I have a five-disk DVD player with a title repeat feature. It'll just keep playing the same DVD over and over again. When, I thought to myself, could that possibly be useful?

I'm an athiest, but what you might call a philosophical atheist, maybe even a spiritual atheist if there was a way to purge the supernaturalism from the term. I feel that human drive for ritual that compels religious holidays. But I always feel guilty partaking, like I'm faking.

We live long lives, with a lot of possibility for improvement, for learning, for helping others and coming to feel at home in hte world. And we all need time for self reflection, to see our lives well spent, our lessons learned, our friends made, to know that our time here was not wasted, that something had become of it. That we are not stuck in one place, and every day was exactly the same, and nothing we did mattered.

There's this movie called Groundhog Day...

I like throwing parties.

Thusly, in 2000, I claimed my secular holiday: Groundhog Day. I get up early the Saturday after Groundhog Day, and at 6am, I start the ole DVD player repeating that most self-reflective of all movies, Groundhog Day, until 6 the next morning. Ritually re-creating Phil's repetitively re-lived day of enlightenment, by ritually replaying its reproduction. I gather my friends about me this day, to reflect and celebrate, to make my accounting of what has been gained and lost this year. To reflect on lessons learned, and changes made, on what this cycle of days has brought to me, on who has gone and who has come anew. And, of course, to party and drink and enjoy each other's company.

And then return to living for another year. Knowing, as Phil does, that I am bound to relive this same Groundhog's day again, for the rest of my life. Each one subtly different, each one fundamentally the same. And, I hope, each one punctuated by growth.