The truth is that nothing “out there” will ever give you freedom or happiness. That’s because you already have it — it’s your divine right to be happy as a perfect child of God. – Maria Felipe
Have you read A Course in Miracles (ACIM)? It’s a transcript of channeled teachings from Jesus (Yeah, He always likes to keep in touch!) …Love you, Jesus!
Now, it’s one thing to read a book and quite another to actually apply the lessons you learn from it. This is what Live Your Happy is all about – living the lessons from the Course – lessons derived from Maria Felipe’s personal experiences (her journey from being the first Latina boxing announcer, an actress and TV host, to becoming a minister, and everything else in between).
It’s also what Maria aims with Live Your Happy, that we too, learn to apply in our lives whatever we can get from the book. While it talks about Happiness, it cannot make us happy unless we do “the work.” She tells us, “You really have to want it!”
No worries, “the work” is not hard. In fact, as Maria relays ACIM, it only requires a “little willingness” from us. So don’t worry, be happy!
If you’re willing to live your happy, then let’s get ready to rumble!!!
Is There Something Else?
In the beginning, there was perfect happiness. Sometimes this state is referred to metaphorically as the Garden of Eden, but it’s really a state of mind that’s pure bliss. Ecstasy! No judgments, sadness, anger, or sickness existed… only love. Then arose a very silly thought: “Is there something else?”
The Garden of Eden is the garden of happiness, a state of mind where we only know love and nothing else. There, we experience “oneness” with God, or being in the Mind of God as Marie puts it.
Then a very silly thought (“forbidden fruit”) appeared in our mind, which we entertained (“ate”) and so we began asking: “Is there something else?”
To find out for ourselves, we decided to leave the garden, separate from God and kept playing this thought in our head, until it seemed to appear real.
What did we find? Fear, as in False Evidence Appearing Real.
Fear and other evidences of it (doubt, worry, sadness, and so on) become real only when we make them so.
Perfect happiness is our natural state, never really separate from God, but we forget that every time we think of something else and make it real.
The way to solve problems begins with understanding where they are not. Our problems are not “out there” in the world; they are in our mind. The simple fact is that we create all of our own experiences, and we can start creating better ones right now.
Extraordinary gifts can be hidden in events that appear to be hard or ugly. To look for a miracle means facing those dark places in yourself where you still need to heal.
“But Frederick, what about our problems? For God’s sake, they’re real!”
Nope, they are factual experiences. Your being broke is a fact. Your crush not liking your post on Facebook is a fact. Your sickness is a fact.
“Problem” is a label we put to those experiences. Labels are judgments that appear only in our mind.
Here’s where the miracle comes in. What if we shift our perception from seeing these experiences as “problem” into “opportunity” – Opportunity to return to God, to love, to happiness?
Marie says the key to live your happy is to be happy no matter the experience. It means being willing, choosing to recognize the “divine order” in even the most difficult challenges in life.
Next time your crush ignores you, see it as an opportunity to love yourself so you can heal.
Now go ahead and share this blog on Facebook… For your crush’s sake!
The Cuckoo Voice
Why do we choose the madness that is the ego? It’s simple:
– We believe it’s us.
– We don’t know how not to.
– Our minds are undisciplined.
The key to waking up is to understand the ego’s tricks — that is, the tricks we play on ourselves.
ACIM teaches us that the first step in undoing the ego (fear) is to recognize it’s there.
Maria calls it “the cuckoo voice,” and enumerates four ways the ego tricks us:
- The Shoulds. “Shoulda, woulda, coulda” is the ego’s favorite trick. Expectations we put on ourselves and others are huge barriers to living our happy.
- Obsession with the Past. The ego has its grip on us whenever we blame ourselves for our past mistakes. Guilt is its jailer.
- Focus on the Body. To reinforce the belief in separateness, the ego convinces us that we are our body so we forget that we are spiritual beings.
- Your Happiness is “Out There”. The ego’s motto is “seek but do not find.” It wants us to keep looking for happiness where it cannot be found.
The more we become familiar with these ego’s tricks, the less power it has over us. We learn to recognize the Voice for God (“Holy Spirit” in ACIM) that guides us to living our happy.
The Voice Within
The Holy Spirit will always meet you where you are. That’s because it’s always with you in the first place.
Now we turn to the Holy Spirit and Maria has four ways also on how we can tune in to the Voice Within:
- Try BIG Willingness. Happiness requires only a little willingness on our part. But if you can, go BIG so you open yourself up to more possibilities.
- Choose Peace. Marianne Williamson (author of A Return to Love, also based on ACIM) describes it best: Ego says, “Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.” Spirit says, “Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.”
- Stay Attuned to Signs and Symbols. The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways. Be aware of synchronicities (“coincidences”).
- Practice, Practice, Practice. In other words, meditate, meditate, meditate.
Feeling Your Feelings
Feeling your fear, worry, sadness, and other negative feelings with the same openness that you feel confidence or a good mood is the beginning of accepting all of yourself, and is a beautiful act of self-love.
There’s nothing wrong with experiencing “bad” feelings. Happiness is a state, feelings are experiences. Living your happy means allowing yourself to experience everything, knowing that feelings come and go, but Happiness stays.
