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.
As well as the regular music and dance which happens here at the village square in Kissos, Sabine and I were excited to be taken to the neighboring village of Tsagarada for a concert performed by the string quartet “Fauves”.
Playing beneath the incredible massive plane tree known as Agia Paraskeri in the village square, the quartet performed an experimental piece which was composed as a dialogue with the tree. This was followed by a Schubert piece “Death and the Maiden”.
This performance unfolded beautifully before us. We sat amongst a large appreciative crowd within the unique atmosphere of this medieval village. We sipped drinks and watched children play, above us the canopy of leaves of the historic central piece, the tree of Agia Paraskeri.
After months of amazing inputs and interesting talks and teachings about Solidarity Economy, Systemic Shifts, Non Duality, Healing the body through dance, express freedom through art and poetry, how to create responsible balanced communities where to melt in harmony and trust; after all this and from the aware experience of our oneness Kalikalos chooses to go Carbon Conscious and to do it in an innovative way.
Thanks to the cooperation with Earth Deeds we can make out of this choice a wonderful Campaign to support the realisation of the first complete EDE – Ecovillage Design Education course in Greece.
Following the examples made available from the Circular Economy models we encountered during the Economy of Solidarity workshop we want to re-invest as recycle the balancing of our common footprint, accumulated through the flights and the transportation to arrive in Kalikalos (Co2 emissions in the atmosphere), in an amazing educational opportunity to offer to the greek grassroots activists now looking for new models and alternatives to routines that are not creating wellbeing for their societies at the moment.
!!! HOW ???
1. Visit our campaign website: http://earthdeeds.org/team.php?teamid=240
2. Balance your carbon footprint and check if you want to donate and support the EDE Greece: a course structured this way http://www.gaiaeducation.net/index.php/pt/programmes/ecovillage-design-education
3. Spread the campaign among your friends and among the people you know through email, talking about it, through facebook, through your social media
Let us know if you need any support to fill in your slot to compensate your footprint.
Here trusting in your support to make the EDE happening also in Greece.
Thanks for your support wherever you are and wherever you will be :D.
Hello everyone. My name is Dimitra and I would like to share with you the joy of taking on responsibility.
I got here about two weeks ago. My second day at the staff meeting that we have every morning, the focaliser of the meeting asked who wanted to take on the position of transport focaliser. Since nobody else was raising their hand, I jumped in without having any idea what I was getting myself into. The first day went very smooth, just counting the number of people and matching them with the places in the cars. A few days later, however, when it was our big night out, I grasped why nobody else was eager to deal with it. Transportation for so many people who keep changing their minds can be an unbelievably chaotic task.
And as if that wasn’t enough, a couple of days later, I was asked to take on the post of kitchen focaliser and I said yes! Luckily, I was sharing it with two other people but that didn’t make it an easy job. Added to these, I have my regular five shifts per week where amongst them I’m called to focalise the preparation of lunch, dinner or the cleanup afterwards. And seeing how keen people where in speaking at least some greek, I organised a Sunday evening greek language lesson.
One would naturally ask “how do you cope with such big amount of tasks; when you haven’t done any of them before? Isn’t it overwhelming?” And I can’t deny that it is! But once you learn the ropes, (or at least think you do…hahha) there’s something incredibly fulfilling in knowing that you are in charge of something and people expect to see it done. Especially when you live in a community that feeling is amplified. Cause you actually know the people who profit from how well you’ve done your job. You have lived with them and have come to care.
Written by Anya Owen – a semi-Scottish student from the “mainstream”
When I first spoke of my plans for the summer, my friend recoiled. “You’re going to a commune?” he said.
“Er, not really.” How could I explain this properly?
It’s true – the ethos of the Kalikalos network is really hard to explain, especially to people who haven’t experienced it before. I always have trouble articulating its goals, without drawing on the “homeopathic drumming circle” image that usually comes to mind whenever I speak about it. The holistic ethos can be quite scary, apparently.
I learned this on my first night in Alexandros. A guest had brought her Diet Coca-Cola to enjoy at the dinner table, and she was genuinely shocked when she learned that Diet Coca-Cola contained harmful ingredients. Genuinely. She didn’t like the idea that her drink wasn’t considered healthy. Of course, health is only one of the underpinning values of the Kalikalos network, operating alongside the values of sustainability and community.
Community is a strange thing. Why is it so strange, really, to eat together, cook together, laugh together, in all moments of the day? Why does it make me uncomfortable when I learn that we have a shared responsibility to take care of our surroundings? Why is it so foreign to me that I could share my feelings, of all things? Yet, it does not feel strange at all. Not here, anyway. Here, it is the norm to explore together and laugh together, and it is the norm to be democratic in our interactions. It is very normal to want to take care of the environment around us, and to want to take care of each other. The compassion in this community is integrated in every movement, in every action.
It’s quite refreshing.
Hopefully – after my ten weeks in paradise are up – I can learn to integrate these values in my life back at home, in Glasgow. Health, sustainability, community.
I can try to articulate this with all my might, but really, maybe it would be better to invite you to join in, and you can see for yourself.
The smooth, white stone, picked up off the beach down the mountainside, feels cold in my hands. I wrap my fingers around it and breathe in. The campfire glows smokily in the centre of our circle, and I feel rather than see the faces of the people I have spent these last two weeks with, people who, like this place, have crept into my heart.
“My time here is drawing to a close,” I say, speaking slowly, “and it’s been an interesting journey. Time has contacted here; so much has happened in such a short time. So I say thank you, to you all, to those who came before you,to those who will come after, and especially to those who are here now. Thank you for your open hearts and friendly faces. Ho!”
“Ho!” the circle responds.
I pass the stone along, now a little warmer from my palms. As it passes from hand to hand, giving the holder the opportunity to share, to speak about their time here, and the rest of us the opportunity to listen, the stone grows warmer. Our expressions of deep gratitude grow too; for each of us, whether as a guest, workshop leader, staff member or volunteer, have felt the joy and connectivity of being part of a community, of being part of something bigger.
I have spent these last two weeks at Kalikalos, a holistic community in the village of Kissos, high up in the mountains of Pelion, northern Greece. I joined the community as a staff volunteer, helping others to keep the centre running smoothly. Kalikalos is the vision project of one man who lived in communities for some years before embarking on co-creating one of his own in a warm place.
Kalikalos hosts many workshops and retreats over the season, but it is not a hotel. Guests, just like the staff and volunteers, help out in the kitchen to prepare our communal meals and clean up, as well as in the garden. Visitors may also lead early morning yoga or meditation sessions.
The gratitude that I feel for being here comes from sharing a home for a time. It also comes from the opportunity to connect with people on a deeper level, to work with them and get to know them, to listen to their stories, to support them, and to turn to them when I have needed support. Daily tasks, then, become a pleasure because they bring a smile to someone else’s face.
I am also grateful for the chance to spend time in this place, at the edge of a village on the densely forested mountain slopes of Pelion, with a view of the healing sea far below. I have watched the sun rise over the water, I have felt the clouds roll in and rain thicken the air, I have seen the orange glow of the full moon reflected in the sea, I have rejoiced in each sunny day.
I am somewhere else now. I have said my goodbyes to the place and the people, but I will continue to digest and process my time at Kalikalos; these are the kind of stories that I will still be telling in years to come.
Stacey Nel, Capetown S. Africa – Girl on a Wander