The Pursuit of the So-Called Paradise

Holy Mustache is a man who I originally knew as “the pioneer of vintage culture in Greece.” When sharing his secrets with Sensa Nostra, he transports us into different worlds. It seems that he has struggled his whole life to achieve happiness in different forms and ways. In his early twenties Holy Mustache had been following the fabulous American Dream, and was the absolute successful fashion icon, when suddenly a whole different reality opened up in front of his eyes. Unexpectedly, he was introduced to the Holistic World, and for the first time he felt alive inside a vivid, vibrating universe. His perspective on life and humanity changed, moving dramatically far away from materialism. Now, Mother Earth is calling him, and he has the golden ticket in his pocket. His trip is never meant to end… and the destination is the journey itself.

When I finished my studies on Physical Education in Thessaloniki, I moved to Athens to pursue the ‘American Dream’ and create a beautiful life according to what I’d seen happening on the TV. Within a few years I had become a personal trainer. All my clients were very rich. I started earning loads of money; was traveling a lot and visiting London exclusively for vintage shopping. During that period, though, a friend started talking to me about veganism, the raw food movement, and yoga. Almost immediately, I decided to extend my studies and turn the personal training into life coaching. Therefore I registered in the Natural Health Science School in Greece to study Holistic Treatments. That’s how my trip to Wonderland started. When that door opened, it let me enter the world of the holistic approach to life. The majority of the professors there were very well-educated doctors or scientists, and were using oratory in their speech. All of them were vegetarians, and they considered this a basic factor in staying healthy and balanced.

Right after I discovered this whole new world, my former plans to go abroad for studies collapsed and I made up my mind to stay in Greece. I was gradually introduced to reflexology, holistic massage, aromatherapy; I learned the essential oils and blends, as well as the flower power and the importance of the smell. In other words, I learned how to intervene on a human body and bring positive effects to it, increase the flow, dissipate the tension, and dance on bodies with my hands. This experience and revelation was shocking. Afterwards, I was taught about Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicine, and about the Hippocratic Medicine. Finally I entered the spectrum of natural healing, and figured out the exact way the human body works. That was the beginning, and it really felt like the floodgates were now wide open for me.

I had started applying these ideas, and already had become a vegan, when the American professor David Wolf gave a lecture in a congress about the ideal food for the humans—which is natural uncooked food—and he convinced me to become a raw vegan. Within a few months, after I was experimenting with live food, I went through an ecstatic state. I lost fifteen kilos and was doing yoga, stretching, and breathing exercises daily. I could see things with clarity now—behold nature and feel it as if for first time in my life. I figured out that it’s alive, that it is breathing and vibrating. I really saw the connection in everything surrounding me. It’s hard to describe this experience to an exact degree, but for sure I was feeling an incredible burst of energy, kindness, love, and desire to share all this information with my fellow human beings.

My parents, though, freaked out when on one of my visits I talked to them about the new experiences I was lately going through. They felt this change in me, and they were afraid I was become mixed up with strange and dangerous organizations. After this, and through the new enlightenment I faced, I found the courage, happiness, and motivation to start some experimental seminars right from my hometown, Trikala. I invited some doctors to give lectures there, and eventually they talked openly about issues that were still considered taboos in Greece. After all this, I decided to found a corporation in Athens, and if possible earn a living out of it. That’s how Oxygen was created: a company with the ultimate purpose of spreading knowledge related to natural health science, alternative therapies, culture, and ecology. I was also giving lectures myself in cooperation with my township and other communities.

Although it was a romantic idea, it worked in the end. But at some point, I realized that I was still selfish and in a way immature. Even though I was an idealist, and was driven by good intentions, I had no clue how to handle all this positive energy with modesty. In fact, I had invested in superfluous situations and suddenly I was completely broke, with loads of debts, and experiencing extreme stress. This tough situation became a life lesson and taught me how to become more reverent. I sold my Volkswagen Beetle, which was my favorite gadget back then, in order to save up money for my company, and was searching for solutions to clear up my state of mind. Gradually, I renounced materialism and was no longer interested in collecting clothes. At the same time, I wanted to stay far from the frenzy of shopping and had the need to test myself.

Six years ago, I discovered the institution of the Flea Market, taking place in Athens for the first time. I contacted Alison, the organizer of the event, and asked her to let me sell my vintage collection there, since I was seeking to free myself from the weight and my addiction to materialism. That’s how I started re-selling clothes. Eventually, it seemed to have a great resonance. People loved it, and I continued doing it. I grew a mustache and everyone was hooked on the idea. In the end I kept it, and it became my name. Since I was involved in all these spiritual ideas, I wanted to relieve it of its masculine or gay symbolism, so I added the word ‘Holy’ in front. Holy Mustache has been my name since then. I was seriously focused on this work, but didn’t want to sell expensively, so I started collecting my clothes exclusively from Greece. I wanted this to have low cost but also as little carbon footprint as possible. This decision to deal with the resales was inextricably linked to my ecologic consciousness and the philosophy I wanted to work on for my whole life. In my mind, reusing clothes is the ultimate type of recycling. The basic concept of this was that nothing should be wasted in this world: the total opposite of capitalism, due to which we are constantly creating fake needs and consumers.

