In the corner of our space is a large braided Fichus, a fig tree, we fondly call the Tree of Life. It has witnessed many seasons since our opening in 1996 as the Tree of Life Yoga Studio. As a yoga studio, we grew to serve many students and became the home and training ground for many aspiring teachers who would go on to share their gifts. In addition, in 2001, The Gifts of Grace foundation was founded to offer volunteerism to our community. Through the foundation, we offered many services including the making of over 300 quilts delivered to the Nashua District Office of the Division of Children, Youth and Families of the Department of Health and Human Services for distribution to local area foster care children.
In 2005, shortly after my ordination as an interfaith minister, I wanted to expand our mission to include a concentration on spiritual studies programs. For many years, I had facilitated a study of the Bhagavad Gita from which my book, An Ordinary Life Transformed: Lessons for Everyone from the Bhagavad Gita, emerged. I was ready to include additional programs. To reflect the expanded mission, we became the Tree of Life School for Sacred Living, LLC, in 2006. Since that time, I've created the following additional nine-month courses:
Living Our Purpose: The Heart of Spiritual Practice
Mantra Prayer Course
A Study of the Lord's Prayer and Beatitudes in Aramaic
Spiritual Mentoring Certification Program
A Study of Psalm 23
In 2009, The Tree of Life Interfaith Seminary, including paths for ordination as well as for independent study, was created as a natural outgrowth from the study and curriculum of the many spiritual studies programs. The mission of the interfaith seminary is to provide a new vision of ministry for the coming age and to offer a systematic methodology through which participants may realize, cultivate and offer their unique divine gifts in service to the greater good.
Welcome to The Tree of Life School for Sacred Living!
Rev. Stephanie Rutt, Director
An Ecstatic Death: A Study of St. Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle
Saint Teresa of Avila lived in the 1500s. An extraordinary spiritual presence and teacher, she wrote of the soul being like an inner castle. She described this inner castle as having seven mansions and detailed the spiritual quest for God as a journey weaving through each of these mansions. She wrote: I began to think of the soul as if it were a castle made of a single diamond or of a very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in heaven there are many mansions. In this study, we will explore each of the seven mansions with study, Questions for Reflection, and experiential exercises in class.
Text: Interior Castle: St. Teresa of Avila, Translated and Edited by E. Allison Peers (Dover Thrift Editions)
16 Week Study (2 weeks for each mansion, plus introductory and summary classes)
Tuesday Evenings 6:00 - 8:00
January 27th - May 12th
Kindly register with a $50 deposit, to be applied to the balance, by Monday, January 19th.
A Study of Psalm 23
In this study, you will be invited into the sound current of the ancient Hebrew tongue as you lovingly and courageously follow in the steps of the Good Shepherd. Participants will learn to chant the Psalm in Hebrew as well as to study the deeper meanings using the book The Lord is My Shepherd by Harold S. Kushner. I will also be offering additional information from my studies from both the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) as well as from my study of Hebrew. For each class, participants will have assigned reading and Questions for Reflection to consider. Class time will blend sharing and discussion with the chanting of the Psalm.
Text: The Lord is My Shepherd by Harold S. Kushner
12 Week Study
Thursday Evenings, 6:00 - 8:00
January 29th - April 16th
Kindly register with a $50 deposit, to be applied to the balance, by Monday, January 19th.
For me, this class was life-changing. Each week we studied one line of the Psalm and I found it working in my life right where I was. The book we read was phenomenal. Stephanie added her special insight. The journeys were insightful. I would hightly recommend the class. - Sue Hills.
Class size is limited as my space is much smaller!! You can register at any time with a deposit of $50 to reserve your spot for any class!! Please continue to make checks payable to Tree of Life School for Sacred Living. Our new phone number is 603-325-8650, or you can reach Rev. Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org or Amy at email@example.com should you like more information. Thank you!
New Address: Tree of Life School for Sacred Living, 263 Union Square #5, Milford, NH 03055
The Spiritual Mentoring Certificate Program is especially designed for those wanting to cultivate the inner presence and skills helpful in offering mentoring to those in need. This program is open to ordained clergy, seminarians in training, mental health counselors and other professionals working with the public in capacities where mentoring skills may be considered useful. If you are interested in this program but do not find yourself in one of the above categories, please discuss with me your particular situation and, together, we can assess the appropriateness of this program for you.
