A note of sincere thanks

Carmel Beach

I’ve just returned from four days away in Northern California, where apart from people around me, I talked with one person, made zero phone calls, looked at zero screens, listened to almost nothing except nature and the world around me, sat still for hours at a time, drove 900 miles, used my phone only as a camera and a map, and never, ever got bored. Not even once. Because silence, nature, and true human connection are never boring... they're what make it all worthwhile.

I returned refreshed and feeling boundlessly grateful for those four short days. Why? Because this summer was hard. H. A. R. D. Hard.

I cried … a lot. I questioned… so much. I doubted… daily. I would rebound for a few days, then start the process all over again. I asked questions. I read. I wrote. I cried some more. I felt like I didn’t know who I was or why I was doing what I was doing. I felt… aimless, lacking in focus, lacking in heart, and just plain sad.

Kala Maxym at Warner Bros

What emerged from this summer of struggle was something beautiful, though. I realized that I actually have everything I need at my fingertips already. I realized that perhaps I was trying a bit too hard to fit our concept into a box or bend it to meet industry expectations that weren’t quite the right fit.

What I came to understand in a deep way over the last few weeks is that what makes our full-sensory experiences truly beautiful are not the elements – the music, the wine, food, sweet treats – in and of themselves (though, by golly, they’re all amazing!). It is our unique ability to create a feeling of sensory wellness and wholeness for our guests.

In a world of chaos and desperate uncertainty, those moments of blissful and profound connection with our inner selves and with those around us are immeasurably crucial to our survival and growth. By encouraging our guests to taste new sounds, new flavors, new loves through their five senses, we expand their awareness – both on a personal and a global level – and inspire connection across cultures and generations. We also invite them to take this newfound sensory awareness into their daily lives by engaging their senses actively and with purpose in their daily activities.

I realized that I myself had started to fall short of the things I ask our guests to experience, and so I made a pledge to try – everyday – to implement one specific sensory activity. Here are a few of the tips we shared at EmpowerCon, a one-day empowerment event that we were privileged to be a part of at the LA Convention Center. Just for now, I’ve listed one tip for each sense:

— Instead of blithely shaking someone’s hand, next time shake it with both hands! Extend your right but clasp their hand with your left. The little extra touch is really welcoming and indicates warmth and trust.

— Next time you’re out for a walk, don’t put on your iTunes. Just listen to the world around you. Count how many bird calls you can hear, maybe there are some children laughing at a house up ahead. Listen to them. The trees rustling above you.

— Try a beer, wine, or cocktail you’ve never had before. Even if you’re like Miles from “Sideways” and don’t drink no f-ing Merlot… taste some Merlot anyway. The good kind. From a wine bar. That has good Merlot.

— Stop and smell the roses (or any other flowers you pass by, too).

— Give someone a specific compliment about something they are wearing or how they look! This shows them that you have truly taken the time to see them!

EmpowerCon with Five Senses Tastings and Unsugarcoated Media

I knew while I was going through the past couple of months that something beautiful just simply had to be at the end of the road.

All the tears and the questions couldn’t be for nothing. And… I was right.

We are coming into our new season full of energy, hope, and light for our new path, and we thank you ALL for being a part of it!

Cheers to an AMAZING fall!!

Kala Maxym