Awakening the Soul of Power: How to Live Heroically and Set Yourself Free
Christian de la Huerta
Soulful Hero Media (2020)
With 30 years of experience, Christian de la Huerta is a sought-after spiritual teacher, personal transformation coach and leading voice in the breathwork community. An award-winning author, Christian is a sought-after speaker whose unique self- development programs have been experienced across the world in university lecture halls, retreat centers, corporate boardrooms and houses of worship. His role can be described in a variety of ways: retreat facilitator, relationships expert, spiritual coach, leadership consultant and beyond. While his dedication manifests in a variety of ways for a diverse audience, all of Christian’s work shares a common result: profound personal transformation.
Christian is the creator and teacher of several self-development programs designed to help people get free and step into their authentic power in order to enjoy lives of meaning and purpose and relationships that work. His mission is to help catalyze a revolution of consciousness for the sake of humanity’s evolution.
His award-winning book, Coming Out Spiritually, was chosen by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the 10 best religion books of its year. The book was widely regarded critically and is considered a defining, trend-setting accomplishment in its field. Christian is an acclaimed speaker at various settings—including the TedX stage. He projects a compelling, authentic and warm presence when speaking in front of groups, large and small. He speaks from experience and walks his talk, and audiences feel that—and find his message particularly relevant in these times. Over the years, he has established himself as a respected leader in the field of spirituality. His retreats, workshops and other events are known for their life-changing effect and for their inspiring and transformative exploration of our innate human potential.
Graduating with honors from Tulane University, Christian obtained a degree in psychology. After working in the marketing and professional relations departments for several psychiatric and addictions hospitals in Miami, he walked away from his comfortable life to embark on a profound and challenging spiritual journey. Following a 20-year period in the San Francisco Bay Area, he again calls South Florida home, providentially finding his way back to Coconut Grove, his favorite Miami neighborhood.
More about his work may be found at www.soulfulpower.com.
Hi Christian, welcome to Reader Views! What is Awakening the Soul of Power about?
Thank you! The book is about how to empower ourselves, live heroically and set ourselves free. Most of us have an ambivalent relationship to power. We want it but are afraid of it; we fear we might abuse it. We’ve been conditioned to think power is a bad thing: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” And what good-hearted person wants to be corrupted? What they forgot to tell us, though, is that Lord Acton’s quote about power referred specifically to political power, not interpersonal power. Combine that with the fact that we have also been conditioned to fear the emotions and avoid conflict or confrontation, and no wonder we sell out on our power. We end up saying yes when inside we feel hell, no! We stuff ourselves into small boxes and swallow our beliefs, our preferences, our desires and our dreams, and sell out for the illusion of security, a false sense of acceptance, and morsels of pseudo-love.
What inspired you to write this book?
I could answer that in several ways. I actually heard the words—the soul of power—audibly, during meditation. That has only happened three times in my life. I got up, got the URL and forgot about it. A month later, I heard back from a literary agent in NY about a book proposal I’d sent to her on a different subject. Basically, she said, I want to work with you but want to see some of these marketing ideas implemented before we pitch any publishers, something that would have taken me another year to do! Her response sent me into crisis mode for a few days: what would I write about if I weren’t writing with an advance in mind? Eventually it dawned on me: if I really do believe the empowerment of women is the single most important thing that needs to happen in the world, what am I doing about that specifically, directly? Women’s empowerment…The soul of power…How do we step into power in a different way? A type of power that is not patriarchal, hierarchical, about fear, force or domination or that requires that I push someone down or step on them, knee to the neck, in order to prop myself up and feel powerful? It was one of those palms to the forehead, how could I not have seen that moments.
So, who are the heroes of the 21st Century?
The book is part of a three-part series titled Calling All Heroes. What does it mean to live heroically in the 21st century when we don’t have a horse hitched outside, an armor, and demons to slay, except the ones inside our heads? The pandemic has already forced us to expand how we look at heroism. We used to think only of warriors or first-responders, people who place their lives at risk for the sake of another or a cause. Now we include healthcare practitioners and even grocery store clerks and delivery people. What about the rest of us, though? The book outlines ways of living that are nothing short of heroic, and to which everyone of us has access. The times in which we live are sure calling out for heroes. All hands on deck!
