The Kalikalos Living-Learning Summer School offers holistic workshops, retreats, family weeks & workcamps in the breath-taking Pelion region of Greece. Our programmes include interpersonal communication, creative writing, community building, advaita satsang, Vipassaña meditation, tai chi, permaculture, healing, August family experience weeks, relationship science, painting/drawing weeks, the Game of Transformation, Yoga and more.
What has been your most sparkling moment from the last two weeks?
A question we were all invited to reflect on in our Monday Morning Matinee earlier this week, which was about 'Appreciative Inquiry', a method for focussing on strengths rather than problems...
The most challenging aspect of this exercise, for me, was picking just one sparkling moment!
Fun with the kids
As a community we received a new group of guests, staffers and 'Facilitators in Residence' who have all settled in as if they had always been here! We had no official workshops this week so we enjoyed the opportunity to work at a more relaxed pace and to allow spontaneous learning and interaction to occur.
Horse riding in the mountains, Greek dancing, walking, planting sunflowers and cooking dinner during a power cut especially shine in my memory! At this point I feel I should mention that frying samosas in the dark is not advisable!
There is a refreshingly light and youthful energy here right now with the arrival of two small (and very delightful) children from Italy as well as two ducklings and two chicks. Even the adults are taking advantage of the freedom to play and act just a little bit silly.
Personally I feel very sparkly right now! I'm actually a little sad that it's my last week staying here but I'm making the most of every moment spent with some special people, some of who I've discovered a deep connection with and hope to see again in September when I return.
I now look forward to the usual Thursday night merriment with a good portion of Retsina, Halva and more dancing thrown in for good measure! I wish a very happy stay to the new arrivals who land here tomorrow and a beautiful summer to those who I'll be saying 'goodbye' to. Signing off for now...
Four of us went horse riding near Kissos with our guide Giorgiou -a man not very familiar with subtlety or chit-chat. Be prepared to be told very clearly if you’re getting it wrong!
You ride without hats and all the saddles bar one are Western style. The horses were responsive and well behaved. The hour’s ride was a round trip into a wooded mountainous area with the occasional view of the sea. We started on the main road for five minutes but luckily all the cars overtook cautiously. We then headed up a very steep stoney hill which the horses navigated with skill but you need to stay focussed and this isn’t probably suitable for beginners. We thoroughly enjoyed going as a group so would recommend that and we think there is probably an opportunity for longer rides. The Irish contingent, a rough diamond called Bernice from Sligo, constantly tried to annoy the horse in front as a means of passing the time which only stopped when the horse tried to kick her and and Robin the rider claimed to have no knowledge. We finished by returning to the road and a short canter back to base.
The workshop season has now officially kicked off here at Kalikalos and was welcomed in with a laughter-filled week of Bowen therapy and Holistic leadership which concluded last thursday with some fond farewells from new-found friends. After two weeks of living and working together some strong and lasting bonds were made and will no doubt continue to be made throughout the summer months.
We now have a new group who are getting to know themselves through art and who are creating some masterpieces with found objects from our blooming and vibrant garden. I cannot think a muse could fail to be inspired by the masses of roses and hydrangeas, not to mention our breathtaking view of the mountains!
There's never a dull day here at the Centre and besides the sheer bliss of basking in the sunshine and dipping into the clear blue Aegean sea each day, we have already enjoyed a most magical full moon women's circle on the night of the lunar eclipse, been treated to some dramatic thunderstorms, spontaneous outbreaks of music and dancing and some truly delicious food!
I, myself am a member of the voluntary staff team, mid-way through a month's stay here. It's been a fascinating learning process to live in this community with such a diverse array of people, all working towards achieving the same goal.
It's taken me a while to adapt to this way of living and I've had my ups and downs, in turns wanting to run away back 'home' to my solitude and the safety of the 'known', and then feeling I could stay forever! A sense of equilibrium has started to return to me now and I'm definitely relaxing and opening up to the experience more and more.
For me, the 'work' we do does not feel like work. As staff members we volunteer our time because we want to and because we gain great satisfaction from doing so. Our rewards are direct...the abundant garden, food, meaningful human interactions. It is so far removed from what most of us typically experience as 'work', feeling obliged to sacrifice huge amounts of time to activities that do not satisfy or nurture us in order to acquire our basic material needs, often in hierarchical institutions where our needs and our desires are not heard and often willfully ignored.
As a Permaculture student, I can particularly see the ethic of People Care in action here, which is inherently interconnected with Earth Care and Fair Shares; the very foundation of Permaculture living.
It is so exciting to be in a place like this at a time like now! Ho!
Hello everyone! I'm Fiona, and I've been living at the Kalikalos community for the last ten days. Sitting in the rain (very unusual!) on my last working day here, I felt drawn to writing about my experience here before it fades into my return journey home.......
So, where to start? I've lived in community a lot over the last few years, and I've been away on retreats and workshops a lot too - so I'm quite used to sharing intimate space with others - both those I know, and those I come together with for a short space of time. I'm also used to living in parts of the world where things may not function as they do back home (India, Russia) - but there is something unique and for me utterly charming and captivating about Kalikalos, and I intend to share that with you in this blog.
