Saturday, February 4, 2012

Groundhog Day

Thursday was February 2nd, also known as Groundhog Day. For those of you why don't know anything, Groundhog Day is an American and Canadian "holiday" where folklore has it, groundhogs peek their heads out of their winter dens, and if they see their shadow they are frightened back inside their dens meaning (obviously) that we will have to suffer through six more weeks of Winter. However, if the groundhog does not see his/her shadow, he/she feels free to come out and this means that Spring is just around the corner! Yay. I didn't see any groundhogs that morning, but the Internet has told me that somewhere, some groundhog was scared back inside by his shadow and so since groundhogs have psychic meteorologist abilities, we are still in Winter for another month and a half. It was in the low 80's today in Los Angeles, so another 6 weeks of Winter doesn't sound too bad.

Groundhog Day is also the title of a very popular movie that I have never seen. I know, I know, I need to see it. Bill Murray, Andi McDowell, I know! I think I know what the movie is about, and I think I know the basic lesson of the film. A mean, self absorbed guy is forced to relive one crappy day (groundhog day) again and again until he makes better, nicer life decisions and changes his fate releasing him from his terrible cycle. Right? I can relate to this plot line. Maybe that's why I've never seen the movie...I'm living it! Well, not exactly. I am pretty nice and generally pretty happy, but I do tend to live the same day over and over again making the same mistakes and feeling unhappy about the results. I often go to work during the day with the plan to come home and be very efficient. I make lists, jot down ideas during my work day, map out scenes I need to write, chapters I need to finish, but once I get home I watch TV, I bake gluten free cookies or take on large cooking projects, and drink wine and the list goes basically untouched. It might not even make it out of my purse.  What I really love to do is write, but you'd be amazed at how little I do it sometimes, and the lengths I go to to avoid doing it.

Someone once told me that the definition of insanity is repeating the same action over and over again and expecting a different result. That person was wrong. The actual definition is: "a derangement of the mind", but I know what she meant. I currently have a job I don't care for, and yet I do nothing to change it. When would I make this change, what with all the writing I'm not doing it and the house painting I haven't started yet and the re-runs of 30 Rock I have to watch? I can't even blame Eric. There are people who's gravitation pull is so strong that once you enter their atmosphere they pull you right off your axis. But Eric doesn't do that to me. He is kind and supportive and our work schedules are such that days go by when we don't even see each other. We pass like ships in the night. I could use my time as a single lady to move my life forward in a new direction, but instead I let baking and TV watching pull me off course.

Yesterday, while in Yoga class (Strong Yoga 4 Women again) the adorable teacher gently "advised" us to lean our hearts forward over our crossed legs opening up our creative center etc. She "suggested" that we lean even deeper into the pose ONLY if our body had extended the invitation to do so. "Wait for the Invitation," she urged. This statement really struck me. I'm always waiting for invitations, and I think it has been a problem. While in High School, I was quite the go getter. Maybe it was the all girl's environment that supported that courage. I started clubs, I chased academic prizes, I played sports and acted in plays. I sat at the empty lunch table and assumed people would come to sit with me. I never waited for an invitation to sit down. College was different. For example, there were boys everywhere, I now lived across the Country from my family, and life felt hard. I don't know exactly when it happened, I don't think I noticed it happening, but the idea of waiting to be invited seemed the safest course of action. Less chance of rejection, I suppose. Less chance for failure to be deemed my fault.  My parents have often encouraged me over the years to think outside the box. My mum will say something like "write a letter to Oprah, I'm sure she would be impressed with you and give you a job." Or "Why don't you ask your friend to get her agent to sign you?" and I have a tendency to answer "No Mother! That's not the way it's done!" End of story, case closed.

But, I see now, that this is my (or at least one of my) problem(s). The vicious cycle I find myself in, waiting for the invitation that doesn't come day after day. So, if this doesn't work (and it doesn't seem to, at least not for me) then the only choice I have, if I want to see things change is to go without being invited. I might not mean that Oprah will get my letter, but it wouldn't hurt to write it. Not that I'm against watching TV, baking and drinking wine. Those are all great activities that I also really enjoy, but my self analysis has been in hyper drive lately, and the groundhog and the yoga teacher have really got me thinking. If Bill Murray can do it, then so can I, dammit!