Thursday, May 30, 2013

2013 Summer Season starts!

Tomorrow we welcome Jonathan Dawson from Schumacher College, and family, for the first workshop of the season at Kalikalos, on Sacred Economics.
It is bound to be a lively week, with people from ecovillages and traditional communities, as well as international participants with an interest in sustainable economics, attending. We look forward to lively debate, discussions and the sharing of solutions for the newly emerging Greek economy
Meanwhile, the three week set-up camp is still buzzing with willing workers. Some are leaving and others arriving tomorrow, together with guests. It is a change of rhythm requiring adaptability, flexibility and willingness to keep co-operating for the common good. Not a simple challenge when we are weary, but as the energies lift from controlled chaos of construction to the level of professional delivery, we are raised on the tide also.
Ground sites are cleared and leveled, tents unpacked, repaired and raised. The meditation sanctuary is clothed in bamboo and the staff yurt is completed with flowers, cushions and rugs. Above it, the Mulberries are ripening rapidly, and an additional safety net is tied in the branches by nimble tree climbers to catch the falling berries.
A thousand small details that create a welcoming atmosphere for forthcoming guests:
Flowers in rooms, affirmative messages and painted stones, a shopping list as long as my arm will provide for our comfort and needs for the next week. The vegetables are growing as quickly as they can, as if they too can feel the urgency. Chairs are counted, cushions mended, sheets washed, and jobs apportioned.
A question arises as to how we can encourage local Greek people to attend the workshop. Without their input and sharing, anything that we do is just theoretical. How do we support and learn from the experience that Greece is living through at this time?
Greek tourism is reliant upon international visitors spending up, due to a decline in national tourism
We put up posters in the local beachside village to try and encourage more participation. So far, the
response has been mild, even though payment can be made using the local exchange currency.
A taverna owner says that he cannot afford to take the time out to attend, due to needing

 to be available for taking tourism Euros.  Greece is time rich and money strapped. What does this transition mean to people and how are they dealing with it?
Locally, hotels and guest houses are charging backpacker hostel prices in order to attract more custom. A 60€ room is being offered for 20€.
Here at Kalikaos and Anilio, the 25 person team meets once a week to eat at different tavernas in Kissos village in order to share our custom.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Family Experience Living-in-community

Published in Juno Magazine recently Dorota Owen a long term leader of Kalikalos Family weeks talks about  holistic holidays and living in community with a family.  

I first heard the term “Holistic Holiday”, from a former Findhorn community member who, in 2008, invited me to join the staff of a Findhorn-inspired summer community project in Greece. Called “Kalikalos”, this community project is based in an old hotel in the picturesque mountain village of Kissos in the Pelion peninsula. 

The cobbled streets and stone houses are home to a population whose ancestors have enjoyed the tranquil  forests for centuries,  living on abundant harvests and the clear, clean water that bursts from the mountainside springs.  In winter time, the snow attracts skiers: in summer time  the many tavernas are a magnet for hikers and visiting Athenians, many of whom have family holiday homes here.

Swimming in a perfect sea, I wondered how it would be to bring my three children, then aged 15, 13 and 7—would they get bored ? Should we invite their friends? In the end, the Kalikalos director suggested that I run the first of our family experience weeks (which are patterned after the Findhorn Foundation family experience weeks) and the children helped. Since then, this week has grown into two and our numbers have doubled year after year.

Now there are two venues and a waiting list!

Why are these family weeks so popular? Obviously the location, warm sunshine and sea are a big draw for British visitors in particular. Living in community is also a factor, as deep friendships are formed in the context of community life which simply would never happen on a package holiday in an anonymous hotel.  Community can be intense sometimes, and over the years, communication processes like Marshall Rosenberg’s nonviolent communication, sociocracy and council circles have been adopted to facilitate conflict and reach harmonious win-win resolutions.

There is some special magic about a community-based holistic holiday which has emerged over the years, an alchemy of healthy, fresh local food, gentle work rhythms and  a profound connection with nature as we eat under the stars and  walk in the shady forests.

