This year it seemed as if every where I turned, the 1993 movie Groundhog Day was being shown. Have you ever felt like Bill Murray's character in the movie? Try as he might, the character cannot get out of the time loop- the rut of living in the same day with the same encounters, the same problems and the same solutions. At first he thinks that this is a great idea, because he realizes that he doesn't live with any consequences to his actions: tomorrow will be the same and life doesn't move forward. Eventually he realizes that this is insanity and not healthy.
The movie has humorous moments as well as raises some existential questions. It is considered a contemporary classic. Surely we can enjoy watching it because the daily repeat is happening to someone else. After all, we don't live in a groundhog day world, or do we?
Sometimes I wonder if I do, especially when it comes to my reactions to situations. Many times I find myself behaving in the same way, each time, even when I am trying hard not too and trying to break myself of a life-long pattern. It is if I am on the same emotionally reactive loop. If someone comments to me about this, I will always react with that. And it is not a healthy reaction.
Or, I find I make the same life-style choices. Each week I might plan to do something different from my normal pattern, e.g. eat better, drink less, exercise more. I might hope to change a lifestyle pattern that I feel is not helpful nor healthy. Yet once again, I fall into the time loop of the same pattern of behavior.
In the movie, it is finally through self-awareness and love that begins the change in Bill Murray's character's life.
I think there is more to this groundhog lifestyle than that. I also think that more of us suffer a groundhog lifestyle than we care to admit. How many of us try all sorts of self-help: podcasts, books, counselors, hypnotists, coaches, therapists, classes? According to one source I read, in 2008 the self-help industry was over a billion dollar industry. If self-help truly worked, as humankind we should have discovered the solution by now. Certainly pouring money into the problem doesn't necessarily help. I think that the problem in self-help is the self.
While self-help items are not necessarily bad resources, we cannot put our faith in those resources alone. I believe that those resources need to be used in tandem with the ultimate One in self awareness; asking God to transform us by the renewing of our minds. It is only the Creator who knows us and who knows how He created us to be. He knows what will work and not work for our individual lifestyle. Only He can help us in stopping something harmful or embracing something worthwhile in our lives.
There is no magic bullet. I have found the best way to stop the time loop is through prayer and learning more about God through His word the Bible. I am a disciplined person and I think I have some willpower, but some things in my life willpower alone cannot help. I need some spiritual guidance and intervention to stop the knee-jerk reactions I have in certain situations. Sometimes it is in recalling a scripture that guides to a different reaction. Other times it is the act of prayer that guides my speech.
What about you? Do you feel like you are living a groundhog lifestyle? Do you end up on the treadmill or time loop of life? Have you ever been able to change it? How? What works for you?
Ground hog day is also a day of prediction for the future. I know that if I transform my mind, I will get out of that time loop pattern of behavior and have a different future.