054 - Jeffery Olsen
Updated: Aug 3, 2021
Jeffery Olsen is the author of “Knowing.” He joins us to tell the story of his car accident, the loss of his wife and son, and the subsequent near death experience. He talks about grieving, finding “oneness,” and a new level of trust in life. Enjoy.
The Illuminate Recovery Podcast is about Mental Health, Mental Illness, and Addiction Recovery. Shining light on ways to cope, manage, and inspire. Beyond the self care we discuss, you may need the help of a licensed professional. Curt Neider and Shelley Mangum are a part of Illuminate Billing Advocates (illuminatebilling.com). They are committed to helping better the industry and adding value to the lives of listeners by sharing tools, insights, and success stories of those who are working on their mental health.
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jeffrey olsen is the author of knowing he joins us to tell us the story of his car accident the loss of his wife and son and the subsequent near-death experience he talks about grieving finding oneness and a new level of trust in life enjoy welcome to the illuminate recovery podcast we shed light on mental health issues mental illness and addiction recovery ways to cope manage and inspire beyond self-care we will discuss you may need the help of a licensed professional my name is kurt neider i'm a husband father entrepreneur a handyman and a student of life i avoid conflict i deflect with humor and i'm fascinated by the human experience and i'm shelley mangum i am a clinical mental health counselor and my favorite role of all times is grandma i am a seeker of truth and i feel like life should be approached with tremendous curiosity i ask the dumb questions i fill in the gaps the illuminate recovery podcast is brought to you by illuminate billing advocates make billing and collection simple with leader in substance abuse and mental health billing services verification and analysis of benefits pre-authorizations utilization management accurate claim submission and management denial and appeal management and industry leading reporting improve your practice's cash flow and your ability to help your clients with eliminate billing advocates this morning is our great pleasure to have jeffrey olsen with us jeff is a conceptual thinker visionary leader and brand strategist strategist with over 20 years of experience he's persuasive leader with the ability to unify integrated teams on multiple complex problems or projects and problems he's the board of directors of the international association of near-death studies he's a creative director at byu broadcasting and the author of knowing memoirs of a journey beyond the veil and choosing joy after tragic loss jeff couldn't be more excited to be with you this morning and have the opportunity to kind of hear your story and pick your brain a little bit oh thank you you make me sound so important and i've done my job well right that's right it's always funny when people read my bio you know i'm like wow you made that sound really good who are you talking to because i need to spend time with them that's fantastic well jeff um i know you've done a lot in advertising you know you know even before you wrote your book and that was kind of where you've had your career and you're super talented in that um but but the experience that you had um you know early in your marriage and and in your life is probably what makes you some of the person that you are today so maybe you can share just some of that story with our listeners to bring them up to speed oh i i would i would love to i mean it is interesting i often say yes marketing creative direction that's that's what i do that's my job but it's not necessarily my calling it's not my ministry and um that ministry the catalyst of which was um was a near-death or out-of-body experience which was uh the result of a horrible automobile accident and um it's been 24 years since the accident happened but it was a family vacation a family road trip it was myself my wife and our two young boys and um it was a single car rollover you know and that's that that's the difficult part of the story is i you know there was reports of crosswinds there was reports of a pickup truck that was driving erratically on the interstate um the most difficult thing is i believe i may have just dozed off at the wheel just for a you know just nodded off but what happened is i swerved to the right i over corrected to the left and i i lost control of the car and the car began to roll with the cruise control which was set at 75 miles an hour so high speed rollover uh the car rolled it down the road not off the road and the accidents reports say the car probably rolled six to eight times now i i blacked out for most of that um but when the car came to a stop i was very conscious uh and the first thing i heard was my seven-year-old spencer my oldest son at the time crying in the back seat and and you know he was hysterical but it was one of those cries where i thought he's okay i gotta get to my boy i've got to get to my son but that's when i realized that i couldn't move i was pinned either to the floorboard or the the seat there was a rancid smell of gasoline the broken glass i was struggling to breathe i was in intense pain and i was holding on to consciousness i was not aware of my injuries but what had actually happened is that both of my legs had been crushed and shattered my left leg was actually eventually amputated above the knee a few days later my back had been broken my rib cage was damaged my lungs were collapsing my right arm had been completely torn out of socket all the rotator cuff muscles and everything detached and then the seat belt had cut through me and ruptured all my insides i was in rough shape but i knew my boy was crying and wanted to get to him however that's when the brutal reality hit that no one else was crying and that's when i became acutely aware that my wife and my youngest son had been killed instantly in the accident now that's uh that's the darkest place a man could ever be you know i mean half the family's gone i've got a hysterical seven-year-old i can't get to i'm losing consciousness and in in in intense trauma so that was the darkest place you know i could ever be in and and yet it was in that darkest place and and i don't share that to be morbid or or graphic it was in that darkest place that uh this out of body or near-death experience unfolded i mean as i was in that hysteria of of you know what just happened and i get those two seconds back i felt like light came to me like light literally came and surrounded me almost like a blanket like a tangible light and i began to rise above the accident scene and suddenly i could breathe i was okay my my the pain was no longer there and i was actually somewhat confused thinking what's happening how could i possibly be okay how could i possibly be okay given what just happened and yet in that light my wife tamara who i knew was deceased at the scene uh there she was and she was alive and beautiful and glorious and and she was communicating me with me actually saying jeff jeff you can't you can't come you've got to go back you've got to go back and um we had a conversation about you know i couldn't come we had a little boy in the backseat of that car who was gonna be okay and if i went with her he'd be orphaned and um i learned a lot about choice i was um there i was looking at the woman i loved more than life and yet i knew i had a little boy in