Next Stage World and Halki: A Small Quiet Island for a Global Gathering on the Edge of Organisational Change?
Many of you may wonder: Why are you organising this retreat at this place?
-Where is this tiny, dry island, anyway? -Why Greece and why there?
-How is NSW associated with Halki, Greece?
Part of it has to do with the story of this gathering, the story of this team and its own gravity points of work... its experiences, relationship, friendships... For some -including me of course- Greece both as a country and as a cultural field, considering her geographical position, her sociopolitical history and state, her DNA and gifts to the World along with her severe crisis and unforeseeable “economics-as-we-used-to-know-security” is an ideal place regarding the cracks of newness and the big questions of breaking through from a collapsing system to the Next Stage of Humanity; this is the very essence and the calling of this very Gathering: in micro and macro scale.
Part of it also is Greece’s hospitality capacity and constant call as a country that can really take care of your needs for relaxation, connection with timelessness, unique human touch and connection with others and self... This is perhaps because Greece has never been an ideal example of the “industrial revolution” as most of the Western countries have, at least. Greece has always been difficult to fit in a category of this kind.
And a big part of it has to do with the consciousness around the purpose of this gathering and the consciousness of Next Stage Organisation and Organisations: This very point I would like to address in this article.
Since the start of Next Stage World gatherings in Rhodes and after the first “piloting and experimental” meeting, we choose to host people from across the World in small places. Rhodes itself is not big but we went even smaller: small villages, small places with big community heart and rootedness...
We chose Monolithos, a tiny village of 300 people in the footsteps of Akramitis mountain in southern Rhodes. Along with the transformative power of our questions and connections, we were also trasnformed by the power of that hospitality that actually allowed everything to happen... An ancient and yet also so “NSW hospitality”.
So this gathering touches again that fundamental value and element of hospitality, which is offered beyond “professional excellence”... It is rather a spiritual gift that has no “consultants” or mentoring in the conventional sense behind it.
It springs from the heart... Just like every real NSW vocation, profession, team, organisation.
Let me put it very bluntly: With the NSW gathering we go beyond “tourism”, “conference tourism” and the likes... We embody and try to infuse as much as possible in the local hosting organisations (yes, and an island, a village a whole country is such!) the notion and practice of sustainability and circular economy. This we invite our hosts in these small places to join, too. Setting up small and big steps in waste management for example in the small village or in the venue that is hosting us, offering simple ideas of good practice that can be adopted by a hotel in its local context, inviting the local traditional wisdom in dealing with natural resources, implementing ways of actually becoming conscious of our eco footprint, involving the local community, the school and the passers by in meaningful conversations and in future visions, working on their own plans, enriching them – supporting them.
Furthermore with the organising of the Gathering in these places we put in practice the following questions:
What happens when you come to an island to create rather than consume?
What happens when you step on this brand new-to-your-eyes-landscape with curiosity and openness?
What happens when you synergise with it rather than rely on it to cover your needs?
What potential do you unleash when you initiate meaningful conversations on every interaction with the locals or when you let yourself reveal your story to the curiosity and friendliness of the locals?
What really happens when you go somewhere, far most when you join such a gathering, to re-visit yourself? To share the struggles and the victories of your life vocation?
To meet like-hearted people who are willing to open up, expose their scars and fuel more visions and actions for “impossible projects”?...
We do know that place is always a key-partner in these learning opportunities. It carries amazing power, it’s a container that can be a catalyst in the process and the learning and our ability to collaborate with it is also a critical factor.
~How do a place and its people reveal themselves to you?
~ How did Halki show up for me?
Beginning of July 2017 was my first journey to Halki. It was a windy day and our small vessel was almost flying up and down along the curve from Kamiros Skala but the smiling service and conversation with Katerina and her experienced captain father made the whole route very enjoyable and exciting. Even from the first sight as we were approaching the small port, the revelation started. A picturesque waterfront, smaller than Symi but equally astonishing... Colourfulness, the unique Dodecanese neoclassical houses, the bell tower of the church, the brown hills and the herb smells...
Every moment, Halki was revealing more of her elegance, simplicity and magic to us... Her peacefulness was one of the core characteristics of this beauty. The quality of that peacefulness is hard to describe. It’s like the island is taking you to a secret shell... where you can listen better to yourself, nature, inner and outer...
It is this very element that we find precious in the hosting place of such a gathering.
This peace... that allows you to really listen to the deeper questions, the profound essences, the more insightful aspects of your field of work and your organisation, allowing you to receive the signals of intuition and even sharpen your mindfulness capacity in times of extreme noise on everyday basis, complex issues on every step of the way, big challenges affecting leadership, collaboration, management, goals and whole purpose driven teams and organisations.
This peace and this pace... This precious slowing down that we rarely can “achieve” in the ordinary conditions, even though, paradoxically it is one of the key foundations for quality decision making and healthy working environment. Pace is integral in both the success and the ...integrity of Next Stage Organisations and this unique space of supporting the velocity and range of the NSW movement that this Global Gathering is.
Perhaps it is no co-incidence that this quality of the island reached the radars of U.N. when UNESCO declared Halki as “The island of Peace and Friendship of Global Youth” in the early ‘80s.
Painted with words reflecting feelings and thoughts, trying in vain to match the above and below images, this is only part of Halki described here, waiting to host you and your team-mates in this unique gathering. It is a special kind of holidays that the island and this region of the Aegean Sea are offering; we can call it “Wholidays” for the betterment and evolution of ourselves, our own life-journeys and this World...
Bring along your family to this Wholiday, too! :)
Below: Postcards from Halki from the first trip and discovery