Spotlight Chick - Amy Agape, PhD

Tell us about yourself so that we can get to know you better.

Amy Agape, PhD, is devoted to reclaiming the wisdom of dying. A rare terminal illness led her to the terrain of actively dying three separate times. Throughout this journey she amassed gifts from diverse wisdom traditions, teachers, texts, and spiritual practices; she passionately offers these resources as a Death Awareness Advocate working to integrate death into our cultural lexicon. Her doctoral dissertation weaves together Thanatology and Theology, comprising groundbreaking work in conscious living and dying. A companion to hospice patients, Amy accompanies persons during their final days. As an End of Life educator, she teaches medical professionals and loved ones to compassionately witness the dying. Her work as a Spiritual Director integrates the gifts of dying in support of her clients’ unique spiritual journeys. She dreams of a world where all people live and die consciously. She intends to spend the remainder of her days helping to create that world.

And the other stuff:
I am a devoted wife, mother to two young adults and five pets. I adore connecting with people, hiking, travel, spiritual practice, and creating things.

 

What inspired you to do what you do professionally?

Desperation.

In 2000, my life was filled with creation. I was building a career I adored. As an archaeologist and academic, I spent my days either digging for treasure or talking to amazing people about fascinating things. I was also building a family I adored. I had taken a brief sabbatical from my job in academia to give birth to and spend time with my first child.

During that year of witnessing my son’s “firsts” (tooth, roll over, solid foods), I also began to experience my own “lasts” (birthday, picnic, walk outside). I had quickly become very ill with a rare heart and lung disease. The diagnosis was complicated, and by the time it arrived I was lying in a hospital bed, dying.

And I had no way to do that, to allow myself to die. Raised in a culture that privileges accumulation, creation, and everything new, I had never learned how to surrender. I did not know how to let go of the life that was quickly leaving my body.

I was blessed with a miracle surgery that pressed the pause button on my physical dying for a bit. And as soon as I had recovered from that operation, I began to find a way to allow myself to die. I sought information and inspiration, tools and teachings that would help me learn to let go -- of anything that was passing out of my life.

I amassed a great treasure of wisdom, and I am passionate about sharing that with others. Everyone deals with loss and transition. My organization, Passings LLC, provides support for each of life’s transitions.

 

Tell us a story of how you made a difference in someone’s life.

Hopefully, I do this daily. As a hospice chaplain, I companion folks who are dying – and their loved ones. As a spiritual director, I do the same for people on different kinds of journeys. Just this weekend, I helped lead a retreat for disadvantaged women; some of them have been homeless for years, some are struggling with illness, some have been abused. Each of them brought boundless gifts to our circle, and each one made a difference in MY life.

What have you gained personally from being a member of Chicks Connect?

I love the positivity and enthusiasm of my group. We support one another endlessly, and that is something that I sometimes find lacking in other women’s groups.

What have you gained professionally from being a member of Chicks Connect?

Brainstorming, encouragement, wisdom, and a whole lot of fun!

Any words of wisdom for other Chicks?

Thank you for being part of this group of women supporting other women. We change the world when we show up for one another with integrity, grace, and compassion.

How can people reach you if they want to know more about what you are up to in the world?

Here’s my website:
www.passings.us

And a fun video introducing me:
https://www.passings.us/meet-amy

And two more introducing my work:
https://www.passings.us/about-passings