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Doctor Jeff O'Driscoll: Helping Souls Heal


Doctor Jeff O'Driscoll is board certified in internal medicine and is a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians with 25 years experience in a Level 1 trauma center. We interviewed him about his experiences seeing the souls of individuals leave their body and communicating with them. He is the Author of several books including Not Yet. You can connect with Jeff at https://www.jeffodriscoll.com/


Mechelle

What would be your definition of whole?


Jeff

That's a big question. As a physician, I get challenged a lot of times with the notion of spiritual wholeness as opposed to dedicating my medical skills to making people physically whole. But personally, I think there's a mental component, a spiritual component, physical component, and an emotional component. So I think when we deal with people, when we want to be whole, we have to deal with all four of those things.


Mechelle

Right, I agree. So as a physician, what would you say?


Jeff

We'd like everybody to have a fully functioning physical body, but that's not realistic. And so we try to give people the optimal capacity that's available for them. If you're young and healthy, it might be one thing if you're older and you have medical conditions, it might be something else. If you're born with physical limitations that may add a component to it. So for me, physical wholeness is getting the most out of what's available for you to have.


Mechelle

That's a great point. It's an always evolving thing. It's never something you necessarily achieve, it's it's evolving and it is different for everybody,


Jeff

Some people are in wheelchairs, some people are on crutches. Some people have vision or hearing problems, but there's a wholeness that's appropriate for them, and they can be whole.


Mechelle


Couple months ago we were on social media and I asked you what one of your gifts was, and you answered me and I was so grateful. Do you remember what you said? I have it written down if you forget.


Jeff

I've contemplated this some over the last year because I've been asked a number of times. I think if I have a gift I hope that it's to be able to help other people realize their spiritual gifts, and to see things they never realized were spiritual and come to understand what they are so that they can refine and develop those gifts in themselves.


Mechelle

So how do you do that? Does that gift work through you?


Jeff

Oh well, I'll give you an example. I had lunch with a friend of mine and he matter of factly starts telling me about his heart attack, and I said, "whoa, wait, wait a minute. Wait, what are you talking about?" Two weeks earlier he said he was just putting gear in the truck getting ready to go fishing and he started to have some chest discomfort. He's an attorney and he's doesn't get worked up too easily.


Come to find out he was woke up on the floor and his granddaughter heard him saying Siri, what are the symptoms of a heart attack? And anyway, he got to the hospital and they did some tests. Sure enough, he's having a heart attack. They take him up to the cath lab. They put in two stents, no heroics, no loss of consciousness, no Defibrillation, anything like that, and everything goes fine and two weeks later he's telling me about his heart attack over Thai food at lunch. That would have been the end of the conversation. But I looked at him and I said, "Did you have any experiences" and his face kind of lit up and he said yeah, actually I did.


He proceeded to tell me about his deceased wife who had actually come and gave given him a message. But, it was in such a way that he kind of minimized it. He kind of let it go. I think it would have disappeared altogether if I hadn't asking that question. Two weeks later, he sent me an e-mail and thanked me for asking him that question because it put things in perspective and he realized what a profound. spiritual blessing.


Mechelle

That's fascinating. In fact, something you taught me. You have these experiences over your life and you think that they have to be a grand, huge, life changing. You don't give it as much weight, I guess, and so you helped me to just say, "yeah, I've had those experiences that was real". Why do why do you think we lessen them?


Jeff

Oh, it's not socially accepted to have these kind of experiences for the most part. And we tend to minimize ourselves. We tend to think that we're not entitled to such experiences. So when something comes, we are reluctant to accept it.


Yeah. My own daughter's a newborn ICU nurse. She read my book and said, "Dad, I now realize I've had a lot of spiritual experiences that I never realized were spiritual before".

Yeah. My own daughter's a newborn ICU nurse. She read my book and said, "Dad, I now realize I've had a lot of spiritual experiences that I never realized were spiritual before".


