Posts Tagged: Spiritual Home.

The Best Experience EVER! Until tomorrow…

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I have a thing for hyperbole, in case you haven’t noticed. I describe most of my best experiences in superlative language. Shocker isn’t it?  If I love a movie it is the “GREATEST movie ever made…” or my favorite TV show is the BEST EVER or my favorite new song is the “BEST song  I’ve heard in my LIFE!”

AnRevRobBanaszak_Instagramd, really, isn’t that the way everything in life should be? Shouldn’t today ALWAYS be the BEST DAY EVER? And here’s a secret — today being “best day ever” does not preclude tomorrow being even better. Because no matter how awesome things may be today — we can EXPECT even more awesomeness tomorrow!

I say this all now because before it gets too absurd to do so, I am about to share some reflections about our amazing retreat a couple weeks back. And — you guessed it — I have a few superlatives I’m gonna use. Like, for me, our Spring Awakening was a magical experience…and the very best experiences at ISD I’ve ever had. And also, one of the best SPIRITUAL experiences and one of the best LIFE experiences I’ve ever been a part of.

Yep. There are those hyperbolic, superlative words again. I assure you I mean them. I am so proud of being a part of the small but mighty team of souls who brought so many special spiritual “ingredients” to add to the delightful magical “stew” that nourished us with a deeper, richer “flavor” of what being awake means in our daily lives, and how that “state of awake” naturally flows into a more secure and meaningful alignment to the Spirit Within AND Without.

Nearly three weeks after Spring Awakening, I find myself more grateful than ever for the touchstone that ISD has become for me as I move through life. I marvel at the energetic shifts that are occurring as our Community begins to feel — and claim — the hypnotic buzz of the new vibration that is, for me, palpable as soon as you walk into the Sanctuary.

Never ever did I imagine (there goes the hyperbole again) finding myself in a life experience as superlatively wonderful and awesome and enriching as my experience of ISD has been in the last five months. Each week I truly experience the “best time I have ever had at ISD,”  which almost immediately afterward becomes bested the following week by another fantastic experience, and so on and so on!  I have learned in a very real way that things really do just keep getting better and better and better…as long as we KNOW they do.

So I ask you, then, what better time is there to join this exciting journey to Community, or to deepen your longtime dedication to it? If not now, when?

We’ve got a busy June ahead of us, and plenty of opportunities to catch this wave or hone your gifts. Scroll down this message, or check out our calendar page for the latest listings of our upcoming events. Write down the dates and times of those events that pique your interest and spark your imagination.  Then check back to the ISD-DC website often for updates to forthcoming days and times. Most importantly SHOW UP at the events you have decided you wanted to experience! In body, mind and spirit, SHOW UP and BE PRESENT. Do that, and you’ve already elevated your deep self.

So let GO of your worries! The Source has your back! Trust in this simple and sublime Power. Trust that your unique gifts are being revealed and released NOW — at the perfect place, and in the perfect time.  And, without ever “looking down” at how far up we have raised our vibrational vitality, we’ll be BUZZING as we realize just how aligned, inspired and enlivened we have always been, and we’ll know beyond doubt that our Divine Nature is manifesting our tomorrow as an even better today!

Off we go! On we stay!

Rob

April Showers, May Flowers

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by Rev. Rob Banaszak, Pastor, ISD-DC

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WHO STOLE MY APRIL???

Okay I’ll admit it. No one stole it. I used it all up. I gave it away. I lived it until I had squeezed every bit out of it, and tossed it aside like an empty toothpaste tube.

And I’d do it all again!

I mean c’mon how could it not be an epic month when April 1 was Easter Sunday? How much more fresh, open and free can you be than when day one of the new month begins on day one of our church week, and on day one of our church week we are celebrating our Resurrection and Renewal revealed by our brother Jesus,  the Wayshower for Humanity?

As Winter and Spring brazenly battled out their quarrel of which one would have the last word, our Spiritual Community maximized our “30 days of April,” to sow the seeds for a Magical May that I have no doubt will be blooming in all their vibrant glory throughout the summer and beyond.

