results of your actions. Aspire to always be a Peacemaker.
8. Raising another up raises you up as well
Helping another becomes a form of self-love as well as an expression of outward love. This becomes an upwardly spiraling cycle of increasing awareness, connection, compassion, involvement, capacity, and back to increasing awareness.
9. Learn to listen to your heart and not your mind
You mind may only see the problem. Your heart will always feel the solution. Learn to act with Faith and cultivate a loving perception when facing collective problems.
10. Search out viable and sustainable solutions
Seek out solutions that maintain or restores the dignity of individual humans and their communities. The goal of Spiritual Activism is to raise another up, not make them dependent.
11. Do not judge yourself simply by the results of your actions
Maintain a sense of detachment as to overall results. Embrace mindfulness as you intentionally diminish a judging attitude while keeping watchfulness on the gates of your heart. The ultimate goal of Spiritual Activism is to unconditionally raise the understanding and support of Humanity, with no exceptions. This achievement is larger than any individual. While individual projects can be completed, the sum is so much greater than its parts. Learn to see yourself not on where you have reached, but on the Path you are traveling. There is real fulfillment in just being called to serve humanitarian and spiritual causes.
12. Let Metta be the motivation for your Actions
If you cultivate Metta (the practice of loving-kindness) in your heart, you will succeed. The Intention that is the motivating force behind your actions is paramount. Start from a position of pure and altruistic Love.
Click here to read the full article or see the accompanying video.
"a union of those who love in the service of all that suffers"