I will start with a few "snapshots" of my time here: long, lazy afternoons on the beach, swimming and floating in the deep blue sea, eating cherries straight off the tree, spontaneously dancing together in the evenings, eating delicious vegetarian food, chanting by moon and candle light for my friend who has just been ordained, cooking together, gardening together, washing up together outside in the warm sunshine (so different from washing up inside in the cold), being a "body" for the Bowen technique workshop that was taking place, hearing shouts and screams from the other workshop space (a leadership course!), playing with 2 cute dogs who arrived for an overnight visit (planning to stay longer, but frightened by the thunder!), admiring a beautiful tortoise who also visited overnight, watching Enrico, the 8 year old son of one of the staff playing with his two insects he is keeping in a jar, a healing swap with an amazing energy worker, early morning chi kung, yoga and meditation sessions, making natural cosmetics, a "men's group" (can't tell you much more about that - for obvious reasons!!), nights out at the local taverna, some tears - and above all a lot of laughter and hugs!
As always, with these comparatively short but intense times away, I have made some good friends, and feel that I have known people for far longer than just 10 days.
So, what makes it for me "unique, utterly charming and captivating?" First of all, the place is absolutely beautiful. The hills, the many colours of bright flowers and their different scents, the blue, blue sea - and the clean, pure air. And for me, life is so much easier in the heat and the sunshine - bare feet on the ground, loose, bright clothing and a deepening suntan!
It's also that Kalikalos is small enough that you know from the very beginning that your presence and your contribution matter. Because it's comparatively small (about 11 of us in my first week, and about 18 the second week) you get to know people quite well. Also, living in a smallish space with a lot of different people doing different things, all of whom have different needs and wants, can really bring you up against your "edges." I have become aware (again!) of my patterns and tendencies when I am in community situations - and have felt that it is a safe, supportive space to share about them, and to work through what I want to address. Sometimes this week, I have let go of what I wanted to do to help someone else, and the other way round - people have often gone out of their way to help me.
Finally, and maybe most importantly, this place seems to attract some really interesting people - and we are all so different! People from Findhorn ( a community in the Northeast of Scotland) and Auroville (a community in South India), people with gardening and permaculture expertise, body workers and healers, people from different countries and cultures, and with different interests and talents. I will miss you all!
I have lived at Kalikalos now for 6 weeks and it has been a massive learning curve for me because not only have I never lived in community before I am absolutely not a vegetarian. The people that I have meet have been a very diverse, interesting and dynamic group they have all contributed too and enhanced my life's journey in positive ways. Some in more profound ways than others. I have come to terms with lots of things about myself that had become massive negatives in my life. I am now creating my own life not awaiting the approval of others. I have watched plants and vegetables grow I have basked in the warm sunshine I have found resources within myself that I never knew existed and this has had a positive effect on my self esteem and the way I view others contribution to my life. Living in community is not easy and constant compromise is quite difficult to deal with; it is both liberating and exasperating at the same time. Somehow you begin to re-think your priorities and celebrate peoples diverse views, even though the odd personal victory still feels satisfying.
The people I arrived with for the work camp have all gone now but we had a fantastic time. Opening up the cold dusty building, Clearing the weed covered grounds, planting the vegetables that will help to sustain the community through the summer and building a Yurt, a round house and a Sanctuary in the grounds.
I have learned to cook vegetarian meals that are tasty and filling, I am going to have some meat free days when I get home.
The area around Kalikalos is stunning the beaches are fabulous and this all adds to the unique qualities of this community. I am returning in September to help to put it all to bed for the winter. I know that everybody that passes through the community this summer will have a unique experience and will make new friends; they may also find something out about themselves.
'Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you'. Lao Tzu
My first Saturday in Kalikalos had the fullness, richness and spaciousness of a holistic holiday. Let me share my experiences with you.
Pre-breakfast options included yoga and meditation. I found myself in the newly built sanctuary looking out over the sea in the distance. Experiencing silence with the birds. A nourishing breakfast was provided with plenty of fresh fruit like cherries and peach, topped with Greek yogurt and honey. In the meeting space 11 of us got together, introducing ourselves, expressing our intentions for the week. Some offered their skills to the group, including Reiki, healing, Yoga, Sacred Dance, Transformation Game, reflexology and various other techniques. Some light work was distributed, since Kalikalos is run as a Community, giving everyone an opportunity to contribute. Later in the morning I had the opportunity to stroll to Kissos village. The little church was open, and I was able to be deeply impressed by the paintings and religious artwork. It generated a deep sense of devotion to the spiritual levels.
A 15 minute drive brought us to one of the local sandy beeches. After a quick dip we enjoyed a gorgeous lunch with feta cheese, olives, tomatoes and more fresh fruit. The water temperature is just perfect, the water clear and welcoming. A group nap followed! With my new best friend Stefanie I ventured a 30 minute walk following a scenic path to another beach. This is the famous place where the film Mama Mia was shot. Local people were very kind showing us the various locations where Meryl Streep danced amongst the olive trees. The beech was a covered with white pebbles with sandy patches, surrounded by steep rocks. Another path trailing on.
We had time for our various tasks, so I helped cooking dinner for the group. Great teamwork! A delicious dinner included the treat of some local wine.
During my evening meditation I reflected on my day: This was certainly my idea of a relaxing and nourishing time! Mount Pelios was the home of the Greek Gods. Now I understand why!
Margo van Greta