I don’t want to take up valuable May focus by waxing nostalgic about our previous month which is gone and done, but I don’t want to miss this opportunity to acknowledge what I think were some noteworthy highlights. Our beautiful Easter Sunday Celebration — both the English and the Spanish language service — gave us the opportunity share our message of renewal. Our powerful and moving Message Circle offered us the opportunity to share messages from Spirit even more intimately than we are usually able to do, as our volunteer mediums were able to take a seat with attendees in the pews and infuse their messages with more conversation and connection. Our closing Inner Authority workshop with Ava Barron Shasho rounded out a four-part series, and focused on applying our history and our values as a context from which to access our True Voice, which speaks from our Inner Authority.

Our Board of Trustees came together with our Ministerial Staff for our first Leaders In Love retreat, taking place on April 20 and 21. The gathering was a time to reflect, share and hone our vision for our Community in the next year, and to commence the plans to manifest that vision. I was humbled by the commitment, dedication, determination and LOVE of each of my Spiritual colleagues, whom I also consider my dear friends. You can be sure that your Spiritual Well-Being is the best of hands with this talented and collegial group, and I encourage you to get to know them better so you can see this for yourself. Our monthly board meetings are held the third Sunday of every month and after the service and are open to all members.

Okay, May…it’s all you now. Don’t hold back…Give us as much Life and Aliveness as we can handle, and then give us an extra helping to be sure!

We have lots coming up at ISD-DC so be sure to read about some of those events in this week’s ISDetails…and then check our website and Facebook page often for the most news and announcements.

Let Magical May begin!

Pastor, Institute for Spiritual Development

…Onward, Ho!

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RevRobBanaszak_Instagramby Rev. Rob Banaszak, Pastor, ISD-DC

Okay. I just can’t hide it any longer. I am GIDDY with delight and excitement these days. Our Spiritual Community has claimed its 2018 with a confidence — almost audacity — that I have not seen since my earliest days here.

And why wouldn’t we? We had a pretty rough ride in the last couple of months of last year. And that’s not to say that the year was a “bust” at all! In fact, during our most challenging times, our members and congregants took an interest in — and then claimed responsibility for — the vision of our Community, and how we as a team are manifesting that vision.

From ashes of our 2017 has risen a passion, dedication and optimism from those who have shown up and said, “I’m here for you. Whatever you need.”

And “whatever you need” included stepping in as a last minute homilist, usher, reader or healer, for a Sunday Service; taking down holiday decorations; climbing into our “secret crawlspace” in the supply closet to store those decorations, playing Sunday hymns for a gazillion Sundays in a row; taking over our gift boutique’s operations; attending board meetings; accepting board leadership nominations or appointments; folding and stuffing the membership renewal mailing at the restaurant while enjoying post-church brunch; and making time for countless back-to-back phone conversations about meeting agendas, workshop ideas or spiritual consequences. “Whatever you need” has certainly been ISD-DC’s unofficial  theme for January 2018.

And, as I said in my homily last week, the rubber is hitting the road now. Do we maintain this amazing momentum or do we retreat in defeat. Do we bravely claim our metaphysical principles and move forward into the future WE desire for the community, or do we retreat and hope others take us where we want to be?

PledgeToMoveForwardLogoLast week, for our “RE-Dedication” Sunday, I pledged to move forward into 2018 and beyond. By cultivating teamwork and trust. By seeing the best in our Community’s members. By nourishing myself with positive people, thoughts  and actions that inspire fellowship and collaboration, and by making (and fulfilling)  my financial pledge to ISD so we can keep our flow going!

We are hoping you too, will “Pledge to Move Forward!” Download a pledge card here, fill it out, then return it by mail, email, or at Sunday Service.

All of these “rededication” thoughts and actions bolster my faith in my message from Spirit about the vision of our Spiritual Community’s future. We are exactly where we are supposed to be so that we can become who we are meant to be! And we ARE moving forward. Individually. Together. As a Community.

And in the words of everybody’s favorite toy spaceman, Buzz Lightyear:

“To Infinity! And Beyond!”

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The Christmas Cheer is All Right Here!

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by Rev. Rob Banaszak

Pastor, ISD-DC

I do love some good ol’ holiday cheer, don’t you? I have to say that I had become spoiled over the last 20 plus years living away from my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, because my mom was always the one who “held Christmas” for the family. Not being home for Christmas was NEVER an option. So I really never decorated at my home, because I would go to Mom and Dad’s without exception, and enjoy all of the decorations, and none of the decorating!

