Why I really retired from medicine

Six months ago I wrote: “After nearly 30 years as a family physician (& 25 years serving the people of Oregon), I’m happy to announce I’ve officially retired from clinical practice. Excited to pursue my many other healing adventures. And yes, I will continue to address our physician mental health crisis & run my suicide helpline for doctors & med students in the US/abroad. Thank you for all your love & support. ❤️ More fun to come . . . promise!”

My brief retirement blurb on social media doesn’t tell the true story.

Nineteen years ago, I was told to retire my medical license by a psychotherapist-turned-astrologer. She analyzed my birth chart and told me to leave medicine. I was 35—a newly board-certified physician—and completely unwilling to follow her advice—until nearly two decades later.

She knew nothing about me (other than date/time/location of my birth) when I sat down beside her.

“This chart shows incredible spiritual power—a born healer—and nontraditional,” she explained. “You are not going to go to medical school.”

“I did go to medical school.”

“Did you really?”

“Yes.”

“Did you go all the way through?”

“I tried to quit several times.”

“You finished?”

“Yes.”

“Wonderful. You’ve actualized much of your spiritual potential by completing medical school.”

I just digitized the cassette tape from our original session. Now I’m rereading the transcript.

“At the moment of your birth—your core essence never changes—though it may get muddied from early home life. Divine power expected you’d have challenges acquiring a realistic, well-founded, authentic, sense of self.”

“How would you rate your strength of will?”

“Great.”

“Your chart indicates it’s one of your major challenges.”

“I honed that at a young age. As a kid, if I didn’t like what an adult said, I’d slap them.”

“Wow, I might get more out of this reading than you. About 80% of people get a false sense of self—their psyche badly torqued by their family—and 20%, by the grace of God, can be born into any kind of insanity and it doesn’t seep into their pores.”

“When I talk about my childhood, people look like they’ve got PTSD, even my therapists. I end up giving them emotional CPR. Ya know what I’m saying?”

“I was a psychotherapist. That’s pretty amazing. Do you get how lucky you are?

“Yeah.”

“Never put relationships ahead of your own needs,” she warned. “Be appropriately and healthfully selfish, egotistical, self-centered. Develop the ability to puff yourself up. Lots of spiritual traditions donwplay ego as if it’s bad. I’m not concerned about your ego getting too big because as a healer you’ve got internal safeguards. Ego—authentic real sense of self—is what lines us up with divine power.”

I’ve been accused of being egotistical in my efforts to stop doctor suicides and self-centered in my quest to end institutional abuse in medicine.

“There’s lots of energy in your chart for collectivity, cooperation, and service, and a lifelong desire to develop spiritually—you are in touch with universal forces, the big one, not just people and this planet—the whole.”

No wonder I’m an open conduit for suicided doctors. Tough to keep my focus on acne and chlamydia, when my head is in the stars doing some kind of interplanetary healing. I’ve never shared publicly that suicided doctors come to me in my dreams and some send me messages during the day. I’m like a psychic medium for physicians. I’ve resisted telling other doctors that I have open communication channels with the dead. I didn’t want to scare them.

“Your moon—the most emotional of planets—is in Aquarius. Moon in Aquarius is who we want in an emergency. Unflappable. You are gregarious, social, yet have capacity for detachment—great for self-protection in childhood, yet as an adult your feelings may be blocked. Does that resonate with you? You weren’t safe as a child. Some with your chart are at risk of drug addiction—a need to transcend. Were you into drugs?”

“Nope. People have accused me of being on drugs when I’m ‘high’ on life.”

“You have so much power to transcend naturally, you’re a conduit to the divine. In astrology the planets and signs for spiritual development, connection to divine, capacity for occult and metaphysics are the same planets for incarceration, mental illness, alcoholism, drug abuse. Makes sense to me because of the soul’s need for altered states of consciousness. People like you who can access altered states of consciousness with the divine—tend not to need drugs.”

“One really radical thing here in your solar return chart—shows that you were only supposed to become an MD temporarily and then you were to move on to something else. One career is ending and another one is starting. You could just turn in your license and say, ‘Screw it. I paid my dues and I’m going to do something else.’ You are a healer. You are just in a career that is very conventional, structured—very rigid. My step-father was a doctor, he wanted me to become a psychiatrist.”

“Good thing you didn’t do it,” I said.

“He wasn’t too pushy about it though. But I think what he was responding to my natural healing abilities.”

“Problem is,” I replied, “when you get into such a structured setting, you lose it ’cause it sucks all the creative, intuitive energy out of you.”

“Giving up my license as a psychotherapist was the spiritual, moral, ethical thing for me to do,” she told me. “I had to violate my code of ethics way too often to keep doing things the way they wanted me to do them and I finally just said screw it.”

She spent the session trying to guide me out of medicine. I couldn’t let go. I’d been working my whole life to become a doctor. Both my parents are physicians. To quit at 35, felt like severing my relationship with my profession, my parents, and a family business. Plus how would I earn a living, I was sacred. (typo, scared)

My psychotherapist-astrologer was right.

I am finally fulfilling my destiny as a spiritual healer on the planet. I am coming out of the psychic closet. And I am helping my wounded colleagues transcend their trauma to be the healers they were born to be by claiming my true power as a medium who can channel the messages from our deceased doctors to the still living.

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