The Hemp Connection + [women]

In Honor of the Hammock, and Other Things That Support our Leisure

With National Hammock Day coming up on July 22nd, how could I not talk about my love of the hammock? I happen to have a double hammock installed in my back yard right now. It’s adjacent to a fountain that the squirrels and birds like to play in, and shaded by a gigantic avocado tree. It’s strong, sturdy, and supports me well. It’s nothing glamorous, but it’s a thing of beauty.

I find it difficult, if not impossible, to do anything truly productive in my hammock. I’ve certainly tried, but there’s glare that interferes with book-reading, or iPhone usage, no place to prop a snack or a beverage, and it’s not actually able to handle two adults safely. What it is useful for is surrendering to the breeze, getting a little Vitamin D time (aka, sunshine), listening to the sounds of nature, such as they exist within the city, watching the creatures and the patterns of light coming through the leaves, and observing some quiet time.

How often can we say that it’s difficult to do anything productive? Nowadays, we’ve got video screens and cell phones everywhere, unlimited minutes and text messages, enough printed matter to occupy us for the rest of our lives, and constant chatter from a million sources – even the pumps at the gas stations have television monitors built into them. Noise, chatter, electronic media – it’s inescapable.

You might live in an apartment or condominium that has little to no outdoor space, or have a yard that doesn’t accommodate a hammock, but I think you can create a hammock state of mind in several ways:

• Go to a park. Take a blanket and spread it out on the grass. Fling yourself on the blanket and enjoy.

• Do the same thing at the beach, or by a pool, where the same weather conditions may inhibit easy reading or internet surfing.

• Default to your couch, if it’s all there is. Ban the toys, media, and other distractions. Lounge with your eyes open or closed.

• Hit the tub. Relax with your eyes closed. Submerge your ears under the water and enjoy the isolation.

• Swim in the ocean, a lake, or the YMCA swimming pool. Don’t really swim; just float. Be weightless and unburdened.

Remember these moments, and try to create more of them. Your brain, as much as it likes novelty, enjoys rest just as much, if not more. Carry the sensations of pure relaxation with you into your day. Practice just closing your eyes and remembering. And if you’ve got a hammock, be sure to indulge on Friday.

Gretchen Kubacky, Psy.D. is a Health Psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles, California. She has completed the inCYST training. She specializes in counseling women and couples who are coping with infertility, PCOS, and related endocrine disorders and chronic illnesses.

If you would like to learn more about Dr. HOUSE or her practice, or obtain referrals in the Los Angeles area, please visit her website at www.drhousemd.com, or e-mail her at AskDrHouseMD@gmail.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @askdrhousemd.