What is Spiritual Mentoring
Spiritual Mentoring aims to deepen and strengthen mentees' experience of and relationship to the Divine in a way that is authentic and meaningful to mentees.
Helps mentees to name, understand and work with the problems, blocks, and patterns in their life by using spiritual perspectives, practices and tools.
Guides mentees to assume total self-responsibility, not for all that happens to them, but for how they choose to be with what happens.
Assists mentees in coming to know themselves as "whole" integrating all aspects of the self - physical, mental, emotional - with the Self - spiritual.
Helps mentees toward wholeness through the cultivation of inner compassion (heart), discernment (mind), and courage (action).
What Spiritual Mentoring is NOT
Spiritual Mentoring is NOT mental health counseling or psychotherapy. An important part of this training is to help those wanting to offer spiritual mentoring to be both clear and humble in recognizing and defining just where their skills lie and what the limits of those skills are. Should Spiritual Mentors find themselves with a mentee whose emotional, psychological or psychiatric needs are beyond their own skills and scope of training, they must be ready to refer the client to more appropriate care. In such cases, the mentee may also choose to continue with spiritual mentoring focusing on spiritual needs and concerns. In this way, a mentee may enjoy the benefits of a team approach to care.
Overview of the Course
The course is offered in five parts:
Part 1: Overview of the Spiritual Mentoring Practice: Substance and Structure
Part 2: Clinical Spiritual Mentoring Skills
Part 3: Incorporating Expressive Therapy Techniques
Part 4: Special Assessments and Referral Procedures
Part 5: Visioning and Designing Your Spiritual Mentoring Practice
In addition to the wide variety of information provided, participants will be given an opportunity in each class, beginning in October, to practice mentoring skills in triads - consisting of a mentee, mentor and observer. By experiencing each of these three roles, participants will slowly and effectively develop the skills and personal confidence to step into their unique expression of being a Spiritual Mentor.
Sample Topics Covered in the Spiritual Mentoring Certificate Program
Developing the mentor/mentee relationship - key areas of difference from the traditional psychotherapist/client relationship
Deep listening - qualities of presence - skills of attunement
Establishing healthy boundaries - tools for keeping interactions clear and clean
Basic skills: navigating the content-feeling continuum, reflecting feelings, restating information, questioning, offering reflections and interpretations, how-when to address core issues
Guiding the process of distilling the deeper spiritual lessons presented through the details, events and stories
Exploring transference and counter transference - why continuing your own spiritual and healing journey is critical
The use of expressive therapy techniques: visualization, meditation, journaling, drawing, and sand tray in the mentoring process
How to design and offer a spiritual practice for mentees
Differentiating spiritual desolation from clinical depression
Working with acute trauma, grief and loss
Overview of common mental health categories: anxiety, depression, substance abuse and addictions, compulsive behaviors, post traumatic stress disorder, cycle of violence, assault and abuse
When to refer a mentee for professional psychotherapy and how to establish a team support system for the mentee - and when it is important to refer a mentee for immediate care
Ethical issues - confidentiality and conditions for breaking confidentiality
For clergy or seminarians - envisioning and designing your Spiritual Mentoring practice - ethical, professional and practical issues
For non-clergy - envisioning how Spiritual Mentoring skills and tools may be integrated into your work environment
Schedule for Classes
The Spiritual Mentoring Certificate Program begins Saturday, September 13, 2014, 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. From September through June, the course meets on the second Saturday of each month, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. You may not miss more than two classes, for any reason, to remain in the program.
Upon Completion of the Program
Participants will graduate with a "Certificate in Spiritual Mentoring." For clergy or seminarians wanting to establish a Spiritual Mentoring practice, there will be the opportunity to envision and plan how the skills acquired might create and support such a practice under the auspice of a minister.
For those working in non-ministerial capacities, there will be an extensive amount of information and tools provided to support and compliment a variety of work environments.
*It is important to note that, because the program does not offer a second year in supervised clinical training and externship, those seeking to obtain licensure for a mentoring practice should investigate more extensive programs elsewhere.
$1,200.00* - Includes the Spiritual Mentoring Program Manual (*Anyone who has had this program in the past may take it again for half price.)
$50 deposit, applied toward balance, required with application (see below) no later than Monday, September 1, 2014.
Fee may be paid in full via check or credit card.
