Thursday, January 28, 2021

#28 Life lessons from Groundhog Day

Yep, I'm watching Groundhog Day this evening. Spoiler alert--I'm going to talk about the entire movie!

I decided to watch this after I listened to an episode of Hidden Brain called Minimizing Pain, Maximizing Joy. One of the main ideas in this episode is that we create our own suffering--that the bad things that happen aren't necessarily the source of our suffering, but our reaction to what happens is what causes us the most pain. Here is a link to the transcript on a site called "Happy Scribe" I found.

The premise of Groundhog Day is that Weatherman Phil gets stuck in the same day over and over again, which happens to be Groundhog Day. Phil is a pretty miserable, mean, conceited guy who complains all the time. We watch him try all sorts of stuff to free himself from the day. To quote the podcast, Phil hasn't figured out that the world is not the cause of his problems.

No, he can't. He's he's trapped. He hasn't figured it out. And a lot of people actually haven't figured it out as well. A lot of us normal people, that much of the suffering we experience is due to our response to the events of life. And that's a tragedy. You know, you have one life to live and to spend it living the same day over and over when you have other options open.

The first time I watched this movie was only a few years ago and I thought that he didn't get released from "the curse" until he learned to help other people. On the second go-round tonight I still agree with myself, but I see another meaning after hearing Hidden Brain. It is about taking ownership of my own life, of deciding to be happy despite circumstances. Or, like the podcast says, of not creating my own suffering.

There is a line in the movie that just went by. Phil is trying to convince Rita that he is stuck in the same day. She says to him, "I don't know Phil, maybe it's not a curse. Maybe it's just how you look at it." 

That just about sums up my life of lockdown in Israel. I can think of it as a curse and make my entire life revolve around work as a way to endure the monotony. Or I can do more things to nurture my own self, things that I should do wherever I live, no matter what is going on: scrapbook, get up early and enjoy the sunrise, enjoy flannel sheets, stop working in the afternoon so I have time not work, figure out how to cook, maybe take Hebrew lessons. Whatever it is, the point is that I can be happy despite covid, despite lockdown, despite whatever the outside world is doing. 

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