Pastors Post banner largeComing to ISD in 2008 helped to re-ignite a Christmas Spirit that I hadn’t even realized I had allowed to fade. We would kick off the season by hauling in a huge tree and standing it up in the fancy tree stand before the start of our Tuesday night class. Then we’d have the famous Decorating Party on the first Sunday of December. We were a flurry of decorating dizziness!  ISD-DC member heroes Tom Landon and Arthur Morton would climb mile-high ladders to precariously staple what seemed liked miles of artificial garland to the beams inside the Sanctuary. Lyriel Claire would spearhead the ever-so-messy task of “flocking” the tree with artificial snow and we’d all pitch in to string lights on the tree and hang hundreds and hundreds of ornaments and bows and doves and wreaths and lights. All of it helped get me into the Season and relieved me of the obligation to decorate my own house.
My mom passed in 2014 and my dad in 2016, so the Christmas Cheer I experience at ISD-DC’s has become more special than I ever imagined it would. And this year, what happened in our community over the last two weeks can definitely be considered, in my humble opinion, a Christmas miracle. In short, a potential disaster with a 12-foot broken artificial tree became inspiration for a brand new Christmas display in the Sanctuary. Thanks to the steady stream of help from several creative “ISDecorators…” everything was hung, strung and twinkling in time for our annual ISD Family Service and Celebration last Sunday.
And oh! The Celebration itself! Our brand new Fellowship Hall, which after the renovation had about 20 more square feet than before, was filled with more than 40 ISD family members, some of whom hadn’t been to the church in awhile, some relatively new folks, and of course, the “long-timers,” all enjoying a delicious meal together (prepared by attendees) and even more delicious discussions. The Spirit of Christmas was unquestionably present over the past weekend. You can check out our entire Family Christmas Service online, and see pictures of the Fellowship Celebration on the ISD-DC Facebook page.
Let’s keep sharing our Joy! We’ll celebrate the seasonal transition of Darkness into Light at our beautiful Winter Solstice Service tomorrow evening at 7:30 p.m. And then we’ll present the story of the Nativity from a metaphysical perspective at our gorgeous and peaceful Christmas Eve Candlelight Service on Sunday, December 24 at 8 P.M.  THERE WILL BE NO SERVICE ON SUNDAY MORNING.
On behalf of ISD-DC’s Ministers and the Trustees, I wish all of our ISD-DC community a season of ever-increasing Magic and Miracles.
Forward in Gratitude and Grace —
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Reflections on the Re-Launch of the ISD Wellness Expo and Certification Program

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By Rose Stafiej, Co-Chair ISD Wellness Program

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Rose Stafiej

Wow! What a fantastic re-launch of our Wellness Expo on Sunday. As always, the ISD community came together to create an amazing event. As co-chairs of the Institute’s Healing Committee, Rev. Kathy Gregg and I want to thank everyone who participated in our first Wellness Expo since 2012. With the help of our wonderful healers, we offered a number of services, including John of God Crystal Bed Therapy, Spiritual Response Therapy (SRT), Reiki, chakra balancing and aura clearing. With all of the healers working in the same room, the energy was palpable! What a great way to start the summer. You can see all of the photographs on ISD’s Facebook Page.

Prior to my arrival at ISD, I had some experience with spiritual healing. However, it is through ISD that my practice has blossomed. After attending the ISD Retreat in Spring 2009, I knew that I wanted to become an “ISD Healer” and took the intensive, multi-week Healing Certification course that summer. I made some major breakthroughs through the course, with help and loving guidance from our teachers, Revs. Sherry and Ken Foor. That growth has continued – sometimes in spurts and starts – as my involvement in the ISD community has deepened. As a community, we truly are greater than the sum of our parts.

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Rev. Kathy Gregg

As Rev. Kathy and I continue to develop and nurture the Healing Program at ISD, I hope that others may have the opportunity to have similar experiences. One opportunity is coming up soon, as the ISD Healing Certification Course begins on July 7, 2015. This is a great course for individuals to explore and experience their own healing abilities. Rev. Kathy and I are so excited bring it back this summer.

