Anyway, we did change our name to True North Holistic Center and that suited us well for how the work had sort of evolved over the years and the “true north” coming from the fact that years ago, when sailors were out at sea, they didn’t have all these instruments or anything. The only way they knew where they were is by the north star and as long as they could keep that in mind and in view, then they couldn’t get too far lost. They might veer off the course a little bit, but as long as they could follow that true north, then they stayed the course and they were safe and they didn’t get lost. And my sense is that every woman—every person—but because I was particularly focusing on women—has that true north within herself. What are the things that guide your life that aren’t moveable? There are some things that are going to change as you grow, as you age and have different experiences, but there’s some things that just aren’t moveable for you. Maybe it’s that you feel very honor bound to always speak your truth or family is so important to you or service to others is so important to you. Whatever those things are that make you who you are, the things that make your truly inner core being, those things don’t change in your life. Your circumstances change, the people may come and go in and out of your life, but those things don’t change. If you can stay with that true north of your own personal being you’re not going to get too far lost.
Merith Lynne Cole was born in Granby, Connecticut, in 1943 and graduated from Bay Path College in Longmeadow, Massachusetts . She married at the age of 20 and moved to the Worcester area. She and her husband had three children. In the early ‘90s, the couple established a general contracting company in Worcester. After leaving the contracting company, she started a retreat center, True North Holistic Center, aimed towards helping women find a place where they would feel grounded and learn to love themselves. She also founded a food pantry called Loaves and Fishes. In this interview, Merith discusses her life as a professional and a mother, her experience with volunteer work and service for others, and her journey with spirituality. Merith also elaborates on how her experience with breast cancer has changed her perspective on life and how it has positively affected her. She shares that having breast cancer was the greatest gift she has ever received. She concludes the interview by advising women to, “Find out...who you are in the core. … Find those things now and keep bringing those to the front of your life, because your circumstances will change and grow and be good and be not good...and then you’ll find your own success, because you’ll be your own person.”