September 2013



Theosophical Order of Service
Liaison News
September 2013
Warm greetings,
In this issue, I share some notes and photos from the TOS International Conference held in Wheaton, IL, in July 2013.  I have also shared some thoughts about service that flows from the passion of the heart rather than from a self-imposed sense of duty.
For this month's TOS Intention Experiment, I invite you to join an effort promoted by the Global Coherence Initiative (GCI) to send healing energy toward recent events in Syria, and the unspeakable suffering taking place there.  The world is watching to see how the US will respond and also to see what unfolds from here.  In the meantime, I suggest we put our hearts and souls into meditating for the highest possible outcome.  Following is GCI's Special Care Focus for Syria:
1.  Let's create a heart-field environment around the leaders and decision-makers for choosing the best outcome for all concerned.
2.  Now, let's radiate coherent love and compassion to all who lost their lives and those who are suffering, mentally, emotionally and physically at this time.
3.  Now let's radiate coherent love to people suffering from acts of hatred, prejudice and separation.
4.  Let's close by radiating compassion to ourselves and to all who are following the news while dealing with the challenges of their own emotional discomforts regarding this situation.  Let our heart's prayer be for the highest, least suffering outcome for all.
5.  (It's prudent to monitor our mental and emotional balance in our reactions to the news or outcomes.  Absorption is seductive and can have negative effects on our health and well-being and our ability to generate effective care.)
In service,
Kathy Gann
TOS Liaison Coordinator
We have a village . . .

"Greetings to our fellow TOS members around the world."

In July, TOS workers from around the world gathered at the national center of the Theosophical Society in America in Wheaton, Illinois, to brainstorm the topic, "The TOS into the Future."  What do we want the TOS to look like in five years?  How about 100 years into the future?  These questions were thoughtfully examined by conference speakers, then considered by conference delegates in light of their country's needs. Delegates attended break-out workshops to enhance their skills as active servers . . . but it wasn't all work and no play. 

New friendships were formed and old friendships were strengthened amid much laughter, singing, dancing, and of course . . . eating.  If you like the photo above, you'll really love this 2-minute video showing all the joyful goings-on while delegates held signs of greetings and waved to fellow TOS members around the world.

In the spirit of the TOS-USA's "Trees for Vets" program, we took time out to plant a tree in honor of Col. Henry Olcott adjacent to the library that bears his name.  May that little maple tree grow deep roots and stay strong and resilient through the years, just like the theosophical movement to which the Colonel dedicated his life.  The tree received an added boost: delegates wrote wishes for the tree on small pieces of paper and placed them in the ground just before the tree was planted. One of the members of the grounds crew commented that he had never seen a tree go into the ground so perfectly straight on the first try--a promising omen as we considered growing the TOS into the future.

Left: Diana Dunningham-Chapotin helps shovel some dirt around the newly-planted tree.

Conference speakers inspired the delegates to consider the spiritual side of service.  International TOS Secretary Diana Dunningham-Chapotin gave a multimedia presentation, "Theosophists in Action."  Here's a glimpse:

"For Mrs. Besant and her fellow pioneers, TS life and activist life were part of an indivisible whole.  Theosophy was seen by many as having great light to shed on issues of social and political concern.  Action in the community was seen as an ethical imperative arising naturally from the theosophical philosophy.

Visionary and courageous acts of social and political engagement amongst Theosophists are not something of the past.  They are to be found today too."

Diana presented updates on an extraordinary number of TOS projects taking place around the world.  Vive le TOS!

Diana has put together a wonderful report with photo souvenirs of the conference.  Conference participants each received a copy of the TOS International Handbook.  Please download and enjoy the handbook--it contains the TOS Principles of Organization, TOS invocations, service and fund raising ideas, inspiring articles and much useful material.
Your online shopping = "free money" for the TOS!
With about 5 minutes of easy effort, your online shopping can add up to significant donations to the work of the TOS.  Over 1,300 merchants (including many favorites like and have agreed to donate a small percentage of your online purchase to the TOS.  Over time, it adds up. 

