Empowering Solutions: Lift Up Your Eyes; Enlarge Your Vision!
Have you ever felt weighed down in an emotionally draining situation – as if someone had thrown a heavy, wet, cape around your shoulders; as if the effort of having to drag it around drained you of energy for anything else? Especially anything inspirational, like creative writing.
Of course you have! Most of us have at some time or other.
EMOTIONALLY DRAINING: A CREATIVE VACCUUM
I’m not talking about the wild turbulence of anger, disappointment, or self-pity, but of an unidentifiable load. Something you can’t quite put your finger on; something emotionally draining.
Quite literally, you become downcast as your shoulders slump, your head drops forwards, and your eyes are lowered. You can’t look anyone in the eye. You fail to see what’s going on around you. You retreat into an inner world in which there is a dark emotional emptiness. A creative void.
I felt myself burdened in this way last week when I left my daughter’s home, after an eight day visit. That’s natural, you might think, given that she lives a seven hour journey away and I don’t see her that often. But it was more than that, and I knew it. I was leaving her with a situation which even the strongest-minded among us would find hard.
WHEN ABUNDANT LIFE ELUDES YOU . . .
It isn’t always easy to identify the reasons for the sort of malaise I was suffering but, eventually, I put it down to sadness. In these days of hyperbole, sadness is not a high impact word. Where cancer is emotive, arthritis is not. Yet the latter can be persistent and debilitating. It’s the same with sadness. Quite simply, there isn’t another word for it. And though it won’t kill you, it can kill your joy and purpose in life. It’s as if the marrow has been sucked out of your bones, leaving you empty and formless.
ENLARGE YOUR VISION - LIFT UP YOUR EYES!
I am not a believer in the law of attraction. Statements like: ‘When you ask the universe for divine guidance it can be challenging to trust what comes to fruition’, leave me cold. But give me a quote like, ‘I lift up my eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help,’ and I can make sense of that.
We had passed through some of the most majestic scenery in the British Isles to reach my daughter’s home on the Llyn Peninsula. Gold-spangled fields of buttercups; the riotous beauty of wild rhododendrons; soaring mountain peaks, crested with billowing clouds. Downcast and tear-filled, I had failed to notice them on the way back.
Until we pulled into a lay-by beside a river to use the stone-built toilet facilities! I stayed in the car whilst my other half beat a hasty retreat. Suddenly, I became aware of music filling the air. To begin with I knew only that I recognised both words and melody, but was unable to name the song. Something told me that if I did nothing this moment would fade. I hesitated. Then I got out of the car and walked over to the source of the sound.
“What a glorious song,” I said through the open door of a neighbouring vehicle.
“Isn’t it!” the woman seated in the passenger seat replied. “My daughter and I –” she indicated a young woman in the back of the car, “- are learning it for the choir we’ve just joined.”
FROM WHENCE COMETH MY HELP
She turned up the sound, we chatted some more, and I parted company with her in an entirely different frame of mind. But what, I wondered, if I had not ‘lifted up my eyes’? If I’d stayed in the car; if I’d allowed my melancholy to wrap itself around me in a stifling embrace which, ultimately, might have become inescapable?
God’s was the first move: in inspiring the writing of the music I’d heard, and in sending that woman to the lay-by at exactly the moment I’d needed to hear it. He knew my need and provided the means to help me. But God’s first move requires a response if we’re to benefit from the help he provides. To enlarge your vision you need, first, to lift up your eyes!
YOU RAISE ME UP
The song was You Raise Me Up*, sung by Josh Groban (the version here is with Lee Mead because I like the harmony of the two male voices). The lyrics speak of being sad, my soul so weary; of how troubles come and burden me; of sitting in the silence, until you come and sit a while with me. And then comes the refrain: You raise me up so I can stand on mountains; you raise me up to walk on stormy seas; I am strong when I am on your shoulders; you raise me up to more than I can be.
We continued our eight hour journey home physically and emotionally on mountain tops. The view from there compels you to lift up your eyes, to see the beauty that abounds in the universe. But the universe is a created entity. It can lift our spirits by what it has to offer, but what it has to offer is only a metaphor for the one who created it.
It is the creator who raises us up; who enables us to put the storms beneath our feet; who gives us the strength to carry on, regardless; and who has promised that he will complete the work that he has begun in us, and in doing so will make us, like him, creators of something of value. Truly, when he has raised us, we may stand on mountains and walk on stormy seas.
Are you drained of energy - for writing, or any other creative pursuit? Ask him to supply it for you. Now! I will lift up my eyes to the hills lyrics – Bebo Norman.
* You Raise Me Up: © Lyrics: Brendan Graham
Author of a number of books, one a Sunday Times No 4 Bestseller, Mel Menzies is also an experienced Speaker at live events, as well as on Radio and TV. Book her here for your event.
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