the backseat of that car and i i made a decision i made a choice to come back could you have stayed i don't know you know now i mean the the conversation was so poignant you know i mean when when a man's got the woman he's loved saying go go you've got to go you can't come you can't come i didn't fight that i mean it almost felt like my soul knew i had to come back um but what if i just said nope i'm staying with you my dear and we're gonna move forward together i i don't know that was not the choice i made but um but it felt like it was my choice and yet everything in the universe was saying you got to go back you got to go back that's a that's a tough tough position to be in for sure it is and the interesting thing about coming back i mean that this is you know i didn't have to figure out you know how to do that i mean we have no idea how powerful our thoughts are you know i said the most profound goodbye i'll ever say and then as i made that choice i i literally found myself wandering moving about a hospital now you know i have no concept of time in this bubble of light i later found out that people arrived at the scene of the accident my seven-year-old spencer was banged up a bit but was okay um gosh fortunately a doctor stopped and knew how to take care of the accident scene and the bodies of my wife and my little youngest boy griffin i had to be extricated from the car and because of my injuries i was airlifted and life-flighted to the nearest level one trauma center i i knew nothing of that i knew i'd crashed the car i knew we'd lost half the family i said the most profound goodbye i'll ever say and then i made the choice to come back and was moving about the hospital you know encountering the doctors and nurses and the patients and the families of the patients but when i say encountering them i was seeing them so differently i like i i knew them everyone i saw i knew their love their hate their joy their motivations their challenges i knew them as if there were as if they were me like i felt their lives and and i there was this connection i now call it the oneness like i was them and they were me and you know i grew up in a conservative christian home in the biblical verse and as much as you have done it unto the least of one of these you've done it unto me which i used to think was something jesus said about being nice to each other but in this oneness in this connection i realized oh wow what the master was talking about is i am the man in prison i am the naked beggar on the street they're me and i am them and we are we are connected we are one and so that there was a profound sense of love of of feeling of knowing until i came upon a body i didn't feel anything from about you know man laying on the gurney and i thought that was strange and i stepped forward to look and that's when i realized oh my goodness that's that's me but it but it wasn't me i was having this profound connected experience but there was my my body you know the skin suit that i i knew i would have to get back into and once again i didn't have to figure out how as soon as i made that intention that choice i'm going back in boom then i was back into the body uh but back to the trauma the pain the guilt the grief the you know all of it and um you know it was horrible i was ventilated they had a big tube down my throat doing the breathing through my lungs my legs were obviously immobile my right arm was immobile they eventually tied down my left hand because i kept grabbing at all the you know hospital equipment all the you know ivs and ventilator and and uh anyway it was it was um it was it was heavy coming back into the body back to all the emotion back to all the all the grief and um i heard i i learned a whole new meaning to be still i mean i just had to lay there in icu in and out of consciousness i mean the interesting thing is the door never really closed i was still that that veil was wide open um but i was in the hospital for five months i had 18 surgeries in total trying to put me back together and there was all kinds of horrible infections and i was throwing you know pulmonary emboli or the blood clots that lodge in your lungs and i really shouldn't be here but the motivator was i had made the choice to come back and raise my oldest son and that was the uh that was the catalyst for committing to getting well and getting through it that's incredible you know it's i'm trying to envision what that must have been like for you and and to think that you're it's interesting that idea that that veil just kind of remained open for you if that's the way you kind of described it but it's interesting as you're as you're in that near you know out-of-body experience that the grief the pain is understandably leaving but the grief and the shame and all of those pieces did not seem to be with you during that time i think that's interesting yeah i mean they certainly returned when i entered back in the body but when i say that veil was wide open i mean my wife tamara continued to communicate with me and to be very near and i could feel the souls of the nurses that came in or the doctors that paid visit in fact it's an interesting scenario in that trauma center one of the nurses and one of the attending physicians dr jeff o'driscoll had a profound experience and they didn't know me from adam i was just a patient that had been airlifted in but as they went into the operating room when all the surgeons were working on my body and attempting to save my life dr o'driscoll saw as did the nurse see my wife tamara's spirit in that in that operating room um and and you know they later shared this with me which is another miracle i don't know what inspired them to come into my room after i had recovered and was well enough to speak with them to share their experience but the the point being that yeah the veil was wide open for me but it seemed to have been wide open for others particularly this nurse and this doctor who had a profound experience at the same time i was having my experience dr o'driscoll says while you were saying goodbye to tamra i was meeting her and saying hello because she was right there with you and and he said she communicated with him i said what did she say and he said she simply shared her gratitude for what we were doing to save your life and i thought well of course she did that's exactly what she would do and i knew he was telling me the truth because that was her personality that's what she would have done well and it's interesting that you share that perspective because you know i've heard you know in the near-death experience world that you know some people will pass that off and just say look that's just because your body's in trauma it's a it's something that the mind creates it's it's easy to say that that's what happens but when somebody else sees the same thing as you and they're not in that trauma traumatic experience that becomes a little bit harder to to you know to to displace or put aside yeah yeah i've heard all the theories of oh hey you know i mean your your brain the oxygen was shutting off or but yeah you had two very healthy people that weren't in physical trauma whatsoever and actually clinical staff you know which i don't know you put an md after your name and there's some credibility there and anyway they had a profound experience as well but they you know these are the type of things that went on um my most profound experience may have been at the end of my hospital stay what was that well it's it's interesting