Humour me. Imagine this is Groundhog Day.
Ok, I’ve got a little thought experiment for you.
For the rest of the day, or the weekend, or next week if you can, I want you to imagine you are living in your own personal groundhog day.
You remember the Bill Murray movie, right? His character is condemned to live out the same day over and over until he gets it exactly right.
His day starts over exactly the same way, from exactly the same point, until he lives the ‘perfect’ day.
(It was Hollywood, so the perfect day means ‘getting the girl’, but let’s not get hung up on that.)
So rather than a day, I want you to think of your entire life as a Groundhog curse.
I want you to imagine that if you don’t totally nail this life, you’re going to have to live it over.
The thought’s a little scary, right? There’s a bit of pressure there.
I mean, what makes for a perfect life? “Getting the girl” might be a measure of perfection in your twenties, but what about in your mid 50s? It’s still a bit silly to be measuring your life’s worth by how hot your wife is when your 56.
So what makes for a perfect life?
At some point this is worth figuring out for yourself, but let me offer you a suggestion.
A perfect life is one of maximum growth – where you expand fully into the capabilities of your hands, and the depths of your heart.
It’s a life where you become a master at working with the building blocks that are presented to you, and you have a raw and honest connection with your heart. You mature both skilfully and emotionally, and live a ‘rich’ life in every sense of the word.
(This is my call on ‘the good life’. Philosophers, come at me.)
Now I don’t know if this is the guiding star of your life. Perhaps it is something else. But if you don’t have something specific in mind already, for the sake of this exercise, for the day or few days that I’m asking of you, let’s imagine it is.
Now if this is an ideal for a perfect life, what does it look like in practice?
Well, I would say the first part is that you seek out experiences that improve your skills. You are constantly engaged in your work, and learning on the job. In time, that means mastering the material elements of your craft, but it also means finding your way within the broader energetic currents.
You get to see how seeds of intention can grow and bear fruit. You get to see how your thoughts frame and shape your experiences. You get to see how the love you give is the love returned.
(Oh darling, you shouldn’t have.)
The second part is that you are awake to the entries being recorded in the ledger of your heart. Good or bad, you are connected to your self, grateful enough to celebrate joy, strong enough to bear your pain, humble enough to learn from it all.
(stupid enough to do it again)
It doesn’t matter if your life contains more joy than sorrow. The only thing that matters is whether you are alive to it all – that you didn’t follow that common human story of throwing blankets over the drum of your heart because you just couldn’t bear the sound that it made.
The interesting thing to note that is if we take this as the measure of a good life – expanding into your skills, deepening into your heart – then material measures of success just don’t matter.
Even if you never pull off a successful deal, you will have learnt a great deal from your failures. Likewise, if your life is plagued with sorrows, it could actually be a profound way to understand your own emotional depths.
Don’t stress about the destination. Worry about how you hold yourself along the way.
Ok, you with me so far?
Now imagine that your Groundhog experience is to live your life over until these two elements of experience are perfected within you – until you have applied yourself fully to your craft, and become intimately bound to your heart.
(How would you say your life is tracking so far?)
Now, I want you to imagine that this is the life where you nail it. Where you knock it back over the scoreboard for six. Where you become perfected.
“But hang on. My life is already full of so many failures. Look at this photo of me as a young boy. Look at that haircut. Look at those pants. This has been far from a perfect life.”
I appreciate your humility, but has it?
Haven’t each of your failures taught you something of the way the world works? Haven’t each of your hurts taught you more about what inspires and deadens your heart?
And hasn’t every element of your past been entirely necessary to bring you to this point? Haven’t they all primed you and empowered you for the journey ahead – where you step into maturity and walk with mastery and with depth?
(Didn’t that hair cut teach you about humility? It should of.)
No, you are living the perfect life. You have lived it a thousand times before but this is it. This is the time you nail it. And from this point on, it is even more amazing.
You have no idea of the wonders that are waiting for you.
For today, if only today, walk with that knowledge. Allow yourself to believe that this is the perfect life. Every moment til now has been perfect. Every moment from here is perfect.
And just let it unfold. Try not to drive it, to clench up on it, to force it. Let it unfold. Trust that every step beneath your feet is perfect.
Because I say to you that this is the truth.
Just give me one weekend.
Ever feel like you’re living a Groundhog Day life?