Lessons Learned from Ground Hog Day

Ground Hog Day – Staring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell – is an annual tradition in our family.
Spoilers Coming: But for crying out loud the movie came out in 1993. Just watch it.

Phil Connors (Murray) is stuck living the same day over and over.

He figures out several outlets for his boredom.

He can party and even break the law without consequence.

He can charm women and have sex with ease.

He can steal a bag of money from the local Armored Truck.

So sex, drugs/alcohol, and money. No happiness or fulfillment.

He realizes he is in love with Rita (McDowell).
He tries his charm and information tactics on Rita to win her love. No dice. Each day ends the same with him getting slapped and she walks out.

Seeing no hope for happiness he turns to suicide to end both his life and the trap he is living in.

He commits suicide over and over.

Did I mention this is a comedy?

There is an overtone of “Just kill me now” to try to keep the movie light.

There is no escape of his pain.

The movie transitions to him focused on self development and acts of service to the people in the town.

He reads. He takes piano lessons.

He changes a tire for elderly women. He saves a mans life who was choking. He catches a kid who slips and falls while climbing a tree.

His last act of service is helping a homeless man. But this is one problem he cannot solve. No matter what remedy Murray tries the man dies.

Death is real. Even in this weird time loop he is living in.

He is changed.

The movies turns more lighthearted and in the end he wins the girls and he wakes up and it is tomorrow. He broke the cycle.

What changed him?

He turned to acts of service. He loved his neighbors. He did what he could do right in front of him.

But he helped people knowing that tomorrow it would be undone and he would have to do the same acts again.

He repeated acts of service every day.

The movie does not say exactly how long this period was but we get a glimpse from his piano playing.

This segment of the movie starts with him getting his first lesson and ends with him being the band leader of a jazz band. I would have to say that would be at least a year.

He would not be acknowledged for his efforts. Sure people expressed gratitude but there was not going to be pay back. He was not going to receive a life time achievement award.

In the end repeating acts of service is what changed him.

It made him a person that could love and accept love.

We all feel pain. We feel stuck. We repeat bad patterns.

How will you respond?