um and it may be worth pointing out that the two most profound things that happened were at the scene of the accident before i'd been administered morphine and you know all the narcotics that i was given in the hospital and then at the end of my hospital stay when i was off of all that and was simply taking some tylenol for pain you know um but as i went to sleep one night and and when i say went to sleep i mean that the hospital was traumatic i had laid on my back so long i'd rubbed all the hair off the back of my head you know the wounds in my belly and abdomen that had been left open because of infection and yet at this point they had finally stabilized my abdomen i was able to roll on my side and i recall falling into a deep sleep and realizing wow i'm sleeping i'm peacefully sleeping and as i did i felt that light come again the same light like at the scene of the accident this blanket of tangible light that surrounded me and as i was in such grief too and and it seemed to lift me up out of the hospital bed but this time the the light dispensed and i was in the most beautiful place i mean the most i've heard people say heaven you know the spirit world the other side the only word that comes close to what i experienced is i was home i was home it was so welcoming it was so beautiful and i i was giddy i i was i was laughing i was like wow in fact i began to run you know in this life with all the injuries i don't walk well let alone run but but i began to run and and i can't emphasize how physical it was how sensory i mean i could feel the the love and energy of the ground beneath my feet i could feel the intelligence in my calves and thighs as i ran i mean it was a very very sensual physical experience and as i was doing all that i got the message or the knowing that i wasn't there to stay that it was just a visit and there was this corridor off to my left and i knew intuitively i'm to go that way and so i went down this corridor but as i arrived at the end of the corridor there was a crib now griffin my little son that was killed in the accident he was only 14 months old so he had been sleeping in a crib at that point in his life and so i raced and looked into the crib and there he was you know there was my boy as beautiful as ever sleeping peacefully and again the physicality of it was strange i i picked him up i don't know if you've ever picked up a sleeping child but there's a weight and a heat to them and i i i could feel him he was solid against my body and um i could feel his breath on my neck i could feel him breathing i even asked how can this be but as soon as i had a question it's like i i said how could this be and the answer came to me that all all spirit is matter it's more refined and i was experiencing this heightened vibration of physicality and i even leaned over and smelled his hair you know i just it was him i mean there's a smell of a child i'm like this is my boy i began to weep because there i was holding my son and as i held him i felt an intense presence coming up behind me um overwhelming you know powerful cosmic wise and i i began to be fearful because i what i was feeling is i'm like wow that's god and and the guilt you know i thought my little boy passed because i crashed the car his his life was cut short because i lost control and and he's here because of me and my mistake and anyway i and this presence was coming closer and closer and i i i had the thought i hope there's some way i can be forgiven that was the thought as i held this beautiful child and as soon as i had that thought and this this felt physical too i felt these divine arms wrap around and hug both of us just hold me and my son and that's when the lid came off it was just like wow the first thing that was communicated was there's nothing to forgive everything is in perfect divine order and i thought well how you know and then i begin to see my life i suppose they call this the life review but i i was seeing my life and i began to justify although that was a mistake i didn't mean to do that and this there was so much love so much unconditional love it was communicated there are no mistakes those are your choices you're simply here to learn and there was things i thought yeah but that was wrong and i knew it was wrong and i did it anyway and this divine creator said that's your judgment of it not ours we love you we love you i mean what was communicated and it was it was magnified in such an intense way because here i am holding my perfect precious beloved little son and what was communicated to me is you are as divine as precious and beloved as the child you hold to us and and it was a very personal experience but i realized well that's all of us that's humanity that's humankind is that beloved that divine that that perfect if you will and it was it was it was anyway it was a profound intense download of just truth and love and light and again i was taught about choice i've come to the conclusion at this point in my life there's only one cosmic rule and that's free will and choice we get to choose but i was told i could choose to be angry at god my whole life because half the family passed and i'd be crippled or i could be mad at myself because i crashed the car and live in guilt and beat myself up the rest of my days but i was told by this beloved creator you can exercise your will you can exercise your will in this matter and and i thought but how and and my upbringing i'm like but it's your will be done and and this is what was communicated which was so profound god whispered to me and said your will is my will that's how much we love you and i mean i was just i'm like wow and he said you can give your child to me you can hand him over and trust and in love and therefore exercise your will and giving him so you don't feel like he was plucked away and taken from you and in all that love and peace and beauty i i i kissed my little boy and i handed him over and then i came back you know to this realm to the amputation in the wheelchair and all that went with it but i had a little different insight and um you know i grieved as miserably as anybody grieves i don't want anyone to think that i had this accident and i had these profound things happen and i was okay no i you know the accident happened there was incredible experiences and i grieved as miserably as anybody would um but there was these insights that was these beautiful things which probably are what brought me through otherwise i might be the guy strung out on some street corners somewhere wondering what happened you know well it's a huge contrast because i'm if i'm not mistaken there were times where you just wanted to die i mean i mean you wanted to leave this world more than anything else it was so painful and so dark and yet this you've got these profound experiences that that shed light but that didn't stop that did not stop you from wanting to leave the pain and the the just the emotional physical pain that you were in yeah yeah there was a point in the hospital that i actually was begging my brother and this may have been the morphine but i was begging him to sneak a gun into the hospital room and just leave it there am i with my one good left arm operating i was going to end it and and i you know i have no judgment of that either because i would have done it i mean i was it was that dark it was that miserable and you know of course my brother wasn't going to do that in fact it's interesting that that was um i believe that night is when they amputated my leg and here i was begging to end my life and my brothers went and signed the release because i was on morphine and unable to sign my own release but they signed the medical release to have the amputation done so while i was begging them to end my life they were taking the steps to literally save it which that's love you know that's that's honor but what a tough decision and knowing that you're in such grief in such depression and oh what a hard thing for them what what great brothers i mean it's so fantastic to have family around us for sure yeah i mean i learned that i you know even in this life review i spoke of i thought my brothers and what a key role they played in my life you know and um i mean it's beautiful i you know i was so fearful of of god and i had believed that life was a test and i was probably failing and yet in those loving unconditionally loving arms life became a a gift not a test it was an absolute gift it was an absolute uh beautiful
