Kyle McCloskey

Freelance filmmaker, poet philosopher

Freelance filmmaker,
poet philosopher

In the winter of 2019, I was ready to quit and change what I was doing and leave Japan. Then, 2020 hit. And obviously all of those plans fell through and I spent it in my apartment and I found myself wondering why was I doing what I was doing and was I happy with it? I had been doing a lot of commercial work, which pay the bills, but they aren't particularly artistically rewarding.

And I just got stuck and I couldn't quite get myself undone out of that. I had just been holding a flashlight and spinning around in a circle, getting dizzier and dizzier. And then this gave me like a direction to move in and I was like, okay, let's do this.

I absolutely had fears holding me back from saying yes to this program. Once you're in that spinning headspace, it's really hard to orient yourself. And I just had that voice in my head telling me that nothing I was going to do was ever going to get me out of that space. Nothing was going to be worth it. Everything that I make was going to be garbage.

And then I actually reached out to you directly to be like, hello, I am intrigued by Unravel, but I am also unsure if this is what I want to do or not. Your response made it clear to me that you weren't doing this for the money- you were doing this because you love it. And that was going to be the guiding principle for everything. Like Dandan is someone acting from integrity, so let's go for it. 

After Unravel, I'm much more willing to surrender my heart. Fewer guards. Because I'm willing to offer that up myself, other people are willing to reciprocate. I don't know if I would've done that prior to the Unravel experience. It's like a training ground for letting yourself go, for being willing to open up to other people around you.

And you realize that everyone is as complicated and weird and beautiful as you are. And when you do that, like suddenly it sounds cliche, but the world does get brighter and people do seem happier. This program helped me realize what it is to be alive.

Like it really just bonded me to humanity. Again, those connections go beyond just myself inside and the people within the cocoon, but it just starts rebuilding a network all over the world and it's fantastic. So it helps me greet the day and greet everyone with joy and honesty. 

I have the notebook that I was using through the whole course and I was looking through it before this to remember what I had been going through. One was the inner child exercise that you had us do. It was incredible to reconnect with that side of myself because as you become more of an adult, you forget the things that brought wonder. Kids are amazing at looking at like flowers for hours or like a piece of carpet. And to reconnect with that was really wonderful. To be able to take that ineffable joy that you feel as a child and then work to translate it into an adult feeling, which this notebook is filled with. It was amazing. 

And then the other half, was the shadow selves exercise. I spend a lot of time thinking whether or not what I'm doing is right or wrong, and that module was really helpful for being like, that's not a particularly helpful way of thinking about things and that we have these other sides to ourselves that need a bit of indulgence. And then when they are indulged, it's kind of like adding rocket fuel to your regular state of being.

I definitely wouldn't have spoken this way before the Unravel experience, Like my willingness to let the stuff that happens up here out is like, I'm just so much more open about it. It's what it means to be alive, isn't it? Like that's what we're here to do.

I am much more appreciative of my full being. Like one of the, the modules is about reconnecting with the body. I am very good at existing in my brain and forgetting about the physical world. And it really helped to take all of this and bring it into the physical world, like the willingness to understand my humanity and both the limits that come with that. Like just sort of laugh at those shortcomings or failures and be like, well, you know, that's okay. Try again tomorrow.

My creative work now feels like it's coming from this source that is me and this source that isn't trying to perform for anybody or impress them, anybody or like make other people think that I am smart, it's just me. And so it, it's flowing much more naturally. 

If I could describe Unravel in three words, it would be: vulnerability, community, expansion. Because you open yourself up, you meet these people and then it just goes so much further than you could have imagined.

I'm someone who is internet adverse, so for me to be excited to log into Facebook and see what people had written is a testament to what that space became because it was this like this oasis and salon where I would see what people had done for the exercise that week, what struggles they had, what successes they had. It just became this space of joy and sharing. The connection with other people reinforced the connections I was building in myself where these disparate parts of myself who had drifted away, all started to come back.

And it meant a lot to sort of build those connections with people and rebuild those connections inside of myself. I am still in contact with a lot of the people from Unravel outside of the cocoon. Like we have line messages, we have WhatsApp, like we are still talking and coordinating things together. 

I had reached the point where I thought the internet was a garbage dump and there was no point to it all. And then you proved me wrong and I loved it, or I was like, right, this, this cynical attitude is limiting me to like the possibilities of this thing. Like look at what Dan, Dan was able to do by bringing these people from all over the world together and being like, play around. I built this digital sandbox for you. Show me what you can build with it. And like we all built sandcastles and none of us tried to kick it over. It was incredible. I loved it. 

Unravel was absolutely worth the financial investment. I am approaching the world differently and because of that, different opportunities come in. But if I had not moved out of that place of fear, I don't quite know where I would be. Because I chose to take the step to say yes, I made the necessary adjustments for the financing and it just became a non-issue and I moved past it.  So absolutely worth it. 

For prospective Unravelers, I'd say go! Say yes 'cause then you get to see where it goes. If you say no, you kind of already know where it goes. But if you say yes to the call, it's that expansion again, like more possibilities start to show up.

And it's not wholly magical. It's because you're doing work that they start to show up. But it's allowing that quiet voice of wisdom to take the seat for me the first time in a while and realize that it is a much better driver than the voice of fear who is constantly slamming on the brakes and spinning around.

And if you hear the call, say yes, because it's just the chance to meet so many interesting people and to be guided by this very, very capable, and not only intelligent, but also just compassionate guide. 

And so if you feel that desire, just take it because it's there for a reason and it's not gonna go away until you answer it and then see where it takes you.

I honestly can't imagine what I would've been like without Unravel. So thank you. 


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