This has been one of the most anticipated weeks of the whole year for many who work: the Holy Week. Peppered with "holy movies" such as you usual batch of Ben Hur, Qvo Vadis, Ten Commandments and the minisiries Jesus of Nazareth, among others that have something to do with the Ancient Times (including Spartacus, with Kirk Douglas, if I recall correctly), the Holy Week is also about going out somewhere, taking on the chance of four days off the job (from Thursday to Sunday), or the whole week for others, thus that one chance you surely get a year to leave the city and kick it back. The whole religious theme of the week has long been left behind with only a handful of people aproaching the church or even going to watch the different processions that snake up the streets with quite interesting interpretations of the Passion of Jesus.
Considered part of the high season, hotels and other such amenities in the country go up in price to levels you would never dream possible. Doubled rates are among those, so often the possibility to spend these days abroad is actually the most affordable and easiest choice. Partly this was also the reason why my boyfriend and I decided to take our vacations in Panama. ^_^ However there's more to this week than kicking back and toasting your skin under the sun, clicking away pictures to upload on your facebook account and adding up enough debt on all your available cards to remind you for months to come about the fun you had. It's also more than a diet rich on seafood and wine.
As you kick back in these days, even if you don't have the whole week, even if you have only the Monday after (Easter), it's a wonderful time a year to take a step back from your daily life, from your job, the pressure about that particular project you have to get going, or the tension you get from trying to fight your way out of the freezer where your annoying coworkers or your incompetent boss have cornered you, take a step back from your problems with those people who really seem to be out there to expressly make your life more complicated or miserable (oh yes, I know it's not paranoia as some say, I've been there and I know those crappy, low life motherfuckers exist), on all the family drama, the parent, sibling or child that does everything in their power to make you go up the wall, and think a little bit about your life and where it's going.
This week, as the population leaves the city, your siblings take their families and go to the beach, the neighbour leaves to visit family far, far away at I-would-never-go-there-for-I-thought-the-world-ended-40-miles-before, and you don't have to wake up early and travel every day to the office, take a moment to spend some time with yourself, in the sweet peacefullness of your own solitude. Do something unusual, like walk barefoot on the grass that grows in your yard, or simply on the cold tiles of the floor (or the parket! Wood is wonderfully soothing!), sit on the floor, maybe, with a big glass of your favorite beverage, and turn on the radio on that wonderful station you hardly listen but you love like hell, or maybe that station that's on in your car as you drive to the office or commute to the office, but never really pay as much attention as you would love to, and listen, let your favorite songs envelop you.
Take time to breathe - you know, deep in, deep out - and savour that lively, that natural, that honest air going into your lungs and filling you with each gout with life, pure, unadulterated life. Enjoy breathing, allow yourself to smile, relax, let your hair down, mind not your hairdo, dress in your comfiest clothes, have your favotire snack if that makes you happy - no guilt, because there's no time for guilt here, only joy, meditation and pleasure - and take happiness with air.
Watch the sun, the sky, the nature around you or the city around you, the night, the moon, whatever you rather watch, whatever is out there, and take your sweet time to rediscover the whole thing. Those lights you haven't seen before, those sounds you haven't heard before, that scent you haven't smelled before... or look at that thing you watch everyday and concentrate on it, see if you can see something different, get to know it better, discover more of it just by paying absolute, dedicated attention to it. Let this whole world sink inside you, and as it does, look inside and look at yourself with this new, calm contemplation. Look at yourself, and don't condemn anything, don't pre-lable it, but let it unfold. Don't feel bad about your weaknesses or flaws, but be happy for all your virtues and strenghts. Imagine them all - flaws and virtues - as part of a big team - and play with the idea of some virtues helping your flaws become virtues as well. They are all part of you, so if all of them are as good as you, none of them will fail you, right? Remember also that weakness and flaws are extremely important because they are those sensible agents that allow you to understand the shortcomings of those around you.
Flaws and weaknesses can be beautiful if we accept them, but that doesn't mean we can't help them grow up to strenghts and virtues, as long as we never forget what we've learned from their previous state, right? ^_^ Smile a lot, and take a small inventory of the main aspects of your life, those you are happy about and those you would like to see solved or would like to work on. Make plans, design all sorts of ideas, but above all relax, be happy, contemplate the world and yourself taking advantage of this very time of reflection and peace. Take the core of the message - contemplation, peace, redemption, hope - and make it yours.
Make it yours and be happy.