Groundhog Day and Doing Teshuvah

An article by on February 2, 2018



Today is Groundhog Day, and I immediately think of the Andie McDowell and Bill Murray film in which Murray plays a weatherman [meteorologist] who repeatedly wakes up on the same day only to relive it. He returns to the same sequence of events, but in doing so, is invited to alter his behavior – recognize his jerkish conduct toward others, and become more, to become better, to become who he is more truly.

Speaking of bad behavior.

Behavioral psychology researchers are beginning to understand that, while rigorous study of specific psychological conditions is useful and important, a larger picture that identifies underlying symptoms – ones that cross diagnostic boundaries – convey greater understanding and better treatment.

For instance, when those who present with anxiety and depression are given the task of perceptually judging the number of one color of dots compared with a 2nd color, these individuals were generally quite good at accurately assessing the larger group of dots. But, confidence that they chose correctly was decidedly low. At the same time, judgment of their actual accuracy was good across the number of tests.

Those who present with compulsive behavior and intrusive thoughts, however, were confident in their ability, but less accurate in judging themselves as such.

That is to say, anxious and depressed individuals generally possess lower confidence in the ability to do certain tasks, according to this study. While compulsive behavior tends to be supported by overconfidence in actual ability. In both cases, it is an error in self-judgment.

Mindfulness is typically defined as being present, without judgment, in each moment. It is returning to the self and remaining there – to see – to notice more accurately what is true about who you are. To see with God’s eyes what my being in God’s image looks like.

It is returning – the Jewish practice of teshuvah, or, repentance – is about returning to the wholeness of your original nature that we’ve strayed from . . . it’s about honesty and truthfulness. It’s about being true to who we really are.

By straying from my true self – over-estimating or under-estimating who I am – I have sinned against the one whose image I bear. Repentance is returning to that space at the very center of my being where Jesus resides, where I am most truly – and being that.

Perhaps we are not reliving the same day today. But we are invited to live each day, and to live it with increasingly greater authenticity.

Will you practice teshuvah with me now. To welcome the houseguest of joy or meannesses. To live into the questions.

Settle yourself.

Breathe deeply. Count the fours of square breathing, or notice your belly expanding – whatever works best for you.

Listen to the chime –

I will strike three times to help bring us deeper in toward the center. Allow it to draw you closer to what is true about you – whatever the case. Notice what you strive to be. Then, notice what isn’t quite right. Then notice further what is divine.

Listen for the space where the sound ends and the silence begins.




Listen again. What do I want to hang on to? How can I live into the truth of my being today?




As always, you can find resources and a transcript of this episode on my website

And today, may you walk at the pace of grace.

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About Nicole

Nicole Oliver Snyder’s expertise lies in the areas of leadership, gender issues, and mindfulness practice as it affects both. Leadership, particularly in an urban setting, requires community-relations skills, and an ability to clearly convey justice issues as they relate to felt, spiritual ones. Dr. Snyder is author of Leading Together: Mindfulness and the Gender Neutral Zone, and specializes in teaching mindfulness leadership development, formative spirituality, counseling, and Old Testament theology (emphasis on justice issues). She has a diverse background in international community-relations work combined with volunteer work in multi-ethnic communities, and with local institutions. She is an ordained Clergy; holds a BS in Human Development and Family Studies, w/Education Certificate, an MA-Counseling, MDiv Equiv., holds a Doctor of Ministry and Advanced Certification in Formative Spiritual Direction, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor (MI).

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