Gradually, I created an urban experimental space, the so-called Holy Room. It was a residential project in the heart of Athens, and later on when the idea around and inside of it was mature enough, it was transformed into the Natural Intelligence Activation Space. It was a minimalistic multi-venue, both my working environment and home. It was structured in such a way that the sound and colors in it were harmonically placed, and it was hosting certain seminars, installations and exhibitions, yoga, dance, and live music sessions.

After I stayed for half a year in the Holy Room with my partner and since I figured out she wanted to work together with me, we decided to move out from Athens and go search for a pure place to stay. Therefore, since September we have lived in Kalampaka, in the north of Greece. We wanted to create something new here: a small collective society surrounded by nature, where we hold seminars and gradually live in autonomy. Here, we invite visitors and host guests that are interested in experiencing this way of life in its complete manifestation. I figured out that the inhabitants of Athens tended to forget the real meaning of life, and especially when crisis appeared, they stopped paying attention to all these ideas I wanted to show them. On the contrary, here this thing is a real experience. One can come over to stroll in the heart of nature, do breathing exercises next to the Monastery of Meteora, have a coaching session with us and discuss meaningful issues. Today, Holy Room exists here, and it will always be inside of me. It’s my holy space, and wherever I’m going to, I’ll be giving shape and meaning to this, and I will implement it physically and intangibly.

We decided to come up here to learn how to live like this because, since we were raised in cities, we completely forgot there is another way of life. And when we have learned this way, we can also suggest it to other people. It’s like a small revolution against the chaos around us, and a way to escape from the dead end of struggling to cope with Greece’s economic crisis. Today, I’m in the very pleasant position of being able announce that we finally found a piece of land, which is perfect and ideal for turning our dream into reality. It’s still quite expensive but we’ll bargain hard. Our goal is to inspire people now, to show them an alternative way to live without these fake principles they were taught their whole lives, to encourage them to become self-contained. We want to teach them how to search for their own food and water, to learn how to grow on their land and prevent soil from turning arid. Finally, they can learn how to grow their own food and produce it themselves perpetually, getting their water straight from the source; in other words, preventing themselves from starvation once and for all. All these rumors that civilization exists are fairy-tales from the West. In fact, we live in a constant gangrene that is incurable.

First it was the petrol, then the baby boom, and then the creation of the dream of consumption. The anarchic buildings, the highways, and the bitumen are like the earth is giving birth to eczema. The cities are eczema themselves. It is abnormal for humans to live in boxes. And of course, technology itself is not a bonus at all, because humans keep on using it so much against themselves. We create toys to satisfy our insanity and paranoia, toys that we have no clue how to handle. We don’t even have the basic knowledge to use the technology we produce. And therefore our civilization is going backwards. People are dying at abnormal ages, because of abnormal maladies, which are pure degeneration. If we suppose that the natural life and basis of the human civilization is to live in such a way without violence, without killing each other, to be reconciled with animals, to live without garbage and junk surrounding us, because people are meant to be healthy, and food is supposed to exist in affluence… Imagine how far away we are, not only from what we call earthly paradise but from what we consider normal life. Our target is to stay far from this system now, and have the least amount of interaction with it. We want to build our own small ark, and through various breakthroughs, achieve our freedom together with our health, and therefore have everything we need in order to be happy.

All in all you just found me in a state of love. I’m overflowing, I’m in love with my partner and life. In love with a brand new vision, which has already started taking shape in a level of earth. I worship this image and the creation of this place. Things are going well now. My brother and his girlfriend quit their jobs, changed their lifestyles too, and joined us. The positive energy affects people eventually and the idea is already spread. In five years from now, I visualize myself living in this earthly paradise. I believe that paradise has the potential to exist right here. Everyone can build his own ideal paradise on earth and experience it even after death. Not only I believe, but also I feel that I exist beyond my flesh and that I will keep on existing after I leave this vehicle called ‘body’. And if there are more lessons for us to learn, we’ll reincarnate again and again, and live in other non-concrete cities up in the sky, where the bodies are ethereal. The main idea of building an actual paradise on earth is the precursor to achieving world peace. And the way we are fed is essential to achieving this. I don’t think that Paradise is full of slaughters and blood. It is rather when humans are cutting out a leaf from the lettuce, apologizing and feeling grateful that they are able to get a leaf without even killing the plant, when they get the seeds and fruits from the trees and drink the water right from the source and live happily ever after, helping and loving each other in this sustainable procedure. This is civilization for me: strictly connected to the actual paradise, healthy human relationships, and honesty.

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