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Reflections on an Awful Awesome Life

By: Sherrilene Classen, PhD.

From my reflections and in the words of L.R. Knost, I wish to share with you, the following:

“Life is amazing. And then it's awful. And then it's amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful its ordinary and mundane and routine.”

During this Thanksgiving break, I wish for you to bring appreciation and gratitude to this ordinary, extraordinary, amazing and awful, live of ours.

On Thanksgiving Day, my spouse and I bookended our day by starting it with appreciation—and ended it with gratitude. Early morning, before coffee or tea and breakfast, we completed an exercise that allowed us to identify factors fitting into the “4 L’s” -- that this year (2023) has afforded us. These 4 L’s are:

· What I liked

· What I loved

· What I lacked

· What I longed for

I encourage each one of you, the reader, to go through this exercise—and become aware, once again of the bountiful blessings that life bestows upon us. I bet you that your list of liked and loved, will be at least twice as long as the list for lacked and/or longed. The liking and loving, for us, centered around wonderful memories, great trips, transformational life experiences, oneness with nature, and precious moments. Interestingly, the lacking and longing were mostly implicated by determinants to feed and nurture the spirit, rather than by material objects or attributes.

For the rest of Thanksgiving Day, we proceeded to show appreciation for what we have, as we engaged in some aesthetically pleasing home improvement projects. We did not see this as a chore, but rather as an amazing opportunity to beautify and celebrate that which is ours! Pleased with a productive day that brought us more satisfaction, joy, and fulfillment, we ended the day with a sense of deep gratitude. This gratitude took on form and function as we contemplated not just what we did (the “doing” of this day and throughout life) but also as we reflected on our “being”, “becoming”, and “belonging”.

I was particularly struck by the knowing that our life paths can be sometimes awful and other times awesome. And, I realized, that part of our life purpose is to reconcile the awful and the awesome into a wonderful life. How fitting then to end the day and reflections with the striking words of the author (cited above):

“Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That's just living –- heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it's breathtakingly beautiful.”

If you want to explore opportunities to turn your awful into awesome, contact us at

Photo credit: Google

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