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

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Holistic Holidays in Greece: Zen Coaching and Yoga

Zen Coaching and Yoga

Tine Vendeløv and I just finished a week of Zen coaching and yoga here at Kalikalos Centre.

We met about two years ago when I attended  one of  Tine's workshops in Stockholm  and we immediately felt a connection. When the opportunity arose to give a workshop together, combining Zen coaching and yoga, we thought it would be a great chance to investigate the merging of these two disciplines and combine it  with a holiday and community living. We had a nice small group and started every day with a long yoga session in the round house, followed by a lovely breakfast of fresh fruit and greek yoghurt.

Then we facilitated a Zen coaching session that would last for about three hours. After lunch it was straight to the beach for a dip in the turquoise sea and for some quality time at the taverna. Early evenings we would be back at Kalikalos for some shared community work in the garden or the kitchen, and, last but not least, share a wonderful dinner together.

Both Zen coaching and yoga bring us back in touch with our own inner core and wisdom, enabling us to be present with whatever is going on in the moment. For more information about Zen coaching just watch the little clip that we made after the workshop. I interviewed Tine and that was kind of fun to evaluate our week in this way together!

It was wonderful for each of us in the workshop to have all this time to focus on our inner process and to also feel the yoga doing its magic on our bodies and minds. I stayed on as a facilitator-in-residence for almost a week after we finished and am so glad I did!

I love to be part of the community in this way and I enjoyed all the company, the laughter and the sharing. This was my second time here at Kalikalos and I know I'll be back again at some point. My bags are packed, I am almost ready to go, feeling deeply nourished by having been soaked in the beauty of the Pelion and the community of Kalikalos, so thank you all!

Lisan Bremmers, Sweden

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Season's Growth at Kalikalos

It seems the theme for the week here at Kalikalos has been growth, in the form of both external space and internal reflections.

Our garden beds, which include a variety of vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, and rocket, have somehow become overtaken by weeds! Of course, this is no good for their growth and so the team and I worked diligently at clearing a couple of them over the past week.  One bed, on the middle terrace level, had apparently been seeded with okra, but those appeared to be lost among the weeds.  So, we began ripping it all out to make space for some crowded lettuce in another bed.  As we were pulling it out, Marina, a guest from Greece, let us know that some of those so-called weeds could actually be steamed and eating as a type of spinach! So, we were a bit more careful and selective in our weeding and had a lovely side dish of steamed spinach with dinner that night! After that bed was cleared, I worked on transplanting some lettuce from another bed to the now cleared bed.  The lettuce has so much space now to grow and flourish!

A few weeks ago, we also welcomed new community members who speak a different language - quack quack! Three ducks now grace the property with their presence.  Thanks to the care from Kundai, the ducks grew faster than expected, and we had to expand their living space tremendously! They have a caged enclosure with a roof over their heads and a bedding area, and this space was expanded three times so now they have a whole yard to roam around! Pretty immediately, they were happy to sit sunning for hours and gobbling up the fresh grass around their new home.

This place, Kalikalos, seems to nurture each community member's own journey to growth and nourishment.  Just as the other living beings on the property, both vegetables and ducks, we are all discovering our way and growing each day into the human beings we want to be and into the community that Kalikalos is meant to be.  It is a pleasure to watch each person's journey and to know that I am not alone on mine.


Kelly Fleenor, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Monday, June 18, 2012

Liberating the Writer Within

Well, the summer sun has well and truly arrived at Kalikalos, and the beautiful mount Pelion, and so did a group of aspiring writers.

Our workshop leader, Steve Nobel, guided us through a set of exercises designed to liberate the writer within, and to tune into what is really going on inside each one of us. We learned how to make the inner critic our new best friend and how to tune into our subconsciousness and use whatever was coming up as a source of inspiration and original material. I was amazed at what we produced, things you didn't know were there would arise onto the surface to be looked at, and then let go.

We also took the opportunity to hop into 'our' little red Micra and travel to the nearby villages, sitting in the local cafes with our notebooks whilst learning how to really express from within. Each one of us brought a different perspective and a unique voice and style, all learning from each other.

The workshop was much more than just writing - much magic and healing was created not just for ourselves but I'd like to think also for the collective. It was an incredible priviledge to get to know such an amazing and diverse group of people whose different backgrounds and stories weaved together creating a ripple in time. The cool blue water of the Adriatic soothed and grounded us in the afternoons and our laughter continued well into the night.

I truly miss our time together and will look back at this workshop as a culmination of a long journey and the start of a new one. And I was surprised by the bond this work created between us - the resonance from our work together will carry us all on our way home.

Much love and gratitude to everyone who made it possible.

In the homegrounds of Chiron, June 2012, Kati Medini Sivula.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Making Decisions the Community Way

The majority of the decisions made here at Kalikalos are decided by the community, which is always changing. There is conflict, processing and resolution on a weekly basis. So, what happens when the community needs to make a decision that has affects on the greater community?

