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There are times when I pause from the day, and look around me as if I had just woken up. Time seems to stop for a moment as I blink and realise, in that suspended moment, that there is magic around me. I breathe, remind myself of my senses, and feel.
I am standing outside. I have my eyes closed. I hear the gentle rustling of the wind through the leaves, as each tree breathes on to the next. I feel the wind whispering across my skin. The grass tickles my feet, but the ground supports me. I feel its strength as it holds me. This is the miracle of nature.
Behind me, the hive that is Alexandros is buzzing with activity. People move quietly through the house, busy with their morning minds. I hear their footsteps on the wood. I hear their hushed laughter. This is the miracle of life.
I open my eyes, and I am stunned.
Written by Anya Owen, Scotland
I had the great opportunity to spend 4 weeks as a volunteer in the center Kalikalos in Kissos, Pilion, Greece. It was the first time for me living in a community for a while and the first time I worked as a volunteer through Workaway.
It was really a marvellous experience for me to be there: meeting so many great people from many different countries and exchanging ideas and inspirations made me feel very rich!
What I found there was much more than I could even expect!
Going into processes, and with this learning more about myself or remember about myself what I probably had forgotten for a while.
Swiming in the clear blue, marvelous Aegean sea in the Pillion area.
Being in this vast, lush natural surrounding.
Sleeping in a tent which I really appreciated, because I learned to go with the natural rhythms: waking up easily for the stunning sunrise above the sea, while making my exercises next to the corn and brocolli growing in the surrounding vegetable gardens.
Cooking meals together for all of us with love and awareness.
Starting our work shifts with tuning in—which was new for me and is such a great idea to me which I would love to spread all over the world!
Lying in the hammocks and just being…
Dancing in the forest (thank´s to the sister campus at nearby Anilio to welcome us!)
Going to taverna-night-out together, making contact with the staff and guests at the other centers ,and with Greek people from the village.
Practising my English without paying attention to it.
Finding out more about myself and others—what triggers me—what want´s still to be healed—noticing how I interact in a group—how I can deal with the themes and energies in a community—how I can serve both the community and myself…and more.
So a big thanx to everyone I met there and hopefully will see us again next summer!! !!!
Ευχαριστώ παρα πολύ!
Gabrielle H. from Austria/Salzburg
All I knew was that I was in need of holiday that involved sun, sea and good food. I couldn’t shake Greece from my mind, even though I had never been. I was planning on an all-inclusive trip with a friend who could no longer join me so I had to think of options for going alone.
The costs of an all-inclusive deal for one person were astronomical and I knew, in my heart that it wasn’t what I was really after. “Have you thought about going somewhere else?” a couple of friends asked when I lamented over my Greece plans falling apart. I couldn’t shake the sense of being drawn there, like Odysseus to the Sirens.
“If you want to go to Greece, you should just make it happen”, said another friend and I thought, you know what? She’s right!
I thought of everyone I know who has/had been to Greece and contacted someone I know spends a lot of time there. The only thing she could think of was that the Kalikalos centres in the Pelion region would be finishing their seasons and there might be opportunities to go there to help pack up centres.
I contacted Jock to ask about availability and five days later I was on a plane to Thessaloniki.
It turned out that the week I was Kalikalos Kissos, there was one final workshop, so packing down the centre wouldn’t begin in earnest until the following week. Nevertheless I had a wonderful week working as a staff member.
At first I found the idea of living in community daunting. What skills could I possibly bring to the table? How would I be useful and not get in the way?
After the initial worrying, my fears were set aside. It felt so easy to become part of the community. I really enjoyed working together on kitchen tasks like making breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not being a cook myself, I was able to learn a lot of new skills, especially as one of our group turned out to be a Cordon Bleu trained chef! It was a great opportunity to live so closely with other people who have different values and ideas, all working together towards the same goal.
Other tasks involved keeping the property and grounds in tip top condition, gardening, taking down the unused tents and helping with admin duties like registration and petty cash. A key lesson I learnt is that work can be fun, especially done collectively.
Every afternoon we were invited to go one of the three beautiful beaches, a fifteen minute car journey away. Staff are given one full day off a week. I had originally planned to go to the beach on my day off but instead took advantage of the beautiful mountain landscape and village of Kissos and went on a long, relaxing walk, looking out across the Aegean Sea.
The weekly “Taverna Night” was a great chance to meet people from the other centres and learn what everyone has planned between now and next May when the centres resume their workshops.
