Daniel Gonske

Entrepreneur, Father

Entrepreneur, Father

My name is Daniel, and I grew up overseas. I've lived about half my life inside Canada and half my life out. So a lot of moving and a lot of change. I'm located in Toronto, and I'm the co-founder of Evolve Artist, which is an online oil painting school.

Before Unravel, I would say that I was in a place in life where I was caring for everyone around me, both in work and a personal environment. And I was stretched to my limit in a lot of ways. Not only was I caring for people at work and, and then personally since I'm a parent of two young boys. So Unravel was a gift to myself. It was an opportunity for me to advocate for myself and give myself space to grow space, to breathe. I just wanted to go on a guided journey with someone who I trust.

When I entered Unravel, my hope was to feel more like myself. Coming out the, the 12 weeks, I was hoping to feel more settled, in who I am and in my connection with the people around me.

I, in a lot of ways had lived like a chameleon over the years. If I was growing up in Pakistan or if I was in Thailand, learning the ways of the people around me and adapting to them was very normal in my adult life. Living all across, you know, the provinces in Canada and being in a new city now for five years, it's so easy to have a sense of rootlessness and loneliness.

I left Unravel feeling equipped in so many ways. It wasn't just like one main theme or one main change that had happened within me. It was like four or five  main things. So the first main change that I walked away from Unravel with was connecting with my inner child and just being a lot kinder to myself and showing myself a whole lot more empathy.

Now I have a really perfectionist attitude and if I want to try something, I feel like my hands are tied.

But the Unravel course and the ways that we adjusted our attitudes towards trying some new things, it felt like my hands aren't tied anymore. I can try things without fearing self-judgment. And then also without really fearing judgment from others.

For example, my wife and I and our two boys, we just booked flights to Thailand and we're gonna be living there for 10 weeks. And lots of people are asking me, "oh, do you plan on living there in the future?" And my response is, I don't know. This is an experiment. And that just frees me up so much from having to know the answers of what's gonna happen after.

I don't know what's gonna happen. And so it just feels liberating to have that mindset. I don't know if I would've made the same kind of brave decision to go to Thailand. Like I needed the support of a group and the module material that we were going through. It was a deep dive into how to release that judgment from trying new things and how to be gentle with yourself.

Embracing contradictions within myself and outside of myself was a really fun thing that I walked away from Unravel with. 

I'm someone who sees things or has seen things quite black and white over the years. And what Unravel has done for me is given me the ability to hold contradictions as they exist, the light with the dark, if it's within me, you know, the grief with the joy, the anger, with the sadness, whatever it might be.

But as humans, we experience extremely complex things. And the context of embracing contradictions,
it just makes things so much easier. It relieves pressure off you that you need to have something resolved within yourself, and it's empowering.

The guide has to show up and the student has to show up. It's on both, so thank you for the really deep investments of attention that you put into the course and into the students. It's really amazing.

What sets the Unravel community apart is that these people have all decided to spend this length of time these 12 weeks doing some inner work and participating with each other. And it's so special to be able to do inner work when you aren't isolated by yourself.

There are people holding up mirrors, helping you reflect, encouraging you, and also taking risks at the same time as you. So you're not the only one on that 10 meter diving board. There are a bunch of people jumping off and then you get to go because you've seen the people take the risk and you're doing it together.

So the Unravel community is incredibly encouraging and together we grew, we took risks, and we became friends through this. So those are also things that don't go away. You through this program have the opportunity to connect with some really, really amazing people. 

I entered Unravel with this hope to feel more comfortable in my own skin, more like myself and to hopefully feel like my capacity was a bit higher 'cause I entered in, you know, burnt out. Going through Unravel, I feel like a I have a friend of myself. I've come out the other end so much less harsh to myself.

And I believe that the problems that a parent doesn't fix, they hand down to their kids. And so being able to do this inner work, while my kids are still fairly young, and them being able to see it happening, it isn't only for me, it's for my kids, for my wife. And so the Unravel journey has meant that I'm able to generate benefits for not only myself, but my community.

So it's just a boost. It's a blessing. It's wind in my sails in a lot of ways. I've come up the other side, not that all my problems are solved, but I feel more equipped to deal with the challenges in my mindset, in my body. And I think being equipped is so much better than feeling, you know, like my shoes are worn out and, and I'm done in a lot of ways. So it was holistic encouragement to me.

If I could describe Unravel in four words, it would be a current filled with life. 

There's this quote that the best time to plant a tree is 40 years ago, and the second best time is today. And I think if you've struggled to show up for yourself in the past, there's an opportunity to do that now. Unravel is planting the tree today. If you are that tree was planted before, it's watering and nourishing that tree today.

And so in a lot of ways, I think choosing to nourish yourself is a good thing. Choosing to grow is really really great. And so that's what Unravel has been for me and for the other community members that I've been journeying with. And so I would really encourage you to think about making that investment, I keep saying that word, but making that choice that will be with you for the rest of your life. 


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