Leading in the Moment Vlog Series: Episode 4


  • Dana D’Orazio
April 26, 2022 - (3 min read)

Finding Peace and Bipartisanship with Mindfulness and Meditation

This vlog is part of NLC’s “Leading in the Moment” series, which focuses on the impact that mindfulness can have on leaders in local government and beyond. In this installment, NLC University’s Dana D’Orazio sat down with Oklahoma State Representative Collin Walke.

I had the honor of interviewing Representative Collin Walke, Oklahoma state legislator, attorney, community advocate and mindfulness practitioner. In this vlog, Representative Walke shares how he found mindfulness and the practice of meditation and the ways it has influenced his work, his life and his community.

Representative Walke found mindfulness and meditation early in life as a teen, practicing on and off again. It wasn’t until he found himself under the pressures of work and adult life that he again returned to his practice and began integrating it into his work and his community.

As Representative Walke shares, he found himself nearly engaging in a fistfight on the legislature floor when he realized that was not how he wanted to show up as a leader or member of his community. He shares his go-to strategies of mediation, as well as the Buddhist non-harmful communication model: Ensuring what you say and share is true, that it is beneficial, and those around you are ready to hear it – the timing is right.

Walke also shared how his mindfulness and meditation practice have supported him in being a better listener, enabling him to “play gracefully with ideas” and taking a moment to ensure that the way he responds to others is not harmful but supported by best intentions and thoughtfulness. His dedication to using his mindfulness and meditation practice in this way has led him to even secure space within the legislature to bring the practice of meditation to his bipartisan peers. He is holding space to create community and commonality.

Walke also shares how he has found mindfulness and meditation practice to serve his community. From offering programming in partnership with the Department of Human Services, working with schools and at-risk youth and working with the Mayor and local business community to hold a community-wide day of mindfulness, Walke is striving to bring peace and presence to his community one practice at a time. His dedication to this work led him to co-found AwakeOKC, a nonprofit that provides resources and access to mindfulness and mediation practices to the local Oklahoma City community.

His message to other leaders is to experience mediation and mindfulness practices and see how it works in your world. He feels as though it’s the batting cage practice for life that allows us to come “onto the field” more present and ready to honor what life brings our way.

To learn more about Representative Walke and his work, visit the AwakeOKC webpage.

Curious about mindfulness in local government?

Learn more about NLC University.

About the Author

Dana D’Orazio

About the Author

Dana D’Orazio is the Director of Leadership, Development & Continuing Education at the National League of Cities.