Are You Stuck in Groundhog Day?
The year was 1993. The movie, for me, would have been long forgotten if not for an annual reminder.
February 2nd every year is Groundhog Day.
The annual “holiday” in early February that started long before Super Bowl Sunday, provides a farcical distraction from what everyone in the northern hemisphere is feeling: desperate for spring.
Entertaining, amusing and annoying, as Bill Murray movies generally are, Groundhog Day was only moderately successful when it was released. Since then it has become one of those Hollywood classics that’s taken decades to be understood.
As the story goes, TV weatherman Phil Connor (Bill Murray) finds himself, once again with the assignment of reporting on the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, PA. As if one day wasn’t enough, Phil finds himself stuck in a time loop that repeats the same day over and over and over again.
Murray, a master of facial expression, clearly reflects back to us in this role, the monotony of a life of repetition, habit and apathy. Phil plods disinterestedly through the same day of predictable conversations, mishaps and negativity. Repeatedly, as though the day had never happened before.
The predictability in a future exactly same as the past becomes more than hedonistic Phil can endure. He plots multiple suicidal options, and fails in his only attempt to escape the boredom. Phil hit rock bottom.
Saved from himself, he realized the only way out was up. He would need to change.
Freeing yourself from monotony
“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” ~ Paulo Coehlo, The Alchemist
In a trial and error fashion, Phil clumsily navigated becoming a likeable person — a person more like someone he admired; TV news producer Rita (Andie McDowell).
Following her example, he shifted his focus from his life of pain to a life of giving. And in taking his attention off himself he began connecting with life outside himself.
He re-framed the repeating Groundhog Day experience. And in so doing, Phil set the people he interacted with during groundhog day free from the monotony of living the same day repeatedly and indefinitely.
As Phil’s heart opened his energy expanded, and he connected with people in new ways.
And he got the girl. He and Rita fell in love.
What does it all mean
Years later, for me, this movie has become a brilliant metaphor providing valuable insight into the miracle of the human mind.
There is well-documented, scientific proof that our thoughts have energy. They create our reality.
As Phil’s desire to change became stronger than his negative thoughts about his current predicament, his vibration changed. The energy of his thoughts produced a different outcome.
Phil was no longer an equal vibration to repeating groundhog’s day another time. It no longer fit.
What did fit for Phil was the energy of connection, of kindness, of love for others, of living outside of the confines of the self. And life reflected back to him where his energy was placed.
What he received was equal to what he offered.
It’s really as simple as that
Once you know something, you can’t not know it any more. Stepping back into that groundhog’s day would never be available to Phil again. He was no longer an energetic match to it.
To be sure, there could be other facets of that experience that might challenge Phil in the future. But the same experience? Nope.
Was Phil a different person? Nope.
Phil was still Phil. He looked the same. He sounded the same. Still sarcastic and somewhat self-centered.
Still flawed. Like we all are. Forever.
What you resist persists
When Phil stopped fighting the reality of groundhog’s day, its energy weakened, allowing him to connect to something greater…possibility.
Possibility opens us up to potential. Even unlimited potential.
It’s an opportunity to surrender to what is waiting for us; a higher version of ourselves. It’s a call to connect with our heart as freely as we operate from our head.
Phil’s decision to choose a different path was a reflection of his heart’s desire.
Yes, aspects of life might always feel like we’re stuck in groundhog day. Daily routines and commitments are the reality of the world we live in.
But within those parameters we have the choice of how we approach our day. There is opportunity in every day. There is beauty in every day. There is wonder and awe and the chance to live in fullness.
And while the story-book ending was a bit cliché it still rings true. Our journey through life asks for input from both our head and our heart.
It’s a team effort.
When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen every time the sun rises ~ Paulo Cohelo, The Alchemist