Author Archives: Sandra

The White Rabbit Needs a Cup of Tea

The White Rabbit“The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.”

Poor White Rabbit. He was under such stress, always looking at his watch and fretting.

And we do exactly the same. Over-scheduling. Multi-Tasking. Running from here to there and back again. Texting while walking. Listening to podcasts while jogging. Fidgeting while waiting in the spa Quiet Room.

We are the White Rabbit.

The holidays are over. The temperature is cold. The mornings are dark. Seems like we should hunker down with a good book and a cup of tea instead of telecommuting with a mug of cold coffee beside us. No wonder we dream of escape — the Travel + Leisure magazine on my coffee table recommends I flee to “Island Escapes” in warm locations, among them Hawai`i, The Seychelles, and the British Virgin Islands. Sound good? Of course, except …

There are escapes closer to home.


Have you noticed the growing popularity of Forest Bathing?

In Japan the practice is called shinrin-yoku, and is credited with reducing stress, anxiety, depression and anger. Forest Bathing occurs in a device-free zone. No multi-tasking allowed. Just find a spot in the forest, or park, or any open space. Be fully present. Breathe the fresh air. Listen for sounds like bird song or children playing. Feel a tree trunk. Let your mind wander. And slow down.

Is it too cold to sit outside? Try taking a slow morning. Sounds like an oxymoron. The trick is to rise before the day begins, without any specific task in mind. This seems counterproductive. All I want to do on a cold, dark morning is pull the blankets over my head. But if you decide to try it, you can put off starting the morning until the sun rises. The idea is to take time in the morning to set up a day that is balanced, not stressed by rushing and multi-tasking.

According to the World Institute of Slowness, taking time to forget time feeds creativity which could make you more focused and efficient when you start your “official” day.

Tea Ceremony in ChinaAs is often the case, arguments in favor of slowing time by single-tasking are not new. For example, tea ceremonies in China and Japan have ancient properties for meditation and relaxation. And even today, relaxing with a cup of tea several time a day has been shown to reduce stress levels.

As Confucius pointed out, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

Lily Pond

We’ll all get where we’re going eventually.




White Rabbit by John Tenniel. Public Domain.

Forest in Osaka, Japan. by Laitche. Public Domain.

Photo of Tea Ceremony by Author.

Quotation given to the White Rabbit from Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol.

Ellen Byron. “What’s the Rush? The Power of a Slow Morning.” Wall Street Journal. Jan. 8, 2019.

Marcelo Gleiser. “Suffering from Nature Deficit Disorder? Try Forest Bathing.” NPR. April 4, 2018.

Two Coins: A Sense of Place

My latest book, Two Coins: A Biographical Novel, officially released this past Friday, February 1, 2019. And, I’m excited to share some of the background to Mary Pigot’s story, and how I found it. While doing research for Rama’s Labyrinth, I ran across several references to the case of Pigot vs. Hastie, a civil suit… Continue Reading


Since we’re about half way through the 2018-19 cold and flu season, it seems appropriate to mention various ways people have ineffectively looked for remedies. There is still no cure for the common cold, but that’s not because remedies haven’t been attempted. We now know that over 200 viruses are able to cause a cold,… Continue Reading


Today is the first Monday of 2019 and my calendar pages are already filled with appointments, tasks and things I’m not supposed to forget. Inevitably, I’ll forget something, and some tasks are still left over from 2018. But for the moment, efficiency and order appear possible. Who knows? This could be the year I finally… Continue Reading


I doubt any visitor to St. Petersburg misses St. Isaac’s Square, so it seems fitting that St. Isaac’s Square and its namesake cathedral are the focus of this final visit to the sights of St. Petersburg. Catherine the Great’s grandson Nicolas I who ruled from 1825 to 1855 laid out the square with St. Isaac’s… Continue Reading


The CATHEDRAL OF SAINTS PETER AND PAUL was the second church in St. Petersburg. The first church was a wooden building consecrated in 1704. But it was never meant to last. Peter the Great wanted a cathedral to rival any building in Western Europe and brought in architect Domenico Trezzini to build a Baroque structure… Continue Reading

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