Contextualized within a western world view, Tree of Life Spiritual Wellbeing recognizes that we have entered a new epoch in human history characterized by the ever-expanding knowledge of the nature of being human within an emergent cosmos. In turn, such knowledge shapes the responses we discover to the time honored spiritual questions we humans pose in relation to giving meaning to our living and dying; questions around identity, purpose, and belonging. Posing such questions, and discovering responses which hold truth for now, is foundational to the sacred work of being human.
In response, Tree of Life Spiritual Wellbeing offers an online resource for individuals engaging in the ongoing life adventure of the sacred work of being human; an adventure which takes form as an ever-deepening experience of connection and belonging in daily life, even as we continue to participate in the ever-evolving transformation of the human family within the wider Earth community.
Grounded in contemplative principles and practice, three pillars of Tree of Life Spiritual Wellbeing are:
- an attitude of rational curiosity
which embraces a gentle, open, playful, receptive spirit of enquiry
- reflection on lived experience
with each person listening for their inner wisdom’s invitation towards personal wholeness in the form of inner freedom and authentic communal response-ability
- the practice of authentic living
living from a values system which seeks the flourishing of all life
The images, understandings and contemplative practices offered within this website are meant to be received as an entry point for readers to reflect upon within the light of their current belief system, knowledge and life experience.
Founder and Sustainer
Kaye Twining BTheolGradDip (spiritual direction) MA.
Kaye was born and still lives in Melbourne, Australia. Being born in Melbourne means that Kaye speaks from and into a western cultural context. Bearing such a cultural context in mind, Kaye also knows herself to be a human being living within the wider Earth community. Beyond that she also knows herself to be daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and friend. Within such a broad context Kaye has a commitment to spiritual education practice.
Kaye also enjoys bicycle riding, bush walking, reading and conversation about the nature of being human today, outings with her family, meditation, travel within Australia and beyond to such places as Samoa, Russia, India, Europe, Thailand, England, Mongolia, Italy, Turkey.
Kaye was born into the Christian religious tradition and even though such a tradition is no longer a Story she calls home, she is grateful to have lived into/from/through that religious tradition. She still draws deeply from it wisdom teachings. At the same time, Kaye’s path of transformative living now involves an interspiritual orientation.
As a mature aged student Kaye gained a degree in theology through United Faculty of Theology, Melbourne College of Divinity. Her degree included philosophy, human faith development, Buddhism – The Noble Middle Path; the History of Christianity; World Religions – Diversity and Dialogue; Christian theology and Australian Aboriginal Spirituality; Clinical Pastoral Education.
Kaye also gained a Graduate Diploma (spiritual direction) and Masters Degree through the Institute of Christian Spirituality and Pastoral Formation, Melbourne College of Divinity. Her Master’s thesis is entitled: the contribution of a spiritual director to the spiritual journey of a person diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Kaye qualified as a spiritual director in 2003 through the Heart of Life Spirituality Centre, Melbourne. She is a member of Spiritual Director’s International and adheres to their code of ethics. Kaye also has certificates from Campion Centre of Ignation Spirituality for two Supervision of Spiritual Directors intensives: one with Janet Ruffing RSM, PhD and one with Maureen Conroy RSM, D.Min.
In connection with her commitment to the field of spiritual education, Kaye
- 2009 gave the keynote address at the National Conference – Mental Healthcare Chaplaincy entitled: “Who do I say that I am?” The Role of Narrative in Spirituality.
- 2010 gave an academic presentation at the Inaugural Symposium of the Australian Ecumenical Council for Spiritual Direction entitled: The Question of Grace in a Face of Human Disorientation.
- 2012 published in Presence: an International Journal of Spiritual Direction, Vol. 18, No. 3, September 2012, pp28-33. Title: The question of Grace in a Face of human disorientation.
- 2012 workshop presenter at Australian Ecumenical Council for Spiritual Direction Conference. Theme: Sitting Meditation
- 2015 workshop presenter at Australian Network for Spiritual Direction. Theme: Living a New Story
- 2015 workshop presenter at Spiritual Directors International Emerging Wisdom Conference, Louisville, KY, USA. Theme: Gently Integrating our Shadow-side towards Wholeness
- 2015 professional development workshop at Wellspring Centre. Theme: What does spirituality have to do with depression?
- 2015 published article in Connections: The Newsletter of Spiritual Directors International. Nov. 2015 Vol. 24.3. Theme: Living in Gratitude
- 2017 workshop presenter at Spiritual Directors International Seeking Connection Conference, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Theme: The Sacred Work of Being Human
- 2018 published in Presence: an International Journal of Spiritual Direction, Vol. 24, No. 1, March 2018, pp34-43. Title: The Sacred Work of Being Human and the Role of Spiritual Direction
- 2018 workshop presenter at Kardia Summit, ‘Imagining the Self in a Spiritually Expansive World,’ Melbourne, Australia. Theme: Standing in our own ground, openheartedly
- 2019 workshop presenter at Australian Network for Spiritual Direction, Melbourne. Theme: Spiritual Mentoring beyond god or religion
- 2019 round table presenter at SDI Research Symposium, Melbourne, Australia. Theme: Spiritual Mentoring beyond god or religion
- 2019 presenter (within the category of spiritual but not religious) at SDI Inter-spiritual day, ‘Listening for Wisdom,’ Melbourne, Australia. Theme: Allowing our spiritual questions to work their way through us.