Here's how it works: 

1)   register at, and select "Theosophical Order of Service" as your cause (it's registered with an address of Wake Forest, NC). 

2)  After you register, download the button so your purchases will automatically count toward TOS donations without any further effort on your part.  And that's about it, really.  Sit back and watch your donations add up.

Supporting TOS projects doesn't get any easier than this!

"Two wolves living in my heart . . ."

In a village, there once lived an elderly woman known simply as "Grandmother" who was dearly loved by all the members of her tribe.  She had a cheerful way about her, had a kind word for everyone, and was easily the most popular and beloved member of the tribe. 

A visitor to the village asked, "Grandmother, how is it that you have become the most loved, most popular, and happiest member of your tribe?" 

Grandmother thought for a few moments, then replied, "A long time ago, I realized that I had two wolves living in my heart:  the wolf of love and the wolf of hate.  I realized that my happiness and the success of all my relationships depend on only one thing--which wolf I choose to feed every day."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When we feed the wolf of love with our benevolent thoughts and kind actions, our capacity to work for others grows and grows until, in the words of N. Sri Ram, "you help because you cannot do other than help."
Donate coloring books to hospitals

Donating coloring books to your local hospital is a wonderful way to brighten a few dark hours in the lives of frightened, hurting children.

Nearly half of all emergency room patients are children under age 15.  Children in a hospital are frequently confused and uncertain about their surroundings.

Then there is the wait.  On average, a patient spends more than three hours in the emergency room.  To an injured or ill child (or a child waiting for a family member to be treated), the wait can seem endless.

By donating coloring books and story books to hospitals and emergency rooms, you can make a difference.  Your donation ensures at least one positive experience during an otherwise traumatic event.

Make donations as often as your group can gather together a batch of books and supplies.  Here's a sample wish list from Children's Hospital Colorado.

How to make it happen:  you and your group can begin collecting storybooks and coloring books at local discount and dollar stores.  Don't forget the crayons, markers, and colored pencils.  Then call your local hospitals (or search online--some will post wish lists and contact info), and find out how to donate.

Hospitals need items for teens and adults too.  Want to make a "primo" gift with a theosophical twist?  Consider giving a Mandala Coloring Book from Quest Bookshop in Wheaton (TSA members get a discount).

"For passion, not duty."

In a song about the journey to the spiritual path, Colorado artist Jamie Wolfe sings, "How I long to run this race for passion, not duty."  Her words strike a chord as I ponder what moves people to serve. 

Author Nick Williams explains, "When we find our gifts and contribute them to enhance the lives of others, there lies our greatest joy.  Knowing that each of our lives weave together and that we are intrinsically connected makes our work meaningful.  We can choose the kind of contribution we want to make and consciously discover the joy of giving and making a difference. . . . Love simply flows through us as we continue to commit to contributing.  It requires no sacrifice, and follows from our own strengths, aptitudes, joy, interests, inspiration and passion.  True contribution energizes us and makes us feel that we have arrived home in our heart.  The desire to be truly helpful is the wish to serve. . . . The work we were born to do is about serving the world in a way that we enjoy and that we are uniquely talented, gifted and equipped to do."  Excerpted from The Work We Were Born to Do.

Joining voices world-wide, singing with intent to heal the Earth

Providing computers to Native American school in New Mexico


Does TOS work flow from joy and passion?

During the Theosophical Society in America's Summer National Convention (July 2013), TOS-USA President Nancy Secrest shared a multi-media presentation showing some of the TOS-USA projects over the past year or so. 

Nancy's presentation left no doubt that TOS members are serving from a joyful heart.  Some care for the environment, some do healing work, some care for animals, some work to end hunger . . . the passion and commitment shown by TOS workers was moving.

But when it came time to present TOS-USA's projects for children, there were so many projects that they were placed in video format to present them in the allotted time.  I invite you to watch "TOS-USA for Children" (3:30) to see what's been accomplished by TOS members serving from the heart "for passion, not duty."  Click on the red image to see the video.

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service.  I acted and behold, service was joy."

--Rabindranath Tagore

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


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