I usually don’t write to you during the week. But earlier this week, I learned that my beloved friend and teacher Reverend Maria Felipe just got engaged. Well, I just had to share this wonderful news with each of you!
If you have been following my posts for some time, you know that I love sharing stories that inspire, uplift and heal. Maria’s story is certainly all of that and more.
In my experience as a clinician and now as a coach, the reason that clients contact me for help is really just the tip of iceberg. Underneath the outward expression of pain or other illness in the body or the mind is always a grievance- some unresolved, unhealed issue between my client and others in their lives. This could be a husband, wife, partner or relationships with parents, siblings, children, co-workers and so on and so forth.
Lately, I seem to be working with more and more couples that are struggling with their relationship. Some are even negotiating a separation or divorce. I know that if we do not address this ‘grievance’ within their relationship, their outward experience of pain will not heal.
So how does Maria’s story fit in?
Well, let me first give you a little background.
Reverend Maria Felipe is Cuban-American, born in Miami, and had a very successful career in modeling and the entertainment industry with dozens of appearances in national commercials, hosting successful TV shows (including World Wrestling Federation shows), and traveling the world as a model.
After success in her professional field, she felt called inward, and studied to become a Reverend with Pathways of Light, an accredited religious school inspired by A Course in Miracles.
I had the opportunity to first meet Maria at a national conference in A Course in Miracles in April 2015 held in NYC. Despite all her outward success and external beauty, she shared how she still felt a deep sense of depression and unworthiness. She did not feel herself to be complete unless she was in relationship with a man. What I really loved about Maria was her honest sharing- of her painful experiences going through a divorce as well as other relationships.
In an interview last year, Maria shared with me how all her life events were perfectly orchestrated to lead her to dig deeper within herself for true happiness with the help of A Course in Miracles.
What is the purpose? What is this relationship for?
Maria’s story is a powerful demonstration of the teachings of A Course in Miracles. We are not asked to give up or renounce our relationships, and join some convent or monastery. Nor are we asked to suffer and sacrifice if a relationship is not in our highest good. Rather, we are asked to give our relationships a different purpose.
Usually, we enter relationships- especially romantic partner relationships- because we are looking for our partner to ‘fulfill’ our needs. We have not yet faced or healed our sense of unworthiness and loneliness. We want a partner to offset that feeling so we can then feel whole and complete. Something is lacking in us. Mr. Right or Miss Right can fill this lack and ‘complete’ us, and then we can live happily ever after. That is our dream, at least. And it seems to be prevalent in many if not all cultures throughout the world.
A Course in Miracles teaches that such relationships are based on our sense of ‘specialness’ – where we feel ‘different’ or ‘apart from the rest.’ We want a partner to cater to this sense of ‘specialness’ and treat us in a way that we feel ‘special’ so we can forget- at least for a time- that core deep sense of loneliness, separation and unworthiness. We even try to find a partner that matches our sense of ‘specialness’ – what we like, what we don’t like, a partner with a certain physical appearance, particular personality characteristics, hobbies, etc. etc. etc. And we aspire to create a private world together. Our relationship becomes a ‘special’ haven for us somehow- a place that promises us a sense of safety and security- away from the perceived ‘craziness’ of the world.
What happens in this process is that our focus becomes riveted on the external. Our ego mind convinces us that to feel whole, complete, worthy and ‘special’- we need to be in a relationship. There is no other way.
As if under a hypnotic spell, we forget that we are already the Love we seek. As Kabir, the 15th century mystic-poet from India teaches, we become like the fish swimming in an ocean of Love and Light, yet always feeling thirsty.
Always looking outside. Never looking within.
In what the Course calls a holy relationship, we enter with a different purpose. As the Sufi poet Rumi teaches, our task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers that we have built against it. So, as partners in a holy relationship, we enter knowing that we already have everything inside us. There is no lack. Yet we are brought together by a Higher Power that knows that we can be mighty companions to each other. We can assist and support each other to expose these barriers to the Presence of Love in a space that is safe- with love, gentleness, honest sharing and in a way that is also playful and fun. We are no longer each other’s goal. Yet we join together in a common goal of healing.
Read below as Maria shares about her experience:
(as a preface, where she uses the word ‘God’ – feel free to use Light or Love, or Higher Power or Inner Guide, if that feels more comfortable for you. Don’t let the words stop you from really hearing her powerful message
Special or Holy Relationship? Believing In Specialness
In fact, what we call the “ego” is actually a belief in specialness. When we forget that we are one with God – which means a state of inner security, stability, and happiness that far surpasses feeling special – then we won’t be able to feel love within, and we’ll settle for the ego’s substitutes instead. That’s when we need something or someone to make us feel special.
This is summed up well in one of the Pathways of Light courses called “Special Relationship vs. Holy Relationship” (practitioner course 905):
In truth, love in this world of bodies really means, “I want to be special, but I also feel alone, lacking and unworthy, which I can’t stand. Will you be my special partner and promise to keep your body around and help me feel special? This will help submerge my pangs of loneliness, lack, and unworthiness. I will get the specialness, acknowledgment, and attention I want so desperately. In return I will shower you with specialness. I will agree to give you special attention and shower you with my exclusive ‘love.’ Then through our allegiance in being special partners, we will avoid the side-effects of loneliness and guilt that our desire for specialness brings. We will be happy our own way, in our little world of specialness. We will be each other’s idols and replace the Love of God.”
When I read this I thought, “Dios mío, this is what I have been doing all my life!”
The relationship / engagement I’m about to embark on feels different. We are still bodies (of course) but we feel our journey is being orchestrated and run by something higher than ourselves.
We still have moments of doubts and separation in which the ego tries to get its way, but ultimately this relationship is powerful because it fosters healing. It fosters ‘shadow work’ and mutual shining of light on our wounds that we are here to heal/forgive on this planet.
Love & Light
Maria & Christian (fiancé)
You can read more about their engagement details as shared by Maria’s fiancé, Christian.
If you want to listen to Maria’s interview with me from April 2015, where she shares about her journey, click here.
Maria has also written her very first book called Live Your Happy and you can read more about this here.