thing that that that i felt that i had created and that the entire universe supported my experience here as small and insignificant that might be that there was so much love that it was like this is what your soul created for you and for your own soul's expansion and we love you enough to support you through it that that was the essence it's really hard to wrap our heads around it and here you've had this experience and it and still struggle to capture what do you do with that right now in you know in the flesh as you're living your life you know years later what do you what what does that that experience those experiences that you've had how does that impact the way you live your life now versus before the accident well you know i still have my bad days i mean i'm not you know i haven't figured this all out i'm i'm continually learning but when i do have challenges instead of asking why you know why me why this why now i tend to shift to what what what am i learning from this you know what does the pain teaching me what is the grief teaching me what is this challenge teaching me and how is it stretching my soul and if i can then honor it and be grateful for the lesson or for the experience rather than being miserable and being a victim about it uh that it seems to rise the vibration you know it seems to to what blow me up and support me so i can say okay this is one of those lessons that i created for myself there's nowhere to point the fingers so i can either thrash and sink or i can gracefully walk through it and um and trust i mean that's the crazy thing i mean many of my beliefs were kind of turned inside out and expanded in ways where faith and hope and these words that are very meaningful to me have literally been transformed into trust it doesn't matter what i believe anymore i trust that everything is in divine order and it's all for my soul's expansion and growth and for my remembering that divine part within me and within everyone else that that we're here simply to learn and it's all in unconditional love do you still feel that same connection with people and can feel their their energy you know sometimes yes i mean not you know i still get mad at the guy that cuts me off on the and then i think well well you know there's no reason to get angry or i'll say what a blessing to feel angry wow you know i'm gonna you know i'm gonna i'm gonna fly a few choice words out the window i mean but it's not an anger resentful it's a joyful gratitude i i you know i do have experiences i mean you know i'll i'll share it once i was working and and i i should you know i mean gosh i did come out of the hospital i was able to be fit with a prosthetic limb i learned to walk again and i was in a wheelchair for a while i had a colostomy i mean there was all these things to overcome but life went on i healed spencer my my little son you know was my hero he was my support he was my motivation and i eventually fell in love again and remarried and we adopted two boys and i was rebuilding this family and this was years after the accident i had remarried you know we had rebuild i was back working and i i went back to work in the wheelchair i wanted to get back to work as soon as i could as a release as an escape you know but on this particular day you know i my my current wife tanya was waiting for me i'd taken the bus into work and she was parked out on the curb and i came out of our office building in salt lake city and there was a homeless guy you know and he came up to me and he's like hey you know i need he was telling me his story he needed money and and and i was like i gotta go my wife's right here and then so something just clicked and and said look at him look at him you know and so i just looked in his eyes and suddenly he became my brothers you know he became me he became i mean i thought wow if i had not had that support i would be him and and and here we are and i don't know what came over me but i i literally just threw my arms around him and hugged him and and it came out of my mouth without even thinking about what i was saying i i almost heard myself say i know who you are and then he burst into tears and he was hugging me and he said to me i know you know. and we sat there and hugged each other and cried i'm sure tanya was thinking what you know what are you doing and and at that point i'd have given him everything out of my wallet and and suddenly he didn't need money anymore he simply wanted to be acknowledged there was this divine connection where we saw each other and honored each other and and that was the gift you know so there are situations in everyday life where that veil does lift and i'm like wow um wow you know and i i realized you know maybe he came looking for something from me and yet he was the one that gave the gift you know he's the one that gave me the richness of spirit because i thought what a divine being and if i can recognize that in everyone i mean that's that's the thing you know it's like hey if you've seen me you've seen the father we're all divine manifestations of that and if we can recognize that in each other that that's when that veil lifts and brings true oneness and connection i love the way you generalize that to to make it part of what all you know connection for all of us right that's not unique to you that's that's everybody that needs that connection and when we talk about it on this podcast all the time that the opposite of addiction is connection you know healing is all about that connection and that love and if you want somebody to change you have to love them and hold a space for that right and accept them right where they're at so i love i love what you're sharing because it supports the ideas that we talk about all the time on here yeah yeah you know i i i do a lot of fun things i work with a fellow named hugh vale who does mustang medicine he works with wild mustang horses and he said something to me one day he said you know jeff the most important thing with these horses is they just have to feel safe and he said if they feel safe they can flourish and i thought wow isn't that i mean isn't that true of all of us if we just feel safe like we're in a safe place to be us and to work through whatever we're working through we can flourish and learn and anyway yeah i i love that and and it is a connection and like i say but for the grace of god there go i i mean not you know that's one of my favorites too i remind myself all the time of look you the blessings you have are not yours like they're gifts and you better be