I see the ghosts of who I was yesterday everywhere. They line familiar streets and glide through my home.

There I am, pushing a swing and there, burning the wooden spoon on a hot, empty pan. There I am laughing until I cry and crying until I laugh, practicing handstands against the wall, and sleeping.

There I am, through it all, learning how to live.

I ask them to make room for me as I move through this day. And from there, I thank them for who they helped me to become.

“Thank you and I’m sorry. I love you, you know.” 

I tell this to them all, laughing or crying. I tell it to the stuck ones twice. I see the glory in each form, each face, in a way I couldn’t while I was living it.

I turn to my right and picture tomorrow standing beside me. “Leave some room for me,” I whisper, “and I’ll leave some for you, for I am still growing and you, still becoming.”

This is where we find the glory in living. It’s in the raw, unfiltered moments, the candid snapshots of life on Earth.

And have you noticed? It is good.

This is the adventure we’re here for. The richness of the experience. The splendor of the unfolding story.

We’re here for the striking ups and noble downs. Grand love, grand heartbreak, grand solitude, grand togetherness, grand success, grand failures. Upon these stages, wisdom plays with innocence to show us what we need to know.

There, hidden in the lessons we must learn within, is the glory of living. It’s what we showed up for.

Even if it amounts to nothing in the end, to no fame, no great honor or award, this is you, living gloriously. The gold is in here, not out there.

I don’t want to fight with myself over all the things I should have been. Not for one more second. I want to say, “Thank you, I’m sorry. I love you, you know.”

I don’t want to worry about the future’s uncertainties or stop myself from living until I know where it will take me. Not for one more day. I want to say, “Thank you, I needed that space. Now, here’s some for you.”

When I see myself crossing the street and swaddling newborns and feel myself right in here, in this body miraculously built from next to nothing, I want to bask in the glory of it all.

Because have you noticed? It is good.

I want to live a life well-lived, and I want to accept that that will be scary sometimes. It will hurt sometimes. It will confuse me sometimes. But when I stop and actually take a look at the steps that led me here, I will see how utterly alive I lived. 

I want to see for myself just how big my heart is, how limitless, how free. I want to take on ridiculous projects. I want to be persistent. I want to feel free enough to tear it all down, at least once. Maybe twice.

If I do, it will be glorious. And if I don’t? Ah, well that will be glorious, too.

Look at us living. Have you noticed? It is good.

It isn’t the details that I really want. I know this. I convince myself otherwise eighty times a day. Maybe 180. I’ve lost count. (My point is, many.) I drift, but I don’t forget.

So, when I see them there, concentrating so hard on such little things, and remember what hadn’t happened yet, I smile and say, “Thank you, I’m sorry. I love you, you know.”

Can you greet your yesterdays with lightness? And leave space for your tomorrow to grow?

We all want to feel the glory in living, but we can get so serious about it. It can get so we only accept feeling good, only accept victory, only accept obvious progress, and we miss out on the gold that’s waiting deeper down. Beneath the pain and beyond the struggle stands the door to freedom. Let your compassion open it.

So, you’ve got baggage. So what? You’ve had the strength to hold it until today. Trust that you have the strength to lay it down piece by piece. Let it be where it is today and try not to mistake your beginnings for your endings. Offer life radical thankfulness with whatever portion of your heart you can, and it will show you what you need to know. Tell your yesterdays, “Thank you, I’m sorry. I love you, you know.”

Then turn to your future with brazen optimism, saying, “Here, take this space. Use it to grow.”

Engage in the things that nurture your belief in your own goodness. Practice gentleness with yourself and the world. Touch the ground, breathe in the sky.

Don’t be afraid to befriend your past. But, if you are, love that fear through and through. It is part of the glory, too. And isn’t that what we’re after in the end?

May we all look back tomorrow and see how beautifully we lived today.

Leslie Ralph is a psychologist, writer, and artist who hopes to leave the world a little brighter than she found it.  Her people are creative, sensitive spirits who crave love and peace, inside and out. Leslie is the author of There, I Might Find Peace: Poetry and Prose, Mantras and Meditations for Peace, Love, and Strength. Download her free gift, a ritual for receiving, a daily ritual for bringing more love and light, clarity and confidence, meaning and connection to your life. You can follow Leslie on Facebook or Instagram.

Image courtesy of Armand Khoury.