Life as a Planner During a Pandemic

I’m a planner.  I have lists for everything I do: running, weight lifting, mountains to climb, races to run.  Of course I have shopping lists, packing lists and to-do lists a mile long.  It’s part of my personality.  It’s probably why I do it for a living and why I’m so good at it.  So much so that if I don’t have something to plan, I’m a little lost.  I feel anxious.  It’s part of my soul- who I am.  

As you can imagine, COVID19 and the pandemic sweeping across the globe has thrown a wrench in all my planning. This spring was to be my busiest running season yet.  I’d already completed two races, one in January and one in February, and I was registered for eight more, three being half marathons.  I have one on the calendar still, a challenging 16 mile trail race, but I have little doubt that, too, will be canceled.  Last Monday was the busiest cancellation day; three of the big ones (two half marathons and a 5k) were all canceled on the same day.  One was not just a half marathon, it was the reason we were going to Alaska for two weeks in June.  That trip was subsequently canceled. Another planning event is gone.

I can find more races, that’s not the problem. Having nothing to focus my energy on is the problem. 

As a planner, my goals are all in the future.  Still, I’m able to keep myself in the present with my lists.  I’m able to take a big goal and break it down into present moments.  For example, my big goal was to run 4 half marathons this year.  My present moments are each run on my plan that will get me there and the strength training sessions three times a week that will make me stronger. Training for the races is my favorite part!  Sure, I  have a big goal I’m planning for, but it’s made up of a lot of little goals which I have to focus on in the present.

While it’s the interim steps that help me focus my attention in the present, without an end goal,  I have a tendency to lose focus.  I remember hearing a saying years and years ago that, “the next six weeks will go by whether you are doing something towards your goals or not.  You might as well be working towards something, even if just a little bit each day.” And this has been my motto since.  A little movement every day towards a goal will get you there.  Whether it’s running, writing or lifting weights, as long as you are moving forward every day you’ll eventually get there.  It’s the goal that keeps me moving forward.

During this challenging time of COVID-19 and the continuous cancelling of every social activity, it can be hard to stay motivated towards a plan that may or may not happen.  While we’ve changed our plans and are going back to Montana in August, each day that passes brings news that threatens the ability to travel even four months from now.  I osculate from being positive and upbeat, adding things to my packing list and feeling in control, to wondering if it’s worth going out for a run at all.  I have worked hard my entire life to be able to travel and see the world and now, the world is shutting down.  Now that I can travel, the ability has been stripped away. 

But that can’t be my focus.  There’s a lesson in everything in life and this situation has taught me that a goal needs to be more internal and less affected by external forces.  My hope needs to be internal, needs to be driven by forces inside, not outside.  I need to change my goals and my plans to be things I can have control over and can fully own.  Instead of a goal of running 4 half marathons, I need to have a goal of beating the 700 miles I ran last year.   Get outside and enjoy every single run, no matter the outcome.  Virtual races are popping up like crazy so if I need a race to keep me motivated, I can do it on my own!  

While the world may still be crazy at the end of August and our trip may be canceled yet again, I can’t help but plan anyway.  Call it hope. Call it the false sense of optimism that we, as a country, will figure out how to conquer this pandemic and life will return to normal before too long.  Call it whatever you want, but I need that glimmer of hope. I need to plan.  I’ll just refocus that plan to something I can control.


Embracing Internal Assets- From Meaghan

A few years ago, I attended a workshop titled “Life is a Playground” at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York.  The presenter, Kyle Cease, asked us to make a list of all our current assets – not assets we wished we had, but all the assets we had right now.    When Kyle asked us to share our lists, we heard things like “my home…. job…. car…. investments.” 

I looked down at my list and thought,  oops. While not intentional, almost every item on my list wasn’t a tangible thing, but an internal thing….  a relationship, an experience, a feeling, a healthy habit. My list of assets consisted of internal traits I considered strengths within myself.  While often one to go in a different direction than the group, I raised my hand, took the microphone, and read my list. It went something like this:

-My relationship with my son Elijah, watching him grow

-Love for Derek, and the relationship we have created


-Building my private practice

-Being a gifted listener

-Spiritual guidance system

You get the idea.  When I was through reading my list, Kyle pointed out that almost every single one of my assets was internal…. they weren’t tangible things.  Instead, I had identified something coming from within. How awesome was THAT?!! In that moment, I felt a sense of security and peace flow through me, as I realized how abundant, how secure, how safe I really was.  

SO…. that brings me to you, Dear Reader!

