Tuesday, August 30, 2011

shadows and light

Its 6.45am. I rise from where I feel is the best sleeping space in this beautiful place - a tent which could easily sleep two more people, high on the top terrace overlooking the ocean and front seat for the amazing daily sunrise. Yes, its a little noisy when i turn in for sleep, as it seems my bedtime is Kissoss's playtime. But minimal sleep seems ok here; i reckon its the raw food we've been having....
...and so, this morning...i look across the ocean towards the horizon where the firey sun is peeping. (I wonder if it is thinking' Should I bother today?) and of course it sounds a resounding yes!  Like each moment it is different every morning. Yesterday the cloudless sky offered no hiding place; morning sun blazing into existance, its heat burning;  yet this morning what i saw was so significant for the days events.
During our week here there had been difficulty between members of our community. Beyond the presented     conflict I saw each persons pain. and beyond that I say two beautiful people hiding in the shadows of their pain; yet I felt that even in the conflict they were still beautiful beings.
This mornings sunrise depicted that perfectly. Hidden in deep dark clouds the lightness and brightness struggled to show itself. Yet it was still beautiful; and as the day progressed the brightness burnt through the cloud... the day was wonderful...of course.

Sidtsara Ross

Holistic Holidays in Greece: Kalikalos—Good, Good!

So did you know that kali and kalos are two words for 'good' in Greek?

I have to find out what 'bliss' is in Greek ... I guess we could say kalikalos for 'bliss'!

This is the beginning of my second week here and I have loved every single day and every single aspect of being here!

I came here to do Dr Helen Ford's workshops "Living your truth" and "Resolving fear" and got the added bonus of the Raw Food Detox workshop with Paula Wilson. The food has been amazing! Lots of it comes from our garden, and we do the gardening ourselves…so extra special to eat fruit and vegetables so fresh and grown with love! Rachel from London, who we now call Grace, is Paula's number one helper,  and seems to have developed a passion for figs. She has acquired a special eye for spotting laden fig trees along the road on our trips to the beach :-)

The Kalikalos August 2011 newsletter has some nice photos of the mouthwatering dishes we get served every breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Helen's workshops are simply mind blowing. They are about living your truth and making life easy! For me personally, I am learning to think with my heart, and it works!

You know what the best news is? That you/we are meant to do what pleases us; namely, to follow our heart's desire. How liberating is this? I'm losing 'shoulds', my 'I can'ts', and my 'not allowed'. Yes,  I am allowed! i am allowed to spend all summer in Greece, I am allowed to take a nap in the middle of the day, I am allowed to leave the washing up for later if I don't feel like doing it right now and rather go for a walk in the park.

By following my flow and honouring my heart's desire I am on the right path, and everything unfolds naturally and easily.

Too good to be true?
Try it out for yourself :-)

Until then, Yassas!

Carmen Klammer, London, England

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Creative Family Experience Week II

Last night at our fireside sharing, reflecting on our last week together I realized that Pelion and Kalikalos have truly become my summer home. My three children feel the same way, and this year--my fifth here--I also had the pleasure of brother Adam joining us from Krakow. Adam brought his incandescent colleague and friend Olga who was so impressed that she hopes to return next summer with a group, as do many other of the mothers and fathers of this family experience week.

I had the sense of winning the workshop lottery this week, as our participants brought us their skills, talents and amazing beauty in fascinating sessions they themselves led. They brought us enriching insights into the worlds of transactional analysis, empathic listening,  restorative justice and radical honesty. This summer I became a true “focaliser”: able to step back, simply focus the energies of this creative group, and let my participants run the week.

Mind you, this week wasn’t all food for the mind. We experienced the catharsis of a Laughter Yoga session led by Priya, which created such commotion that Dimitri, our octogenarian Greek neighbor, could not resist coming to see what was going on. Once here, and despite not speaking a word of English, Dimitri sat down and soon found himself caught up in our infectious laughter! Such spontaneous connections increase our public profile in Kissos village where from the first year here, Kalikalos has been a source of imaginative gossip.

Our family weeks experienced the delights of a soothing body massage session with oils infused with herbs from the garden, which left us blessed out. Thank you Caroline!

More art, songs, dances and games punctuated our week, culminating in a hilarious Cabaret show on Wednesday night. Our talented group produced skits satirizing the week’s events alternated with variety acts leading up to a raucous sing-along disco, ‘Mama Mia!’ style. Our teenagers sang energetically to Katy Perry’s latest hits as the younger children (and the adults!) looked on in fascination.

Special thanks to Yakiz from Athens who brought his 22 yr old daughter Vasia for a week to experience community and care for the under-six year olds.

My co-facilitator Emil’s wisdom, wit and patience was evident throughout the fortnight, and reached a pinacle in his production of our participatory family video, screened in our last evening. The video, which captures memories of  the whole fortnight, provoked peals of laughter as we were all caught on camera. Emile’s video will provide us with a lasting record of the 2011 Kalikalos Family Experience weeks.  Any of you reading this post who want to get a taste of Kalikalos can see Emile's video on youTube very soon.

I feel nourished, blessed, rested and ready for the long journey home!

