Journal of Contemplative Inquiry


This article explores the pandemic and contemplative practice experiences of faculty and staff at a Mid-Atlantic, multi-campus community college. Twenty-three respondents, representing diverse disciplines and programs, were interviewed. Findings include the following: most respondents experienced major and “stressful” work and wellbeing changes during the pandemic; changes included shifting work to remote home environments, wearing masks, social distancing, and social isolation; coping strategies included deepening community, doing contemplative practices, and creating spaces for practices; and advantages of the pandemic included the increased accessibility of online practices and more time available for practices. Erving Goffman’s (1959) theory of dramaturgy, emphasizing the frontstage and backstage, grounded this research to show the blurring of public and private sectors during the pandemic. The lessons from the blurring offer ideas on how campuses might enhance the wellbeing of college communities by providing free and accessible space for contemplative practices and building community.