Groundhog Day Lessons

Happy Groundhog Day … again. 🙂 America’s silly not-really-a-holiday, stuck in the middle of our long dark winter. However, in 1993 the real town of Gobbler’s Knob, and their eternal mascot Punxsutawney Phil hit the big time on the big screen. Behold, the blockbuster cult classic movie GROUNDHOG DAY – an “existential comedy” starring Bill Murray.

If you’re new to this whole phenomenon, or would like a fun little 4 minute recap – here you go.

In the movie, a washed up weatherman named Phil Connors is forced to live the same day – over and over and over. During a particular low point, he asks the all-important questions:

“Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today! What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same and nothing that you did mattered?”

We’ve all been living in our own versions of Groundhog day for the past 11+ months! We are stuck in the same place, every day pretty much “the same” over and over! It could be easy to feel that nothing we do “matters”!

The film Groundhog Day offers a creative way to examine what makes us truly human, and what really matters. Eventually, our protagonist transforms from a self-absorbed, mean, unhappy guy into a thoughtful, kind, joyful human being. It doesn’t come without a price and a lot of trial and error. But, eventually he learns that everything he chose to do with his day mattered!

Today, on Groundhog Day, I’ve been pondering what kind of transformation I might be undergoing. While I’ve been “stuck in one place every day,” living many things on repeat, what have I been learning? How far have I come on my personal journey into what truly matters? Today is another opportunity for me to do some problem solving, make some new goals, and choose what to do with the time I’ve been allotted!

In the middle of all the Coronavirus madness – there’s definitely been a lot of change for me. Personally, and “professionally”. There have been many lessons learned. For one, I’ve had a chance to learn what it’s like working from home – full time! After figuring out all the logistics – I discovered how much I love it. My mind craves a work environment free of constant interruption, and office “drama”. I love having new flexibility, incredibly reduced stress, and increased wellness being in a healthy environment free from dust, mold, and other toxins. Best of all, I actually have a window now! [three, in fact] Being able to work in natural light instead of a windowless basement has been lifechanging for my wellbeing. All of my coworkers have learned there’s no need to waste 2+ hours per day fighting traffic to get to a place [that crushes my soul] where we try to accomplish the same tasks that can be performed easily and efficiently and from home! [as proven for 10+ months now and counting]

I’ve learned that my soul requires getting outside in the fresh air and sunshine [or clouds, rain, wind, snow, etc.] as often as possible throughout the day, and to reach maximum bliss there must be at least one walk involved.

I’ve discovered that I don’t need a lot of stuff to make me happy – in fact, despite downsizing four years ago when we moved and purged so many things, I still feel like we have too much ‘stuff’. I don’t have a cluttered home. And, some of the stuff is very lovely. But, I am entering a new phase where I desire to simplify things, and “minimize” my lifestyle.

There really isn’t a lot we need in this life to stay physically alive. The basics are having shelter, food, and water. That comes in many shapes and sizes, and people survive very well living simply. But, keeping our humanity does require having other humans in our life. People need people. Human connections. Friends, family, acquaintances, even strangers … that’s been the harshest thing that COVID-19 has tried to take away from us.

Total isolation is not healthy nor sustainable.

Luckily, there are ways in our modern world to see and speak with ‘our people’ across great distances. We have phones, computers, mobile apps and other electronic devices that help “connect” us. None of it replaces a hug or a kiss. This is not an ideal situation, but perhaps it ‘spoon feeds’ us enough to keep our soul alive until Spring!

Yes, Spring is coming! It really is. I don’t mean just a change in the weather, or the passing of a season, but something bigger. Like Groundhog day teaches us – an existential transformation, and internal resurrection of our best selves! Until then, what matters is what we have right now, this day, this moment. We get to choose how to make it matter.

Stay safe and well my friends! ♥ – Holly

"When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak, and dark, and bereft of hope. Yet, we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But, standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter."
- Phil Connors, Groundhog Day

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