Conscious Reframing: An Empowering Twist in the “What If” Game

Tree of Truth by Hartwig HKD via Flickr

Tree of Truth by Hartwig HKD is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Usually when we play the “what if” game, we let our thoughts drift towards the negative side of life as our egos create myriad stories about all of the bad things that could happen due to a given situation, circumstance or experience. If we play this game long enough, we can work ourselves into a tizzy of fear, doubt, and worry, and get stuck in a downward spiral of negativity that becomes difficult to climb out of.

I had my own turn with the traditional what if game last week as I began to experience some of the same symptoms that ultimately landed me in the hospital last fall. I immediately went into fear as I spun tales of what this could mean for me and my well-being. I had a pity party for one. After all, I had been eating well, nourishing my body with really nutritious foods and layering in supplements that further supported bringing my body back into balance. Despite this, I was experiencing what could be a relapse. I had been doing the work – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually – to clear out the root causes of what had manifested in my body. And clearly it wasn’t enough.

What was I doing wrong? What if this landed me in the hospital again? What if all of the negative possibilities that the doctors had previously discussed with me were coming to pass? What if I had to live this way for the rest of my life? Why was this happening to me again? What was I holding in consciousness that I created this this in my experience? Yes, this was a doozy! And it went on for two days. I wallowed, I cried, I got mad at God, I got mad at myself for allowing it to happen. Not pretty, and being with those not so pleasant emotions rather than avoiding or denying them (because it’s not “spiritual” to feel that way) allowed me to get them out of my system.

By day 3, I was ready to look at things differently, perhaps because I had moved through what I needed to move through. I reminded myself of my belief that the entirety of creation is conspiring for my good. At all times. If that was true, then even these symptoms were somehow here for my good. Thus I began a conscious reframing of the experience and played the what if game with a different set of rules. Instead of imagining the worst, what if I imagined the best possible outcome? What if I pondered all of the ways that this might actually be a positive rather than a negative?

What if, instead of being a bad thing, it was really a great thing? What if, just like with a cleanse, this was my body’s way of finally releasing any old, accumulated toxins once and for all, and I was just experiencing a Herxheimer-like reaction? What if this had come to pass instead of coming to stay? What if what appears to be a relapse is actually a final release of all that is no longer serving me, and it’s just showing up now because I am in a place – physically, emotionally and spiritually – where I can handle it? What if now is actually the perfect time? What if this is actually serving me in ways that I cannot even begin to fathom in this moment? What if?

I initially spent about an hour thinking through all of the ways this might be a positive, mostly because this shift in thinking felt so good after two days of being stuck in a morass of negativity. Throughout the rest of the day, I continued working to keep this focus. To be honest, I wasn’t always 100% successful in every moment; though for the most part, I was. As I began opening my awareness to these possibilities, as I began a conscious reframing of my brain chatter to more constructive thoughts, my energy shifted from fear and worry to hope, and energetically I started to feel better. By the next morning, the physical symptoms I was experiencing started to improve a bit. The day after that, I noticed an even bigger improvement. Energetically it felt like the clouds had parted and the sun was warming every cell of my body; physically I experienced a continued improvement.

While I’m not back to normal just yet, I feel like I’m moving in the right direction. I’m continuing to play my new what if game, to look at my experience through a new lens, to reframe my story in more positive, empowering ways. And I’m feeling the difference that shift is creating. I like this new version of the game much, much better.

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