As the week progressed there was definitely a sense that the season was coming to a close, which was high-lighted as people left and more and more wildlife and nature encroached on the centre.
My wonderful week at Kalikalos was only enough to get a glimpse of what the centre is capable of when at full capacity and the range and breadth of workshops on offer.
I definitely plan to return again for much longer. Until then, I carry the sound of the cicadas and gentle waves with me.
Sophia C. — London
Summer 2016 – Why I keep coming back to Kalikalos
By Alison Gillett, Surrey, England
Another summer passed, and for those of us back home, we have the tan, the extra Vitamin D, and a host of memories of new friends and reconnections with those from previous years.
All sort of people turn up at Kalikalos and, initially, the Olde English saying comes to mind: “Everyone here seems a little strange, except me and thee; and even thee is a little strange.” However, most people, though not all, turn up with at least some sort of spiritual background belief; and those that don’t get drawn into the circles, the attunements, the sharing of energy which creates “community.”
Everyone brings different skills, which are gratefully utilised, whether it is cooking, carpentry or car mechanics.
For those who hadn’t made the connection before, the realisation dawns that we all need each other and community is a precious element of social capital. Also they become aware that this is a place of education, teaching about right food, right ways of living, as we transition into the New Age future.
Staff are very much part of this and again we had some wonderful staff, whether woofers, workaways or volunteers taking a break from mainstream. Some were on their way to help in the big refugee camps, reminding us that, despite the beauty and tranquillity of Pelion, Greece has major problems.
So what happened this year?
The new floor at STK, Anilio was well and truly danced upon
The big workshops such as Radical Honesty brought people in from across the globe
The quieter contemplative workshops allowed people time to examine their lives and release some of the burden of resentment.
The economic workshops gave food for thought in these uncertain times
The perennials, like Raw Food, provided a first introduction for some.
Many of the staff attended and more and more Greeks are a welcome addition and allow ideas to spread into the wider community.
Highlights for me:
A visit to the old church and to the home area of Hara’s father, a fisherman of Pelion from the previous generation
Meeting Aphrodite, the wonderful Greek lady who originally brought Jock, and therefore the rest of us, to Pelion
The violin and flute concert by Morven and Rachel in Kissos church
The high energy waves and surf on the beaches which seemed higher than usual this summer
The effect of the Zegg workshop and the Forum method of sharing.
The May to September nature of the place reminds me of the Sand Mandalas, created and then destroyed by the Tibetan monks. The energy is kept fresh, free from stagnation and constantly renewed year by year.
So despite changes (and challenges) I believe the structure will hold. Looking forward to 2017!
Autumn Greetings from Kalikalos Kissos
Call it destiny or coincidence something brought me to Kalikalos. The fact is that, after attending a beautiful and inspiring ZEGG Forum workshop at Kalikalos Alexandros, I found myself as part of the Kalikalos Kissos community. Every day that passes, I feel more and more at home.
I find it beautiful to witness the new guests passing through, week by week, arriving as strangers and leaving as friends. Kalikalos invites and seduces them to step out of their “daily shoes” and enter into new experiences, discovering landscapes behind assumed boundaries, and getting a taste of true community.
A taste which seems to be contagious for some of them…
I myself came to the community quiet unaware about where I was going, and found myself diving in, like a fish, or better a mermaid! 🙂 Having lived in German and Israeli communities before, the experience here mirrors beautifully the mutual attraction communities and I are holding for each other.
The space created in Kalikalos welcomes everybody and enables every soul just to be as they are. We are all held by the structure of the center, embraced by the community spirit and nourished by the abundance of Pilion’s nature: mountain, forest and sea.
For me, the morning circles are especially precious. In these sharing circles, all the staff volunteers meet together and open up towards each other. They give me the opportunity to experience again and again the magic taking place when we are listening and truly hearing: free of judgement, just allowing ourselves to see the other person fully. Every time I can see ‘the other’ in such a way, my love towards this human being grows. And with it my love for life.
May this only be the beginning of a fruitful journey!
Bettina Ritter — latest Tel Aviv
I spent five weeks at Kalikalos this summer – three weeks at Alexandros, a week at Kissos and a week at Anilio.
The toughest by far was Alexandros. The centre itself is very comfortable – the group room is airy and light, with a pristine wooden floor. The bathrooms are wonderful – in fact all the rooms are very nice, thought I didn’t much fancy the tents. And you can walk to the beach and to the local beach resort Agios Yannis rather than needing a lift by car.
