Conversations with Susan.4

Angel Face Rose

Angel Face Rose

26 May, 2016 (Susan):


The rose is such a pretty colour & full of new buds, looks like it will be covered in blooms soon.

My function is deteriorating, some difficulty talking, tripping over words, some stuttering. Getting some laughs out of that currently.

Mild nausea, blurred vision, breathlessness, dizziness, fatigue, tremors. Had lots of lovely visitors, 16x peeps over past 6 days. Stopping visitors except family & extended family now as most others have had opportunity to come whilst I could still talk to them.

Poems were sent last Sat. Mail is lot slower than it used to be so probably arrived to destination midway through this week. Hoping there is some merit to them. If not I will ask someone to bind them into a soft cover for family & friends.

In light & love,

Susan x x

An Angel Without Wings

An Angel Without Wings, Susan Mac Gregor, May 2016

28 May, 2016 (Dave):

Hi Susan, thank you for sharing with me how you are doing. I was thinking about the roses, how each one is so beautiful and bursts into the world, bringing sweet fragrance and beauty (these Angel Face roses have a nice scent). And then the flower gradually fades, loses a few petals and then passes away, yet in each individual flower’s passing, new space is created for the other buds that are overflowing with desire to burst forth into the world, giving of themselves and becoming themselves.

Even once the flower blossom is gone, though, then the not so beautiful work begins of transforming dead flower into seed – for the rose, it turns into a bright red rose hip berry and becomes beautiful again, until once again, at its ripest, falls from the plant and begins to decay, which allows the seeds of new life to sprout and take root. It seems so beautiful with plants, with people it is a bit harder to stretch the metaphor…

When you say you sent the poems, whom did you send them too? Was it to XLIBRIS?

I have a batch that you sent me some time ago electronically. At first you said you didn’t want them posted as they were copyrighted and you were looking to publish, later, you said that I should post some of them on the blog. I haven’t put any up yet. I’ll do a blog now and put maybe a poem, an update from you and a picture.

Here are some pictures of my little shrine on my desk where I write. I probably have a solid day or two left of editing the manuscript.

Here are the plans for my future books:

Becoming Your Own Medicine, with Joseph Rael (Beautiful Painted Arrow)

Art Medicine, with Joseph Rael

Healing Circles of the World, with Joseph Rael

Return: The Hero’s Journey Home after War and Other Life Events

Re-spiritualizing Medicine

Every Thought Leads to Infinity: The Role of Visions in the Life & Work of Carl G. Jung and Philip K. Dick

That should keep me busy for a while…


May God’s Blessings sustain and surround You,

Dave xoxo


Earlier email with update for Susan’s bio…


15 May, 2016 (Susan)

Dear David,


This is a more accurate reflection of my early life.

As a young girl I was identified as being brighter than my peers. My teachers wished to advance me 1yr but my parents, sensibly, declined. However this advantage stood me in good stead later in life, achieving honours passes in all fields of my post school study, both theory & practice. My weak area was maths. My good fortune led to job offers in some instances & to offers of sponsorship into further study. None of which I pursued, instead prioritizing my desire to have a freehold property. As I was single until my late 20’s that meant putting in overtime shifts. When I did marry I made a poor choice, which delayed things somewhat. I then put myself into high debt to buy a house in Auckland that could accommodate taking in my sick parents. I was glad to do that, those years with them being very special, though stressfull. After they passed away I began to experience a series of illnesses requiring surgeries then was diagnosed with the cancer. Prior to my parent’s deaths I met Mahmoud. We have known each other 13yrs. Throughout that time he has helped me & my parents. The home in Papamoa Beach Tauranga is slowly being paid off as it is rented out.

