Chisla and Gian
I was here with my son and friends for the holidays and it was a very nice stay! People were very nice and interesting and we were completely free to join workshops or spend our time free. We did the last one, because we liked to spend time with our children. All the mornings we were in the community, we painted, played, read, and ate fresh fruit from the trees. In the afternoon, we went to the beaches, by car, which were also beautiful. It is good to have a car but you can also get a ride (10 minutes to the beach). Thank you very much for a really beautiful holiday.
It was my best experience at a Kalikalos Center of my five stays. Such a friendly, welcoming, non-overregulated environment. I think having an abundance of food, and also wine on some nights, is also a great part of feeling good. I love what you created here this year.
As soon as I arrived, I felt a deep sense of belonging to something much bigger than myself, where I could be in service and create value. Kalikalos has been a life changing experience for me in so many ways and created a deep understanding between my husband and I and how we want to be. Connecting in a circle each morning feels like the foundation for building a community, who can work and live together harmoniously, despite individual differences. The diversity of people we met here over two weeks has been such a privilege. Men, women, and children of all ages, from different countries and cultures. I feel strongly this is the way for living sustainably for us all and the planet. The dream has manifested. Gratitude, love, and light.
My experience of Anilio (also known as the Pelion Centre) was, like for many others, a taste of something magic. I do not say that lightly; I had come to lead a workshop there with some apprehension about how my yoga teaching style would convey in what appeared to be a collection of buildings and makeshift structures in fairly remote forest on the side of a mountain in Greece! Now, perhaps, I see the cause of my apprehension, because this mountainside is full of magic, layers and layers of it from time beyond and, what became clear, was that I needed to be ready for that, to be responsive and without preconceived ideas, to enter into the spirit of the place.
When I arrived and walked through my room onto the wooden balcony overlooking the land, I could see the the cells of the trees speak of this, the very soil Anilio hides in the layers of foliage that surrounds it, masking it from views of the fluorescent sea below, like a giant green man perched on the hillside. The simple buildings nest into the surrounding nature, so what's 'inside' and 'outside' exist without much separation. The sense of retreat it provides meant that, on our first afternoon, discovering the sparkling beaches below, backed by lush vegetation and wild pine trees (and a ready-made labyrinth shaped in the sand with stones), was rather like finding another planet.
These daily trips to the beach to swim, rest, read, and enjoy relaxed company had the feel of a holiday, yet were so much more enriching than a holiday could ever be. They offered a natural backdrop to share stories, reflect on life, with people from different countries exploring diverse and interesting fields and the potential for long-lasting friendships. Within this tapestry, what people such as me turn up to offer is more like a natural response to what it is to be held in so much beauty and, more than that, to have a sense that all is cradled, right here, in the palms of the gods.
So, from the poetry to the people. Anilio is more than anything a community, temporary in nature as it forms just over a season,with many people coming and going, but maybe it is the land that enables a depth of relating where something far more permanent is felt. I soon realized that, apart from the structure of my morning yoga workshops, there were also early morning, evening and late night sessions offered by volunteers and facilitators-in-residence that we could all participate in. This not only added to the richness of my experience and gave support and inspiration for my teaching, but also gave me a taste of the community-building, sharing circles and gift exchange that provide a backbone to the Kalikalos vision.
Much of the time this was unspoken, but the sense was of something clearly counter-cultural, where relationship is at the center; each person is invited to venture into a more authentic relationship with themselves through listening to others and sharing aspects of their own journey. It was during these times that, far from being an enclosed bubble, we were able to hear first-hand from Greek members the impacts of the threatened collapse of the their economy happening all around us, as well as many other personal insights and struggles, creating a beautiful and healing meeting point of the 'magic' and the 'real.'
I could go on about the wonderful walks, memorable conversations, the laughter as we cooked together, journeyed up and down the hill by foot or by car between the beach and the mountain, or danced into the night but, perhaps, it is enough to say I am already excited that I have been invited to return to Anilio to offer another workshop in 2016 and encourage you to come too. With an open and accepting heart, you can expect to be transformed.
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