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.