appreciative of them and figure out how you're going to help other people or or they might get taken away and then you'll be just the same as those people you look at and might you know feel bad for yeah yeah i mean my my fri but dr jeff o'driscoll and i become friends i mean you know after he shared the experience and i said wow you have no idea what happened to me that was my first safe place to feel safe and say okay you're a doc if i'm nuts you can send me the psych ward and get me the treatment i need but he was very cordial and open and and he said to me recently he said you know every spiritual experience we have is to serve others and i'm like wow i thought it was for my own personal growth he's like no that's the benefit but the experience is so you can reach out and i i have such a soft spot for addiction our youngest boy we adopted two boys and my my baby's now 20 but he's been through addiction and recovery and he's now doing really really well you know he's doing really really well and he's got a job and a girlfriend and and he he is happy um but yeah i can you know it can it it was his journey was his path i see that now and my job as his father was to love him and give him a safe place to work through it right that's a really tough thing as a parent to be able to sit back and go they get choices our children especially our children right because we want to tell them what to do like if you'll just do what i tell you you will be fine and just do it the way i tell you and don't stress me out right and when we can sit back and go look they've got to do this journey on their own and i got to just be here and hold a space and love them it takes a lot of stress off of us as parents but it's a really difficult shift to make and i think you talk about that in your book of you know kind of how you did that with with your with your oldest child yeah my oldest son i mean everybody has their own journey and yet from my perspective you know i i that's what the universe does hey they're in that realm let them have their experience let them make their choices let them learn for themselves you know and we'll hold the space will hold the context in love that they will learn and and we all learn in different ways i mean in other words you don't have to have a near-death experience you don't have to lose a leg and lose half your family and lose your mind you know to to connect to that divine i mean it could happen sitting in the front room on any given tuesday you know that's that's the beauty of the experience we all have our own path we all have our own way to go i i know scores of people who have been enlightened through their addiction i mean you know that that was the catalyst that opened them up and said wow um you know and i'm not promoting yeah addictive behavior but i'm just saying there everything is love everything is light and and when i was in those divine arms i realized our life is a gift no matter what that looks like and somebody's path might be completely different than mine but that's perfect for them and we can honor their path and love them and that's where the healing comes love is the most powerful force in the universe and love heals it's the greatest healer is love but it does it's so true and and just try and tell those kids what to do and they'll tell you they'll show you right away that you don't have that permission to do that right they will go i'll show you and then you end up pushing them away so i love that concept and there isn't anything i agree with you nothing more powerful than love to heal somebody even ourselves right it's it's love right it just allows for all imperfection and and all of that messiness of being human oh yeah i mean self-love is the key i mean when i came back from the experience you know having been raised in a conservative christian home i would read things and they were completely different like biblical things you know i i read where jesus said love your neighbor as yourself i i had skipped that whole self part i was working so hard to love the neighbor you know and then i realized wow if i don't love myself then no wonder i don't love the neighbor because i have to love the neighbor the same way i love myself and that that became very key in my healing in fact i didn't heal until i could forgive myself love myself and be at peace with the with all that had gone on that's got to be a tough journey because as you tell the story you don't have a lot it sounds like you don't have a lot of memory of what was going on just before the accident you don't know if it was you know a gust of wind a bad driver that you were avoided you can't remember any of those pieces if i'm not mistaken and so it leaves you kind of kind of out there just wondering what really did happen yeah i you know and i remember enough i mean you know the the odd thing is i remember looking in the rearview mirror probably about an hour before the accident and it was just a moment it was just a glance but in just checking for traffic and isn't it funny what a moment can hold like our lives is just like a string of pearls a string of moments but i glanced in the rear-view mirror and i saw griffin my little toddler son that passed in the accident but he was sound asleep in his car seat and i just felt this overwhelming connection i noticed details like how long his eyelashes were and i heard spencer my little seven-year-old playing in the back seat he had action figures and all the joyful noise of a little boy and then i looked over at tamara my wife and she was still holding my hand she had reclined her seat back and she was sound asleep but she's still holding onto my hand like the same way she did when you know i went on the first date with her in college and had a couple extra bucks and took her to a dollar movie you know i mean i i and and there was this intense moment of gratitude and uh i do remember it being a windy day i recall that i don't recall that the the truck but i do recall perhaps dozing off i mean i remember that part of it and that's you know that and yet yeah the knots that has tightened my mind you know when i finally had to just let go and say well you know if everything's in divine order and that's and it is i mean little picture in time i mean you know i grieve so miserably and i was raising spencer and and and and tonya my current wife i wasn't dating i wasn't looking for anyone i was still heartbroken you know but as that unfolded and you know i met her through a work meeting it wasn't you know it was i mean it was it was not a romantic thing you know she showed up but there was guidance and all that you know she she was moving away to arizona and we were long distance pen pals if you will writing emails and talking on the phone but i began to realize that i was falling in love with her that i was having romantic feelings for this woman and it made me you know i went to my first wife's grave and and i was angry i mean i i i was bawling and kneeling down on the lawn there where her you know headstone was and i was saying how dare you how dare you leave me i mean i'm here limping around trying to raise our son and you're in that beautiful place and yet you know i was doing that but i swear she came to me i mean i i don't see her with my physical eyes but i felt her behind me and i felt her hands on my shoulders and she said don't berate me i i loved you enough to go and i thought what and she said don't you remember i mean it was like a soul contract she said we had a deal your