I was working as an Facilitator in Residence, so I was offering sessions, running the odd group workshop and also doing at least two and a half hours a day working in the community. And attending a staff meeting each day as well. There was a lot to do, but that was fine. What I found tricky was how stressed the core staff are – the slightest problem became a big drama. As a guest, you would hardly be affected by this, but as staff… it was very challenging. Of course, we all create our own reality, and I am also responsible for this situation, and what was good for me was having to stand up for myself – that was my gift, my learning.
Second I went to the Kissos centre – on the edge of the village of the same name. It’s a stunning village – more beautiful than I had anticipated. I enjoyed being able to wander around there, and also to visit a magical sacred pool about 20 minutes walk down a track into the woods. I was at Kissos as a guest, doing a raw food week which was interesting. Included in the price was a personal growth workshop each morning – but that was not so much my cup of tea. Not that I don’t like personal growth – I live in Totnes and am practically addicted! But the style of what we did and the facilitator jarred for me. However I enjoyed my time at Kissos, and I felt appreciated and acknowledged by Jock, the founder of the whole project, who invited me to come back and lead a workshop next year.
And then I went to Anilio, which turned out to be my favourite of the three centres. It’s much scruffier than Alexandros, but much more relaxed. I had stimulating conversations most evenings, made some lovely connections and had fun. I was doing an art workshop which I also enjoyed – four hours making art every day is a treat for me. Anilio is run by two women, Pip and Julia, and I think it is their level of emotional intelligence that makes the place work so well. I also liked the fact that it was in more of a natural setting – they have perhaps a couple of acres of land and there are lovely places to hang out like a yurt and a ‘sanctuary’… and I gather that next year there will be some kind of treehouse or platform.
It’s now my last day, and I won’t really know how my stay at Kalikalos has affected me until I get back into my daily life at home. I won’t pretend that it hasn’t been challenging, but I believe that has also been very growthful. I have had to speak my truth and stand my ground more than in my daily life at home, and that has been really good for me. And I feel immense gratitude for the opportunity to grow in this way.
I think for me the downside to the project is that beach time is usually 2.30-5.30 and that is just too hot for someone fair-skinned like myself. So my trips to the sacred pool in Kissos were my most nourishing experiences in nature, rather than going to the beach. If I were to come back and run a workshop… I would love to find a way to get to the beach earlyish in the morning, or early evening… where I could gradually go golden brown rather than red like a lobster in the afternoon Greek sun!
One of the things that inspires me about the project is that Jock started it with very little money. None of the centres is owned by Kalikalos – all the properties are rented. This of course brings its own challenges – rents to pay, negotiations over repairs… But it also demonstrates that it’s possible to create an amazing project like this with minimal capital. Financial constraints needn’t be a limitation.
I also appreciated the balance of work and personal growth. Work is grounding for me and it is also a magical experience when you feel clear with other community members and clear about what you are doing. It can then be an experience of being while you are doing, of expressing your love in the world and of belonging and participating. I think this is what many of us come here looking for… and Kalikalos affords an opportunity to try to do this, and also to clear the blocks that get in the way.
Sapphira de la Terre lives in Totnes where she offers groups and 1-2-1 sessions using EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique. She specialises in embodied spiritual awakening, feminine empowerment and conflict resolution in community. www.sapphira.com.
by Morven Bryce (The Peaks, England)
My connection with Kalikalos began in 2012 when I was mainly at home with two young children and was feeling less than fulfilled. I was yearning to “connect” with something that was calling to me internally but was as yet, undefined. I decided to search for a taste of something…so I Googled “Holidays for people like me”…various options emerged but they mainly had some dissonance to my inner ear except for one: Kalikalos.
What I heard was an invitation to fully “be” with other people, fully participate, cooperate, and engage creatively WITH others. It was not until this year that I finally got there geographically.
I spent two weeks at the Centre in the peaceful mountain village of Kissos and participated in two different workshops, one at Kissos and one at Alexandros. Although the workshops were titled differently, the spirit or essence of what was offered was in unison: An invitation to fully immerse in the journey of meeting SELF. I was hungry for this and every moment of every day I feasted. This was not confined to the Workshops; every moment in every situation the opportunity presented itself in graceful unfolding :the joy of preparing breakfast with other people in the quiet sanctuary of the kitchen during “Ashram hours”, accompanied by the delicious challenge of trying to only ‘ whisper,’ whilst my soul wanted to burst into an audibly vocal madrigal of unbounded joy at every opportunity!