Motuotau Island, Tauranga, 2013 Jan.March

Motuotau Island, Tauranga, New Zealand


Though my childhood home was full of love, music, laughter & creativity, my parents were poor. We could stay at Tauranga Bay Motor Camp free of charge because mum had divined their water supply. Access to bush, beaches, nature was close by. But sometimes my parents had no money for food except bread & milk. There were no WINZ benefits then & though Social Welfare paid a clothing allowance for my 4x fostered siblings, they didn’t pay any other expenses relating to their care. My clothes & shoes were hand me downs from other families. We did what we could collecting windfall fruit to eat from orchardists who knew the situation. We also collected shellfish from the beaches, & dad built one of N.Z.s first Kontikis to fish with which was a success. However there were days when our tummies were only filled with bread & milk. This occurred between my years of 11yrs to 13yrs, spiralling into my mother’s ill health & lengthy hospitalisation when I was 11yrs. She had uncontrolled hypertension & was having blackouts. Being the eldest daughter I took on her duties, caring for my siblings, doing household washing, ironing, helping Dad with food preparation, bathing younger siblings, & organizing the housework rota. When mum was back home I stayed off school often, as she was anxious to be left on her own. Eventually my father secured work as a Carpenter at Kingseat Hospital, Sth Auckland, which job came with a small house. Due to the size of the house & mums ongoing poor health they decided to move only with their two natural children, my brother & I. Amongst others, I was heartbroken by that decision. Mum soon found work too at the Hospital, as a Domestic Supervisor. The move did mean my parents were able to get out of debt.  Plus they were able to feed & clothe my brother & me. Thus life improved despite the continued sadness re my fostered brothers & sisters.

The rest of the previous bio still applies, only I had glossed over the financial situation, & omitted a key aspect of my fortunate genetic inheritance.

2013 Jan.March, Kopacz 132

Mt Maunganui, Tauranga, New Zealand

Good cheer to you,

Susan xx

Tauranga, 2013 Jan.March

Tauranga, New Zealand


Conversations with Susan.3

Susan’s health has been deteriorating lately. We have been emailing back and forth, but I have not been getting these up as posts very quickly. I’ll be putting up posts more regularly now, starting with our earliest emails in this post and I think I’ll also put up a separate post with more recent updates. While we human beings usually have a bias for a linear narrative, my work with Joseph Rael has been opening me up to non-linear narratives, which is what this series of blog posts is ending up being…I will include some of Susan’s artwork and some of my photos in the mix.

My picture b16eea51-9c6f-475e-b009-856c8c3f730c (1)

Susan Mac Gregor, May 8, 2016

Susan to David: February 7, 2016


How are you & Mary-Pat?

Seem to have got so tied up on Facebook that other communications have lagged. Mahmoud & I have had a great Xmas & summer with lotsa socialising amongst friends & family, a trip away to Tauranga, & some lovely local outings. Though the cancer did return, following further radiotherapy, I am again in remission. Looking at things overall I’ve well exceeded the norm for this thing, the cancer having started in Oct 2012. I am not “fighting” it, just accepting it & taking one day at a time.

On other matters finally I’ve contacted a publishing company re a selection of my poems. They distribute through AU, UK, NZ & USA. Not having great expectations, but it will complete a goal I’ve had for some time. The company is ‘XLIBRIS’.

We are off to the exquisite beaches, hot pools & restaurants of Tauranga again in early March. I expect this will be my last visit there, as prognosis now months, not years. Frankly I am ready to “go home” & shall welcome that journey when it comes. My brother is tasked to inform everyone on Facebook so that no one is left wondering. His name is Rob MacGregor, so please don’t be surprised when you get an email from him.

Look forward to your news.

Kind regards,

Susan MacGregor

David to Susan February 16, 2016:

Hi Susan, thank you for writing. Your trip to Tauranga sounds great and I hope you enjoy it thoroughly.

I am sorry to hear about the recurrence and that the doctors are giving you months now rather than years. Just remember, time and life is not really a doctors to give in the first place…

Good luck with your publishing. If you ever want to put a poem “out there” I’d be happy to put one up on my blog with some info about you.

I’ve been working on a book with Native American visionary, Joseph Rael, it has turned into two books. Working with his publisher is great as they are a small press and are really moving things along. July publication date for Walking the Medicine Wheel: Healing PTSD [this has since been pushed back to September, 2016]. I’ll send you a draft and also a draft of Becoming Your Own Medicine, which will be the second book, but hasn’t been edited yet.