Mechelle

Wow, I think that one of your gifts is just calling it spiritual and letting that be a valid way of describing an experience.


Jeff

Yeah, somebody that read my book recently told me that one of the things they liked about it was it made them feel comfortable, like it was a conversation that was allowed to talk about.


Mechelle

Yes, I would agree. As an MD a lot of times people will put you in a category of an intellectual or somebody that isn't associated with spiritual things, but that's where you're so different - being able to be vocal about your spiritual experience.


Jeff

Well, First off, I may be an MD, but people rarely accuse me of being intellectual. But in response to your question, I've had a lot of very spiritual experiences in the emergency department. I've seen souls or spirits leave their bodies at the time of death. They communicate with me, or sometimes other caregivers before they leave, and I've never found that to be in any way a contradiction with the medical knowledge or training that I've received. I view my medical knowledge as helping people with physical, mental, emotional challenges. And none of those things contradict with spiritual experiences that I've experienced or heard other people describe in most cases.


On one occasion, for example, Jeff Olson, who wrote the forward to my book, was severely injured in a car crash that killed his wife and his young son. He was brought to my emergency department. He was unconscious. We never had a chance to speak until nearly a month later, but while he was in the trauma suite, I saw his decease wife standing above him in the air, watching over his care, and when he was later healthy enough for us to visit, I found out that he'd had profound near death experiences when he was unconscious, and we've been good friends for more than 20 years.


Mechelle

Was that different because she didn't die at the hospital. Was that a different experience than some of the others?


Jeff

Well, it was different. They're all different.


Mechelle

Right.


Jeff

So I didn't see her leave her body. But, when I saw her, I immediately knew who she was, though I'd never met her before. I knew why she was there. I knew some things about her and some things about her unconscious husband, and it was a profound experience, but not one that was totally new to me. I'd had other such experiences.


Mechelle

When there's those moments, would you say? If you could put it into words of emotion, what are these experiences like? I mean, what emotion do they evoke from the one that's on the other side? And and in you?

Jeff

One of the most overwhelming feelings is one of total and complete empathy and compassion. One of the things that you realize in these moments, these near life experiences, is many times, there's nothing to forgive. It was never a problem in the first place. When you see it in the context in which it took place and you understood the motives behind it and the challenges that the person was dealing with? The word is love.


Mechelle

Right.


Jeff

It's so overused in describing these experiences, but the words empathy and compassion, I think have a lot to do with what people experience.


They have a perspective where they can feel love toward everyone, and amazingly enough, even toward themselves. They can see their own lives in context.


Mechelle

Love not only for others, but for themselves?


Jeff

Yes, when I've had my spiritually transformative experiences, one of the things that was most impressive to me wasn't that I could see other people and not judge them, but love them and realize that there was nothing to forgive. I saw myself that way and I don't do that well in my mortal experience.


Mechelle

Yeah, I was probably one of under 100 people that had read your book at the beginning. I was one of the first to get a copy, and I remember reading on the page "The most difficult place to see God is in the mirror", and I had to create a graphic. Even now, you'll laugh, it is in my bathroom and it just sits right there so I can look at it every time I'm in the bathroom.


Jeff

I saw that post on Facebook and I read it and I thought that sounds really familiar. At the top of the post you posted where it came from and I thought "Ohh, that's why that sounds familiar".


That's it. I can see God in other people, but it's really hard to see it in myself. It's really hard to see God in the mirror.


Mechelle

It was so profound. It jumped off the the page and I was like, "that is the missing piece in society". If people could see God in the mirror there would be no war. There would be no poverty. That is the fix for all humanity.


Jeff

Because if you can see it in yourself, then suddenly you're obligated to recognize it in everybody else.


Mechelle

Yes. It becomes an instinct to see.


Jeff

It becomes natural.


Mechelle

So I loved that.

As well as this book, you have a number of children's books. I think they are the ultimate recipe for wholeness. So tell me how those books came about.