soul wanted this and i would have loved nothing more than to stay and grow old with you but i loved you enough to leave that you would have the experience you came to have and i'm you know i'm here i'm i'm like i'm looking i'm watching over you and of course i was still in a fighting mood and said well but i'm having feelings for another woman and she laughed at me she said of course you are i i know who you are i know how you are she's like please who do you think brought her in your path she's like i'm orchestrating that and and she begged me to please choose joy you know she said we're still connected and i can only be as happy as you are and wow i hurt because you hurt so bad and here's all this opportunity laid at your feet please choose joy you you know you're a pretty good dad but you're a lousy mother and our little boy and you could use some joy in your life you could use connection you could use a partner and um i mean you know that sounds so bizarre and profound but i literally had a visitation where uh and she said you know tanya's the one i sent in your way i she's awesome you you you're not you might not know that yet but she's the one that will teach you unconditional love and as things unfolded that unconditional love was to love myself and uh so there's you know i don't know if the door ever shut for me even in the healing and you know the things that go on there's these i had i have two incredible guardian angels and my wife that passed and in my son who passed griffin the little boy i held as a toddler and i think that was the kindness of the universe i'm not pretending that he's a toddler up in some other realm because he's come to me more recently in dreams as a grown young man but in that instance the universe knew i needed to hold my little boy and that was provided and yet he's come to me more recently as a gosh uh i mean a guardian angel you know big tall strong young man who's got my back no matter what that's profound in that that idea that um that that you choosing joy or sadness or anger is also affecting your first life and that connection that it's interesting the way you put that right that connection between people is that our choices affect other people because we're connected to them that's that's pretty profound too does that give you you think about that as you go through the choices you make and how connected you are to others or that that knowing of how connected you are oh yeah in fact even our thoughts affect each other and affect ourselves i mean we have no idea how powerful we are as individual i was going to say human beings and we're certainly we're certainly being human but we're far we're far more than human we're divine eternal beings who are here having an experience and we have no idea how powerful our thoughts our actions our words are and um you know smile a smile to a stranger on the street might save their life and yet an evil thought about you know someone or or unkind words could devastate their lives we have we have no idea how powerful we are it's very it's a profound thought to especially those of us that are struggling because as as powerful as love is being able to serve somebody else and and we often think for uh for years and i still struggle with this that i have to do something to serve them but it's not necessarily doing something it's it's really like you said a smile it's changing the way i i show up is doing something which is it's a little bit harder to grasp and hold on to but it's is as much prof as as equally profound i think yeah yeah i mean i i i mentioned i read things and they're totally different i was reading the beatitudes you know after this and there was the master you know teaching the masses and he said be ye therefore perfect which used to throw i mean boy that was a hard one i'll never you know and yet i realized he never said become he never said become perfect he said be perfect even like that even like your father in heaven is and i realized he was saying embrace the perfection that you are you know consider the lilies of the field how they grow they don't spin and toil and yet not one of them you know is is you know every one of them is greater than the greatest king you might know i mean these simple simple truths suddenly came with such clarity that it's like wow we are perfect we're created in the image of everything that is perfect and if we could embrace that in ourselves and in each other without judgments and comparisons you know the flowers the lilies don't compare themselves to each other and neither do we get to we just get to love each other and point up and say wow isn't it a blessing and a gift to be in the body and be alive and be having my experience that's incredible i'm curious um oh no he touched on it a little bit but your relationship with your with your oldest son i know you have two others you've got you know three kids that you've been raising and connecting with um but but you had quite a you know quite an experience with your son and he went through that accident and the loss of his mom what was that like and and what's your relationship like today well we're very close we're very we're very close i'm close to all my sons and you know i don't even call my adopted sons my adopted boys they're just my sons but you know i've got a long answer my answers are long to your you have such profound questions spencer when he was little i mean when i came home and i was still in a wheelchair i had my left leg was cut off i had no prosthetic at that point so my left leg was cut up above the knee my right leg was still sticking straight out in a splint because they tried to rebuild that knee my right arm was in a sling because they'd attempted to rebuild the shoulder all i could do was drive an electric wheelchair with my one good left hand and and i my my brothers or somebody would have to lift me into the wheelchair i couldn't transfer into a chair with no legs and one arm right when they finally brought me home and i wasn't going to my home i had to go to my brother's home and i was there for home health and they'd put a hospital bed in one of the rooms and i mean my recovery was much longer than the five months in the hospital but i was so worried about spencer he was only seven and as you pointed out he had lost everything i had lost he'd lost his mother his brother he'd lost his father in many ways i was the rough and tumble dad and here i was beyond crippled you know i mean i looked horrible i had a big colostomy bag hanging off my belly i mean and i was going home to his turf you know where where and i just thought how's he ever gonna accept me and yet as we arrived to my brother's house there was spencer looking out the window you know he was watching as my brothers his uncles you know big strong guys lifted me up and put me in the wheelchair and i thought how is he going to deal with this and anyway he came running out of the house and he ran toward me and he ran right past me and i thought it's too much he i mean you know it's one thing when i'm under the covers in a hospital but now that he's seeing all this exposed and i you know it's too much he ran right by me well i i navigated the chair the wheelchair and was beginning to turn so i could take it up the ramp and i just looked over my shoulder to see where he was and he'd actually run across the street and he was knocking on all the neighbors doors saying come out come out my dad has made it home come see my dad and i thought wow you know me my judgments