Through exploring theory and practice of mindfulness as a personal and social practice, the author demonstrates possibilities of being aware of liminal spaces between self and others while in crisis. The author’s (un)mindful experiences while caring for her mother, who was in acute physical pain, gesture to how mindfulness practices are poignantly personal and sweetly subtle as well as socially wild, elusive, and energetic. Unfolding in three parts, this article interweaves mindfulness theory, autoethnographic vignettes of being (un)mindful, and (in)conclusive thoughts on the ability to remain mindful in the messiness to time, memory, and crisis. The article concludes by surmising that being in this life together provides ample opportunities to care for one another during times of joy as well as crisis. In an afterword, the author reflects on mindful moments of the first days of a citywide state of emergency in the 2020 pandemic.
The (Un)Mindful Autoethnographer: Caring for an Elder Parent During Crisis
Stacey Bliss completed her Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellowship (2019–2021) in the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance at the University of Regina, Canada and is currently an independent researcher and instructor. Her work queries social implications of sound studies in education as well as contemplative and improvisational practices. She is developing what she terms a post-spatial model of literacies or literacies of the heart. Since 2014, Stacey has played symphonic gongs and collaborates with artists on improvisation and soundscape projects. Find out more at www.blissresearch.org.
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Stacey Bliss; The (Un)Mindful Autoethnographer: Caring for an Elder Parent During Crisis. Journal of Autoethnography 1 October 2021; 2 (4): 434–445. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/joae.2021.2.4.434
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