Jeff

I was riding in my car with my wife and three-year old granddaughter one day when she said, "Papa, tell me a story". So I made-up a story about Muck the duck. And Muck the duck learned something about bullies and bullying.


She was telling it in such detail three days later so my wife said, "Jeff, you have to write that down". So I wrote it down and then I found an illustrator and so when the illustrator captured, Muck the Duck in a way that I thought captured his personality, we storyboarded the rest of the book and went forward.


It was so much fun. This one's dedicated to my 3 year old granddaughter who's now five, and then the next one is dedicated to my 2 year old granddaughter Eloise. This one talks about friendship and what it means to be a friend.


They each have a profound real message. They're only about 500 words. For example, Ringo the Dingo learns what it means to be able to say, "I'm sorry. I made a mistake." If we could all do that better. Right?


Mechelle

You are also an artist.


Jeff

I am.


Mechelle

When I look at your art, I can almost see the meditation that has gone into that artwork. Would you agree? Do you go to a different space in, in your art or how?


Jeff

What is that process like?


On occasion, I'll think about a piece of art before I do it. That's one process. Sometimes I'll sit down literally with a blank canvas and paint with no preconceived notion in my head. I'll start and I know it's done when it's done and it's very therapeutic. It's like something flows out of me. And when I'm done, I feel complete. And then I have something to hang on the wall.


Mechelle

Did you always do that through through your years of practice?


Jeff

Never did that until just recent years.


I started painting several years ago. I also do some sculpting occasionally and it's and one of the things I like about it is such a dramatic contrast to practicing medicine. I enjoy writing as well. At least when I'm writing fiction, if I don't like what I've written, or if I don't like what I've sculpted, I can just change it. You don't have that liberty with medicine. You're expected to get things right the first time every time and and in art...


Mechelle

No practicing.


Jeff

There's some things that are that exacting, but I don't hold myself to that kind of a standard because that's not the kind of art. I like to do.


Mechelle

So, I thought I would just I read through this and you could tell me if there was so much more beyond the word written on the page.


What's a lesson you learned about ask?


Jeff

I learned a very important lesson about asking. Sometimes when I have spiritual experiences and they kind of seem nebulous and I don't know what to do with them. There's two really valuable questions that move things along. One of them is sometimes I ask, "who are you?". And, on one occasion, like the last chapter of the book, I had a very strong spiritual presence as I was writing those last few lines of the book, and it wouldn't go away. I finally said, "who are you"and he said, "I'm your brother."


My brother that died in a farm accident when he was a teenager and I was 11 at the time. Then I paid a little bit more attention, right?


Mechelle

Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Jeff

And the second question is. "What do you want me to do?" Yeah, because sometimes spirits come to us and they want our help. Yeah, but they are so respectful of our lives and our agency. Sometimes they won't ask us to help unless we volunteer. And so the question "What do you want me to do" is an invitation. And sometimes it's met with a response and in this case, what he said to me was "keep going".


Mechelle

Wow!

What about practice? That was one of your lesson learned. Practice, what is behind that word?


Jeff

We tend to think that spiritual gifts come whole cloth and in their perfection. We're perfectly comfortable with the notion of somebody practicing the piano for 10,000 hours to become proficient. We're fine with sending our kids off to football practice every day for months so they can be on the football teams. But, when it comes to spiritual gifts, we tend to think that they are out of our control somehow.


In other words. If you get an impression to go help somebody, go do it. That's a spiritual experience, right? And if you do it, the next time you might get a stronger impression or a bigger assignment.


We practice by doing the little things that move us to the next step, because spiritual gifts are refined and purified. They become full when they're practiced.


Mechelle

Oh, so so true. What about the lesson learned "feel versus touch"?


Jeff

When we touch somebody, we breakdown all kinds of barriers and invite a spiritual connection. But the feel is is something a little bit different. When I talk with people about spiritual experiences, they almost always start by telling me what they didn't experience. People will say. I didn't actually see the person, I just knew they were there, right?


