What Really Matters

Rock cairns at Hendry’s Beach, Santa Barbara

I know I’m not alone when I say that every day seems like the last. Covid-19 has kept me confined to my home with occasional outings to walk my dog, forays to the local market, masked and gloved, and lots of time spent in my home office attending Zoom meetings.

I began complaining that it seemed like Groundhog Day so last Sunday, just for fun, I decided to stay home, of course, and watch Bill Murray’s 1993 movie, Groundhog Day. A fun diversion, certainly, but a diversion that kept my attention with important messages about the human condition.

If you haven’t seen the movie, Bill Murray plays a smug and selfish weatherman, Phil, who is tired of his job at the local TV station, imagining himself a national celebrity. He is sent to cover the annual Punxsutawney Groundhog Day event which he considers annoying and beneath him and he makes no effort to hide his disdain. The crew is stranded there because of a snow storm and when he wakes up the next day he discovers that it’s Groundhog Day again, again and again. As each day repeats itself, Phil realizes that he is doomed to spend the rest of his life there, seeing the same people doing the same thing every day. As the plot progresses, he tries to control and manipulate the situation to his advantage, using and abusing everyone around him. When none of this behavior changes anything, Phil finally decides to let go, to relax and to accept what he cannot change.

Isn’t this where we all are right now? We are part of a global pandemic and we can’t change this. All we can do is to accept this and follow the protocols that will ensure our safety and the safety of others. Railing against this will only make my life miserable and will take me away from seeing what really matters. Does it matter that my long-planned-for garage renovation project has been put on hold? Sure, I’m annoyed, but what can I do? My health, my partner’s health and the health of everyone around me matters more.

My project will be completed someday, so for now I’m focusing on what’s going on right now. It’s Spring and everything is in beautiful bloom. I’ve planted seeds in my vegetable garden and can already see little sprouts emerging for what will become a lovely salad. I’m noticing many little birds, enjoying a bird bath, completely unaware of this pandemic. And, I’m engaged in the process of change.

I’ve accepted the reality and I’m discovering the world of on-line, virtual connection and I’m summoning up the courage to face my fear of cyber-space! I had planned to present a workshop titled, The Spirituality of Change, and it was to have been held on March 28th. Of course, I had to cancel the event and I planned to present the workshop another day – but when and how long to wait? Just yesterday, I had an on-line Zoom appointment with my coach and found myself agreeing to diving into the deep end by doing the workshop on-line. Okay, I’ve made the commitment to face my fear and to let go of my need to stubbornly stick with what I know, so now, I have to find a bit more courage to get into action, to prepare, to learn how to use this format and to focus on what matters.

I’ll stay in touch and let you all know how everything is progressing, but, for now, I’m going to engage in some deep change, stay in the present, and practice what I preach!

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