Optional Payment Plan: $300 at first class Sept. 13th, $300 November 8th, $300 January 10th, Balance of $200 is due March 7th
Click here for a PDF application for the Spiritual Mentoring Certificate Program.
"The most valuable part of the course for me was the Clinical Spiritual Mentoring Skills - that which is necessary to be an effective mentor and establish a relationship of trust with a mentee. - Winnie Robichaud
"It was amazing to be able to participate in the triad sessions (mentor, mentee and observer) in all three roles - especially the observer - great teaching and learning in this role. I experienced a profound internal shift - from being unsure about my abilities to feeling confident in my skills." Debra Rosenblum
"Stephanie, I loved that you brought a holistic and spiritual twist to what I have always learned as the "counseling process." As a counselor, I feel that I now have the skills to delve deeper with my clients, into places where healing can really, truly happen. To hold a person in all of who they are - their thoughts, emotions, and their connection with the divine - is a beautiful gift. Thank you!" - Christy Finn
Spiritual mentoring sessions offered by Rev. Stephanie Rutt provide a blend of western behavioral science principles and eastern mysticism. Psychological thinking and behavioral patterns are explored within the context of the spiritual journey. Clients are asked to take an active role in the process and are often offered breathing exercises, meditation practices, journaling exercising, etc., to use in further exploration between sessions. Spiritual mentoring is different from traditional mental health counseling in that the client's psychological journey is seen as the doorway through which the spiritual journey may be realized. The goal is not treatment but rather enhanced awareness. The intention is not so much to fix something as it is to offer tools through which the client may transform unwanted life patterns into more harmonious ones.
The fee for each session is based on a sliding scale. To schedule an appointment, please call or e-mail Rev. Stephanie Rutt at 603-546-2320 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mantra Prayer Workshop
This workshop will invite you into the process of creating a life of greater harmony and connection with your divine inner Sacred. Participants will be introduced to the fundamentals of creating with mantra as well as how to create and sustain a spiritual practice using mantra. Sample mantra meditation practices will be offered from across faith traditions for healing, cultivating forgiveness, developing single-pointed courage and for living with an open heart. Come and enjoy!
Recommended but not required: My new book: Doorway to the Sacred: Transform Your Life with Mantra Prayer (available at The Tree of Life School for Sacred Living and soon on Amazon.)
Saturday, September 20, 2014, 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Peacefull Journeys, 5 Northern Blvd, Unit 8, Amherst, NH 03031
$40 Early Bird Registration by September 6, $50 afterwards
Register with Carol Gaudreau at email@example.com or by calling 603-801-5294
Job Description for a Spiritual Warrior: An Introduction to the Bhagavad Gita
Using the beloved Song of God, learn more about how to become a spiritual warrior and create victory on the battlefield of life bringing greater peace and joy to all. Follow the three Paths leading Home: the Path of Action; the Path of Devotion; and the Path of Wisdom. Explore your inner Arjuna (humanity) and listen deeply to your inner Krishna (divinity), and rise up bold and fearless to fulfill your divine purpose!
Recommended but not required: An Ordinary Life Transformed: Lessons for Everyone from the Bhagavad Gita by Rev. Stephanie Rutt, available on Amazon.
Saturday, October 18, 2014, 1:30 - 5:00 p.m.
Banyan Yoga, 5 Pine Street Extension, Unit 2A, Nashua, NH 03060
$40 Early Bird Registration by October 4, $50 afterwards
Register online at http://banyantreeyoganh.com
Living the Prayer of Jesus: An Introduction to the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic
Join us for a special day of exploration into this beloved prayer we have long loved. On our journey, we will excavate the expanded meanings that emerge when we examine the prayer through the language Jesus spoke, Aramaic. You will have an opportunity to learn the prayer in Aramaic, inviting the language itself to awaken even deeper levels of knowing, as well as to enjoy simple circle dances to celebrate the prayer's hallowed treasures in community. You may want to bring a journal within which to record the inner treasures you discover on this sacred journey.
Recommended but not required: Living the Prayer of Jesus: A Study of the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic by Rev. Stephanie Rutt, available on Amazon.
Saturday, November 1, 2014, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Our Lady of Hope, House of Prayer, 400 Temple Rd., New Ipswich, NH 03071
Registration Deadline: October 24, 2014
$40; Please contact Sisters Rita Pay or Suzanne Rivard to register: 603-878-2346 or firstname.lastname@example.org