Mechelle

Oh, right, right.


Jeff

As if knowing were somehow a consolation prize, right? They don't realize that knowing is a spiritual sense just as much as seeing and hearing with our physical senses.


And then when you ask me about feel, a lot of people will say I didn't hear a voice. I just felt it. That's a spiritual sense. When we take time to stop to breathe and feel, we invite spiritual communication.


Mechelle

Yeah, go into it instead of our first instinct and say, "oh, my experience is not as much as this person would have had. Or, you know, we compare it.



Jeff

We compare. Some of my most spiritual experiences are when I've had patients that passed away and people start to clear the room. You call housekeeping. You notify family, you do other things. But sometimes if you just stop for a few moments and just feel. This is a life that has just transitioned. This is a human being, so we just offer a moment of respect and wait. I've had many times where that person who just passed communicated with me.


Mechelle

Would you say you saw or heard?


Jeff

We have to be careful how we use those words because we tend to attach them to physical experiences.


Mechelle

Right, right.


Jeff

When you see spiritually, you see in a different way, and the word I like to use when I'm talking about spiritual experiences is that you experience somebody you don't just see them, you know them. And you feel their emotions. Sometimes you have an empathetic connection, you understand their motives, and there's this profound knowing and loving that happens almost instantaneously. That goes beyond scene.


Mechelle

Sometimes I find when I'm having an experience I can vividly see it in my mind, but cannot get the words to describe it. The more I can't verbalize it, I know that was, you know, that was something I really experienced because it's so real. But the words don't ever do it justice. I could describe it over and over again and never feel like I got the point across.


Jeff

Yes, the words are always inadequate.


Mechelle

So tell me about your keep going. That was the last lesson.


Jeff

Yes, it's in the last chapter of the book. And it happened when I was writing the last lines of the book. As I told you, my brother came and told me to keep going and at that moment I thought he was talking about the book. But in retrospect, I was writing the last two sentences of the book, literally. I didn't appreciate what he was saying. The rest of it came when I was on the way to Boston to speak. Between Salt Lake and Boston, the voice that I've come to love and trust, that speaks to my heart said to me, "you will help more people with this book than you helped as a physician in the emergency department".


Hmm. that was after 25 years. I estimated somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 patients that I'd seen in the emergency department. So then I began to think differently about sharing. I knew to keep teaching.


Mechelle

Tell me a little bit about the picture on the front of your book.


Jeff

That picture references an experience I had. For some time I had been using a notebook to write down feelings and impressions. It helps me to clarify things, and one day I learned about this ancient American folk practice with regards to what some people call prayer rods. OK. And you can read different interpretations of what a prayer rod is and how it's used. But one example would be you hold this rod vertically in your hand and you ask a question and you drop it. And if it falls one way, the answer is "yes", and it falls the other way the answer is "no".


Well, I've been using a notebook for more than 20 years at that point, and sometimes I'd get my answers in sentences and I'd write them down. And I thought, "I'd like a prayer rod that would be good", right? So I made it a matter of prayer and I asked. I said, "I want a prayer rod" and the voice spoke to me and said. "Get up and write". I was kneeling, so I got up off my knees. I sat at my desk. I pulled out my notebook that I've been using for decades and this gold cross pen and these words flow into my head. And I didn't even realize what was being said until I stopped and looked at the pen in my hand and I realized I already have a prayer rod, and it's so much better than what I was asking for. Wow! The pen on the front of the book, that picture is an homage to that experience.


Mechelle

Well Jeff, I am. So thrilled that I was able to be with you today and I have learned so much from you and I hope you keep going and going because you are a master teacher and I hope everybody can learn from you the way I have been able to. So I appreciate you taking your time and I wish you the best of luck in all that you are doing as you keep going.


Jeff

Well, thank you very much and I appreciate you having me here and asking me questions. One of the most important things for me to teach and to share is to be able to have people ask me questions. That's what draws it out of me more than anything.



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