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How To Get Rid Of Rodents!

“What would you do if you were stuck in one place, and every day was exactly the same…and nothing that you did mattered?”

Does that about sum it up? Sound familiar? YES! We are stuck in one place! We are experiencing our own Groundhog Day with the virus that won’t go away.

Here we are again. We can’t seem to shake it; to move on. It’s hard. We’re tired.

And yes, groundhogs are rodents. That makes it a bit easier to dislike the cute little guy from the movie, Punxsutawney Phil.

If you’re not familiar with the Bill Murray 1993 movie Groundhog Day, it’s worth watching. The short video clip above from the movie does relate to how we feel right now. “What would you do if you were stuck in one place, and every day was exactly the same…and nothing that you did mattered?

Groundhog Day is the story of Pittsburgh TV weatherman Phil Connors who was sent to the small town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to cover their Groundhog Day ceremony (the Groundhog is also named Phil, by the way).

Phil, the weatherman, is a selfish and miserable person to start with, and he hates this assignment to cover the story of a rodent. He just wants to return to Pittsburgh and get back to his normal life; the way life used to be.

The recurring theme of the movie is repetition and sameness. The day never ends. It happens over and over and over. For Phil, February 2 kept coming back. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t move on to February 3. With every repetition of February 2 he became more and more frustrated. He couldn’t get rid of the rodent!

And so, we make the jump to present dat; COVID-19. Our own repetition and sameness. Our own rodent. As of today we are 2 years into this virus…and it keeps coming back.

Is there something that can be learned from Phil and the movie Groundhog Day?

I think so.

In the movie, as time went on, Phil became more selfish, frustrated, irritated…and a little crazy, to say the least. His inability to handle the repetition of February 2 led to his decline. He went downhill physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. There’s a scene in the local diner where he is smoking nonstop, eating a table load of junk food and downing gallons of coffee. He stole sacks of money from the armored car. He punched the insurance guy in the face. And he reached such a point of desperation that he and tried to do away with himself and the groundhog!

Phil was a wreck. Phil was stressed out. Phil was unwell.

With COVID, many of us experience some of the same thoughts, behaviors, and decline in our well-being as Phil did. But seriously, how can we face one more day of this virus rearing its ugly head…repeating itself…never going away? It disrupts our days, our families, our workplace, our schools, our community, our fun, our hopes and dreams, and so much more.

How do we get rid of the rodent?

Well maybe we don’t…or maybe we don’t right away. Like Phil, are there life lessons to learn during this time? Maybe we can come out of this thing better people.

Groundhog Day is a story of self-awareness, self-improvement and ultimately self-transformation. Phil was not able to change his location or what day it was, so he had to change himself. From the beginning of the movie to the end, we witness the transformation of Phil.

He simplified his life to the core, to what was most significant, beneficial, healthy and well. He became more aware of people and started caring for himself and others. Phil, learned how to be resourceful as he turned a miserable day into a wonderful day through choice, until he mastered the art of living his one day, February 2, to the full. In fact, the absolute worst day of Phil’s life took place under the exact same conditions as the absolute best day of Phil’s life.

The movie is less about getting rid of a rodent and more about how Phil discovered that what he thought was hell turned out to be heaven. He learned to love the town of Punxsutawney, the people who lived there, and the repetitious activities that had irritated him. He became a better person.

How did that happen? Well, not much actually changed except his attitude. If you want to get rid of the overwhelming weight of your current circumstances, that may not change, try changing yourself.

By the end of the movie, it was still February 2. The only difference was Phil himself; how he saw the world around him, the people, the town, and what he chose to do with his day.

What if we approach our COVID Groundhog Day in a similar way? We can make choices today and every day to be either sad or happy, discouraged or encouraged. We can look at life as meaningless or meaningful, hopeless or hopeful. We can choose to be grateful or ungrateful. We can make these choices regardless of the external circumstances that are out of our control; this virus, or anything else.

I learned in the past two years that I can bring whatever mindset I choose to the next 24 hours. I learned to take care of self so that self will be stronger to approach each day; so that I can look outward and encourage others.

I learned to wake up each day and ask myself, “What can I think, say and do today that will be healthy for me, bring light and meaning to my day and to someone else’s day?” I look for the wonder around me. I learned to be grateful. I surround myself with hopeful people and new and fun activities that are safe to do. I look for moments of laughter to lift me.

Yes, this virus still rages, and it is hard, but summing it it, I choose to make decisions and changes daily that are best for me and those around me. I am intentional about my self-care and well-being. I prioritize physical activity, healthy food, good sleep, me-time, protecting my health, and spending time (even virtually) with people who will infuse life through uplifting connections.

While the rodent remains for a time, let’s be strong. Let’s build hope and resilience and look for ways to improve ourselves and the world around us. What will that look like in your life?

Don’t lose heart. Stay safe and well!

Vicki Parsons – 1/8/2022

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