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

Spiritual Studies Programs

The Power of Story
Discovering Our Stories: Shaping Our Destiny

In this years’ sacred studies, we will step deeply into our personal stories to claim our unique destiny for, in the end, it is both the beauty and grit of our life’s story that animates our daily walk and creates the legacy we leave behind. Three studies, Parts 1, 2 & 3, will be offered on Thursday evenings. In Part 1, The Call of the Mourning Dove, we will voice our stories of inspiration, challenge, humility and wonder as we have opened ourselves to mystical unity with our Beloved and reflect on how those moments continue to inform our personal walk as well as our collective destiny. In Part 2, we will go barefoot down the dusty road with Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God and ask ourselves where we too have gone looking for love and if we too, like Janie, can find peace in de light at daybreak so we don’t keer if we die at dusk. Finally, in Part 3, The Vision Place of the Soul, we will go beyond time and space to sit with a few of the great ones to learn how we too may extract the deeper, fortuitous, lessons from the details of our stories and chart our own course going forward.

As part of each study, we will meet at the UU Church a couple times a session for emersion into ecstatic trance-dance. Welcome to the maiden voyage into the next frontier on the edge of experience! Drawing primarily from the following inspirations: Moving into Ecstasy by Amoda, Trance Dancing with the Jinn by Yasmin Henkesh, Shaking Medicine: The Healing Power of Ecstatic Movement by Bradford and the classic Maps to Ecstasy by Gabrielle Roth, along with my own history of dance movement therapy, authentic movement and the Dances of Universal Peace, we will create a collage of movement experience designed to uncover our stories, heal and integrate what is seeking wholeness and express our deepest, most ecstatic, joys. We will dance our prayers onto the holy ground of our soul and emerge not where we began.

I do fully recognize that movement and/or the ecstatic trance-dance may not appeal to everyone so please note that each of the classes offers two options – one including the dance nights and the other not. For those wanting more dance, I’m offering an additional night a month on the first Tuesday. Please register for this class separately from the Thursday night sacred studies class. Thank you!

Enjoy the information below...

Thursday Evening Sacred Studies

Part 1: The Call of the Mourning Dove

The madness of love is a blessed fate.
It brings into unity what was divided.
It makes the stranger a neighbor, and
what was lowly it raises on high.
Hadewijch, p.15

We will begin with reading my doctoral dissertation and stepping into the Sonic Trilogy of Love. You will be invited to reflect upon and to offer your own stories, examples and thoughts throughout to be included in the ready-for-public-view copy as, together, we may decide. I vision this public-ready book as not only serving as an example of how sacred sound awakens mystical unity, allowing for the experience of “Many are the ways we pray to One God,” but, also, I humbly offer it to serve as the founding book for the Tree of Life Interfaith Ministries, representing theologically what we have collectively experienced over the years in response to the Call of God.

Thursday: 6:00 – 8:00 PM: 12 Weeks: Sept. 21st – Dec. 14th (No Class Nov. 23rd Thanksgiving): $240
Without dance nights Oct. 26th & Nov. 30th: 10 Weeks: $200

Part 2: Their Eyes Were Watching God

“If you kin see de light at daybreak, you don’t keer if you die at dusk.
It’s so many people never seen de light at all.
Ah was fumblin’ around and God opened de door.”

Alice Walker said, “There is no book more important to me than this one,” and I can certainly relate. Written by Zora Neale Hurston, is one of my all-time favorites and is considered a classic in black literature. It tells the story of Janie’s search for love by becoming one man’s mule and then another man’s adornment until, finally, she meets Tea Cake who engages her heart and spirit in equal measure. It is a deeply woven story that touches, universally, the hearts of both women and men. Spiritually, I see Janie’s personal journey as paralleling our search for peace and equanimity beyond the dualities of experience.