Dorota Owen, Forres, Scotland

Sunday, August 14, 2011

From Xania to Kissos walk

One Monday in July a small brave group, Jeroen from Amsterdam, Ray from London and me from Inverness Scotland head out into the unknown. We get a lift from our sister centre Anilio who are going shopping to Volos. They drop us off in Xania, the highest point in Pelion mountains, where there is a ski resort in the winter. Hard to imagine in this heat!

We hope to find our way back to Kissos through the forests. Wouldn't we be alright with Jeroen's mobile with satellite mapping programme? First we have some coffee and biscuits in the village in the otherwise empty coffee shop. Ray runs around making enquiries about possible paths to Kissos. We are directed to the nearest lay by where we take a descending path down the mountain. We soon realise that this is a false start down the wrong side of the peninsula. Back on the tarmac road, we acknowledge that we have thrown away an hour but are now equipped with walking sticks cut off the fallen branches.

Ray, Jeroen and Bernice, not me!
Our walk back to Kissos seems to be just a dream. After considering different ways of returning to our centre (bus, hitch hiking, walking along the hot tarmac road), we decide to walk up to the ski centre and back which is only maybe a 15 min walk up. The magnificant restaurant where we are the only customers has stunning views  from the balcony. So we have another coffee and cake which the only waitress must have baked the day before.

To our enquiries about a path to Kissos, the waitress keeps repeating yes, but 'diskolo' meaning difficult. She points us towards one of the buildings up the slope and the path veering to the left. Off we go! Soon we notice a little sign saying 'Kissos' and Jeroen stops here and there to check the satellite maps. The mountain air so high up is wonderfully hot and cool at the same time. The sun is bright, the trees give us some shade, and we have an incredibly blue sky above us. It's magic.

Next we come out to the tarmac road, but on the opposite side a sign for 'Kissos' is beckoning us on. This time it's a rough, overgrown donkey path scattered with fallen trees and branches. The forest is also much darker, with no sun. Suddenly we come upon a picnic hut in the middle of nowhere and decide to have a picnic, which for us means water, nuts, and biscuits. We didn't prepare for a long walk...

The rest of the walk is on dirt roads, paths overgrown with plants up to the waist, paths diverting to all directions. Once we come across a woodcutter who points us towards Kissos, but otherwise it is just the three of us, lush vegetation, irrigation water running down the narrow concrete channels and trees. Towards the end there is a short walk along the tarmac road after which we find the upper road of Kissos village, and arrive safe and sound at Kalikalos after having been on the journey for about 7 hours.

Intuition, luck, and Jeroen's mobile guided us through the mysteries of Pelion forests! The adventure was wonderfully exhilarating, beautiful, fun, one of the highlights of my 5 week stay at Kalikalos.

Creative Family Week I led by Dorota Owen (Scotland) Emile van Dantzig (Netherlands) and Rosemary Hawksford (York, England)

Three facilitators, two separate campuses (Kalikalos and Anilio-STK), four 4 year olds and their mothers, and a mixed group of Greek and English speaking teenagers with a shared history and a clearly stated wish to stay as a particular group. How was it ever going to work?

And yet, a miracle occurred last week, and we  have a film to prove it! Lots of smiles, swimming, sand and sea shots in the Kalikalos Family Movie fully produced by the young humans in our group.  (Request permission to see our clips on YouTube.)

Each morning we met up for group activities and made a flexible plan for our week together. We had different art activities, there was pizza night with the return of Dave (from Philadelphia) the moon-walking pizza maker.  I ran the Participatory Video sessions (PV), there was a  beach sleepover party under the light of the moon, midnight swims, forest walks through a gorgeous Mt Pelion ravine to cool waterfalls, plus plenty of circle sessions and discovery games.

We were graced to be able to use both campuses for our first week. Kalikalos Kissos is surrounded by a picturesque village and the village sounds permeate our group work. Anilio STK, 3 km to the north, is set in lush forest and basks in the deafening music of cicadas connecting us with Nature.

Every day we had the sensual experience of swimming in the clear blue Aegean sea and one on a couple of the days jumping big beefy waves! The sunshine worked its magic and as the Week I ends, our group of adults and kids are are now golden-skinned and smiling. In this constant harmony of wind and waves, we observed an equal harmony among our lovely children, with few struggles or quarrels. Our only screams came from a beetle-bitten 4 year old explorer who bravely showed us a drawing of his creature the next day and spoke eloquently about what he would like to have done with it. (I’m afraid it was squashed by his anxious brother.)

We completed our week with a moving Thursday evening fireside sharing which included singing, storytelling and authentic expressions from the heart from both adults and children. Spiros provided cakes from the village!

We look forward, this coming second week, to co-creating a brand new experience by drawing on the needs, expectations and skills of the now experienced children and parents. Their own creative ideas for Week II have been welling up these past few days and we are ready to turn the workshop over to them. With luck, Dorota and I, the official leaders, will be able to sit back and be true focalisers--providing the resources and coordination to allow this group now to run itself!

Dorota Owen, Forres, Scotland & Emile van Dantzig, Bilthoven, Netherlands