It was the same feeling of ecstasy in whatever I was doing, whether it was in Workshop, driving us all to the beach, cleaning bathrooms, watering the gardens, hearing the rooster, watching the sunrise paint itself across the sky, dancing in the forest or sitting in Meditation: everything BECAME meditation, ordinary in its extraordinariness.
On the first morning, we all showed up for Circle time, meeting each other tentatively in the felt moment. It is the first taste of being open to each other and to the power of the natural surroundings. This offered an awareness of anything and everything, held within the benevolent majesty of the surrounding mountains holding us all in both the naturally grounded external yet internally elevated space of both conscious and subconscious encouragement.
Specifically my first workshop was with Dr Helen Ford, concerned with “standing in our own truth” and radiating it in the World. A lightness of touch, a win/win situation of aliveness: When I AM me, I allow every being to BE themselves.. IN their true nature too. The message? No need to repeat conditioned patterns to survive this World. NO, the polar opposite..we ARE totally interconnected and we ALL are offered this Universal gift just by virtue of being alive right here, right now!
The second workshop gave me the chance to “practise” this “realness” that I was beginning to meet with within myself, and again….what an Experience!
Ina Stoll Meyer and Ackim Eckert from Zegg community in Germany were the skilled facilitators in our growth and exploration of “Deepening Love, deepening Community”. My gratitude to them is profoundly felt. They embodied that which they invited us to experience: an energy of being earthed yet elevated , beautifully pulsating through the forms of Ina and Ackim. As we, the Participants sought to reveal and thus share ourselves in Forum more fully, I experienced a depth of Love and Honouring of both Self and “Other”. And, in the privacy of my mind, I continually heard the question, “Where do I end and You begin?” And this question percolated daily more richly, bringing an aroma redolent of not just my Human Ancestry, but also a playful sense of my “Family” being the: mosquito who bites me, the leaves of the Olive tree, the beach pebble, the sea-spray, the compost bin, the wind, the moon….and so it went on…endless…
Jock Millenson, the Director of Kalikalos also attended the Forum Workshop. I found his participation exquisitely inspiring ( I had assumed that the “Founding Father” would have no “need” for a Workshop) But, Jock embodies THE creative spark of continuous growth, the ever- engaged giving, receiving and sharing, in profoundly equitable communion( that ALL of us are indeed offered continually by the Universe.) I found this so moving. A simpler way to say this (and one I personally feel would resonate more with the truth of the man who is Jock) would be that:
Jock WALKS THE WALK. Thank you for that Jock, gratitude…. I fell in love with everyone and everything…. I lived a thousand years in two weeks. It was my birth right, it IS my birth right. It is Everyone’s…..
But if I could harmonise with revealing more deeply the perpetual Spirit that arises through Jock MIllenson and Kalikalos, I would maybe offer:
I was Morven Bryce, professional violinist…. now the performance has ended and there was no need for rehearsal…..Let the Music Begin.
June in Kalikalos offers several superb workshops for those interested in the development of practical solutions to today’s financial, social and ecological crises.
Last week at Kalikalos Kissos Campus, the delightful Jennifer Hinton presented on flourishing in a Not-for-Profit World. “Co-Creating a Truly Sustainable Economy”, was a week of active, participatory learning about how we can co-create a healthy, sustainable economy.
Co-author of How on Earth and co-director of the Post Growth Institute, Jennifer showed us the fundamental flaws of our current economy, and explored the ideas and practices that have emerged in response to our current crises.
Participants left with a practical set of steps that they can take to co-create a more generative economy in their own communities.
Currently on at Kalikalos Alexandros Campus, the esteemed Thomas H. Greco, Jr is presenting a workshop on monetary theory and how monetary alternatives can empower communities.
While complementary currencies and exchange schemes have sprung up and gained some degree of acceptance and notoriety, many have faded away. One focus of this workshop is on the reasons why none of them has become a significant factor in their community economies. Thomas uncovers the principles of design and implementation that need to be applied to make exchange alternatives more effective, robust, and scalable.
Thomas is widely regarded as a leading authority on monetary and financial innovation, and is a sought-after adviser and speaker at conferences internationally. He has authored four books on monetary theory.
Beginning tomorrow at the Kissos Campus is a workshop presented by Jonathan Dawson, Senior Lecturer in Economics at Schumacher College. The topic is “Mapping the Future Economy”.
We stand at a crossroads, one path leading to oblivion, the other towards the dawning of an Ecological Civilisation. There is no doubt we are in the midst of a profound transformation of our economy and society. Demographic, technological and cultural shifts are opening up seismic shifts that are transforming how we organise our societies. The future of work, enterprise, ownership and social care are likely to change beyond recognition over the next couple of generations.