I just started reading The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche and also read the Tibetan Book of the Dead. I am preparing to give a series of talks to patients, family and caregivers at a hospice programme out in Colorado on end of life decisions. Do you have any advice for me for the talk? I’ll send you the PowerPoint when there is a PowerPoint to send…maybe in a month…I am thinking about some topics like Death Stewardship, using the Red Road of the Medicine Wheel which orients one to the emotional and spiritual to balance our culture’s over-focus on the mental and physical, and then something on holistic decision-making, using the 9 dimensional model from my book.

The Tibetans sure know how to die, I am learning from these books. The view it as a very important and sacred time in transitioning from this realm to the next. As they believe in reincarnation, the emotional and spiritual state at the time of death is very important in determining the next birth.

Please keep in touch as your time and energy allows.

Here are very rough draft copies of the writing I am doing. [attachment to email] Please don’t feel any need to read them, but if they are of interest, enjoy!

Blessings upon Your Beautiful Soul,


Oh, have you ever heard of Nevit O. Ergin? I just read The Sufi Path of Annihilation by him and found it quite interesting.

Conversations With Susan.2: Susan’s Biography

I have been emailing back and forth with my friend, Susan Mac Gregor in New Zealand as she has been going through what she calls her “deathing life” with Stage 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme. We are having some great talks and Susan would like me to share these through this blog. Here is her biography and we’ll be posting some of our discussions in future posts. Susan has also started making digital art and we’ll include some of her artwork in these posts.


The Centered Heart

The Centered Heart (Susan Mac Gregor)


My name is Susan Diane Mac Gregor. I was born in Whangarei, New Zealand, on 25th August 1958. I grew up in Northland enjoying its beautiful beaches, native forests, waterways, & small town lifestyle. When not reading much of my time was spent exploring nature, riding friends horses, rescuing damaged birds or small animals & swimming. There were cats, pidgeons, chooks [chickens], sheep, dogs, canaries as pets, plus my blood brother & four fostered siblings to share time with. Having a musically talented mother & poetically inclined father, who enjoyed limerick & rhyme, meant our household was filled with music, rhyme & laughter. Despite some financial crises for my parents, it was an idyllic childhood.


Cert Industrial Cookery; R.P.N; PG Dip Gerontological Nursing; PG Cert CBT; Cert N.L.P. & Eriksonian Hypnotherapy; PG Cert.Relationship Guidance; PG Cert Sexual Abuse Counseling; Cert Solution Focussed Therapy; Cert Grief Counseling;  Cert Group Facilitation; Cert Stanford University Facilitator Self Management Of Chronic Conditions Groups. Successfully completed one year from Diploma of Psychotherapy, plus stage one National Certificate in Adult Education.

Alternative Therapy Qualifications:

Diploma Therapeutic Massage; Reiki Level 3; Cert. Therapeutic Drumming; Colour Psychology … being a methodology of using colour & drawing to analyze & address psychological issues; Chaldean & Pythagorean Numerology; American Indian Aura Cleansing;  Hands On & Crystal Energy Healing; Buddhist Sound Healing via Chris James; Home Study of Aromatherapy.


I was born with the gifts of Clairvoyance, Clairaudience, Clairsentience,  Pre-cognisance & Telepathy. These gifts began expressing themselves firstly amongst my direct family, surprising my parents on more than one occasion. As an adult I have practiced for 25yrs as a Clairvoyant, offering guidance to100’s of people throughout the North Island. This service included dream interpretation, energy clearing, & numerology if desired. As an adjunctive I have developed a method whereby it is possible to map a person’s phases & time frames toward achieving changes & goals in their lives. The phases allow the person to consciously make the most of the vibrational energies in each phase. Feedback has confirmed this is a reliable tool for its purpose.

Harley The Rainbow Lorikeet

Harley the Rainbow Lorikeet (Susan Mac Gregor)

More About My Roots:

Family have significantly influenced my character & interests. Mums father Reverend Norman Hyde established an Orphanage during the N.Z. Influenza Epidemic of the early 1900s, & along with mums mother Lillian, brought up thirty three Orphans, plus eight of their own children. Prior to that Norman lived & worked closely with the Tainui Iwi, an indigenous Maori tribe from the Waikato region. Grand-dad spoke fluent Maori, & was fully conversant with Maori protocols & customs. When he died in his 50’s he was given the rare honours of having Maori “wailers” at his funeral, plus a Chiefs cloak was presented to the family from that Iwi. As is customary, the family has since offered the cloak back, the Iwi have not accepted it, thus it & its significance remain in the family.