This, to me, is truly the meaning of a holistic holiday. I learn about human nature and how to get along with people, as do my children, and I think this has been key to our evolution as a very happy family unit. I eat healthily, swim daily, walk through nature. We always  return to our home town glowing, tanned, fit. Finally, I feel nourished by the good company of friends, supported in the larger world by the knowledge there is a tribe that I am part of, a family of cultural creatives who share my values around planetary sustainability and good living.
For more detail about the Family weeks and our work shop programme visit.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Ancient Kaldarini (Donkey Paths) on Mt Pelion

The beauty of Kalikalos at the base of Mt Pelion is our unique environment, we are beach and forest resort, this is a walker's paradise. 

The mountain is crossed with ancient donkey tracks (kaldarini), amazing sea overlooks and clear mountain waterfalls. As you approach sea level there are olive groves. But higher up into the forest, the trails meander through magnification chestnut, beach and cherry trees.

When most of us think of Greece this is not the environment that we might expect. For the visitor it is an opportunity to explore something unique. In recognition of this natural beauty the centre has two walking holidays in the workshop programme,  one in the June and another in September. 

Mt Pelion June Guided Walks   led by Jill Sleeman

Michelle Brydie is leading our september hiking holiday week. Michelle a keen hiker is inspired by life outdoors and how nature effect us directly. Here are some thoughts and words from her.

Ramblings about rambling…

People can often imagine that by travelling vast distances over and across the planet, that they have seen, discovered and been to the places they have passed. But, it is only by immersing oneself into the landscape and exploring on foot its nooks and crannies, that the true nature of a place reveals itself to us.

To walk slows us down to a pace where we can really notice where we are, what is going on, what it really looks like. This enables us not only to see, but to hear, to smell, to feel, a cacophony of sensual stimuli can infuse us with the true essence of where we are. With ourselves placed in the heart of it, we can become merged with our surroundings and this offers us a sense of place within our world, wherever we decide to be.
Nature always meets us with open hearted truth, being within its folds, we can slowly notice ourselves as having let go of our self conscious tensions. The realisation unfolding, that we are just being, not worrying about how we are being perceived. This is a true gift, which is always readily available to us all, when we give ourselves the permission and time to get out there in the natural surroundings that we are lucky enough to call our home.

For more info about walking weeks visit... 

Full details of the Kalikalos summer programme can be found here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thoughts of Kalikalos, My Holistic Retreat from a Scottish Winter

Winter Reflection from long time volunteer Johanna Aro-Louis

The snow is falling gently and it is mid January in Scotland. Although I love the crisp, cold days of the winter, sitting by the fire my thoughts turn to last summer and another place I love.  A place where I wake up into brilliant sunshine every morning. Where I can throw a T-shirt and shorts on my body and be warmed up by the glorious sun. That is Kalikalos

Kalikalos is Greek and it means "good-good"! 

I have been transported in my mind to Greece, to the peninsula of Pilion, lush and green with incredible beaches, waterfalls, high mountains, serpentine roads. 

Our little community lives high up on the mountains. If I look down I am greeted by the blue sea below. If I get up early enough, I can see the sun rising from the sea, red and orange.

I enjoy a gorgeous breakfast with Greek yoghurt, local honey and soft fruit, sometimes picked up from the trees growing on our patch. Then I join the staff meeting which follows the ”The Way of the Council” principles. I listen to each person and I share how I feel. No judgement. How wonderful is that! I am what I am, I let others be what they are. Of course this ”judgement” thing becomes more difficult, when we are working together, and making decisions! However, we do our best trying to solve our problems by talking. I work in the garden, kitchen or maintenance until lunch.

Lunch over, we all jump into one of the cars and drive down to the beach for the afternoon. Sometimes I prefer to walk down to the shore along the old donkey paths although it takes me an hour. 
I look out for a shade, lie down on the hot sand, and let the heat engulf me. When I’m too hot I run into the sea, and float or swim far away. Occasionally I just sit in one of the cafes by the sea and read or dream away looking at the emerald green waters.

Early evening I water the garden, or cook for the community. The dinner time is pure relaxation, chatting with all the people who have come to join us in Greece. I love the mix of different nationalities, personalities, joy and laughter.

And then after washing up, we head to the tiny village we are part of, and have a drink in one of the cafés, or bars. Sometimes there is a village fête which can last three days, sometimes a grand wedding with live music and dance.

