Daniel Max

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35, Founder

Tell us about a time you felt cared for?

Last week I was exhausted. Entrepreneurship can be an exercise in rejection. You go out into the world and say, “Hello world! Here I am. Here is my dream.” To which the world replies, “Sorry bud, but your dream is not worth my time/not going to work/not the next Facebook.” Then you wake up the next day and do it over again. At the same time, living in Los Angeles can be isolating. We’re in cars all the time. So, you’re not confronted with humanity like in New York or San Francisco.

My friend Jen knew I was having a tough go of it. She had been trying to get me to serve food at the Hollywood Salvation Army (she goes each week). I finally say yes. Show up. Write “DANIEL” in red sharpie on a name tag and spend three hours serving dessert to people who were also having a tough go of it, some in pretty severe conditions. Yet, most of them were so polite and gracious. Thrilled to just be asked a basic question. “What would you like for dessert?”

I forgot how many people go through life with little to no agency. Because I had an opportunity to give, I was cared for that night. We always get more in return when we give. This is one of those universal truths that we all have to continually re-learn. I know. Pretty kumbaya, but true.

What would you like to see more of in wellness?

Parity. Too many experiences in life separate, divide, and classify people on economic status. Boarding the plane at the airport. Seating on the airplane. Healthcare. Invite only social clubs. Live event ticketing. Right now, systems that further segregate us from others feel like part of the problem.

Catherine and I think about experiences that flatten social hierarchies. The beach. Free museums. Riding the Subway. Korean spas where everyone has to wear the same unsexy yellow jumpsuit. There’s magic when humans come together in ways that remind us how alike we are. We want more of that magic in wellness.

Favorite self-care ritual?

I’ve been enjoying guided sleep meditations which can be called the practice of yoga nidra. Insight Timer has a good offering on its mobile app under the courses tab. They are helpful in transitioning me to a restful sleep state, whether I’m taking a nap or turning in for the evening. It triggers old programming from childhood. That when your parents are reading to you, things are safe and you can go to bed. Except now, I’m not listening to stories about Clifford the Big Red Dog. I’m listening to calm people talk about body scanning, sound, and the mind.

Heroes?

Thom Yorke. Giving me a language to the alienation I felt growing up biracial in the Midwest. Ai Weiwei. Relentless defender of what it means to be human. Lebron James. Showing that there’s no ceiling on a kid from Northeast Ohio. Dr. Belinda Yen. Mom. Living proof of the American Dream. Endless well of love and support. 

Catherine Spence