Did you see the movie Groundhog Day? If not – rent it. It is the most wonderful demonstration of how we are given the same lesson over and over again until we “Get it”!
Haven’t you found yourself asking, “Why is this happening to me again?” – Are you miserable at this job too? Still attracted to the same kind of dysfunctional person that you broke up with six months ago? Still feeling betrayed one more time by your new “best friend;” the one who abandoned you when you needed them most. Do you find yourself wondering, “Why me?” “What is wrong with me?”
Nothing is wrong with you. You are just being given another opportunity to learn the lesson that you missed the last time the circumstance, person, crisis showed up. Think about the patterns in your life. Identify the ones that always leave you feeling uncomfortable, hurt, angry, lonely, or bewildered.
What are the similar underlying factors in each of these situations? Is there an aspect of yourself that you have been reluctant to take a real look at? Some call what you find when you honestly answer these questions the Shadow Self. Like a kid afraid of the boogie-man, we need to stop scaring ourselves and shine the light into our own recesses to see what is actually there and what lessons it is trying to teach us. When we avoid that kind of introspection, we get the situation over and over again until we do. This is what I call groundhogging.
In my upcoming book My Private Session: Intimate Secrets to Unlock Your Potential, I included a piece about the movie Groundhog Day because it is such a clear and clever demonstration about how we get the lesson needed for our growth over and over again. Sometimes we get it, many times we don’t.
I call it Groundhogging because of the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray… Bill Murray’s character, Phil, was a disgruntled weather man who traveled to Punxsutawney, PA to report on Punxsutawney Phil —the most famous weatherman of all — to see if he would see his shadow.
It turned out that Phil, the man, was there to see his own shadow too. His shadow was that of his shadow-self. In The Shadow Effect by Debbie Ford, Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson, the authors describe the shadow self as “one of the most crucial obstacles to happiness” because it is “the parts of ourselves that we deny but that still direct our life.”
In the movie, Murray’s alarm clock woke him up with Cher singing ‘I Got You Babe’ on February 2, Groundhog Day, and he kept waking up on this day. His lesson was to learn that since he had to live with the choices he made, he might as well commit to discovering his Talents, Abilities and Gifts (TAGs) and connect with people in an authentic way. It was his task to live life to its fullest and paint his life with a rich and colorful palette.
Being able to relive the same day, Murray’s character had opportunity after opportunity to undo any glitches from the day before. At first, he was only changing his ways to get something from people. When that didn’t move him on to Feb 3rd, he remained frustrated with his still miserable existence. So, he killed himself over and over, once even taking the groundhog, Phil, with him. Only when he finally allowed himself to tap into his TAGs, to connect to others by sharing himself fully and authentically, did Feb 2nd become Feb 3rd.
An alarm clock is a beautiful metaphor to wake us up to the lesson. In this lesson, it is the piece of us, our shadow-self that needs to develop, mature and bring us to a fuller life. Murray’s character did anything to avoid looking within to fill his emptiness and this included killing himself over and over only to return to the same situations once again.
How often have you heard people complain, “I’m killing myself at this job; I work harder and harder and I’m still getting the same results!”
Groundhog Day — the day that tells us how long winter will last — is a metaphor for where we are frozen. Are you stuck in your development by looking outside yourself for the answers rather than looking within? Do you find yourself blaming others for your miserable life -job-relationship rather than taking ownership for the piece that is yours to change?
Or, is Spring just around the corner – that time when you’re willing to stop and discern just where you need to transform your feelings of powerlessness into empowerment?
Once we align with what others call “our shadow self” and use it as a compass with information about what we need to do next, new growth and new possibilities are born. If we are not ready to take a look, no problem, we will be given another opportunity soon enough, whether we like it or not.
Groundhogging is our opportunity to know exactly where our next growth opportunity lies. You can either grow from it, or mire yourself in its misery.