Life is rich at Kalikalos with sharing of work and fun with many wonderful personalities. Most people leave after a week, and new people arrive. It is a constant change. New faces, new experiences. I usually stay as a staff member (this is possible for practically anyone), but I can also attend one of the many interesting workshops, or I can stay as a living-in-community guest.

The area is still very Greek, hardly any other foreigners, and little English is spoken. There are small hidden beaches, a 1000 year old enormous plane tree, little villages dotted here and there on the mountain slopes, deep crevices, wild herbs if you can spot them, olive trees, apple trees, chestnuts, occasional fig, or peach trees. And the glorious sun ever present!

Back to my fire, it needs another log and it is still snowing, my last summer in Greece is far away but I am looking forward to the new season and I will be there soon.   

Johanna Aro-Louis

The 2013 programme of Summer Courses has something for everyone of all ages: from Student community building weeks,  Vegetarian cookingRaw Food detox, BioDanza- inspired Dancing with Life in late July and the Family Fortnight in August. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dancing with Life - Liz Foster and Tracy Seed

On the 3rd of August, we completed the second “Dancing with Life” event at Kalikalos. We have led our programme in this small holistic education centre on Pelion Mountain for two summers now and continue to be inspired by the people we meet.

The authentic, family friendly community ethos at Kalikalos offers our participants immediate opportunity to practice mindfulness, which they develop through coaching and an introduction to the foundations and engagement with NVC (the work of Dr Marshall Rosenberg) and Biodanza (a dance and movement system created by Rolando Toro).

The week offers relaxation, restoration, rejuvenation, focus, living consciously, radical honesty, connection, communication, dance, movement, expression, vitality, creativity and an aliveness and fervour for life.

Participants travelled from Australia, UK, Norway, Holland, Germany and across Greece to join us there.

We feel immense gratitude and joy that we have had the privilege again to work with such an amazing group of people and are thankful to the magical mountain of Pelion, where in ancient Greece the story is that the Centaurs used to roam to collect herbs from its rich green forests, for medicinal purposes and there is no doubt that this mountain does seem to have a magical healing energy that touches all who visit her.

This is what some of our participants said:

“I received unconditional love and empathy from all members of the group and the leaders enabling me to regain belief in myself, to trust my feelings and permission to express my needs and to make clear requests of others with confidence and a feeling of security” Mandy Ffrench, Australia

“When people talked of enlightenment I never really knew what they meant but wanted it now I feel my need has been met. Absolutely amazing thank you Tracy and Liz” Sally Grafton, UK

If you would like to join us here and Dance with Life in Greece next year, or at one of our other locations, please contact us directly or

With love

Tracy and Liz

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


The first Dharma talk of this week's Vipassana meditation workshop was held tonight.

 A theme of the talk was about de-conditioning our need to acquire material things or mental ideas and concepts. One attendee asked about his need to acquire so that he may give, thus focusing more on the giving than the receiving. The reply led into a brief description of one of the perfections of Vipassana practice, known as generosity. In this, giving is spoken of, and emphasizes that it is not what you give or how you give it, but rather with which heart you give. Is there an ulterior motive?

Dimitri, aged 85!

Do you seek a reward? Or are you giving from a place in your heart that is pure and generous? Also, objects given do not have comparable value and there are many reasons why one might give, but all are equal if given from a place of generosity.

Jock gave an example of this practice of generosity. He brought over a plate of white spaghetti to our wonderful neighbor, Dimitri. A little while later, Dimitri returned with a large potted magnolia tree, with one single bloom. Jock was surprised since his lone plate of spaghetti seemed to pale in comparison to this magnificent tree. Jock said, "I just wanted to get rid of the white spaghetti!" to which another attendee replied, "Maybe Dimitri hates magnolias!"

The point of this experience is quite profound. What began as an effort to simply make space in the refrigerator has actually begun an ongoing relationship of generosity. The physical or conceptual values of these gifts are no matter. Instead, these men have given from a place in their hearts that is genuine, pure and whole. I am grateful to hear it and understand.

Kelly G. Fleenor

University of New Orleansa