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