It’s an act of self-love when you choose to accept all of yourself no matter the experiences you’re having.
The great news is that we’re never alone in our experience. Maria encourages us to turn over the “bad” feelings to the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit can use whatever experience as a tool to bring us back home – Happiness.
In the inspiring words of Maria, “Whatever life brings you is just enough to bring you home to yourself.”
You may think there are different types of love. A love for this and a love for that; a way of loving one person and a different way of loving another. You may think that you love your child more than your best friend, or your husband more than the store clerk. But Love is one. It has no degrees and can’t really be separated into different forms.
Breaking news! And this might sting you a little bit: There is no such thing as “special love”, something you can give to “someone special”.
Specialness is a thing of the ego. It’s just another tricky word for separateness. To treat someone “special” means you separate that someone from the rest. You treat someone “better.”
True Love is all inclusive. It does not judge. It does not compare. As the song title goes, “All is Fair in Love” (Thank you Stevie Wonder for helping us see clearly).
That Love is of God, which is in you and in everyone.
Maria shares a practice to recognize that love. Anytime we meet or notice anyone, we think to ourselves: “We share the same love.” We repeat this mantra whenever any person comes to mind, so we can remember that there is only one love.
The F Word
Don’t make the madness of the ego’s world real. Instead, let go of the false ideas that we are each separate, alone, and opposed to one another’s interests. Thinking that way, you will experience major sadness and conflict and end up feeling as if you are a victim. The truth is that you are not a victim, and there is nothing being done to you. This is just an illusion that you can learn to see differently by asking the Holy Spirit within for help. Your own inner resource will turn things miraculously around, and you will feel much joy.
True forgiveness is the BIGGEST lesson ACIM is teaching us. It says forgiveness is our only function.
Maria describes true forgiveness in several ways: change of perception from fear to love; being willing to see things another way; letting go of the past.
Then she emphasizes another element of true forgiveness: learning to forgive people for what they did NOT do.
What does she mean? True forgiveness means realizing that nothing was really done to hurt us. Because “nothing real can be threatened,” as ACIM primarily teaches us. Only the ego in us can be hurt.
Maria explains that whatever we think has been done wrong to us was an attempt to get back to love. It was a “call for love.” And if we want to live our happy, forgiveness is the way we respond to it.
The Holy Instant
When you are present, you are not regretting or missing the past or anticipating the future. In the happy present, you hear the Holy Spirit’s guidance and can actually experience eternity within a “holy instant.”
Maria references a lesson from ACIM about the “holy instant” where perfect love, perfect peace, and perfect happiness reside.
What, when, and where is that holy instant? It’s Right NOW. It’s our point of power, when we can choose to be the happiest possible. Happiness is a choice after all.
We can choose to be happy now no matter how seemingly unhappy our experience is. When we make that choice, we are shifting our perception even though the situation hasn’t changed yet.
Maria counsels us to stay present and not think about the past or the future. Right now, we really need do nothing but only let the Holy Spirit guide our decisions. We’ll be guided what to do. Then everything will happen with grace and ease.
When we allow God, we are allowing the best to happen.
New trust is the kind that will set you free from all your supposed problems. With new trust, you believe in love as your very essence, which means you identify with a different Self. There is no worry regardless of what’s happening around you because you place your trust in love to heal all your misperceptions. This trust brings you peace, love, and much joy!
First, what’s the old trust? It’s relying on your little self, the ego with limited perceptions. You trust yourself but you doubt the Universe.
New trust is the kind that comes with surrender. You trust that a Higher Intelligence is at work and you’re a part of it.
You see a friendly Universe and trust that everything is working out for your greater good.
New trust comes from knowing that you are not in control, so you get the “me” out of the way.
I loved the beautiful bow and arrow analogy Maria shares in the book. I imagined* the arrow to represent the pains, worries, and disappointments, pulled it close to my heart and then aimed upward to finally release them all.
* Let It Go plays in the background… 😀
The Happy Plan
The mind needs spiritual practice and discipline. As we learn consistent self-awareness and become free of conflict within our own thoughts, we can then wake up to our real purpose. As A Course in Miracles puts it: “My function and my happiness are one.” That’s what I mean by living your happy, and it’s not just for your sake, but for everyone.
Maria devises a five-step plan, called “The Happy Plan,” which can be set and practiced for two-months at a time.
Let’s set one for May and June:
- Set Intention: Awesomeness
- Write and repeat affirmations:
I am awesome.
I choose the awesomeness of God now.
I am getting better everyday.
- Make commitments
Start everyday with heartfelt gratitude
Be mindfully present with everyone
Take baby steps toward my dreams
- Stay open and willing
You can be action-specific here pertaining to your intention or goals
Here’s an excerpt from ACIM: “The end is certain, and the means as well. To this we say Amen.”
In her closing remarks, Maria says “Your happiness doesn’t come from the world; happiness is what you are.”
Happiness already exists within you. You only need to live it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rev. MARIA FELIPE, a Cuban American born in Miami, found success as a model and actress before following a spiritual path that led her to study A Course in Miracles. She became an ordained minister at Pathways of Light and now leads monthly services in both Spanish and English at Unity Church in Burbank, California.
Learn more at mariafelipe.org