of myself are not his judgments and he did you know after he knocked on there he came and he threw himself on my lap and he about killed me because i still had all the sutures from the abdominal repair and he threw his arms around me and um you know i was explaining i'm going to try hard to get better he was a star wars nut and i'm like i mean they're going to get me a darth vader leg and i'm going to work really hard to learn how to walk but i'm going to be like this for a while are you going to be okay and we still laugh you know he said dad if you were nothing but a puddle of blood i would still love you and i just i just burst into tears but here's why i share that i realized in that here i was in a wheelchair holding my surviving son both of us broken-hearted and it was no less divine than when i was in those other realms holding my son hood past in the arms of god i mean in the arms of a child his unconditional love for me was as powerful as the unconditional love of a creator and and i realized heaven can be right here there's nowhere to go there's nothing to become it's to be in that perfect moment and feel the unconditional love and he he was my he was my hero through the younger years now gosh life went on and i'll share this it's a very long
answer like i say but his his journey you know he never had a near-death experience he wasn't held in the arms of god he had lost his family he had lost his father in many ways and as he you know started hitting 18 19 he he's like dad i don't get it you know you talk of these visitations mom came to you at the gravesite you went to the other side god held you and told you it was all okay i got nothing you know he's like i was a little boy i begged this thing you called god for 12 years just to let me fill my mom or see her once and i got nothing so i you know i mean it was it was a very poignant conversation he's like look i'm done with all that and um he said either you're deceived in some crazy way or you're making it up and telling a lie or he said if there is some greater power it doesn't care about me because i was a little boy screaming for help and i got nothing i beat my knuckles bloody on that door and it never opened and i was just i was just like i was gutted you know i mean i i still pray i went home that night and i prayed to god and said i'll give it all away i'll i'll go i'll get i'll you can take it just give him something i and it was interesting what happened because as i'm saying i'll give it away i'll give away all my experiences for him to have some enlightenment and i don't profess to talk to god every day but i got a profound answer and was told why are you judging your son judge not that you be not judged don't you know his experience is perfect for him and why do you why are you so arrogant to you know assume that your experience is better than what he's experiencing your experience was perfect for you his experience is perfect for him your job dad is to love him unconditionally and stop putting conditions on his experience and love him i mean it's like the universe has been beating me over the head you know with this unconditional love and yet long story short you know he was in a rock band half the guys were going to jail there was drugs involved yadda yadda and i'm saying to god well he might go to jail he said you know and god said perfect then that's his path for his soul's journey and and it was very poignant and i'll wrap this up but as this all unfolded this is the kind of man that spencer's grown into number one yeah there was some interesting things with the band and one of the guys was going to jail and there was a hearing and spencer said to me i'm going to go to that hearing i'm going to stand with my buddy and i'm not you know as a father i'm like no you're not you're not going to go stand and associate with a known drug dealer yadda yadda yadda yadda and wow he looked at me and said is that how it is dad somebody messes up and you turn your back on him wow that's not what you taught me i'm gonna go stand with my buddy because i might be the only guy that'll say i love you and you're gonna get through it this is just a thing we're gonna work through and i thought wow wisdom he's the wise soul he he came to spencer came to teach me he came to walk with me through this journey and he's become the most compassionate man i know he works with young kids in little rock bands and teaches them music and that's their therapy he'll have 10 year olds banging out metallica you know up on the stage and he's like dad that's their cry that's their voice that's their that's their work they get to do and and you know he he said i've still never had that door open up there that you talk about but he said i've decided i'll be god's love i'll be god's hands i'll be god's light here they can come to me and i can hold them and i can tell him and i can be there for him and that's real that's tangible and that works and again i just say wow he gets it i'm learning that's the story you know in a nutshell really of what he's become and how his journey has led him to empathy and compassion and to being real in a way that people can embrace it's tangible you know fascinating and i think it's interesting how many different times layers right that you have to be reminded to quit judging and and how many different ways we judge that somehow somebody's journey because it's different in ours that it's not what it should be or that it's not perfect for them and we get all wrapped up i got to fix this i got to fix this right and and it's just and i'm being reminding myself of oh i need to step back a few times right i'm still still jumping in there in places i don't belong no spencer reminds me i'll i'll say well they should and you should not and he'll say he'll say dad quit shooting all over everybody just leave it alone i i mean he's a very wise very wise soul but yeah it's it's a big lesson and i've certainly learned it my way but everybody gets to learn in their own way right yeah and we do it together we just it's not meant to be done alone right and we so often feel isolated and we're just not meant to do it alone um jeff what an incredible story i'm i'm just thrilled to you know been able to spend this time with you and have you share that with our listeners and um and the thing that i love so much is it so profound that it changes the way i look at my life i imagine i imagine it it would change the way other people would look at theirs or at least give an invitation to do that so i love that and and if there's not there's only one thing that people get out of your story is that love heals and that if we if that's the only thing we give it's the most powerful and most meaningful thing we can give yeah yep love love is the most powerful force in the universe and yet we get to choose it that free will and choice we get to choose joy and choose forgiveness and choose connection and walk each other home as they say even if we're going on completely different paths we can still hold the context for each other in love to uh to walk to the same great light which uh which is love in the end too so yep thank you incredible yep i'm sure appreciate it um this is yeah just totally moves me so thank you so much and um i i would love to be able to connect with you in the future you know as as things progress for you and and i'm sure your story will continue to you know to grow and expand oh you're so kind and you can find me just jeffrey c olson i'm on social media