Happy Groundhog’s Day! Feb. 2 is a day we all spend in wonderment and awe, because it is well, Groundhog’s Day. On this day, everyone waits to hear the proclamation from Punxsutawney Phil, on whether or not he has seen his shadow. If he does, then winter will last longer than usual.
And today, Feb. 2, 2018, in Punsxutawney, PA, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, Phil the Groundhog, the one who Groundhog’s Day is centered around, woke up, toured the neighborhood, watched the news, gave his opinion on what’s going on in the world, and then pronounced that he saw his shadow. Thus folks, it’s going to be six more weeks of winter.
But even more important than whether Phil saw his shadow is another lesson from Groundhog’s Day. And that is this: Is Groundhog’s Day a Lesson in Living a more enlightened life?
Ok, I have to admit, I’m not talking about the trials and tribulations of good ol’ Punxsutawney Phil in this instance. I’m talking about the movie Groundhog Day, a film that has been called one of the 10 best American films ever. It has even been called by some spiritual leaders as “the most spiritual film of our time.”
In Groundhog Day the film, Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, a stressed out, self-centered, bitter and jaded television weatherman assigned to cover Groundhog’s Day in Punxsutawney. A blizzard keeps him in town that night, and he wakes up the next day to find out he is reliving Groundhog’s Day again. And every night when he goes to bed, he arises the next morning to find out he is again reliving Groundhog’s Day. This continues over and over, ad nauseum.
But Phil Connors is the only one who is reliving the day; he is the only one stuck in time. For everyone else, they begin anew at Groundhog’s Day as if it never happened.
Connors then goes through a series of transitions, from first trying to use it to his advantage, by learning secrets from the locals, seducing women, stealing money and getting piss drunk and driving around town. As the novelty wears off, and he sees the meaningless of his actions, he next kidnaps Phil the groundhog and kills himself and the groundhog. But again, he wakes up the next morning, still stuck back in Groundhog’s Day.
And then a profound transformation of his character occurs, as he comes to realize what kind of horrible person he has become–he is someone who is totally indifferent to anyone else but himself. He learns to stop being so self-absorbed and to truly care about others; he works at self-improvment and becoming a better and more enlightened human being; and he opens his heart to profess his sincere and authentic love to his colleague Rita, who he always lusted after – Rita in response had nothing but contempt for Phil Connors and his narcissistic ways.
At the end of Groundhog Day, Murray and Rita unite in love. When they wake up in the morning together in bed, it is now Feb. 3: Groundhog’s Day has ended and the time loop has broken. The two are together as a couple, and Phil Connors is a changed man, a man who has learned to live a more enlightened life, and in the process got off the time loop of pain and suffering.
Right on for Groundhog’s Day (even if it means six more weeks of winter)!