Who is your book for – who is your intended audience?
It’s for everyone, and it has a particular message about women’s empowerment, stemming from my belief that that is the single most important thing that needs to happen in the world. To that we can connect all the other issues that we face as a species. When women are in 50% of power in the world, we’ll have a very different relationship to war, hunger, social justice, wealth distribution, healthcare, and how we treat the environment. This is not to idealize women or put them up on a pedestal; women are also capable of abusing power. But the world has been running off balance, off kilter, for way too long now. By the way, I also include a chapter about what it means to be a man in the 21st century, because as women step more and more into their power, men are also having to reassess their roles. The truth is that the patriarchal system of power over and stereotypical, cartoonish ways of what it means to be a man does not work for men either. No wonder men commit suicide at four times the rate as women in the U.S. Women outlive men by five years in this country and seven worldwide. Masculinity needs an upgrade!
Can you describe some of the many faces of power and how we often, sometimes unwillingly or unknowingly, give it away?
One of the ways to reconcile our ambivalent relationship to power is to understand the differences between different types. Most of us tend to associate power with money, fame, social status, placement on some hierarchy, such as the corporate ladder or a religious institution. All those things are external to us and thus fickle, here today gone tomorrow. The other kind of power—what I call spiritual power or soulful power—is inside each one of us. No one can give it or take it away from us. Only we can give it away, in the many ways we settle for less in order to avoid conflict or perceived rejection. Worldly or egoic power is self-aggrandizing and always has an agenda. The other kind is selfless and humble; it has nothing to prove to anyone. It simply is…and it is powerful. With his principles of nonviolence and satyagraha (soul force, or soulful power, if you would), Gandhi brought the British Empire to its knees without shooting a gun or landing a punch. Talk about power!
What is the first step in recognizing our inner hero and taking our power back?
Understanding the differences about power and realizing that there are ways of expressing that are a match for who we are, that we don’t have to abuse it. Understanding the ego mind and how it keeps us in a self-made prison of fear, doubt, limitation, defensiveness and reactivity. Realizing that we cannot do much about the curve balls life throws our way, but we can always choose how we’ll show up in response, no matter what. As long as we are holding someone or something outside of us responsible for our state of being, we just gave our power away. Again.
How can one override their fears in order to allow for a growth mindset?
One step at a time. Here’s a personal example. I was terrified of public speaking, to the degree that I subconsciously sabotaged my 4.0 GPA in high school so that I wouldn’t have to give the valedictory speech. I just wasn’t anywhere close to being ready to speak to an auditorium filled with hundreds of people. Yet I also had a sense of mission and knew I had to get over that fear if I was going to fulfill it. After college I signed up for a public speaking course, which I detested! Every Thursday for 14 weeks I had to get up and give three 2-min speeches. Come Monday, I was already losing sleep about it. But what happened? Midpoint it stopped being such a big deal. So, consistent small steps beyond our comfort zone will help propel us beyond previous limitations. We think fearlessness means we no longer feel fear. Actually, it means that we no longer allow fear to hold us back.
People are often harder on themselves than other people. Why is that? How can we stop being so hard on ourselves?
The ego mind is the inner judge, which is incredibly cruel and has something to say about everyone and everything every moment of the day. And worst of all ourselves! The things we tell ourselves we would never say to anyone else! So just cut it out! Stop it. Some of that is just habitual behavior, stuff we took on as truth when we were too young to know any better. We misheard or misinterpreted something and personalized it. Maybe our parents got divorced and to that young mind that didn’t know any better, it was our fault. How could daddy leave me? Doesn’t he love me? What’s wrong with me? When the truth is that it had nothing to do with us. Who knows what was going on with him and in their relationship at the time? Or about our parents’ family history or mental state or biochemical imbalances or simply, their own fears and behavior patterns. Those young minds that didn’t know any better instead made it about us, and that misunderstanding that there is something wrong with us has gotten in the way of every one of our relationships since then. Understanding makes room for compassion, which makes forgiveness possible. Freedom follows.
