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

This year, I'm adding a new course, Reclaim Your Ecstatic Cry!, described below.

In 2009, The Tree of Life Interfaith Seminary 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 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 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

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 12, 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. From October through June, the course meets on the second Saturday of each month, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 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.

Program Fee

$1,200.00 - Includes the Spiritual Mentoring Program Manual

$100 deposit, applied toward balance, required with application (see below) no later than Monday, August 19, 2013.

Fee may be paid in full via check or credit card.

Optional Payment Plan: $300 at first class Oct 12th, $300 November 9th, $300 January 11th, Balance of $200 is due March 8th

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 Studies Programs

New Class! In the Garden - The Sermon on the Mount According to Vedanta: Bridging Christianity and Hindu Philosophy

In this new class, we will be reading The Sermon on the Mount According to Vedanta by Swami Prabhavananda as well as excerpts from my book An Ordinary Life Transformed: Lessons for Everyone from the Bhagavad Gita. Gandi once commented that he could see no difference between the Sermon on the Mount and the Bhagavad Gita. As the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew, Chapters 5-7, is thought to contain many of the key sayings and teachings of Jesus, I have always been intrigued by this statement and have been drawn to create this class in order to explore more deeply. I will also be sharing from Emmet Fox's The Sermon on the Mount: The Key to Success in Life.

The course will evolve through seven topics following The Sermon on the Mount According to Vedanta:

The Beatitudes

The Salt of the Earth

Resist Not Evil

Be Ye Therefore Perfect

The Lord's Prayer

God and Mammon

Strait is the Gate

We will spend two weeks on each topic. The first week, there will be reading assigned and questions for reflection to prepare to share with the group. The second week, we will engage in experiential practices to further explore the topic. These experiences may include various types of meditation exercises, dances, art, journaling as well as basic Shamanic mediation and journeying.

16 Week Study: Thursday evenings, 6:00 - 8:00 pm, January 16th - May 1st.

Fee: $320 ($20 a class)

Kindly register with a $50 deposit, to be applied to the balance, by Wednesday, January 8th. A minimum of five participants, registered by January 8th, is required to run the class. Thank you!

A Study of Psalm 23

This is the second offering of this study and the first time it is being offered during the day. We will be using Rabbi Harold S. Kushner's The Lord is My Shepherd: Healing Wisdom of the Twenty-Third Psalm for the key text and I will also be offering additional perspectives and information. Participants will receive a CD with a recording of the Psalm in Hebrew to aid in the learning of the Psalm in its original language.

Each class will study a line in the Psalm. Participants will have reading assigned and questions for reflection to prepare to share in class. Class time will be spent in participant sharing as well as in experiential practices designed to enhance the study. These experiences may include various types of meditation exercises, dances, art, journaling as well as basic Shamanic meditations and journeying.

12 Week Study: Wednesday mornings, 9:30 - 11:30, January 15th - April 2nd

Fee: $240 ($20 a class)

Kindly register with a $50 deposit, to be applied to the balance, by Wednesday, January 8th. A minimum of five participants, registered by January 8th, is required to run the class. Thank you!

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.

The Interfaith Spiritual Practice Workshop

On the 4th Saturday of each month, 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. we will gather for interfaith spiritual practice followed by community dialogue. In this series of classes, you will truly experience that many are the ways we pray to one God. Each class will offer a blend of walking, movement, sitting and mantra spiritual practices to cultivate our intention for the day. Following our practice, enjoy light refreshments as we informally share our collective wisdom.

January 25, 2014: New Beginnings: Step Courageously into the Unknown

February 22, 2014: Love Unbridled: Dare to Let Love Have its Way with You

March 29, 2014 (5th Saturday): Awaken to New Life: Welcome Spring!

April 26, 2014: The Mountains are Dancing: Celebrate the Mystery!

Fee: $50 for the four classes or $17 to drop in.

Kindly register by Wednesday, January 8th. A minimum of five participants, registered by January 15th, is required to run the class. Thank you!

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 stephanier@treeoflifenh.com.