If We Build It, Will We Come?

I have always been so grateful for discovering ISD nearly 12 years ago, and for its impact on my spiritual unfoldment.  When I decided to join the ministerial program, I knew it would be a significant component of my spiritual journey, but I really thought that my life would be more about guiding others through their journeys than about moving through my own, and I was fine with that. It is unbelievably rewarding to help someone embrace their spiritual path. Being a part of others' journey truly is spiritually enriching! 


But what a joyful surprise it has been that so many imaginative, talented, loving and inspired souls have enthusiastically come forward in our community to develop, lead, and hone some fresh, interesting and fun spiritual experiences that I could "let go" and participate in for my own spiritual development. I have been so impressed by, and proud of, the collaborative community vibe that has sprung forth from so many ISDDC-aligned people. 


Here are some examples. In the last couple of years, we debuted our "Psychic Sampler Saturdays," championed and led by Rev. Fran Wright, who long had the idea that we should have a less-intense, "drop-in" model for a psychic development gathering that people would feel comfortable exploring or enhancing intuitive gifts that they knew or suspected they had. We had the "Make the Dream Real" Goddess ritual spearheaded by ministerial student Brenda Paradiso, in which she could express her love and passion for Goddess- and pagan-inspired worship and celebration. Rev. Martha Saenz had long championed the idea of Spanish-language metaphysical church service, and debuted that very service for the DMV area's Spanish-speaking metaphysicians 2016.  Rev. Janet Johnson also returned to ISD after an extended absence and developed her longtime idea of a special integrated worship service in both Spanish and English, which has evolved into our quarterly bi-lingual "Meditations and Messages" service.  Just last month Christina "Tina" Daub, longtime ISDDC member, literary editor and award-winning poet, led the effort to have ISDDC serve as a community partner of the Walt Whitman 200 Festival by hosting a bi-lingual poetry reading. This unique event, which was part of hundreds of events honoring the 200th anniversary of Walt Whitman's birth, featured original Whitman-inspired Spanish language poems by local Latinx poets, presented in Spanish as well as in their English translations. 


We have made Wednesday evenings the time for our low-cost or no-cost spiritual events, and have experimented with a few different activities, including our current monthly "Crystal Sounds Evening Meditation" led by yours truly, and our "Message Lottery" led by Rev. Theresa Prigmore in 2017. Most recently, our monthly "Reiki ShareCircle." led by Sylvia Wrate, has become a gentle, peaceful opportunity for experienced healers to hone their gifts, and interested healers to explore theirs.


ISDDC Board member DLynne St. Pierre created SpiritFest, a "supersized" healing and intuitive event that we've held quarterly, which offers hands-on healing sessions, intuitive readings, chair massages, and more. in a day-long festival-type atmosphere. Longtime member Rose Stafiej, who has served on ISD's board and led our Healing/Wellness team, was inspired by our Message Circle model to create the beautiful Healing Circle that we have offered semi-regularly on Sunday afternoons. Longtime ISDDC friend Rosemary Peters shared her expertise of the healing power of the Gong in several popular, amazing sound bath sessions. 


Even newcomers, visitors and old friends to our community have been inspired to share their gifts in fresh new ways with ISDDC. Akashic Records expert Bill Sanda returned to ISD after several years for an intimate and intense healing experience and will return in July for another session. Savitri Khalsa shared her energetic Joyful Movement during our Sunday Services and as a stand alone workshop,  Roy Brown Eagle brought a regular drumming circle to ISD, offered his storytelling as part of the lesson/homily section of the Sunday Service, and will lead the upcoming "Inspire the Fire" Sacred Creation Circle this Saturday!  Dorianne Lumina Aillery and Helix offered their fresh perspective on sound healing in a fabulous Kirtan Chanting concert.  Musician/Healer Sahffi Lynne and Psychic Healer Alan Pratt have added the Sanctuary of ISDDC to their list of favorite venues to present their powerful, Shamanic-inspired Sacred Sounds Healing Concert, which they have done twice thus far! (We are pretty confident there will be more!).  Just last week, one of our newest congregants, Lettie Cadavid (who is an elementary art teacher by profession) presented a phenomenal, inspiring experience in "Artful Meditation," in which she led participants through a guided meditation to align with the Universal Creative Source, which then transitioned into a powerful hands-on "Creative Flow" activity.


Some of these ideas have “stuck” and some we have evolved or released. Some will become more successful, and some may fade for a variety of reasons. But all of them are inspired by the incredible vibration that people feel emanating from our community. All of them are given the opportunity to unfold because of the numerous requests we receive from ISDDC members and friends for fresh, innovative and fun experiences to expand our spirituality.


And all of them could use substantially more attendees, especially by those who have been making these (very much appreciated) programming requests and suggestions.


So many of community have caught the wave of inspiration for exciting and enjoyable spiritual offerings, and several of those folks have had the dedication to carry the entire idea through and to bring those offerings to fruition. Not as many, however, have shown support and appreciation for that dedication. A potentially detrimental outcome from sporadic support is a loss of momentum and ultimately, a loss of initiative to create more of them. We have worked so very hard as a team to open the door for free-flowing inspiration, and fresh approaches to our activities, let’s not allow the door to creep back shut!


ISDDC’s personal and community spiritual transformation activities are designed as shared experiences — even when they are solitary sessions. Naturally the facilitators and leaders of these experiences will guide one person or 100 people through them. because that is the call of a spiritual leader. But leading one person in a physical (and spiritual) space that is designed for many people is not sustainable for supporting the concept of a spiritual development community.


As we allow the delightfully relaxed energy of the summer to wash over us in the coming months, let’s remember that as a community, we sure seem to have this inspiration and brainstorming thing down pat! So let’s then focus on improving our participation in, and support of, the community-focused, super-cool stuff that we have worked so hard to create!


The more we do, the more opportunities we create for those awesome “aha” moments that we long for and love.


And I know I will take as many of those awesome a-ha moments as I can get yet…how about you?


Happy Summer!

Rev. Rob


PS — Have you subscribed to our YouTube Channel, where we are working on having as many Sunday and Special services streamed live as we can? And have you liked our Facebook Page, followed our Instagram profile or visited our website? These are the ways we communicate with you about all of the activities we offer!

2018 retreat participants expressing their spirituality through dance and movement!

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Institute for Spiritual Development

Washington, .D.C 

5419 Sherier Place NW

Washington, D.C. 20016

202-363-7106

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