What part does the ego play in pushing down our inner hero?
As I write in the book, the ego is the villain in the Hero’s Journey. And it’s really important that we understand how it works because it’s tricky and insidious. There’s a lot to say about that but for now, this image helps: place a baseball in the center of a stadium, that’s the ego. Who we are is the freakin’ stadium! And we’ve allowed this tiny part of who we are to run the show and make significant life choices from its very limited and always fear-based perspective. The ego is what gets us in trouble in relationships and the source of our suffering. If we want to have relationships that work, a sense of personal empowerment and a life filled with meaning and purpose, we have to understand this part of us so that we can transcend it.
Does Awakening the Soul of Power provide specific steps to follow? How do you recommend one read your book to get the most out of the content?
I designed the book with that in mind by keeping the chapters short and making it interactive, with practices at the end of each chapter to help integrate the teachings and apply them to one’s life. So that’s what I’d recommend, taking one’s time and doing the practices of self-observation, maybe keeping a journal especially for this process, so that the subconscious triggers and behavior patterns can be revealed and then transcended.
There are a lot of books on the market about personal empowerment and growth. How does Awakening the Soul of Power stand out from the crowd?
I think what makes it unique is the way it explains the ego mind in a simple, practical and visual way. And it walks the reader by the hand, step by step, toward deeper understanding of self and our relationship to power so that we can transform that relationship and finds ways of expressing our power and unique human potential.
What kind of feedback have you received on your book so far?
I’m deeply humbled by the endorsements the book has gotten from other authors and in particular by the words from music icon Gloria Estefan, who called it “a balm for the soul of anyone searching for truth and answers to life’s difficult questions.” I’m still blown away by that!
Can you share any success stories?
Wow, after 30 years of leading personal transformation retreats, I have countless stories about how these teachings impact our relationships in empowering ways. People who have stopped self-sabotaging or settling for relationships or situations that were not a real match, because of their own feelings of insecurity or lack of self-worth. People who found themselves and removed subconscious behavior patterns that had them stuck in repetitive and unhealthy relationships patterns that sometimes felt like the same boring play, but with a different actor. People who discovered their purpose and managed to no longer give away their power to their fear and were able to find fulfillment. People who healed major traumas from their pasts and transcended it. Heroic stuff, all of it, the willingness to go within and do their work and face their inner demons. Their reward? Freedom. And the kind of lives and relationships they dreamed of.
Awakening the Soul of Power is the first book in your three-book series, Calling All Heroes. What can we expect from the other two books and do you have a timeframe in mind to release them?
The second book is about relationships, the area where most of us tend to give away our power. How do we approach relationships consciously? How do we attract and nurture relationships that work? How do we identify and remove in ourselves subconscious obstacles to love? I’m about halfway through with that one and had originally thought to publish it this fall. Now that I see that the promotion process for this first one is taking longer in these times of a pandemic, I’m wondering whether Valentine’s Day 2022 may be a better idea. The third book is on life purpose and leadership.
How can readers deepen their experience after reading your book?
I would recommend joining my Facebook Group, Unleash Your Inner Hero, (https://www.facebook.com/groups/290440885360555/) where they will find others of like-mind and a place of support for the heroic journey of transformation.
What is the single-most important piece of advice you would give to someone seeking their inner hero?
Go within. Get to know yourself and why you do the things you do. Understand the unconscious patterns of behavior and self-sabotage so that you stop doing a number on yourself and so that your relationships can have a chance of succeeding. Step into your power and express your unique human potential fully. If you don’t, no one else will. Know that you’re not alone and will be supported on your journey of personal empowerment. I guess that was more than one but it’s all related and interconnected! Oh, and use your breath!
Christian, thank you so much for joining us today at Reader Views and sharing a bit about your work!