Jonathan is the principal author of the Gaia Education sustainable economy curriculum that has been adopted by UNESCO as a valuable contribution to the current UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and is former president of the Global Ecovillage Network and long-term resident at the Findhorn ecovillage in Scotland.
10 day Vipassana Light. Theravada Buddhism. Sunrise 6a.m. – 8.30 a.m. Observing silence.
On our knees, bowing, attuning to purity, compassion, wisdom. Then, sitting in meditation. Breathing. Watching the rising and falling of our breath. Watching the ‘thought pump’ and noting, and naming, each awareness.
To domesticate your “mind objects” i.e. patterns, obsessions and mental proliferations, be friendly to yourself, be kind and compassionate. We are taught to observe these patterns of thought as “knowing”.
Walking meditation 45 minutes. Goes like this: Heel up. Lifting. Going. Dropping. Treading. Weight to front leg. Weight to back leg. Pause. Repeat.
Then another 45 minutes sitting.
8.30 a.m. Breakfast.
From 9.15a.m. – 1.30 p.m. the program of alternating 45 minute sessions of sitting and walking continues. A brief interview with our dignified and wise teacher, mathematics professor Henk Barendgrecht, is optional.
1.30 p.m. lunch. Silence ends.
We then break until dinner at 8.00. Alexandros venue offers a cozy fire when raining, and there’s exquisite Plaka beach 3 k’s down the mountain on glory days.
At 9.00 p.m. Henk offers his fascinating Dharma talks. We gained deeper insight into several of the Buddhist principles. For example, understanding Annica (impermanence) can offer us hope. Understanding Dukkha (things are beyond our control/it happens by itself/selflessness) makes us humble and modest. Understanding Anatta (suffering) can bring freedom.
From 10p.m. silence is once again observed.
Venue is Kalikalos Alexandros, a mountainside hotel that is clean and comfortable. Food is abundant and delicious but predominantly grain and pulse based, which I don’t do well with. For the others buffet’s were perfectly fabulous.
For a long time, I’ve dreamed of coming here – and it’s manifested. Deep breath! Our room was stunning, such ultimate views over the Aegean, and what a lovely, special room mate. Blessed for that!
As is the case with life and with any Vipassana retreat there were some gruelling times. This retreat is offered yearly and is called a “light’ retreat, as talking and technology is permitted between lunch and bedtime. This is less restful than my previous experience of doing a full 10 days in silence. The in depth teachings and so much else nevertheless made this a profoundly enriching experience. Thank you Kalikalos.
Rising. Falling. Naming. Noting. Knowing.
Yesterday we left Kalikalos with Ivo. It was 2.45. Ivo is my partner and we were there in this community for 2 weeks, doing a workcamp. I looked at the car clock as we were leaving and I could hardly see it as I was crying. Tears were running down my face as I was leaving Paradise.
Ivo was driving the car and rose petals were falling down as a kind, loving token to see us off . I was crying because I was leaving the sea of LOVE I had been swimming in for the last 2 weeks. As if these 2 weeks were the 9 months before I was due to be born. I felt so happy, safe, appreciated and loved like I had never felt before. I had no idea Kalikalos would turn into that divine oasis for my soul.
When we arrived there on the evening of 20 May ,the mountain Pelio gave us a cold welcome, with fog and tons of rain. I was worried I hadn’t packed enough warm clothes. The room we have been accommodated in was dark, stone –floored, and cold. If I had been there on my own I don’t think I would have stayed. We had paid only for a week so we weren’t sure if we were going to stay for the second one. I slept with my clothes on and was freezing the first night, dreaming of heaters and radiators.
The next morning though when we had our first sharing circle and as each of us was opening his heart and say how he feels, the magic started to happen. We spoke about our reasons to be here and our passions. We were connecting each other on an invisible level. And this is what I encountered in Kalikalos. I met my heart. Or rather, I felt what it means to” live from the heart”. The other people, 13 people from 11 countries, complete strangers in the beginning provided space for this meeting and nourished this sacred place as the days unfolded. My gratitude to all of them is beyond words.
I haven’t seen so kind, loving, open and genuine people gathered together in one spot and sharing their energy so that we all create a better world for a certain time. A dwelling of Paradise here on the Earth. Now, I am out of the community, back in the “ civilized world” somehow, drinking my coffee in a quiet village in Bulgaria and slowly becoming aware of the transformation which has happened inside me. Thank you, Kalikalos.