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y name is:

Katharina Riess.

My stomping ground is:

I live with my husband and daughter in a 350-year-old farmhouse perched high in the Black Forest, Germany, overlooking the majesty of the Swiss Alps. 

Opening this winter, Black Forest House 1650 will be a destination, designed and curated uniquely for visitors to gather, create, collaborate and, ultimately, to be. 

Committed to a conscious lifestyle, rooted in the deep connection to nature with a global viewpoint, we set out to become the caretakers of this historically significant building in a spectacular setting.

Taking on this responsibility, we immediately understood that we wanted to share what we have created and host likeminded individuals, interested in expansion and growth.

I’m known for being: 

Driven by a continuous drip of “hows,” whether about Ayurveda, journaling, how the mind works, how to cook something, make a ritual space, make an action plan and/or achieve the ideas you have for yourself.

With regards to the retreats, I’m the thought leader, creative mind and also host.

I'm talking about: 

Mastery of the Art of Conscious Living. 

You can find it at:

@friendsoftruths or at our Black Forest House.

Before I started this retreat work, I was:

I am an oenologist (or an expert in the science of making wine) and an entrepreneur, endlessly exploring new territories.

At 16, I found myself gazing out across vineyards nestled in the Baden Valley of Germany. It was there that I asked of my life this very large question: “How do I want to express myself?” The answer was clear—working with nature would be my path.

I dropped out of school and spent the next three years in Wellington boots. Every morning, I would head out—to prune vines frosted to their wireframes, to harvest the rich grapes glistening like jewels in the fall light, and, eventually, to study oenology. To forge a path no one expected of me.

That path led me to working as a marketing director for Global Beverage Brand. It was here that I found my passion for building successful networks of great minds and innovative thinkers. And yet, with the rise of this journey, I came to realize I had strayed from my truest self. I knew there was more to explore. More life to experience. I felt a deep longing to move to Los Angeles. I had a sense that life was waiting for me there.

My interest was sparked when:  

When I moved from Germany to LA and gave up my career, I was fully aware that I had chosen to invest in myself instead. I didn't know who the new me would become, but I was committed to finding out.

Distant and disconnected from my old life, network and everything I knew before, I was once again asking the question: “How do I want to express myself?”

It was curiosity that set things in motion. I connected to myself and felt the connection to everything that led up to finding myself in this moment—my old life, my entrepreneurial self, my passion.

Curiosity also led me to Guru Jagat. Her teachings were a reconfirmation of my feelings, thoughts and intentions. And the practices I experienced with the Ra Ma Institute at the Woman’s Program, “Immense Grace,” at Camp Grace remain a part of my routine to this day.

The idea behind it is: 

My intention with the course and my manual, “The Art of Conscious Living,” is to share the profound learning, practices, rituals and tools that work for me, daily, and to offer them to you as a real and tangible beginning of that journey to yourself. This way, we can begin to create our ongoing conversations with ourselves.

It is my pleasure to share “The Fundamental Steps” to what I have learned from all the great thought leaders and change-makers I have met, and still do. Their expertise in expanding conditioned views, deepening understanding of the human condition, and in clearing out what is not helpful while keeping what is, is invaluable for achieving the dreams you have for yourself. 

I walk you through the “4 Fundamental Steps” of how I defined the excellence of creating oneself. You can pick and choose whatever feels right for you. Maybe you start with just one practice for 40 days and see if you are able to experience something?

What makes it different is:  

In the mastery of the exquisite grape to wine process, I learned this is not just how we create great champagne; it is exactly how we can create ourselves. A delicious, one-of-a-kind wine starts out in relationship with the environment. A rootstock grounded in nourishing soil, which needs the right conditions— sunlight, rain and seasons—to go from bud break to ripening berries. A grape needs to go through the process of picking, crushing and fermenting, and then a process of clarification, before being bottled. Each of these relies on “acting at the right time.”

My favorite lesser-known detail is:

The Animation of the 4 Pillars to Elevate oneself.

I hope the guests walk away feeling:

Grace is the internal energy, elegance is the external expression of your essence, and possibilities are yours to master.

Retreating is so important because:

Shared knowledge and lived experience.

My favorite retreat I ever went on was:

Camp Grace with RaMa Institute around the world.

The words I live by are:

The power of self-determination.

One truth that is so important, but people don’t always realize is:

Possibilities are limitless, we just have to be open and willing to feel, hear and see them.

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