Last week was Groundhog Day. I know that really isn’t news anymore. I’m not sure if it was even news last week. Notable, however, is that Phil the Groundhog did not see his shadow. That turns out to be a pretty rare occurrence. There are 130 years of recorded Groundhog weather predictions and only 18 of them called for an early spring. How often were those predictions accurate? Let’s just say Phil’s forecasts are about as reliable as any professional meteorologist. But this year I’m pulling for the little guy anyway. I have nothing at all against winter. It’s a blessing to see the seasons change. It brings you closer to the rhythm of the Earth and allows you to celebrate all of Mother Nature’s artistry. But here in the Northeast we’ve recently endured a couple of long, cold winters with some of that artistry piled to the roof. An early spring would be a nice change of pace.
Whenever I think about Groundhog Day, I cant help but picture Punxsatawny Phil tearing through the back roads of Pennsylvania in a stolen pick up truck, paws clutching the steering wheel and Bill Murray coaching him not to drive angry. How can you not laugh at the shenanigans in that movie? It’s a classic. However, if you can stop laughing long enough, you’ll find a message hidden in those shenanigans. Bill Murray’s plight is a comical representation of the universe at work.
In the story, Phil Connors is a weatherman at Channel 9 Pittsburgh, a small time TV station. He is clearly full of himself and working at a job he feels is beneath him. He regards the folks he works with as a bunch of losers who are going nowhere. In his mind he deserves to be nothing less than a rock star anchorman. But he’s not. Bitterness and hostility toward the entire world ensue. He is a complete jerk towards his producer, cameraman and just about everyone else he meets. He’s angry, arrogant and selfish and he steps all over people in feeble attempts to boost his own bloated ego.
A snowstorm strands him and his crew in a town that’s way too small for his ego and Groundhog Day repeats itself over and over again. Each day he wakes up to an annoying rendition of “I got you Babe” and each day he grows more frustrated.
Phil had an important lesson to learn. The universe pummeled him with the same frustrating experiences over and over again to ensure that he got it this time. But it didn’t happen overnight. According to the script, it took thousands of repeated days for him to learn selflessness, what it truly means to love someone and how to be a decent human being in general. Even given the gift of a fresh start everyday, it wasn’t until he was pushed to the edge of madness that he finally let go of his “holier than thou” self-image and realized his change had to come from within.
Think of this in the sense of a soul reincarnating. Thousands of days become thousands of years. Over lifetimes, the old soul becomes wise. Phil has the advantage of remembering those “past lives”. If we had that memory, it would make it pretty easy to learn from previous mistakes.
We may not have Phil’s precious gift of Conscious Reincarnation but our souls remember all we have learned through eternity. If we are still and listen closely we can tune into that wisdom. Nevertheless, without constant access to that memory, it may seem like we have to work harder to identify our lessons. But here’s the secret that Phil unwittingly discovered – If it feels like work, you’re doing it wrong.
Everyone has those times when life seems to conspire against you. When that happens, try not to focus on what triggered the predicament. Go deeper and look for the lesson. The trigger could be anything from tension in a relationship to a job that no longer satisfies you. Or maybe you just have people in your life that constantly poke at you for unknown reasons. Whatever it is, it brings you down. It’s funny how when you’re down, things you wouldn’t normally think could go wrong, do. Then you ask yourself questions like, “What the hell else could possibly go wrong?”
And the snowball begins to roll downhill as the universe says, “You want to know what else could go wrong? Okay, we’ll be happy to show you.” Not because the universe likes being a jerk but because you are the universe. You just created your reality.
Doesn’t creating your reality sound like it should be fun? Well, it should be! But you have to stop asking what else could go wrong. If you’re attracting the same negative experience over and over again, there’s a reason. When you find out what it is, you can begin to learn from it and put it behind you for good.
Think about the joy you feel when that happens. When you finally resolve an issue, complete a project, get a degree or master a new skill there is a sense of unmatched triumph. You are ready to take it to the next level. If we came here with all the answers we would never experience that natural high of accomplishment.
How did Phil Connors turn his world around? He started having fun with his impossible situation. He learned to play the piano and recite French poetry. He stopped to have a snowball fight with a bunch of kids. He invested in himself. He went after the love of his life. He did what we should all do as eternal souls here to learn, grow and evolve. He traded in his frustration for happiness and love.
Dream big, work hard and play hard. And remember Phil’s immortal words – “I’m a god. Not thee god.” He couldn’t have been more right. We are made in our Creator’s image and likeness.