This week at Yellow Kite, we have been inspired to turn a terrible year into a good one, by Paul Hannam’s new book, The Wisdom of Groundhog Day.
If you haven’t already seen it, Bill Murray stars as Phil, the cynical, acerbic, and generally unpleasant weatherman. Caught in an endless time loop, Phil is doomed to relive the same day over and over, until he finds a way to change it, positively, by changing himself.
Phil’s Groundhog Day is repetitive, unrelenting, and at some points down-right-depressing. For some of us, 2016 has been a Groundhog Year. You might feel like you are stuck in a lengthy losing streak. You might look ahead, and see only repetitions of the same. Well, here at Yellow Kite we are taking Paul Hannam’s advice, and are finding ways to change, through the timeless (excuse the pun) wisdom of Groundhog Day.
Hannam writes about the Groundhog Day Condition, which keeps us stuck in our ‘Conditioned Self’, and so determines our experience and enjoyment of life. For Phil this is his cynicism: it protects him, but it also limits him. After countless loops of recklessness and depression, Phil begins to accept that he cannot change his situation. He stops looking outside himself for happiness, in fleeting solutions. He stops trying to escape. Instead, Phil turns toward himself, and finds a way to change.
Our Groundhog Days are created through limitations within our Conditioned Self, and it is this that we need to break free from. The habits Phil changes are only his own. He learns the piano. He learns French. He sculpts ice. He abandons his cynicism in favour of working positively toward his own capacity for happiness. He begins to engage with the world on level separate from his own self-interest. As he begins to do this, Phil begins turn his day around.
We’ve probably all seen it, but Hannam teaches us to use it, and to apply it to our day-to-day-to-day. So, this Christmas, re-watch Groundhog Day (don’t worry, it will be on telly somewhere). Learn, as we have from Hannam, exactly how to apply the wisdom of this feel-good classic to your Groundhog Year. We promise, you will feel all the better for it.