The Rev. Maria Felipe once lived in constant fear.
She felt miserable, insecure and unworthy. She worried her boyfriend was cheating on her. She worried she wouldn’t nab her next paying gig. She worried her carefully constructed public image would unravel.
Today, she realizes her ego influenced her thoughts, clouded her decisions and guided her actions. It was difficult to cut through this clutter; on the surface, she had a life many might envy.
“I was in magazines, runway shows, TV shows and national commercials. I was the first Latina boxing announcer,” writes Felipe. “Later, working for … World Wrestling Entertainment, I interviewed competitors live in front of an audience of 20,000 people.
“That might sound really exciting. In fact, it was horrifying. … All I could think was: Can I do this? Am I good enough? Will the people like me? Will I get the contract to host the rest of the shows?”
Felipe documents this time and her turning point in her book “Live Your Happy: Get Out of Your Own Way and Find the Love Within.” The brief volume is divided into nine chapters, from “You Are Not Bad and You Are Not Going to Hell” to “You Are Fearless.”
“This book is a simple but not necessarily easy guide to learning to live your happy,” Felipe writes. “I ask that you trust me and be gentle with yourself. Step by step, I will train you to listen to your right mind. In turn, you will be free to live in happiness consistently.”
She recalls bargaining with herself, “living like a puppet run by my own ego.” She told herself she’d be happy when she booked certain jobs, won awards, got married, had kids.
“All my unsolvable problems determined my reality, and every problem was a big deal,” she explains. “The harder I looked for love, the farther I got away from it.”
Her quest for a more meaningful life led her to “A Course in Miracles.” She first attended an introductory course in Miami, her hometown.
“I wasn’t quite prepared for what the teacher said: We are wholly responsible for our experiences; we are not victims of anyone or anything; only love is real and all else is illusion,” she writes. “I just wasn’t ready to buy that.”
Intense study of ACIM changed her mind. Felipe now credits the book and its teachings with changing her life.
Felipe went on to earn a ministerial certificate from Pathways of Light, an ACIM school. She now leads monthly services in Spanish and English at Unity Church in Burbank, Calif. She also teaches ACIM principles to parishioners at her church and private clients.
“Seeking and finding all the barriers we’ve built against love is not fun,” she writes. “We have to face feelings of sadness, abandonment, fear and loss and take responsibility for them all. I will be your spiritual coach, but you will need to do the work. … Declare now: I am willing. And then let’s do this!”
“Live Your Happy” is available at most major booksellers. For more information on Felipe and the book, go to MariaFelipe.org.