Seeing Your Shadow Doesn’t Have to Mean More of the Same

Seeing Your Shadow Doesn’t Have to Mean More of the Same

It looks like Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow. We’re in for six more weeks of winter. Sigh. More of the same.

In the movie starring Bill Murray, weatherman Phil Conners is a self-centered guy who gets assigned to cover Groundhog Day. He falls into a time loop, endlessly reliving February 2, rendered particularly disturbing by awakening each morning to the alarm clock playing “I Got You Babe.”

At first, Phil (the weatherman, not the groundhog) decides to use his situation to his advantage. He sleeps with women, steals money and gets thrown in jail, knowing the next day will erase his bad behavior. He’s having a blast—no worries and no consequences for his actions.

But hearing the strains of Sonny and Cher every morning becomes too much to bear. In desperation, he tries to end the cycle by committing suicide in a variety of ways, only to wake up every morning, listening to the same old song.

If Carl Jung had reviewed this film, he’d point out that Phil was trapped in the futile repetition of acting out his shadow side. And, after time, Phil begins to see that his careless ways aren’t serving him. Through the influence of his beautiful and ever-positive producer Rita, he changes. He learns how to speak French, play the piano and sculpt ice. He saves lives and helps townspeople. Rita falls in love.

Facing his shadow side allows Phil to finally break the destructive cycle that was keeping him from happiness. When he wakes up with Rita, it’s finally February 3rd.

So, while Punxsutawney Phil’s shadow may mean more of the same, it doesn’t have to be that way for us. Maybe Groundhog Day is a good day to take a look at what’s holding us back and move toward change.

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