Respect for New Zealand’s indigenous peoples & customs was passed onto me through my mother. Mums mother was a gifted pianist, being asked in her early teens to go to Germany to further a musical career. Grandma’s parents didn’t permit this however. Prior to marriage Lillian established her own music school, teaching piano & singing. Her talent passed to my mum, who could play any instrument she was handed, & sang on radio in her early adulthood. Our household was always filled with music, with many nights sat around the piano singing Redemption Hymns, or listening to mum play from the great classics, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn etc. Though never having her ability I took lessons in piano, & continued to play into adulthood.

My father, born to the son of a Scottish Immigrant from Loch Carron, bought another form of creativity into our household. Dad had a love of words, particularly in rhyme & limerick. In early adulthood he published his poems in the local News Paper. His work as a carpenter also a creative occupation. His father was a lay preacher in Churches throughout the Tauranga District. Thus we have the foundations for my love of music, rhyme, respect & interest in different cultures, nature, the humanities, & Christian faith.


Despite our Christian underpinnings, Christianity was never forced upon us as children. My parents wished us to choose rather than be forced to accept Christ, leaving the door open for enquiry & spiritual exploration. Not withstanding that, prayer was a given in our household & my parents lives were distinctly lived from Christian principles.

In addition, my mother had the unusual gift of being a “diviner” i.e. someone who could find underground water merely by walking around with her hands held out to sense it. She would sometimes demonstrate this gift for others using a forked willow stick, which would violently twist in her hands when over water. She became well known in Northland for this gift, having divined the first steam bore at the Ngapha Steam Plant near Kaikohe, plus the water supply at a privately owned Camp Ground on the East Coast of Hohoura Harbour, called Tauranga Bay. Not to mention many farmers water supplies, etc. She was capable of identifying how deep in the earth they needed to bore, which way the water flowed, if it was salt, brackish or fresh & could, by the same means, divine  for minerals such as gold. This left the way open for enquiry as to things unseen, though felt or known.

My picture 89d72c16-50ba-43fc-b225-2c6126597c93

Susan Mac Gregor

As a young adult I entered training in Psychiatric Nursing, having chosen to diverge from my training at the Auckland Institute of Technology, where I qualified as an Industrial Cook. This led into my Career in Mental Health, & interest in Psychological methodologies. Upon qualifying I further developed my interest in caring for the Elderly, plus Special Interest in working with people with Dementia. Post Graduate study included a Diploma in Gerontology. Next I began developing qualifications & skills in Psychological Therapies. Gradually I moved from working within Private & Public Elder Care into Mental Health Psycho-Social Rehabilitation, including providing CBT counseling. I was working full time as a Therapist in a Psychology Division of a Primary Healthcare Organisation when I was diagnosed with Grade Four Glioblastoma Multiforme, this being my final job.

Spiritual explorations have included initiation into Western Sufism, initiation to The Rosocrucian Order AMORC, a home study course provided by my friend Patricia Sarne Paul in Kabbahlah, exploration of Western Spiritualism, Meditational Dancing in the form of Circle Dancing, Dances Of Universal Peace, & Sufi Zikr, practice of Hatha Yoga in my late teens, then training & practice in Raja Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Mudra Yoga &  Kriya Yoga, the latter following Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings. There was a short foray into Tibetan Buddhism, via Dhargyey Rinpoche at the Buddhist Centre in Whangarei. Training in Mindfulness Meditation. At times I would “drop” in on Hindu services to join in with the singing of Bhajans, which I always found an uplifting practice. Or through Jewish friends I’d join in Sabbath services at the open Auckland Synagogue, or join in at Anglican or Catholic Services & discussion groups. I gathered books to read surrounding these topics borrowing some & buying others.

Influential writers were M. Scott Peck, Martin Buber, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, Richard Bach, Carlos Castaneda, Erich von Daniken, works from the Western Mystery Hermetic School,  Sophist Philosophy, The Paulene Gospel, Celestine Prophecy, amongst others.  Having cast the net wide I can say with conviction I decidely favour Christianity, finding truth & mystery in the life of Jesus & his gospel based on love, forgiveness, & grace. Following baptism by the Spirit as an 11yr old I have consolidated my Christian declaration with Baptism by water as an Adult.