Thursday: 6:00 – 8:00 PM: 9 Weeks: Jan. 11th – March 8th: $180
Without dance nights Jan. 25th and Feb. 22nd: $140

Part 3: The Vision Place of the Soul

“In great deeds, something abides. On great fields, something stays.
Forms change and pass, bodies disappear but spirits linger to
consecrate ground for the vision place of the soul. ”

The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success

In this amazing book, we will visit, across time and space, the spirits of some of the most influential people in history and discover how their life stories, and the key decisions extracted from those stories, can inform our life stories today. Some of you may remember my worship service, “The Vision Place of the Soul.” It was created from one of the stories in this book. We will delve deeply into each of the seven decisions and you will be invited to explore and apply each one to your own life experience to chart a clear path forward.

Thursday: 6:00 – 8:00 PM: 9 Weeks: March 15th – May 10th: $180
Without dance nights March 22nd and April 26th: $140

“Find your own voice; take control of your own story.
Otherwise, you sing secondhand songs,
and become part of someone else’s plot.”

Gabrielle Roth

Ecstatic Trance-Dance
(Tuesday nights)

“At the stillpoint of the turning world
there the dance is.
And without the point
that stillpoint
there would be no dance
and there is only the dance.”

T.S. Eliot

Meeting on the first Tuesday of each month: Oct. 3rd, Nov. 7th, Dec. 5th, Jan. 2nd, Feb. 6th, March 6th, April 3rd, May 1st: 6:00 – 8:00 PM: UU Church, Milford. 8 Classes: $160

Blessed Joy Everyone!!! Stephanie

A $50 deposit is required (applied to the balance) to hold your spot as space is limited. The balance is expected at the first class unless prior arrangements for a payment plan is requested. Please make checks payable to Tree of Life School for Sacred Living, LLC and mail to: 263 Union Square, #5, Milford, NH 03055. Participants will be registered as the deposit fee is received.

Spiritual Mentoring Certificate Program

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 many opportunities 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

Mentor self-care

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, October 7, 2017, 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. at the Sparrow's Nest, 263 Union Square, #5, Milford, NH. We will meet over ten Saturdays on the following dates:

October 7th and 14th

November - April: First Saturday of each month:
November 4th
December 2nd
January 6th
February 3rd
March 3rd
April 7th
May 5th and 12th

You may not miss more than two dates, 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 State or federal licensure for a mentoring practice should investigate more extensive programs elsewhere.

Program Fee

$1,200.00* - Includes the Spiritual Mentoring Program Manual (*Persons who have taken this program may repeat for half price.)

$100 deposit, applied toward balance, required with application (see below) no later than Friday, September 1, 2017. A maximum of 9 participants will be accepted. Please send application and deposit to the Tree of Life School for Sacred Living, LLC, 263 Union Square, #5, Milford, NH 03055.

Fee may be paid in full via check or credit card. If paying by credit card, please contact Linda Jennings at Amherst Bookkeeping at 603-886-8953.

Optional Payment Plan: $300 due on first class, October 7. $300 due on December 2nd. $300 due on February 3rd. Balance of $200 due March 3rd.

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 - Private Sessions

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 tolfellowship@aol.com.


Ave Maria - We are all meant to be mothers of God... for God is always needing to be born. ~ Meister Eckhart

In this workshop we will celebrate the Mother Mary with song, sacred dance, journaling and drawing as the spirit moves. Together we will step onto holy ground as we humbly walk in the footsteps of Mary, asking her to reveal to our hearts her personal messagge for each of us today. Hand in hand, we will chant several versions of the Ave Maria as we engage in the ancient practice of monastic meditative sacred dance. We will listen deeply. Share tenderly. And, trust that the Blessed Mother, who is always with us, will open us to what the Holy Spirit is yearning to birth through each of us in service to our Lord Jesus Christ. Come and remember... we are all meant to be monthers of God.

Dates: Saturday, Novembeer 5th, 2016, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Place: Our Lady of Hope-House of Prayer, 400 Temple Rd., New Ipswich, NH 03071

Fee: $40

For further information and registration: Contact Sisters Rita Pay or Suzanne Rivard at 603-878-2346 or olhope1@yahoo.com

Copyright 2017 Tree of Life Interfaith Temple. All Rights Reserved.