- 2020 in response to covid-19 physical restrictions, facilitator of zoom pd through WellSpring, Ashburton, Australia. Theme: For everything there is a season . . . even conscious grieving.
- 2020 zoom workshop through WellSpring, Ashburton, Australia. Theme: The gentle art of conscious grieving
Alongside the formal study and in response to her current knowledge, beliefs, values and life experience, Kaye continues to consciously engage in the sacred work of being human. Kaye continues to post her explorations on the Resources page of this website.
The Story of Tree of Life Spiritual Wellbeing so far…
2007 As a program of Chalice Community of Faith the dream of establishing an interfaith spirituality centre was given expression. Under the name Tree of Life – Centre for Spirituality (interfaith), a charter was formulated and agreed to with Chalice. The Charter articulated the reason for being, the philosophy underpinning the intention of the programs and the relationship between Tree of Life and Chalice. The reason for being was to offer a place of shelter for people to explore and deepen their spirituality, i.e., personal meaning, authentic communal belonging and connection with the sacred as experienced in daily life. Foundational to the programs was and still is: an attitude of rational curiosity, reflection on lived experience and the practice of authentic living.
2008 The dream of establishing an interfaith spirituality centre commenced to take physical form. The venue was the beautiful old Uniting Church Manse in Northcote. The building, situated in the heart of suburban Northcote, Melbourne, supported the intention of the Centre to focus on spirituality in daily life. Even though the building was situated in the ‘burbs’, when people entered the contemplative space, they seemed to visibly relax and breathe more restfully. A Reference Group was established to offer guidance and encouragement to the coordinator. The website and brochures were designed and produced. A couple of programs were trialed and well received.
2009 The logo was designed by Selina Bayliss and generously donated to the Centre.
2009–2015 During these years a range of diverse programs was offered with the view of determining which programs inspired public interest and which were sustainable. These years seemed like a season of sprouting, nurturing and pruning. Sometimes the pruning seemed severe. There were times when I even wondered if the dream would flourish or shrivel up and die.
Over these years a number of significant shifts took place:
- The shift from spirituality framed within an interfaith context ~ to spirituality framed within the general human experience of giving meaning to living. In response to such a shift, the name was changed from Tree of Life Centre for Spirituality (interfaith) to Tree of Life Spiritual Wellbeing.
- The shift from being ‘a Centre’ which people attended ~ to offering contemplative workshops offsite within Melbourne and regional Victoria. Such places included: Contemplative Living Centre, Bunyip; Daybreak Centre of Spirituality, Bendigo; Kildara Centre, Malvern; Prayer Guides, Port Melbourne/Boronia; Northern Community Church of Christ, Preston; Sancta Sophia Meditation Community, Warburton; WellSpring Centre, Ashburton.
- The shift from the ‘place’ of Tree of Life being a physical building ~ to Tree of Life’s home being the internet including email, website and facebook.
- The shift from Tree of Life being a program of Chalice ~ to Tree of Life operating independently.
- The shift from a focus on personal spiritual wellbeing ~ to the focus on the sacred work of being human.
2016 Another major shift took place. The shift was from a focus on personal spiritual wellbeing, to the sacred work of being human. Such a focus still relates to the original intention of exploring and deepening personal wholeness, authentic communal belonging, and an ever-deepening connection with the Mystery within Life itself which animates our being. However, the focus also goes beyond the original intention to the broader theme of the place of human belonging and responsibility . . . now . . . within the Earth community.
The shift in focus gave rise to the establishment of an online Intentional Community, grounded in an integral framework of understanding ourselves-in-our-world. An integral framework draws from the enduring knowledge, belief systems, wisdom teachings and spiritual practices throughout human history, which continue to resound in our time and place in history.
2017 Tree of Life Spiritual Wellbeing has initiated a project entitled Living Intentionally: being the change we want to see in the world. The reason for this project is to test both the interest in, and the process chosen for, developing an intentional community. The intentional community draws together like-intentioned individuals who gather together to explore and deepen their understanding of their Self-in-the-world. As each individual grows in their Self-awareness they are more able to live within, and act upon their world with inner freedom and communal responsibility; each one in their own way may continue to become the change they want to see in the world.
2018 – 2019 Apart from public presentations and face book offerings, I have continued to post my writings on the Resources page of this website. Themes include: Our sacred stories: the essential pathway for meaning and belonging; The path of self knowledge; Spiritual mentoring ~ beyond god or religion; The Land I now inhabit.
2020 The first half of 2020 will be remembered as the year of the ‘global pause’ in response to the covid-19 pandemic. Due to the pandemic many societies have been thrust into a time of great change, without warning or time to prepare. With change comes a sense of loss. A healthy response to loss is to grieve; to grieve consciously. In response, Tree of Life Spiritual Wellbeing face book offerings have centred on life affirming responses to the pandemic. Also I have offered two webinars on the theme of conscious grieving. I have also posted a piece on conscious grieving on the Resources page.
There are many people who have believed in the dream and contributed to the flourishing of Tree of Life Spiritual Wellbeing. They have also sustained and encouraged me during the sprouting, nurturing, and pruning process of the last thirteen years. To each and every one of you, I am grateful for the part you have played.
Founder and sustainer
Tree of Life Spiritual Wellbeing