or you can send me an email at the same thing jeffrey is j e f f e r y c is my middle initial and olson is o-l-s-e-n and also mentioned that your book knowing is um pretty profound and you share you know you share in a very masterful way the experience the emotions and how tangible that was for you so i love that book and would certainly recommend that for you know so for anybody that wants to hear more of your story oh thank you thank you very much you have kind of a you have an especially perceptive and spiritual kind of approach to all this and a way of looking at it do you do you feel like you were that way before this instant incident happened you know have you always kind of been you know greater than average emotionally intelligent you know i i don't know kurt because i not really i mean i was a division one athlete i was a red personality i was driven go fight win you know get the grade make the team get the girl get the house get the job whatever that looked like and i suppose that is not a bad thing i mean you know that can be honorable but uh but it certainly softened me and it certainly blew the doors open on a different way of of knowing a different way of seeing i i think i used to be judgmental uh even of myself and what it did is just took judgment and comparison and moved it to a different space where it can be you know learning and and light and uh and connection without without the judgment and that's uh that that that's brought me so much peace it's so funny when you let go of judgment how much peace can come into your life you shared your experience about going through the hospital and kind of knowing you know and i think there's that like connection of knowing versus in that experience do you feel like you knew things about those people beyond connection oh you know do you know did you do you feel like you knew intel as it were you know absolutely i mean i'll give one example there was a nurse that passed by me brushed by me and they seemed to be completely unaware of me but as she passed by i knew everything about her i i in fact i experienced her emotions um i i felt the abuse that she had received as a child physical emotional sexual abuse i felt it as if it was my own and yet there was this that's what connected us and yet in that same instant i saw what a magnificent soul she was it's like wow here she is you know serving in the hospital healing others and and it was it was that profound wow is that what made her so glorious was actually the you know the the challenge of what she'd experienced and and that that there was a knowing and i did know things but but i'll i'll caveat that with there was no judgment there was only love and honor and glory so i i knew i was seeing them perhaps as god was seeing them and then when i later had the experience in god's arms i knew i was seeing them the way god had seen them and that's when the knowing comes and you know i mean people say well i know this and i know that and they and very well we know but you know it's one thing to have a theory or a philosophy or or whatever a belief but when you know what you know based on experience it's it's a different level of um of being it's a different level of knowing and you know that's where i try to live is in that knowing rather than in a belief or a philosophy yeah i could see that that would make some things a little bit harder because in some ways you're more accountable that way now right that's you know you don't get that you don't get the luxury of yeah relaxed of relaxed faith you're stuck with you're stuck with a little bit more accountability the the thing that stuck out to me you know a lot about the your hospital experience and i cannot remember the name of the book off the top of my head um but it's so similar to another account that i've read you know and he shared the same experience of a the levitate levitating and kind of being able to see things but knowing okay the doctor and the nurse that we're working on and we're having an affair yeah you know no knowing additional information that you know he really shouldn't have known yeah and and that next level even also like i think he could pass through things as he was moving through the hospital and as he passed through things could know those things history you know like he passed through a desk trying to get wherever he's headed and he knew where that tree came from he knew you know some of those other things so it's interesting to hear how kind of synonymous that that encounter that you had was yeah yeah there's many i mean so many out of body or near-death experiences and um you know they're they're all unique and different but they there is the universal thing seem to be the connectedness i i know the tree the desk came from the the oneness of all of it the other one is is um often there are deceased ancestors or loved ones involved and almost universally there's this unconditional love whether it's you know whatever belief systems one might came from or no belief system at all they they feel a an an overwhelming love and acceptance which is pretty cool i think i think that's amazing yeah it makes everything go around do you um do you get homesick yes i mean i quite honestly it was difficult to be in this realm for almost a decade i struggled and uh you know tanya my current wife bless her she put up with me while i tried to work through it but yeah i didn't want to be here it's like why don't i just go home you know and and and still the self-doubt like my son would be better off without me you know i mean my brothers would do a better job with him than i do i mean there's all these voices in our head right that that tell us all these crazy things um i yeah homesick in fact i've decided that much of depression when people are like i don't know why i feel this way i'm just i think it's homesickness i really do i think they're homesick we're in this crazy realm we call life and it's like where's all the love where's all the connection i once knew at home that i'm not experiencing here and yeah it's enough to make anyone home sick interesting perspective i know i've thought of it in my you know in my own life i feel homesick like there's like i know somehow i know there's this love that was out there but i don't you know it's not tangible but i know it was but then the purpose of why we're here comes back and i can you know come back and readjust and go at it but but you felt that certainly on it on a higher level than i think a lot of us do so makes it maybe a little bit more of a longing we're we're wanderers in a strange land yeah yeah and yet the beautiful thing and this is what i i really believe this is the game we're playing let's create heaven here you know rather than longing for what might be or what was experienced or what is in my case it's like well let's create it here let's create all that love and compassion and connection right here right now and then heaven becomes earth and earth becomes heaven it's it's all right here and you know i mean i i you know i i often quote you know jesus or biblical things and there's all kinds of different philosophies but even in in what we call the lord's prayer you know he said thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven literally calling it down like let's love each other here bring that unconditional love here and see what we can create as divine beings uh by simply choosing love over fear and judgment thank you guys and uh thanks jeff appreciate it thanks guys we'll see you