Interview with Susan Gregg of susangregg.com
Cate: Today I am talking to Susan Gregg, life coach, author of many books and meditations, and owner of susangregg.com
Hi Susan. Thanks for meeting with me! Can you share a brief history of how you became involved in the self-help, self-improvement world?
Susan: I actually began my journey in the 1970’s when the Beatles found the Maharishi. I found a TM center and began meditating. Then in 1984 my mother was killed in a car accident and my life unraveled. To make a long story short I got tired of the winters in Vermont, eventually sold my home, and moved to San Diego.
A friend of mine in Vermont gave me the name, address and meeting time of a spiritualist church. One Saturday I saw an ad for a church at the same address and thought, how many churches can there be at one address? So I went to the ‘wrong’ church. Ironically that was the only time they ever ran an ad, and I found out years later the other church existed.
Mary, the woman who ran the church welcomed me like a long lost daughter, told everyone I was a healer and a teacher. I knew nothing about either at that point but just wrote it off as her being a Californian. A few weeks later she told me there was a woman I needed to meet, Sister Sarita. We met at her temple in the barrio and part way through the class, a short Mexican man came over with a translator (the classes were in Spanish) and asked me to be their student. I said yes even though I didn’t speak a word of Spanish.
His name was Miguel Ruiz, and years later he went on to write The Four Agreements.
I had been chronically depressed most of my life but the more I explored spirituality and retrained my mind the happier I became. One day, don Miguel asked me to come to his house. He did a ceremony for me and said he had taught me all he knew and I needed to go and teach in my own way.
I moved to Hawaii and began writing books. After my first book, Dance of Power came out in 1992, I began teaching locally, and eventually internationally, and lately mainly over the internet (once it was invented so to speak). I have had the opportunity to travel all over the globe teaching and guiding people. It has been an amazing journey to say the least! I have been working with people and acting as a mentor, spiritual adviser and coach since 1989.
Cate: Wow! That’s quite an interesting story! How cool to have met Miguel Ruiz—I read The Four Agreements—received the book as a gift.
What are your current areas of particular interest, and/or what new practices are you using?
Susan: Lately I have been writing a lot, and this year I have opened up my coaching practice again. For several years I was booked up and cut way back on taking on new people; but this year I am reaching out to people again.
When I work with someone closely, I find it very fulfilling and energizing. I just love hearing their voice change as the lights come on, so to speak. The more they connect with who and what they really are (the energy that gives life to their body) the more magical their lives become.
When I work with people I keep stretching and finding new exercises and techniques that will work for them. I often tell people there is no mystical life’s purpose they need to find or anything they need to do other than love themselves unconditionally. When we do that, we simply begin to live our life’s purpose. I truly believe we came here to wake up to who and what we really are, and then just enjoy life.
I thoroughly enjoy working with people, and my life’s purpose is to enjoy life. So they work very well together. No matter what the question, love is always the answer. Love yourself unconditionally, love what you do, and the rest will fall into place.
Cate: I love your writing style! It’s so relaxed and comforting. My first “encounter” with you was via your book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Short Meditations.
I know you also have a new book out, The Grandmother Speaks. What’s it about?
Susan: It is a book I have wanted to write for years. It is a series of teaching stories. The Grandmother’s gentle wisdom wraps around you like a blanket, and allows you to experience the relief and love your heart needs.
It is twenty timeless stories. In them you meet the loving, powerful wise woman, The Grandmother. She will share the wisdom of the ancient ones (the basis of the Toltec tradition) in a way that will effortlessly sink into your consciousness.
You can enjoy the stories curled up in your armchair or gift them to a friend for comfort and hope. My hope is that readers will share them with children to open their minds to the wonder of life and the loving wisdom of the Ancient Ones.
Me: It sounds great! I can’t wait to read it!
One message you mentioned before—something that I think is important– is about changing our “stories.” As most of us have things in our past that we did not enjoy or that we regret, this seems like a very useful concept! Could you tell me more?
Susan: Life is, and then we tell ourselves a story. Based on our story about life we have an experience. So often we tell ourselves stories that create pain and suffering. Yesterday I got two emails from people in tremendous emotional pain. One was a young girl that was thinking about killing herself. The other was from a middle-aged woman who was miserable. They told me almost the same story about their childhood.
I could relate because I was depressed and suicidal most of my early life. Now I know all of that suffering was based on what I told myself about the events around me and not the events themselves.
The key to really changing our life and our experiences is to learn to love ourselves UNCONDITIONALLY, and then be willing to change our story. I explained this to the older woman and her response was but you don’t understand. And then she told me her whole life story. Her family had pretty much cut off all ties with her, and she was blaming herself. I told her what they did said a lot about them and very little about her.
Life is actually emotionally neutral until we tell ourselves a story, and then our story attaches the emotions to the event. It really is simple: if we want to be happy, tell ourselves happy stories and love ourselves enough to not take things personally.
Years after I studied with Don Miguel Ruiz he wrote the Four Agreements. One of the agreements is “Don’t take things personally.” People do what people do and then we tell ourselves a story. Make your story one of love, self-respect, and one that allows you to feel loved and happy about life.
That is one of the most powerful and transformative spiritual practices. And spiritual practices do take practice.
Cate: That sounds like great advice to me! And, like much spiritual wisdom, simple but not always easy! 🙂
Thanks so much for taking time to talk with me and for sharing your wisdom! I look forward to reading The Grandmother Speaks one day soon. Many blessings to you as you carry on with your life’s purpose of working with people individually!