Posts Tagged: Welcome Home

Here I Am.

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On the last Sunday in June, 2008, I walked up to a lovely little chapel , neatly nestled between two private homes in the unabashedly residential DC neighborhood of the Palisades.

RevRobBanaszak_InstagramI had a feeling I was going to find what I was looking for — a spiritual home that I felt as connected to as I was to the Science of Mind church I had joined during my brief time in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Which, incidentally, was a lovely little chapel nestled among private homes in a residential neighborhood.

So when Rev. Steve Eveland, who was the M.C. that day said those magical words “Welcome Home,” I knew I was indeed home.

Ten years later, I’m still here! And what an adventure it has been. And I humbly ask you to indulge me some reflections on my ISD adventure, as they have been pivotal in the deepening of my love of our spiritual home, and the unfolding of my devotion to ensuring its legacy through a rich, joy-filled experience of spiritual community.

My ‘origin” story here is pretty epic and synchronous, and I hope you allow me to share it with you sometime. And, while I am humbled, honored and proud that I am “still here,” I do not claim to have been — or to be —  a perfect congregant, member, minister or Pastor. I have had my share of “growing pains” as I settled into what various roles I thought I might play here.

I served as a volunteer in many capacities, but with giant parameters around doing so. I answered the lifelong call to become a minister, but hadn’t really grasped what that meant here, at ISD, serving our members, and helping to usher in a space and place of peace.  I had several “church pals,” in my earliest days here,  but often left them in the dust as soon as any church event was over, to get back to my “friends.”

But I kept to my commitment to myself to change things up and do things differently than I had done in the past. Which meant choosing new behaviors like turning down the “forcefield” around me a bit — maybe even letting some people through! Or rather than wait to help someone until they give me a reason I am comfortable with, I’d help just because they earnestly asked “would you do this for me?”  Or being vigilant about my my moaning and groaning about stupid stuff, and trusting that the Universe had in fact, guided me to the perfect place for me right now.

And you know what? With or without my protective “layers” and in spite of my best efforts to keep my life compartmentalized and in boxes, I became more and more aligned with ISD and the people who bring her to life. I became a brightly colored thread among many other brightly colored threads that make up the vibrant tapestry of ISD. I became ONE with this community. Our history. Our triumphs and our trials.

I can honestly say that in the last 10 years, that I have been an integral part of some of ISD-DC’s highest vibrational moments! And yes, I have certainly been a part of some of our lowest ones as well. If you are truly involved and engaged in any thing worth your energy, that is likely to be the case. We can get hurt, and we can hurt too.

And wouldn’t you know it…with all of the“stuff” over the last 10 years, the good, and the not-so-goodm I have fallen IN LOVE! With our Sanctuary, where the veil between the dimensions is so beautifully fluid, and where Magic is the flow between them. With our Ancestry, who continue to be the deep and solid roots from which our diverse branches reach high to our limitless future. With our People — longtimers and newbies, who entrust us with their individual journeys and support us with their incredible generosity.

Yes. It has been quite the adventure to get “here.” And “here” today is not the “here” of yesterday and will most definitely not be “here” tomorrow.

What about you, my ISDelights?  Are you here? If not, what can we do to bring you here? What will you do to get you “here?” Who can you be, and what will you become when you are “here,” to help you be the very best person you can be when you are out “there”?

We’ve got a lovely summer and a busy fall coming up!  So if you have been teetering or wavering what your role is; or hem-hawing about how much you want to do or give, or when should you be making that decision about volunteering or  becoming a minister: here is that SIGN that you’ve been asking for:

“GET, HERE. NOW.”

Oh and here is the follow up sign that you also asked  for to determine if the first on was real:

“DO IT!!!” 

I’ll be here when you get here…

…oh wait..here you are!

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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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“Why I’m Dedicated to ISD”

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As we approach Dedication Sunday 2015, both longtime and recent ISD members reflect on how ISD has impacted their lives.

Tom Landon

I believe that I am one of the longest termed members of ISD. I began attending ISD services at the request of my wife (ISD minister and former pastor Rev. Sue Landon) after she had a reading with Reverend Jim, and was seeking to expand her intuitive development. I was merely attempting to be a good husband, supportive of her favorite activities. But that shifted, and I began enjoying attending ISD services, message circles, and psychic fairs. The people here at ISD really made the difference for me, with abundant love, acceptance, and joy at every activity (even weeding the gardens!).

My life is grounded in service, so I naturally was inclined to take ownership of my membership in ISD. I participate as an usher, a service coordinator, I have been chair of the building and grounds committee and served on the board of directors for a number of years. I feel it is important to fully participate in all organizations that I care about. I love ISD and all the people who call it their spiritual home. With many new people attending activities and joining as new members over the last few years, I feel confident that ISD has a bright future.

Rod Hill

When thinking about my experiences at ISD, three questions came to mind. I’d like to share my thoughts with you on each, as they really sum up why Lydia and I became members of ISD.
1. What Brought Us To The Institute?
Lydia and I were attending mindfulness classes at a local church, which we enjoyed very much. What was missing for us, however, was a true community experience. After the classes, everyone went their separate ways until the same time the following week. We tried starting a Mindfulness Meetup in southwest DC, but that never took off. So we spent several months looking for a community of spiritually-focused, like-minded people that share their experiences in spirituality. Lydia found ISD on a Google search. It sounded interesting, so we decided to give it a try. That was last April, and we’ve been here ever since. And ISD came with a real bonus – the members of this community are also committed to supporting and nurturing each other in spiritual growth. And so are we!
2. What Do I see As My Place In ISD’s Growth?
This one is pretty simple for me. ISD has been my spiritual home, ever since the first day when I was welcomed that way (thank you, Rev. Rob!). Well, if this is my spiritual home, that means I accept my role in this place and it’s wonderful people as family, not merely as a guest. In families, I believe each member should make a commitment to to keep the family living, working and growing together, and that’s my commitment to ISD.
3. If I Could Design An ISD, What Would It Look Like?
When thinking about this, an image came to mind of the people of the world coming together as one human body. Each of us is similar to the individual blood cells that are so important for the body to thrive and grow. The heart would be ISD, our spiritual home, the place that draws in it the body’s life-sustaining blood, and then sends it forth to nourish the body. The oxygen from the lungs represents all of the ISD ministries and programs through which we receive the Divine gifts that energize and nourish us as we go out into the rest of the body, spreading that life-sustaining energy throughout the world body. Unlike a human body, where all of the blood cells are forced into the heart, lungs and other organs, the world body blood cells have FREE WILL. Only those who accept the heart’s invitation take the journey. In the world body, those who take the journey in turn share the message of Divine energy with others, inviting them to experience the joy and peace that come from accepting the heart’s invitation. Metaphysical teachings are not new; they have been with mankind for millennia. The ideal ISD is one that brings MANY into the joyous experience of Divine Light.
TO SUBMIT YOUR OWN REFLECTIONS ABOUT “WHY I AM DEDICATED TO ISD,” PLEASE EMAIL PASTOR ROB BANASZAK AT REVROBB@ISD-DC.ORG

 

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.