A returning staff member from last year, Jacinta from Ireland, arrived a few days ago. She saw that we had three adorable baby ducks. Jacinta inquired as to what happened to the ducks that were here when she was staying at Kalikalos last September. In fact a local farmer—past Kalikalos staff and guests will remember him as "Spiros the Greek God"—provided them with a good home for the winter.
Community members chatting

This season's cute baby ducks are still small and fluffy. One day last week, when most of the staff was at the beach, some local boys came and took them out of there cages and kicked them. Ivor from Oxford was here napping and heard the ducks squacking and stopped the boys. These are kids we allowed to play on our hammocks daily. To see them hurt our ducks, was really shocking to all of us.

Now as a group we needed to make a community decision, do we ban the boys for a short period, indefinetly, or do we talk to their parents. As it happens, these kids are Albanian and as such are already outsiders in this small Greek village.  We didn't want to isolate the boys more, yet we also want to feel that our ducks are safe.

One of the benefits of living in community is one has the intelligence of the group to consult. Some want to be very firm with the boys, others want to address the issue with love and without assumptions about the boys and their backgrounds. We've hesitated to approach the parents because some of us are afraid that the kids will get a beating.

We felt like it was a fairly delicate issue, yet needed to be dealt with.  If the boys are cruel to ducks, have they experienced this themselves or are they just rough boys? Do we talk to them, will it help? Would it be positive to talk to their parents? We specalated, we contemplated, we discussed.

We haven't settled on a decision yet. We want to protect the ducks.  At the same time we'd like to provide a place for these kids to play.

Everyday we make choices that affect each other within the Kalikalos community, now we have a choice to make which has consequences that touch others.

What would you do in this situation?

Karrie K, Iowa USA

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Follow up on Sacred Economics

We have all ages here and many cultures represented, various viewpoints and life experiences. Before starting the spring work camp a newsletter titled Sacred Economics was sent out from Kalikalos.  Just the name itself is wonderful; it would be a very intriguing University class.  In fact, a very important class for this planet right now!
The article that Jock (founder of Kalikalos) sent out on Sacred Economics was about the degradation of our financial system and how important creating authentic communities like Kalikalos are in the ‘new’ economy.

On Mondays we have a special discussion circle, on a topic of interest to a group member. One member leads the discussion, she wants to live more in a barter community where the exchange is without money. Or even further she would like a place where there is no exchange, and freedom from that structure. Many people had various opinions and also many of us see that we need to be a part of the world and the money system that exists.

The term Sacred Economics is interpreted differently by everyone.

Here is another viewpoint of Sacred Economics: That every person does what they love, follows their passion and in the service of their best selves and the greater world.   Sometimes there are tasks that need to be done that we don’t much enjoy. Our job in those cases is to find ways to make the job more bearable, perhaps even enjoyable.   At Kalikalos this is what we try to do. We look at what work needs to be done and we see who can and wants to do what. If there are jobs that no one volunteers for, we find a way to get the job done together.  There is no ‘work’ at Kalikalos in the way that work is often viewed in the world—toil and dislike. We work hard much of the day here, but through-out the work is joy. The joy of being in such a beautiful setting, the laughter of the people we labor with and the sense of purpose we all receive from what we do to wake up Kalikalos from its winter slumber.  This is good work.

It is possible that when everyone does more of what they love and are valued for what they do, that this is the core of sacred economics. There must be some appreciation for the monetary system, if we chose to participate in the world.  At the moment we need money to buy our food, to purchase the hardware and tools we need to get the centre in working order. We also may want money to have some fun.  This is the system we have now. We can work to change what is corrupt, but perhaps embracing money as a neutral energy would take away some of the stress around money away. The term ‘put your money where your mouth is’ means a lot. Money itself is not evil. What we chose to do with money is what is important and in fact sacred. At Kalikalos, we discuss how we can spend money locally and how we can most ethically allocate our money within our budget. In a sense this is 'sacred spending'. We select how we spend our time, energy, money and lives. Money, like all we 'spend', can be part of our spiritual path.

May each of you find fulfilling work in your days. Perhaps Kalikalos is a place for you, to volunteer or take a workshop.  Each week we practice ‘Karma Yoga’.  What if we apply the principles of yoga, such as unity and flexible with discipline to economics? 

Kalikalos is located in Greece, anyone aware of the news right now knows the struggle Greece is going through financially. From this village and surrounding area what hasn’t changed is the absolute generosity of many of the Greek people.  If the law of attraction applies, ‘like attracts like.’  It is comforting to see that the fear of what is to come hasn’t crushed this pure generosity.  

This is what I observe through the economic chaos: there are still many gifts that many of us, foreigners, have received from Greece and the Greek people.  We have received from shop owners spontaneous gifts of honey with nuts in heart shaped jars, bottles of homemade wine, free drinks on the house, basil seedlings, and more.  Not to mention the warmth of smiles and conversation and helpful directions when lost. May this generosity of spirit prevail and return to Greece the energy of generosity. 

Tell us what Sacred Economics means to you.  Please leave your comments below!

Karrie K, Iowa, USA

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Kalikalos Spring workcamp Day 2

Here we are 11 folk from 7 countries, gathered together to get the Kalikalos Centre ready for its 9th season of workshops, retreats and seminars. We’ve all come here for different reasons; or perhaps the same, really.

