Groundhog Day

Today is Groundhog Day. The prognosticator of all prognosticators, Punxsatawny Phil, has predicted six more weeks of winter. Normally I’d scoff but all things considered, the winter of 2018 has been a mild one – so far.

So, should we believe the furry forecaster? You decide. During his 132-year career, Phil has been right 39% of the time. To me, that sounds about as accurate as any other professional meteorologist.

Whenever I think about Groundhog Day, I can’t help seeing Phil tearing through the back roads of Pennsylvania in a stolen pick up truck, paws clutching the steering wheel with Bill Murray coaching him not to drive angry. You have to laugh at the shenanigans in that film. But if you stop laughing long enough, you’ll see there’s a message behind those shenanigans. Bill Murray’s plight is a comical representation of the universe at work.

We all know the story. Phil Connors is a small time TV weatherman with a big ego. He regards his crew as a bunch of losers going nowhere and he plans to leave that “nowhere” behind come hell or high water. He’s angry, arrogant and selfish and he steps all over people in feeble attempts to get himself ahead.

A snowstorm strands him in Punxsatawny and Groundhog Day repeats itself over and over again. “I got you Babe” gets more annoying every time he hears it and his frustration builds to madness.

Phil has an important lesson to learn and the universe pummels him with the same experiences again and again because he isn’t getting it. According to the script, it took thousands of repeated days for him to learn selflessness, what it means to love someone and just how to be a nice guy in general. Even given the gift of endless fresh starts, it wasn’t until he was pushed to the edge of insanity that he finally realized that real change comes from within.

In Groundhog Day, we see a soul reincarnating. It happens over thousands of days instead of thousands of years. The old soul becomes wise by living many lives. Phil has the advantage of remembering those past lives and learning from them.

We may not have that precious gift of conscious reincarnation but our souls remember all we’ve learned throughout eternity. When we quiet our minds and listen closely we can tune into that wisdom. Even then, without constant access to our souls memories, it may seem like hard work to identify our lessons.

Here’s the secret that Phil unwittingly discovered – If it feels like work, you’re doing it wrong.

Everyone has those times when the whole world seems to conspire against you. When that happens, try to see through the problem. 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. And it’s funny how when you’re down, you ask yourself questions like, “What else could possibly go wrong?”

That’s when the universe says, “You want to know what else could go wrong? Okay, I’ll be happy to show you.” Not because the universe is a jerk but because you are the universe and your thoughts create your reality.

Doesn’t creating your reality sound like it should be fun? Well, it can be! As soon as you stop asking yourself what else could go wrong.

Think about the joy that comes with accomplishment. When you finally resolve an issue, complete a project, get a degree or master a new skill there is a sense of unmatched triumph. If we were born with all the answers we would never experience that natural high of accomplishment. We have to work through the problems and try to see them as the gifts that they are.

How did Phil Connors do it? He started to have fun with an 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 went after the love of his life. He did what we should all do as eternal souls here to learn and grow. He traded in his frustration for happiness and love.

Dream big, work hard and play hard. And whatever you do, remember Phil’s immortal words – “I’m a god. Not thee god.” He couldn’t have been more right.

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