Without a doubt, we are living in uncertain and unsettling times. Right now, when we look out at our external world, things like our jobs, our investments, our stock of supplies, we may feel uncertain. We may find some areas that feel lacking.  Our foundations may feel as if they’re shaking. But what if I were to tell you that it is your Inner Foundation that needs care right now? That it is your Inner Foundation that will support and nourish you in these troubling times? What if I told you it is still possible, and in fact necessary – to cultivate an inner feeling of safety, abundance, and security?  If not now, when?

While we may not have control over our outer foundation at the moment, we do indeed have control over our inner foundation. To help realize this, let’s explore.  What are your inner resources, inner assets that you can call upon right now to give you strength?  Let’s deep dive into that inner well, and see what we find.  I’ve broken down my inner assets into 3 categories. I’m calling them strengths, hobbies, and higher vibration assets.  



Let’s start with strengths because YES, you do indeed have many.  As a mental health therapist and hypnotherapist, a block to growth that often arises with my clients is the idea that they don’t have nearly as many strengths as they actually have.  Often times, they have difficulty acknowledging a strength because it comes so naturally to them, they don’t see it as a gift! Here are a few examples of the strengths from my list that I define as inner assets:

My cultivation of deep and meaningful relationships with my son and my husband, friends and family

I am skilled deep listener

I am intuitive

I have the ability to see things from multiple perspectives

I have a deep belief in Spiritual Support

So take a moment now to write down your strengths.  What comes naturally to you? Are you good with numbers?  Do you have a great memory? Do you have a consistent exercise routine or mediation practice?  Think outside the box here. The sky is the limit! Strengths can include beliefs, skills, and personality traits, experiences to draw upon…. You name it!

Finally, think about how your strengths can be utilized during difficult times.  How can your strengths help get you – and others – through? Write down ways in which you can use your strengths to firm up your inner foundation. 



While our hobbies can absolutely also fall in the category of our strengths, I am separating them here for one main reason:  We don’t have to be masters or even good at our hobbies to consider them internal assets!   The only prerequisite for our hobbies to be considered an internal asset is that they need to uplift us, bringing us joy or peace in some way.  In other words, our hobbies have to raise our vibration in order for them to be an internal asset.

I have a perfect example of this.  Recently, I began to teach myself the piano.  I sat with the idea of starting for weeks. I’m not really sure where or why the idea originated, but I began reminiscing about taking piano lessons when I was 8 years old.  Fast forward 40 years later, and I suddenly began thinking about it again. I had a strong feeling it would be good for me, (there’s my intuiting kicking in!) so I purchased an electric piano keyboard, downloaded a free “teach yourself piano” course, and off I went. 

It cannot be stressed enough that I am a beginner in every sense of the word.  I am not good at it – yet it brings me a sense of peace when I practice. My hunch is that I feel peaceful because my practice allows me to disengage from the world, and focus my attention on the practice and nothing else.  Piano is an internal asset not because I am a master at it, but because the art of practicing brings me relief and a way to disengage from my daily thoughts and concerns. Practicing anything can have a meditative quality to it, contributing to an overall sense of peace and calm. 

Take a moment now to list your hobbies.  If you don’t have any, take this moment to consider picking one to try.  Perhaps the less you initially know about your hobby the better, because by trying new things, we can truly get into a state of “beginners mind”.    Beginners mind can be a powerful internal asset, because as we practice not knowing, we open ourselves to new ideas, new forms of guidance that we may not have considered before.  Take time to cultivate new hobbies, or recommit to old hobbies. Have fun with it, and see the benefit of the practice itself, rather than only the benefit of the result.  



This brings us to assets I’m calling high vibration assets.  These are tangible assets we currently have (because of course, we can also include our tangible assets on this list!). However, there is one catch:  The tangible asset should contribute to a sense of peace, security, safety, or love. How is this asset bringing me peace? How is it benefiting my calm sense of mind?  How is it helping to decrease stress, worry, depression and increase calm, peace, and joy? 

For example, one of the tangible assets I had on my list was a teardrop trailer / camper that my husband and I purchased.  I love the idea of traveling, and this camper has allowed us to expand ourselves, traveling to new places, spending more time in nature. It allows us to travel to new places relatively cheaply. It allows us to cook our dinners outside and watch the stars.  This is a HIGH VIBRATION ASSET.  

What are your high vibration assets?  Does your home give you a sense of peace and safety?  Are you grateful that your car gets you from point A to point B?  Does your collection of Harry Potter series bring you joy? The sky is the limit here.  

Now that you have your list of internal assets, you may be wondering how to use it.  My advice is to read this list every day. Let it sink into your subconscious. Utilize these assets every day, Become reacquainted with your own unique skill set, and then call upon it.   When our external foundations are shaking, turn to your inner foundations to help sustain you during these challenging times. In turn, by having a completely solid internal foundation, you can better help those around you to build theirs.  

Please feel free to email me at to share your internal assets and how you use them!

In Peace,