Some Favourite Poems:

“Gunga Dinn” (Rudyard Kipling)

“Kubla Khan” (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

“Jabberwocky” (Lewis Carroll)

“I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud” (William Wordsworth)

“The Walrus & The Carpenter” (Lewis Carroll)

“You Are Old Father William” (Lewis Carroll)

“Ode To A Mouse” (Robert Burns)

All the best to both of you, and wishing you success in your endeavours.

Love from Susan xx

Sky Painter

Sky Painter (Susan Mac Gregor)

Guest Post: Sandy Carter on Bonsai, Simplicity, and Joy

Marie Kondo writes of love, joy and the beauty of simplicity in a manner that inspired me to utilize her principles in a recent downsizing experience, which changed my life. For years, I have intuitively created space I felt appreciative of, but our recent move presented challenges we hadn’t faced before as we reduced our living space by seventy-five percent.

Bonsai Tree

Our house was filled with possessions we had collected over many years from travels; heirlooms passed onto us by family members and childhood mementos from our children’s growing up years. We felt attached to most everything, and knew what displayed beautifully in our present home would clutter our new space and over stimulate us and we had to make a huge change.


Using Ms. Kondo’s book as a reference, we let go of our things in layers over time and succeeded in choosing what we needed to accompany us as we opened a new life chapter. With her philosophy guiding us, we now live in beautiful and joyous space. The process was not easy, but well worth the effort.


My life has personally changed because I’m been more mindful of the choices I’m making. Surrounded only by things I love has helped me embody wellbeing in more depth. Another gift related to experiencing joy is co-writing a blog with Dave on the topic. Because of this, I’ve trained myself to be aware of joy’s presence again and again. As I’ve focused my attention, I’ve engaged with more subtle experiences of joy in others and myself.


One such joyous occasion occurred with a recent experience between my father and me. Dad told me he was going to buy himself a birthday present. I listened half amused and half curious, wondering what my 88-year-old father had in mind. My father is an example of graceful aging. He is continually appreciative of life’s blessings and surprises my siblings and me all the time, as he lives his life with zeal, seeking new opportunities to learn and grow. Unpredictable as ever, when Dad declared he was going to purchase a Bonsai Tree I was stunned, and asked him if I could go along. I had no idea Dad was interested in this ancient Chinese art form and thought sharing this experience with him would be worthwhile. An idea I am grateful I had, as there are times when I’m too caught up in my world to take advantage of such gifts.


Although the word Bonsai is Japanese, the practice originated in China. In 600 AD the Chinese started using special techniques to grow dwarf trees and they eventually became very valuable and were offered as luxurious gifts throughout China. Later, Japan adopted the Chinese tradition basing the art on Zen Buddhism influence and referred to the practice as Bonsai. Not long ago, the idea spread beyond Asian culture and into other countries. My Dad researched possibilities for a Bonsai Tree purchase in his area, and we headed to a retail establishment called the Bonsai House.


The Bonsai House is a small house transformed into a retail shop for the sale of Bonsai trees. The space is filled with hundreds of Bonsai trees of various shapes, sizes and varieties. A Chinese couple owns the business and the woman not only has a passion for Bonsai trees, but a vast knowledge regarding them. While Dad and I looked at the Bonsai’s, she educated us on the history, types and care of these ancient and beautiful trees. What we discovered is that Bonsai trees can live for several generations, and caring for them can be a deeply satisfying personal experience. Dad insisted we choose a tree together. Although, we did not speak of it in so many words, we knew the tree’s care could be passed onto me and possibly outlive both of us. We had no idea Bonsai shopping would bring us face to face with our mortality. This could have been a depressing thought, but instead it had the opposite effect as we decided on the tree that needed to go home with us.


After our purchase, we left to drive back to the retirement community. As my Dad and I sat side by side in the car we shared a joyous silence reveling in our good fortune of being together and sharing this experience. Later, we put into words what we’d both been feeling. We agreed, no matter what hardships have passed or what may come, having these precious times together brings us much joy and happiness!

Choose Joy