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