How many creatures are in this photo and why it matters.

How many creatures do you see in this photo?

I’m writing to you from California, where we are under strict “Shelter in Place” orders due to the Coronavirus. Every time I look at my calendar, I see events that have been cancelled. It is depressing, but I am not deleting any of them. Each one reminds me of what my life will become again once this pandemic winds down. It helps me keep my spirits up. But for me, but that’s not enough.

With so much more time on my hands, it’s hard not to be down due to the Coronavirus isolation. I’m turning to one of the approaches that I know works for me. I’m sharing it because, if it’s not something you’ve already tried, I hope to give you a new tool to fill your life with more joy and inner peace.

Being outdoors is therapeutic for me, and fortunately, that is not banned, as long as social distancing is being practiced. When I go outdoors, which I can do more frequently now, I’m trying to be more observant. I am paying more attention to the magic of what’s around me.

Every blade of grass, every stone, ever flower is unique and beautiful. There is a multitude of shapes and colors. Colors and shadows change as the sunlight changes. There are creatures all around us too, from the tiniest insects to birds, lizards, rabbits and more. They each move in their own way. They each have distinctive coloring, shapes and sizes. These are miraculous creations.

Shelter in Place and the Coronavirus isolation are reminders to me to take the time to appreciate this simple beauty every time I go outdoors, whether to exercise or just be. It is an opportunity to find new sources of joy. It is an opportunity to practice more gratitude for what Nature offers us.

And, if you’re still wondering how many creatures are in the photo, at least half a dozen. The rounded objects covered in small stones and nestled under the layers of rock are sea anemone. When the tide comes back in, they will open up and wait for food to float by.

What can you see and enjoy when you take the time to observe Nature?


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Leslie Gold

Leslie Gold, Founder and Executive Director of Strides in Recovery Leslie is an RRCA-certified running coach who specializes in training the newly sober. As a volunteer at a residential addiction treatment program, she has coached hundreds of people in early recovery across the finish line of the Los Angeles Marathon, more than any other coach in the country. Years later, many of the participants still credit the group training and life lessons learned as critical to their long-term sobriety. Inspired by these success stories and numerous testimonials about the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits of training for a challenging endurance event with the support of a team, Leslie started Strides in Recovery. The mission of this non-profit is threefold: 1) Bring running/walking-based relapse prevention programs to more recovery communities 2) Strengthen and grow the community of sober runners/walkers 3) Educate addiction treatment providers about the healing power of goal-oriented group training Prior to starting Strides in Recovery in 2018, Leslie spent three decades leading clinical and financial performance improvement projects, implementing decision support solutions, and generating analytics for hospitals and health systems across the US. She holds an MBA from UCLA and a BA from the University of Virginia. She regularly runs 40-50+ miles/week and has joyfully completed a 50K, 9 marathons, and numerous shorter distance events. She is also an avid cyclist.

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