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Mortality and Mindfulness with Annie Whitlocke, Buddhist Death Doula

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16th May 2024

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About this episode

Annie Whitlocke is a death doula with a rich history of embracing life’s trials with an open heart.

Annie shares her profound journey from a turbulent childhood through to her multiple personal tragedies, including loss of multiple husbands and struggles with miscarriages.

These challenges have uniquely equipped her to assist others at the end of their lives. Her story is one of transformation; from pain and isolation to finding her calling in helping others face death with dignity and peace.

Annie explores how Buddhist teachings have shaped her understanding of death as a natural part of life.

Whether you're someone dealing with a terminal diagnosis, a caregiver, or just curious about buddhism and the death doula profession, this episode offers valuable insights into the compassionate care needed at life’s end.

Thank you for joining us on this journey through life's final chapter. Remember, discussing and preparing for death isn't morbid—it’s a way to honour our lives and the lives of those we love.

Remember; You may not be ready to die, but at least you can be prepared.

Take care,

Catherine

Show notes

Guest Bio
Podcast Guest - Image
Annie Whitlocke

Buddhist Death Doula

In a previous life, Annie was Managing Director, owner, designer and buyer for an import export business, Anjian Australia for 17 years, She sold Anjian in 2010 to focus on her main interests.

The most important one was as carer to her aging mother. Annie was able to be there for her, while her mind, lifestyle, attitude and memories changed through Alzheimer's. Annie’s Mum,  died in Sept 2015, it was a peaceful and pain free death. 

Annie is a Team Leader for Social Health Australia, a Spiritual/Pastoral Carer, lay Buddhist chaplain, trainer and supervisor of Buddhist Spiritual carers at Monash Medical Centre, Meditation instructor at Moorabbin Oncology, Death Café Facilitator since 2013 and has spoken on the Buddhist patient at Stirling College and Monash Palliative Care. 

Annie has completed Death Doula training with Denise Love and DeathWalker training with Zenith Virago. Christine Longaker, Dr Michael Barbato and more precious teachers. She believes she will never stop learning.

 

Annie Whitlocke

 

Annie with her beloved rescue dogs

 

A younger Annie doing a headstand

Summary

Key Points from This Episode:

  • Annie's Early Life: Learn about her challenging early years in foster care and the impact of reuniting with a family she didn’t remember.
  • Professional Evolution: From working in various caregiving roles to becoming a respected death doula, Annie discusses how her past experiences with loss and recovery informed her career.
  • Philosophy on Death: Annie speaks to how her difficult life experiences opened her heart rather than hardening it, allowing her to provide unique support to those at the end of their life.
  • The Role of a Death Doula: Discover what it means to be a death doula, the services they provide, and the emotional and practical support they offer to both dying individuals and their families.
  • Buddhist Influence on Embracing Death: Annie explores how Buddhist teachings have shaped her understanding of death as a natural part of life. She discusses the concept of death awareness in Buddhism, which encourages living each moment more fully and with greater presence.
  • Advance Care Planning: Annie stresses the importance of advance care directives and how they can ensure a person’s wishes are respected at the end of life.
  • Buddhist Practices in Death: Insights into how Annie’s Buddhist beliefs inform her practice as a death doula, particularly around the concept of impermanence.

Transcript

1
00:00:00,140 --> 00:00:04,760
Catherine Ashton: At what point
did you convert to Buddhism

2
00:00:04,850 --> 00:00:06,430
and what attracted you to that?

3
00:00:06,680 --> 00:00:12,489
Annie Whitlocke: Years ago, probably 45
years ago now, when I actually decided

4
00:00:12,489 --> 00:00:16,389
that this was the pathway that intrigued.

5
00:00:17,429 --> 00:00:20,853
I read this book, it was
called, it was by Ram Dass, it

6
00:00:20,853 ... Read More

Resources

 

 

  • Contact Annie Whitlocke here.

 

  • 'The Believer' by Sarah Krasnostein - Annie is one of the central stories in this book. She discusses how this book impacted her and her connection to the story through her interviews with the author.

 

  • ABC Compass episode, hosted by popular journalist and broadcaster, Indira Naidoo. Annie referenced: Goodbye My Dog

 

  • Annie refers to reading; Grist for the Mill, Awakening to Oneness Ram Dass

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