A Mindful Man: Bill Murray 

 September 7, 2020

Bill Murray is a national treasure, and that is no small statement. I have thought about it for a few years and if I could get my wish to hang out with any celebrity in the world, it would be him. Even if he wasn’t a celebrity, is there anyone who has more fun and enjoys life so much? He is the epitome of what it is to live in the moment and be be mindful, and I think we could all learn about living life from him.

Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) solidified himself as a cultural icon in the 1984 classic Ghostbusters. Bill Murray is not afraid of no ghosts, nor gophers, and embraces singing karaoke in Japan with a nice glass of Suntory whiskey. I was a toddler when Ghostbusters was created at the time, but would later come to appreciate that and many roles that Murray has played over time. His time on the silver screen has been mostly memorable, and if you know anything about Bill Murray, you probably love him too. If you don’t, I won’t judge you, but I highly recommend checking out some of his best and worst moments here on Deadspin. Whether it is firing up the crowd with chants of “America” during the Ryder Cup or Cubs fans during the seventh inning stretch during the world series the man brings it to the max.

I am fortunate to meet a lot of people in my day job as a psychotherapist, and I spend a lot of time working on being mindful in my life, sometimes I am even successful. And one of the things I probably enjoy most is seeing someone embrace life to the max, while simultaneously bringing others up to their level. That is a rare skill that Murray has mastered in life and in film.

A quick google search and you will find that there are too many Bill Murray stories to attempt to chronicle. The man participates in life wherever he is. One of the most influential leaders of the mindful movement over the last 40 years, Jon Kabat-Zinn, wrote a book, “Wherever You Go, There You Are.” That is the wonderful and fearless Bill Murray, the most mindful man in America, or one of them. A bold claim, but that’s how I feel. May we all be so fortunate to embrace life like he does, full of exuberance and joy.

In our stress reduction classes, sometimes we meditate and focus our attention on a visualization of a mountain and seek to encompass the strength, stability, and enduring nature of the mountain in ourselves and our own lives despite the many changes that happen from moment to moment. That can be very powerful for people to help them especially in difficult or more challenging moments. Now imagine taking in the strength of a mountain and bringing it with you in each moment of your life, and seeing if you can have as much fun as Bill Murray does living fully in the present. What might you change? How would you like to live?

One Bill Murray story that caught my attention a few years ago is when he stumbled into the middle of a bachelor party. I can imagine most celebrities being hurried away from the rowdy celebrating group of young men, but not Bill Murray. He stopped, listened, and had a conversation with the young men about life, death, and love. It was a thrill, meaningful and touching as he gave them some advice from an older man who has been living mindfully for a while now. He gave the young men the memory of lifetime, and we have another Bill Murray story to celebrate and hopefully remind us how to live life more fully in the present moment. You can watch this memorable cell phone video HERE.

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