Episode 19 :: Meri Tanaka

“Every morning, when I get up to make myself a cup of coffee, and every night before I go to sleep, I think about how my life has changed, thanks to Tokuko and amirisu. I no longer want to take a day off from work, just to get away from it. I always look forward to tomorrow, knowing that I have many challenges to tackle.” – Meri Tanaka

pictured above are Meri and Tokuko knitting at SQUAM (composite image courtesy of Woolful)
pictured above are Meri and Tokuko knitting at SQUAM (composite image courtesy of Woolful)

One of the coolest things about getting older that no one really talks about is how you get to live through huge changes in your life and be direct witness to huge changes in the lives of people around you. Things you never imagined could possibly happen, do.

I am feeling this pretty strongly today as I share my chat with MERI TANAKA.

When I first met Meri at Squam in 2009, she lived a very busy, full out life in the heart of Tokyo where she was a highly successful marketing executive in an international insurance firm. (You can learn more about her story HERE on Ashley’s Woolful podcast where Meri shares how she moved from the traditional business world to creating her own enterprise with Tokuko that so far includes amirisu, knitting retreats, and Walnut.)

What I want to share with you today — and what Meri and I talk about — is WOW.!!

Dreams REALLY DO come true– you know, with a whole lotta faith, hard work and heart-centered choices.

pictured above is Meri in Rome at the end of SquamITALIA!
pictured above is Meri in Rome at the end of SquamITALIA!

Meri and I got to know each other over the years since that first meeting in 2009 because she returned to Squam every Spring and then, also came to SquamITALIA! in October 2012. She also brought her business partner, Tokuko to Squam one year so that she could understand why Meri would travel all that long way each year.

Over at Stories, you can read Meri’s story about why she continued to return to Squam and how it influcenced her life:

“When you grow older and when all your friends get married, and especially if you work for a very conservative financial institution, you don’t get enough time with female companionship. Come to think of it, for most of my life since high school, I had been in predominantly masculine environments.

I didn’t know until now that being surrounded by all-energetic and creative female souls is that refreshing and can restore your soul.”

We have some wild stories of spending a weekend in Rome together — me driving, her using the i-phone to navigate!– where we shared hopes and dreams and visions of how we would love our lives to look and feel.

I remember clearly some of the things Meri called out for:

  • she wanted to move out of Tokyo which was so fast-paced and busy. She mentioned Kyoto as a dream location . . but how could that ever happen?
  • she wanted to leave her job and do something more creative . . but how could that ever happen?
  • we talked relationships and she mentioned how nice it would be to fall in love and have a life partner . . but how would that ever happen?

sha-ZAM! As you can hear in the call, Meri began her magazine, left her job, moved to Kyoto, opened a yarn shop and met her fiance (<--hearts!) at a sumo wrestling match.

None of this came without focus, determination and a vision– and yet, we all know there’s a good tablespoon of magic in here, too.

My heart gets a little bit happy when I see Meri’s twitter profile photo which is a shot I took of her with Henry at our favorite beach here in Providence.

Meri is a beloved friend and my heart expands tenfold as I feel her joy, happiness, and outrageous success. It makes me believe in how much is possible when we take steps toward our deepest wishes.

Join us as we reminisce on how funny and wonderful and hard and surprising life can be.

bisous, Elizabeth