Today’s post is another great reflection and meditation from retreat presenters Susan Boruff and Kathy Anderson. They will be at our Center June 17-21 to present, “Healing Our World One Person at a Time: Discovering How God’s Love Transforms Ourselves, Our Families, Our Communities and Our World”.  To learn more about the retreat and these presenters, please click here. Let’s read Susan’s perspective on how the pandemic aligns with the classic movie, “Groundhog Day”. Don’t miss the meditation at the end by Kathy Anderson too.

Groundhog Day

“But Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.” ~ John 8:59

“Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl

Jesus hid after the civil and religious leaders of Jerusalem attempted to stone him because of his teachings about the Great I Am. He started out his teaching with: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” John 8:51. As usual, I looked up the word Amen. Here is what I discovered: “AMAN is the Hebrew root of AMEN and means to believe (have faith), to trust, to stand firm. At the heart of the meaning is the idea of certainty, firmness, dependability, trustworthiness. The primary meaning is that of providing stability and confidence, like a baby would find in the arms of its mother.”

Jesus then proceeds to tell his audience that he knows God and keeps His word and they don’t. He tells them they are liars and he existed before Abraham. He said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” At this point, his audience picks up stones to throw at him and Jesus hides.

Christ hides inside our being. Our inner work involves discovering where he is hidden. He is hidden in our hearts where the purification of our souls occurs- in the arena of the heart. It is here where we discover our true nature in Christ, but first we have to address our own “demons,” the parts of us that we don’t like, the parts of us we shove away, the parts of us we don’t want to include, the parts of us that picks up stones to throw. Some people call this “our shadow.”

I saw a poem recently about the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1917-18. Part of it said:

And people stayed at home

And read books,

And listened

And they rested

And did exercises

And made art and played

And stopped and listened

more deeply

Someone meditated, someone prayed

Someone met their shadow…

Throughout his ministry, Jesus demonstrated the true nature of God. A God of mercy, love, forgiveness and acceptance. Jesus demonstrated inclusion. He spent time with the people society considered as outcasts: the sinners, the sick, the blind, the demon-possessed. He included them, he accepted them and most importantly, he LOVED them.

He healed, he accepted, he loved and he asked questions to those who questioned him.

If we follow his example, Jesus invites us to look, accept, and love all parts of us too. To love “our shadow,” to make an offering of us to God’s unconditional love.

My husband, Brian and I watched the movie “Groundhog Day” about two weeks into the stay at home order. Does anyone feel like they have been living the same day over and over during our quarantine? We have seen this movie many times, but it spoke to me differently this time.

This movie is an invitation for us to see and discover “our shadow,” not to be a witness to the groundhog’s shadow!

The main character, the prideful, arrogant weatherman, Phil Connors (played by Bill Murray) relives Groundhog Day over and over and over again. During this time he experienced the following emotions: disbelief, confusion, doubt, then sadness and depression, (because he couldn’t figure out what was going on), grief, then incredible fear and testing (he tried to commit suicide over and over). Eventually he tried to use his immortality for his own benefit, to glorify himself. After failing at suicide for the 3rd time, he admits that he is a god (not God) because he is immortal. He couldn’t put an end to the recurring day, he had no control over the circumstance.

He surrendered to the experience and he learned that he could only control his response.

Throughout his experiences, his experience of love changed. First it was self-serving and then gradually he accepted his situation and that’s when the transformation occurred. He had faced the parts of himself and subsequently, others that he did not like, primarily because of his mindfulness and awareness. As he was repeating the same day over and over, he had no choice but to pay attention to what was going on around him and then his eyes were opened to see.

He discovered the gentle, kind, thoughtful, caring and compassionate person that he was.

He discovered his true nature.

He discovered the innocence and purity of his soul.

He shared this with the people around him.

So, are we looking at the shadow of others (judging) or are we discovering our own shadow (accepting)? Are we living our true nature in Christ or is he hidden?

Practice:

Take a few minutes and think about the qualities of other people that you really don’t like or that disgust you. Write those qualities or characteristics down.

Look at these qualities and ask where you might exhibit some version of it. For example, maybe you have trouble with people who are inauthentic, your question would be “Where am I not being authentic?” Maybe you have trouble with people who don’t take care of the planet, your question would be “Where am I not taking care of the planet?” Maybe you have trouble with angry drivers, your question would be, “Where am I acting angry?”

As you become aware of these parts of you, just know that Jesus heals, accepts, forgives, shows mercy and loves these parts of you too!

You are reminded to be gentle with yourself as we are all “imperfectly beautiful” and held in the arms of God, just like a baby in the arms of its mother.

“I cannot discover God in myself and myself in Him unless I have the courage to face myself exactly as I am, with all my limitations and to accept others as they are, with all their limitations.” Thomas Merton

Now, you are invited to spend some time with Kathy in meditation and then…..Go watch “Groundhog Day”!

Hello Friends. To prepare for the meditation, please find a quiet place with a comfortable chair and sit with a straight back. The meditation is nine minutes.