i know that “cognitive reframing” is a psychological concept, and one that is based in the attempt to change one’s mind- one’s perspective. but, apart from its pure psychological elements, and the physiological changes that occur in the brain as a result from these psychological endeavors, i believe that the concept of “reframing” is also an artistic one. the act of “cognitive reframing” is truly a creative act – one that requires the mind and the soul. it requires intention. it requires great emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual effort and energy. it is not the initial or most natural act or thought. what initially fills the frame is not necessarily a creative act. the contents of the initial frame materializes naturally and without effort. it is a “gut reaction,” so to speak. it is the response to a situation that is as natural as breathing. but the reframing of that content or circumstance is most certainly a creative act. to reframe does not alter the content or situation, but the perception, or even the configuration of that content. reframing is not the initial iteration – it is the re-iteration. it is not the imagination, it is re-imagination. not the frame, but the re-frame.
to reframe is to open the eyes anew to the situation in such a way that is beneficial, life-giving, nurturing. to reiterate the mind’s thoughts in such a way that is encouraging and even eloquent. even though the content or situation may be ugly, inarticulate, or even uncomfortable, the creative act of reframing allows for the ugly to be seen as lovely – for the “beauty to rise from ashes.” reframing even allows for the admission of new content. it brings in things from the margins, and makes them a focal point. and honestly, sometimes the things in the margin are uncomfortable, and scary – they are, after all, not what our minds naturally gravitate towards. but these margins are brought near, as the frame is re-construed, new things enter into the frame, new constructs into the perspective. and change in perspective can also change the interpretation and thus meaning and mental/emotional effect of the content.
reframing is a creative act. it is the art of the mind and spirit. and it requires commitment and the energy of the will. as believers, are we not also called to live in a world that has been reframed? we are redeemed into a reframed and recreated realm. as i have discussed previously on this blog, to follow Christ is to live a paradox. it is to live life in pursuit of seeing things from the perspective of our Father. we must live, while being called to die. in Christ’s kingdom, the first are the last. the least of these is the greatest. we are children of the King of Kings, and called to be servants of all. we occupy time and are bound to these physical bodies, yet our spirit lives, moves and breathes in eternal life. we were not made to be bound to this world. we ought to embrace the longing for that which is entirely “other” than this world. we should search out the things that cannot be seen and reach for the things that cannot be touched. we must run hard after the kingdom – run hard after a world that has been reframed in light of the Gospel.
to live in such a way is to reframe life entirely. it is to be changed so that my perspective of right now – in all its beautiful mess – is reframed in light of what lies beyond the veil of this world. redeemed by Christ, the substance, content, focus, and passion of life are reframed. in the Garden of Eden, humanity was iterated, in perfection and complete union with the Father. sin resulted in union with the Father being entirely askew. the initial perfection that man knew in the Garden of Eden is reiterated in the washing of myself in the blood of the Lamb – in being clothed in His righteousness – hidden in Him. my spirit is regenerated to the ultimate Reality. i myself am reframed. and not just reframed, but entirely recreated in Christ. and i am called and equipped by the Artist of my soul to reframe – in light of His glory, love, and grace.
i have waaaaay more things that i think and want to say about this, since “cognitive reframing” is something that has been at the fore-front of my life these past few months. it is something that has, paradoxically, both drained and reinvigorated me. it has not only demanded the mental fortitude of seeing something differently, but the mental and emotional endurance and energy to take what my brain and heart create, and recreate it. this post has gotten quite long, so i think that i will leave it at this for now.
and because i think that this is a funny, albeit simplistic, example of “reframing,” here you go.
why yes. bee vomit can in fact be “reframed” as honey. scrumptious! 🙂