Mindful Warrior Project

The Mindful Warrior Project: Our Path to Community, Collective Action & Impact 

Mindful Hawaii has launched the Mindful Warrior Project to advance Mindful Hawaii’s mission of moving mindfulness “off the cushion” and into the community.  Through the Mindful Warrior Project, MH seeks to build an inclusive, organic, cohesive, statewide movement that centers mindfulness as a foundational underpinning of Hawaii’s broader culture.  

The Mindful Warrior Project draws inspiration from Margaret Wheatley’s latest book, Who Do We Choose to Be? Facing Reality, Claiming Leadership, Restoring Sanity (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2017).  In it, Wheatley lays out two powerful and prescriptive concepts about mindful leadership and the creation of sane local communities: 1) Peaceful Warrior for the Human Spirit, and 2) Islands of Sanity.  (For an overview of the book and its key concepts, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtaYNxp56gs)

 “Mindful Warriors” are envisioned as MH members who commit to sustain and strengthen their practice of mindfulness. This enables them to abide in troubled times and call forth their own and others’ compassion, wisdom and humor, no matter the circumstance.  Mindful Warriors use whatever position, power or opportunities they have to cultivate places where the human spirit is nurtured and people are given opportunity to be generous, creative and kind.  Wheatley calls these places “Islands of Sanity.”  We intend to begin the journey by deepening our individual mindfulness practices and strengthening through Mindful Warrior Training.  Then we move mindfulness outward, into our families, communities, organizations and entire systems, gathering others Mindful Warriors and linking Islands of Sanity. 

MH spent 2020 sharing this idea and gathering feedback from the MH Board, the general membership, participants in a MH Book Talk and project planning meetings.  Response has been positive and enthusiastic.  So, as we move from talk to action, our plans include but are not limited to the following: 

1.    Create awareness of mindfulness, MH’s mission and The Mindful Warrior Project using multiple media platforms and other creative marketing approaches.
2.    Enlist and enroll those interested in becoming a Mindful Warrior. Build a database of interest mapping members interests, location, and the systems in which they serve.
3.    Offer Mindful Warrior training and support deepening practice. This likely includes training in mindfulness, direct perception, distress tolerance, discernment, non-violent communication, conflict engagement/resolution, empathy, and forgiveness. 
4.    Support, elevate and celebrate Mindful Warriors as they serve and work in their groups/communities/organizations to make a meaningful difference for others.
5.    Weave together the Mindful Warriors and the Islands of Sanity that emerge across Hawaii into an exciting, cohesive statewide movement that centers mindfulness as a foundational underpinning of Hawaii’s broader culture.  

Members’ Expressed Interests in the MWP:

•    To deepen our individual practice/ commitment
•    To strengthen our MH community by pursuing shared learning and growth.
•    To access Warrior Training (w advanced skills for remaining mindful, under stress)
•    To learn to link and navigate inter-connected systems and sectors
•    As a way of “infiltrating” systems (politics, criminal justice, education health care, etc.)
•    A way to put mindfulness into meaningful action
•    As a way of promoting mindfulness as a shared community value and the foundation of Hawaii’s culture. 

Members Express Interest In, or Connections to the Following Systems

•    Policing
•    Party politics
•    Governance
•    Issue advocacy/ Community Organizing
•    Healthcare
•    Education
•    Environmental Justice/Natural Resource Management
•    Ecopsychology/ Nature 

Our Work, In Progress

What follows is a capture of work in progress based upon the Stewardship Group’s thinking about what actions we can take to move this project forward.  That list forms a place holder for capturing our efforts and accomplishment to date. 

1.    Draft a Description that captures shared purpose of the MWP aligned with MH mission

•    See PowerPoint of MWP (Oct 31, 2020)  (Link presentation here ASAP)

2.    Set a few concrete goals to get moving in 2021

Jan. 2021        MWP Will Be Discussed @ MH Community Meeting

Feb.         Launch MWP – Message the Community and Begin Activity (Below)

Feb – April    Shambala: Path of the Warrior Study Group (Bi-Monthly Gathering w Mediation, Contemplation and Discussion

May – July    Wheatley’s Warrior’s Song Line Study Group (Bi-monthly Gathering)

Monthly    MWP Stewardship Group Meetings/ Strategic Doing to:
•    Facilitate Study Groups and Practice Efforts
•    Plan Warrior training/ Identify our resources within the community
•    Craft and manage strategic communications within MH re: MWP (e.g., Newsletter, Social Media, On-line Forum)
•    Create a business plan and draft funding proposals to support the effort

3.    Clarify our audience for the MWP

•    MH Members – Initial audience is our own community of members, while growing our community. 
•    Organic outreach to key individuals/ partners – We will continue to reach out and build community support organically, for now.
•    External Campaign – At some point, we will turn our attention and message outward to reach the public or targeted publics about MH’s Mission and the MWP. 

4.    Negotiate a set of core values to guide this effort 

•    Grassroots
•    Organic
•    Inclusive and Diverse
•    Intergenerational
•    Faith-based and Secular, alike
•    Structured enough (A shared vision/ plan, achievable goals, ways to engage and help)
•    Moves at the right speed, not too fast and not too slow.
•    Works through challenges and conflict in a way that “walks the talk” of mindfulness.

5.    Identify, take stock and build a database of our resources (skills, expertise, talent, time)


6.    Develop a compelling message and brand for the MH and the MWP (logo, stickers, tag line)


7.    Build a database of Mindful Warriors, that maps warrior’s location, interests, networks and systems where they work. 


8.    Create clear definitions of key terms used by MH and the MWP.  

Moments and Milestones on This Way:  

•    At May MH Community Meeting, the MWP was shared.  Members were invited to a meeting in June to discuss the project and assist in its development. 

•    On June 26, 2020, eight Mindful Hawaii members gathered over Zoom to advance the Mindful Warriors Project.  All members of Mindful Hawaii were invited to attend.  We were joined by Eric Schreger, Melany Melakea, Lila Edwards, Barbara Cooney, Arleen Garcia-Herbst, Amy Brown, Jimmy Toyama.  The meeting was facilitated by Marina Piscolish.  

•    During a Nov 2020 Mindful Hawaii Meeting, the Mindful Warrior Project was briefly discussed, as the meeting concluded.  Members were encouraged to contact Arleen if they wished to be on the project list and attend an anticipated meeting.

•    On Dec. 12, 2020, five Mindful Hawaii members met over Zoom to continue discussion and planning of the project.  Any member who had previously asked to be included on the MWP list was invited. The discussion affirmed members support for the project as a container for holding the intentions of our community and helping us to carry forward the mission of Mindful Hawaii.  Members in attendance included: Lila Edwards, Liz Kashinsky, Dennis Ihara, and Jimmy Toyama. 

•    On Jan 16, 2021, the MWP Stewards Group will meet again to refine plans for 2021 and the Jan. MH Community Meeting.

Supporting Documents:
•    Download MWP PowerPoint
•    1/16 MWP Meeting Summary