My dear friend of thirty years, Bob Beale, died a few days ago. Some of you knew him as one of the early ACIM supporters, some of you knew of him as an amazing business consultant and author, and many of my close friends knew of him from me–because I spoke so often of his wise counsel. He was my mentor, my spiritual teacher, and beloved friend. He will be missed by his loving wife, son, and family, but also by many of us who were blessed with his friendship.
My heart is heavy as I write this, but I believe some of his wisdom could be helpful at the start of this New Year. Bob has guided me in the most difficult circumstances of my last thirty years. There were many times when I did not know how I was going to get through a crisis or a complicated situation. Here are just some of the lessons I learned from Bob:
1. When anxiety and panic start to take over–stop, breathe, and become present.
When allowed, the ego will try to overwhelm us with horrifying stories that predict dreadful scenarios. These fears conjured up by the ego are not helpful and will increase the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness in a crisis. We can only deal effectively with each moment as it arises, if we are present and calm.
When my son broke his neck (C-2 vertebrae), he was in a precarious situation. It was a miracle he was not a quadriplegic due to the location and severity of the break. It was pure torture for me, sitting in hospital waiting rooms for days, while the surgeons decided whether to perform surgery or to drill a halo into his head. I had trouble even being supportive of my son because every time I looked at him, flat on his back, neck braced, and unable to move, I cried. Bob’s words soothed my fractured state of mind and helped me identify the “tormentor”— another term we coined for the ego.
2. Allow others to help you when you are in need.
It is false pride to not allow the others the gift of helping you. He pointed out that we all feel good when we can help others, and we should not allow our ego to deprive family and friends of their desire to give us help and feel good.
During the time I was dealing with my son’s situation in Spokane, I was staying with my sisters. I needed emotional support and actual physical assistance in many things that needed to be done. My daughter, sisters, and brother took on so many things that needed to be handled, because they knew I was not thinking too clearly. But I feared I was being a burden to them and even felt guilty. Bob helped me see that they wanted to help and to graciously accept it. Many friends from all over helped that year and I am still so grateful. My son was able to heal without surgery—another miracle.
3. Trust in your own inner guidance and spiritual connection to the Divine.
Bob was a man of incredible faith and spiritual wisdom. He was flown in from Denver as our consultant for the CPA firm where I was the marketing director. He led retreats and did one-on-one coaching for the partners and me. When he and I discovered that we were both students of A Course in Miracles, we developed a bond. His association with the early ACIM team and his long-term dedication to the philosophy was incredibly helpful for me. His faith in a divine guidance from God fortified my own trust in the Infinite. He helped me to open and rely on my own intuitive insights and personal guidance I received.
4. Give up feeling responsible for others who must face their own consequences and journeys in life.
Bob has been my lifeline in many situations in which I was holding disguised guilt or hidden beliefs that were draining my own energy and peace of mind. Years ago, I was in a relationship with a man that lived with me and I knew it had run its course. And yet, it took me a year to finally ask him to move out because I was afraid of what would happen to him. Although he finally left at my request, months later I was still worrying how he was doing. Bob helped remind me that he was a grown man and would take care of himself. It was a waste of my energy and I was not responsible for him! It was such a relief to let go of that unnecessary burden.
I also realized that this is true of our adult children. They have their own life lessons and journeys which are their choices. It is hard to let go sometimes but that is our mission. As The Prophet says about our children, “They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.”
5. Have the courage to look first within before casting blame.
Being personally responsible for our own circumstances is essential to our integrity but is sometimes hard to do. When a conflict arises with a co-worker, a family member, a partner/spouse, it is so easy to blame and project the problem onto the other—sometimes even making them the enemy. Being upset with someone else—when you feel the fight-or-flight reaction—is the very moment to look within and then to be willing to communicate openly, honestly, and with the goal of reconciliation.
I was in a conflict with someone I cared about and was feeling very self-righteous. With Bob’s guidance I was able to take down my ego’s wall of defense and see that I was blaming the other person for a situation and making them wrong. I was able to see the drama I was creating and say I was sorry. I have continued this practice of first looking within for years. When I choose the path of personal reflection and responsibility, even when it is difficult, I am the beneficiary.
6. Do not let the opinions of others limit your belief in yourself.
Sometimes we are looking for validation from others and without it, we lose our confidence. I realized that I sometimes gave credence to the unexamined beliefs of others and began unconsciously limiting myself. I had some people in my life who did not understand the work I was doing or actually value me. I was letting the opinions of others get in the way of my own mission and passions. I felt doubt creep in, and I started to lose confidence in my own work! It was not easy, but Bob helped me honor myself and let go of relationships that were not supportive or were energy-draining. We all have the freedom to express ourselves, but sometimes we give it away in our own need to be validated.
7. See the joy and even the humor in the drama of life. Do not take ourselves too seriously.
A Course in Miracles says the world will end in laughter. Bob helped me to see that some situations were darn right funny when observed from a higher perspective. We believe we are here to become restored to our true selves, our inner greatness. But sometimes the path is pretty bumpy. When we can see the antics of the ego, trying so hard to be an identity, somebody who is worthy of attention—often through the attainment of things, cars, houses, fame, money, power, and even other people– we will start to see the humor in real life drama. Who needs Netflix when life itself is a melodrama?
Bob shared many other lessons which I will probably write about at a later date. I will be ever grateful for having his friendship and guidance. I believe he will now provide spiritual guidance for many of us from his angelic state. R.I.P., Bob. We will miss you.