Our next Wellness Expo will take place on Sunday, August 30, when we will welcome all of those who completed the Healing Certification Course to become healers at ISD. And keep an eye on the calendar for more opportunities to learn and receive healing.

If you were a healer or a participant at the Wellness Expo on June 7, we invite you to leave a comment below.

Love to all. Light to all. Peace to all.

Make Yourself At Home

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Diane Johnsonby Diane Johnson

I was a bit surprised to be asked to write about my experiences and takeaways from my church participation at ISD. I’ve always been an irregularly regular attendee of ISD, and while that may speak to conflicting schedule demands and plain old laziness, it has little to do with my unwavering faith and trust in my spiritual life. From the first time I walked into ISD, I knew I had found other people who believed what I did—and then some. Over the years I would come to find that every service begins with the greeting, “Welcome home,” and that is how the people at ISD have always made me feel: welcome and at home.

I don’t remember exactly when I first came to ISD, though I have a Sunday service program from 2007, so it’s been at least eight years. The program had a message that particularly resonated with me and still does, which is why I’ve held onto it: “You see, in the final analysis, it is all between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.” That statement—and so many others over the years—reinforced my belief and empowered me in my spiritual journey.

I found ISD through an advertisement in Pathways magazine, but I can’t help believing if I hadn’t seen that ad I would have been guided to it in some other way. I’ve had so many wonderful experiences here over the years. It’s the cumulative effect of many that I’m taking with me as I move away from the DC area. Rev. DeBiasio’s inspiring wisdom (“The universe rewards action!”), the warm embraces, Rev. Ken Foor’s kundalini yoga class, the loving affirmations from spirit guides. These experiences are what make me sure that wherever I go, the people at ISD who touched me are in my heart.

One of the most significant experiences I’ve had over the years was bringing a friend who had never been to ISD before to Pastor Rob’s Principles of Metaphysics class. The information and lively discussions were always interesting and enlightening. I really enjoyed learning more about the people I’d seen in church over the years. Most importantly, I felt such gratitude to be able to share the ‘knowing’ with my friend that I’ve found here, as others have helped me along my way.

If you’re someone who’s interested in checking out ISD, you probably already have an open mind and an open heart. I’d encourage you to take at least one course that piques your interest—there are so many to choose from, you shouldn’t have a problem finding more than one you want to attend.

I’ve found them spiritually enhancing as well as a great way to get to know ISD members and other like-minded people in the area. There are also message circles, and I’ve enjoyed the seasonal services for the solstices and equinoxes. However you choose to participate, I know you’ll feel welcome and at home.

“You’re Welcome!”

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by Rev. Rob Banaszak, Pastor

In the first five minutes of ISD’s Sunday Service the minister says to the congregation, “The Institute for Spiritual Development is a God-centered, metaphysical community dedicated to our growing spiritual awareness in an atmosphere of unconditional love and acceptance. Welcome home.”

Those are powerful words. Welcome home.

When the minister said them at the first ISD service I ever attended, I knew at that moment that I was, in fact, home. After searching so long for a place to hang my spiritual hat, what a relief! And what an exciting new part of my spiritual journey I was about to embark on. A journey that would lead me to experience amazing new blessings and miracles, along with a family of fellow Lightbearers that support each other, encourage each other, and love each other!

“Welcome home.”

Because those words meant so much to me on that sunny summer morning, as Pastor, I am keenly aware of their power for others who may be joining us for the first time. Or who are regulars. Or who have found us again after some time away.

I am aware of what they might mean to YOU.

“Welcome home.”

My fellow ministers and I are steadfastly dedicated to the idea that you are home. For today, for a few weeks, for a few years, or forever. Naturally, we want you to feel so comfortable, loved and supported here that you do make ISD your permanent spiritual home. But no matter what, this is your home. For however long you choose to make it your home.

“Welcome home.”

We are here on this earth, at this time and on this plane, to remember our connection with each other and our connection to the Divine. We are here at ISD to help make remembering that connection an enriching, rewarding, significant and FUN experience for all of us who pass through the doors. We invite you to participate with all of your heart, and to engage in the way you feel the most comfortable. For here at ISD you are safe, and loved, and supported.

Welcome HOME!