Rooted in Jim Thorpe
Some people go through life never finding what truly makes them happy.
Lisa Meranti isn’t one of them.The former Jim Thorpe resident found that many times throughout her life, the stars aligned and brought her to the same path of tranquillity and nature.Through her life experiences with the outdoors and yoga, Meranti has combined her passions to create OneTreeLove, a nature-oriented yoga practice that helps balance people while learning about the world around them.Today, you can find Meranti being one with nature and herself in Ohio, either leading a class or helping people learn about the importance of the environment through Cleveland Metro Parks.But she credits a single tree just outside Jim Thorpe for helping her find the roots that were needed for her journey to flourish and blossom into what it is today.A journey begins“I have been on this path of connecting myself and others’ mind, body and planet for a sustainable life for a long time,” Meranti said, adding that her passion for the environment began in fifth grade, when her family lived in New Jersey.As Meranti grew up, her desire to help others and the world around her grew stronger, but her inner demons also began to fight back.In the summer of her freshman year of high school, Meranti’s family moved to Jim Thorpe, where her mom still resides today.She attended Marian Catholic High School and stumbled in her own skin.It was in those high school years though that Meranti found what she was looking for — her secret garden, yoga and meditation.“There was a point in high school where I had some tough times where I was disconnected from everything. I was just lost,” she said. “I was struggling so the experience with nature and all that unfolded has allowed me to feel full of love and gratitude.”The treeMeranti stumbled upon a tree and natural stone garden during her adventures on lands in the Jim Thorpe area owned by the Bethlehem Water Authority.“It is very quiet there,” she said. “It is a little area where water comes up as a natural spring. They built a natural stone wall and there is a this giant maple tree.”The tree was overrun with Japanese knotweed, an invasive plant, so the then Marian junior took it upon herself to prune back the weed and plant a field of sunflowers.“I totally made this place all my own so I called it my secret garden,” she said. “I would go there all the time and be by the water or do my own natural resource management of that area and then I would sit there and hang out under this tree. It was that spot that brought it all together and it was about the same time when I started doing yoga.“It’s funny because my life and what I was doing under that tree, I didn’t know at the time, I was meditating in nature. I was just being there and feeling my connection with nature,” Meranti said, adding that her work with natural resource management in caring for the tree also led her in her focus of maintaining healthy waterways.“It’s so funny how this one spot outside Jim Thorpe is the place where it has been the cornerstone or marker of my whole life as it is. You don’t realize it as it’s happening.“It keeps coming back to me how symbolic this place is. The seed of my life’s purpose and OneTreeLove was deeply planted in 11th grade at this special place. Now it continues to grow with each adventure I take, class I teach, and connection I make.”The stars alignIt wasn’t until her senior year at Lebanon Valley College where the connections between Meranti’s past and present really began to take shape.She applied for jobs all over the country in hopes of one day working on water management in a laboratory, but life has a funny way of throwing curve balls.“I applied to jobs, over 100 jobs, customized every résumé, and I applied to this one job because my professor said ‘you should apply to this job.’”What she didn’t realize at that time was that this job was the same job a friend had recommended she apply for a year earlier.“It was destiny,” she said. “So out of the 100 jobs I had applied for, I got one interview and one job offer and it was there that I had two people suggest I apply to.”Meranti was accepted as an intern at the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center and paired her degree in water quality to a place that had deep roots in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Water Act.She spent her time educating children about water quality and how to maintain natural resources and the world and realized she had found part of her calling.“Everything was great but something still didn’t feel right,” Meranti said. “It kept coming back to me that I always had this vision of wanting to help create a community, create more initiatives around getting people outdoors and giving back to nature.”In 2016, Meranti took the leap, left her full-time job as the associate director at Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center for a part-time job at Cleveland Metro Parks and forged forward on her dream — OneTreeLove.“It aligns all my interests and passions,” she said of Cleveland Metro Parks and OneTreeLove. “OneTreeLove came from that tree in Jim Thorpe. It all makes sense now when I look back at it now.”The name OneTreeLove has deep meaning, Meranti said.“You think about one love, so in yoga philosophy or nature philosophy everything is connected. We are all one. We’re all one all interconnected. And trees for me have been my true connection to oneness. I grew up in a Catholic church, grew up going to a Catholic school, but for me I never felt the oneness until that tree and nature.”