This year the theme so far seems to be the year of transit—passage to somewhere, place unknown. We have quite a few people who are feeling ‘homeless.’ They are changing jobs, partners, locations and contemplating what’s next for them. So, the theme emerges.

Julia from Berlin came here with 18 month Sonja to seek a life where she could work, learn how to build a yurt and have support with Sonja. Vicar Geoff, 66 years old, is in the process of retiring from a life as a minster. He’s not sure what’s next. But he brings good cheer and his face lights up when he talks about the garden and when he’s digging in the soil.

Sophia is in transition, parting from her marriage and starting a new adventure—her path is unclear just now. With her background being French, Egyptian, Armenian and Greek, Sophia is our storyteller, her beautiful French accent telling us about her past, the history of Greece and so much more. 

Each person has a beautiful role. Ting from Taiwan sometimes doens't feel like she contributes anything, yet to the rest of us she is the one who sees what needs to be done, and quietly lends a hand, cleaning, cooking and picking up the loose ends, an invaluable role.

Tonight as we finished dinner Florian, from Toulouse, played the guitar and sang softly, music drifting gracefully under this lovely Greek sky high in the mountains. Florian is our musician and leader on hikes to the waterfall and around the Pelion. Meanwhile, we are enchanted as Sonja danced to his music, her movements in perfect harmony to the beat. This reminded us that a lot of things babies know naturally and we are trying to relearn!

Gary is from South Africa, soon to turn fifty, and thinking he might be ready to settle down after a lifetime of wandering and searching. He’s here for the month of May to work, and through that he discovers things about himself. Gary's engaging in the natural self-awareness that happens inevitably when one is consciously in community. At our first meeting he spoke about how we see ourselves mirrored in those around us. Just by the act of being together, we learn. Our irritations are our teachers he says and he’s here to learn!

Johnny from Wyoming gets so excited by the new people he’s just meant and already loves, he’s spent these first two days jumping in excitement.

At least three people looking for a new home, a feel of permanence, a sense of place. We all came here because we wanted more, more self possession, awareness and more connection.

The second day in and most of us may not be able to exactly articulate what we want. We are here to trust the process. We are dedicated to trusting that the result will be what we need, even if we don’t yet know what it is.

Today at the sea the water was all embracing. We look for community to surround us like the sea. The sea which teaches us by just being what it is; we all came here to be who we are, yet surrounded by others. We look for the community to surround us like the sea, to teach us, to show us our resistance, our beauty, our shadow, to support us and heal us.

We come with our own issues, concerns, questions and longings. But deep down we will leave transformed. How will that look and feel? It’s only the second day—give us some time. The community changes us, we can already feel it or maybe it brings out more of who we are already, both shadow and light. Kalikalos brings this to us, this transformation, and tons of natural beauty along with it.

A sunrise and sunset overlooking the sea, sure we’ve got it. Lush tree covered mountains, a waterfall, a natural spring. It’s here and we are here blessed to be a part of such a wonderful project. We'll look forward to letting you know how it all unfolds.

Karrie K, Iowa, USA

Monday, May 14, 2012

To Euro or not to Euro, a Greek Tragedy or leading solution?

Sunday before last the Greeks went to the polls, with the deeply unpopular and largely counterproductive austerity measures having a dramatic effect on the country's economy and social infrastructure.  As it happened, the election passed peacefully and the result was a spread vote with no clear winners. Exactly what this means for Greece vis-a-vis the EU and the Euro remains to be seen. One thing has become increasingly clear, however; namely that the problems of mounting debt and deficit financing are not unique to Greece. Greece is the canary in the mine and what happens here is certain to have ramifications throughout Europe.

A Greek Solution

Kalikalos opened its ninth season one week ago, and we see the signs of austerity around us in the form of closed shops, increased prices and a decline in social services. At the same time, especially in our area (Volos city and surroundings) innovation and entrepreneurial spirit are growing.  Greece is an abundant country, there is food in the shops and a will in the people to move through and beyond the debt crisis. Our local town of Volos has become the Centre of a return to a barter system with the rebirth of a local currency. Volos has established a twice weekly street market selling food, produce services through its local currency.  This currency does not replace the Euro, but as the local people have less Euros in their pocket it provides an alternative system to meet some of the everyday needs of life.  This development made BBC news this week (below).

At Kalikalos we want to do whatever we can to take part and support these local initiatives. They represent in large part a return to true community and mutual aid, something which our multinational corporate model has largely destroyed by monetising nearly every human need. We hope that our work here building true community is a resource we can share with the local people. You too can help by considering making Greece your holiday destination this year. Your presence would be a small, but significant, action to support Greece, an action that goes beyond the currency that you bring.  By coming here you demonstrate a trust and faith in the strength and stability of Greece and its people.

Be part of the solution make a difference while on holiday see the Kalikalo 2012 Programme or if you are looking for an affordable alternative holiday come stay as a guest.

Affordable Alternative Holiday

visit as a Living