“Tears are a gift from God. They express what words cannot.”
It’s always challenging describing in words the PSI Heroic Leadership Seminar, aka “Heroic”. Just trying to put the experience into words brings tears to my eyes right now. Difficult as it is, it’s important for me that I share my story.
Heroic Leadership Class XXIX – the unstoppable class shirks no storm
I took my Heroic Leadership Class XXIX (“Heroic”) back in October 2009, right after Ondoy struck Manila. My heart was torn apart because I had always, always wanted to take the Heroic seminar. But here I was in Baguio to attend the seminar when I knew so many people in Manila and other parts of the country needed help recovering from the floods.
The eagle flies high above the storm. The hero within knew there was a way to help out. In the evenings of the Heroic class, I would go online and help coordinate information for the relief operations. We all did our share. It was an honor to be of service to the country even while I was shaping the hero within.
My experience in Heroic XXIX was totally awesome! I distill it into three key discoveries: fear, my essence and One-ness.
Deepest darkest fear
First, in Heroic I discovered my deepest darkest fear. I am a confident person. I knew I could manage heights, I knew I could manage physical challenges. I also knew there was something deep within that I wanted to discover: my fundamental deepest darkest fear.
There was a facet of my self that had long been denied, kept deep down in the crevices of my personhood. And then it struck me during one powerful exercise. Like a thief in the night, my fear revealed itself to me in such a powerful way. It was undeniable and it was liberating coming face to face with my fear.
And I speak it now for it gives me power over this fear: I had a fear of being left behind.
It was scary at first, coming face to face with this fear. But ultimately, it was liberating. I began to understand in a deeper level many of the behaviors I’ve had since childhood, adolescence all the way to adulthood. Like a light bulb revealing the true story of the many crossroads in my life.
Liberating it is to come to terms with this fear, bringing it out in the open, having power over this fear. For this self-discovery, I thank Heroic.
Second, in Heroic I allowed myself to truly deeply discover the essence of the life I live. I, Edwin Ka Edong Soriano, am all about unconditional love.
At the very core of all things I enjoy the most – relationships, interactions, passions, achievements, events, activities, challenges and struggles – each and every thing that I enjoy the most, at its core is my unconditional love.
This, I realized, is why helping other people brings sheer joy for me. And it’s not anything about looking good or pleasing other people. It’s not that (it’s no longer that :-) ). I’ve stripped things to its essence and discovered that at the very core, it is my unconditional love for people that brings joy in what I do.
Again like a light bulb lit in my mind and heart, I now understand more deeply where my personal life purpose comes from: “Help more thus be more” is all about Edwin’s unconditional love.
Third is the discovery of one-ness.
In Heroic XXIX, I experienced most powerfully what I call One-ness.
One-ness is the connectedness of people with each other, with nature and with the whole universe. Much like in Avatar which describes the connectedness of people (“I see you”), connectedness with nature and with our God.
My experience in XXIX of One-ness was pure joy, love and energy. How 50+ individuals became one in purpose, one in focus, one in intention, one in One-ness. Pure bliss. Pure bliss it is!
I am more aware of One-ness now. I look back in my life and I see One-ness in many past and present experiences. I realize that my many experiences in joy were experiences of One-ness.
For instance, with the passing of Cory, I recognized in retrospect the One-ness that brought together the Filipino people, even though in mourning.
With Ondoy and Pepeng, despite disaster (even because of it), Filipinos were one as we each did our share to help our countrymen, most of it with unconditional love.
When Manny Pacquiao has a fight, my true joy is not really about his knock-out punches. My true joy is how Manny brings together as one (one room, one sala, one TV, one experience, one intention, one purpose) all the Filipinos in the world. My true joy is when, on the day of a Pacquiao bout, I can strike up a conversation with any tricycle driver or any CEO and know that we are one in understanding, one in intention. We connect, we are one.
For my discovery of One-ness, I thank Heroic.
Fear, my essence and One-ness. All these I discovered with the help of Heroic.
And “bhoy”, it doesn’t stop there! :-)
Help more, thus be more
Back in 2007 when I first heard Jed Quiambao declare that she was going to be staff director for XXX, I knew it was going to be a powerful class. And I wanted to be part of all that power, energy and love.
One evening in Cebu, with the energy of my class XXIX, I made a decision to staff the next class, Heroic Leadership Class XXX.
For four months since November 2009, the staff of Heroic XXX in Manila and Cebu prepared ourselves and prepared the class for one powerful Heroic experience.
Weekly meetings, orientations, interviews, seminar run-throughs, clarity of roles, clarity of purpose, agreements, some broken agreements, being honest open and trusting, being loving, forgiving, accepting, committed – all these and more is what it took to be part of the staff.
With each confirmed participant, the energy of the class grew stronger and stronger taking heed in the power that XXX would be. We were building a class of Eaglets, and the staff was there to help them take flight into being an Eagle.
Then the day came. March 1, 2010.
Forty-one Eaglets took a journey they will never ever forget.
And it was only the beginning.
Heroic Leadership Class XXX – Discover the Hero Within
I took the role of photographer for XXX. I wanted to capture the moments of the Eagles. I wanted them to bring home with them a powerful memento that will remind them of their self-discoveries in XXX.
And it was awesome, an honor really, to be one with the Eagles as they discovered their wings and took flight.
I was one with the Eagles when they came into the seminar with determination and a dash of anxiety. There was anticipation, excitement of self-discovery.
There were some walls, some very thick walls! There were walls torn down, stripped off from the limitations they represented.
There was a cleansing of selves, coming clean, coming to terms with our true selves. There was a lot of confrontation, just looking straight into the eyes of our own fear, denial, lack of trust, lack of acceptance, lack of determination. There was a lot of acceptance and telling ourselves “I’m done with all this baggage, I am moving forward.”
And what was left was “shining, shimmering, splendid!”
It was magnificent seeing the conversion from all the pain, guilt, frustration and turning it into acceptance, freedom and love. It was magnificent seeing the true beauty and radiance of people when they come to peace with themselves. It was like watching the re-birth of new beings, oh so pure, in His likeness, in pure love.
One experience after another, one activity after another, one day after another, one moment after another, the Hero within rose up and took flight.
The Eagles took flight with the lightness and understanding of a better way to live, a better way to love. All Eagles have their own better self, their own better way to live and love.
Such power! Such love! Oh how words are utterly insufficient.
With love, honor and respect for Heroic Eagles present and future, I thank the good Lord for this great blessing of discovering the hero within.