hannuka candles on a table by a window

Image: Hannuka candles on a table by a window…

Quarters, Quarters & the Superpower of X

Three Months Later…

A trope I adore in a television series is the card that tells you how much time has passed. I am especially fond of Three Months Later…

Three months later…

Dot dot dot…

A beautiful container of time

Three months is such a rewarding amount of time to be given, or to have passed through, or to imagine passing through. A quarter of the year has gone by. A season came and went.

Our beloved protagonist has been through some things. They are different, possibly in some ways unrecognizable, whether to us or to themselves. Very strong New Hairstyle Energy here, love this.

I am very drawn to the superpowers hiding inside of Three Months Later. Transitions and transformations. Off-screen. Unrecognizable in a good way. Things shifted, as they had to, for reasons, and we are about to learn what is now and how it is new.

That moment of about to learn how is where the appeal is to me the most: what transpired in the missing time and space, what shifted for this person we care about?

Yes, tell me more (show me more) about what happened during the ellipses, the later inside the three months later, dot dot dot…

Dot dot dot…

When I am going through some things, and wow have I been going through some things, I hold fast to the superpowers of Three Months Later and Dot Dot Dot…

Like, okay, time is baffling, things are rough or painful, the grief is overwhelming, this is all true, IIWIMI (It Is What It Motherfucking Is), and what’s also true is that three months is a good container of time for experiments, rituals and discoveries.

In three months, some things will be the same, and some will have shifted, and I will have more perspective, maybe even more compassion that I can glow, inward and outward, into my own relationship with the painful things, and outward into the world.

Glowing perspective and compassion: towards and away, forwards and backwards, through time and space, letting them find their way, rippling through the river, onward: to past and future quarters, for recent and incoming selves.

To past and future quarters, for recent and incoming selves. A toast, and a rippling through.

This is the magic.

This is the magic. This is some of what can happen during the dot dot dot…

Whether I spend those three months hiding in bed, crying at the edge of the void, clawing my way out of the pit of despair-anxiety-depression, baking gluten-free broccoli-jalapeño bread each week until I find my exact right version, visiting my favorite tree, and/or some combination of the above…

Dot. Dot. Dot.

I go through what I go through, I learn what I learn, we made it to the next quarter, a thousand points, and at some point it is possible to discern some treasure in what was, or what was learned, or just having been through it.

Or not. Treasure-finding not required. But it has been known to happen.

The treasure in the reframing

This is also related to what is sometimes called Reframing.

In other words, sometimes our perception is that there is zero treasure in a given situation, and while we absolutely don’t have to force ourselves to find treasure, sometimes someone else has a perspective that shifts our story for us, in a good way.

Soup, bread, repeat

I told my chef friend Michael about how I was feeling disappointed and sad that I just baked the same two things over and over again from autumnal equinox to winter solstice, and also made the same soup on repeat. Green chile cauliflower potato soup.

Extremely delicious. Zero complaints. This is my favorite soup, and I did not get bored of it.

But also something about sorrow and regret, a perception (or a monster story? aka a self-criticism narrative?) about how I had been neglecting my true-yes wishes about Wildly Experimenting, A Joyful Obsession, Expanding My Abilities.

He said, “You know, there’s something to be said for not moving on to the next thing too soon. It’s good to refine things, nail them down, internalize them, etc, so they become truly yours and an expression of yourself. You’re doing great. Keep grinding!”

It’s good to refine things, actually

And suddenly my perspective on the last three months shifted. I was just refining some things. And I actually love REFINEMENT as a practice, as a power.

In fact, that’s something I already know about, from yoga and dance and sun salutations, it just hadn’t occurred to me that it might also apply to soup.

And so my monster-story about how I am not innovating because I am unfathomably, impossibly stuck, just depressed-boring-stuck (and my cooking habits are undeniable proof of this!) dissolved immediately.

I am refining. Repetition is refining, and refinement is about getting to know yourself intimately. It is brave to pause, wait, refine, not rush on to the next thing. I’m doing okay, actually. It’s safe to take this time.

Three months later…! Dot dot dot…!

There it is. I refined things, without even knowing that’s what I was doing, and then I received a vital new perspective, I was able to that refining things was a valuable practice, and not a sign that I’d moved into the pits of the despair.

What else am I wrong about?

I thought I had mostly spent equinox to solstice in the pits of despair, but maybe that’s not the truth of that quarter, maybe those weren’t my quarters at all. What else am I wrong about!

This might be my favorite useful question, asked with love, in service of loving clarity. What am I wrong about here?

What really happened in my Three Months Later…?

Quarters (quarters!)

A delightful (to me) discovery I made probably ten years ago continues to be as enchanting as ever (in my brain).

The year divides into quarters, and quarters is also a word for living space. A segment of time, aka a quarter of the year, and also a designated space to call home.

There are my quarters. Captain’s quarters.

Here is a temporary home that is also a quarter of the year. Three months in which to experience [whatever happens inside of that time], and emerge.

You could say that quarters are a kind of chrysalis. You enter them and then [MYSTERY] and then it’s three months later….

My quarters — and here I mean both the period of time, and the living space I occupy, are what hold me as I experience whatever it is, from making soup and baking bread to rededicating myself to the practice of refinement.

What do I want from my quarters?

What do I want from my quarters?


How do I want to feel in my quarters?

Shall we retreat to our quarters? Oh, but they have been redecorated! New and familiar. We’ve been here before and we have never been here before. It’s okay. We Trained For This. Remember?


Return to familiar quarters / rededicate our quarters

Each time I think about this (quarters & quarters), I turn into the living embodiment of the heart-eyes emoji. Is it my pattern-obsessed autistic brain, or my burning love for the playfulness of language, the poetry and symmetry of overlapping words, or all of the above, who knows…

I just love thinking about time as space!!!

And I love the imagery of oh it is winter again, and so we return to familiar quarters (we trained for this!) and we are able to steal a new glimpse! Here’s some more information about who we are, what we need to thrive in this time-space, and how we have changed since the last time we were here.

Or maybe it is time to rededicate our quarters, to re-imagine how we want to exist inside this container of time, this real and imagined living space.

Here we are again, but it’s different this time. Now is not then.

And here we are again: Very Interior Design.

Happy solstice (or maybe happy isn’t the right word)

You of course are welcome to design your quarters any way you like, or maybe quarters isn’t how you interact with your year at all. Some people like the clean start of January, some people like the fresh-notebook smell of September.

As you have already gathered, I like to set up my calendar from solstice to equinox to solstice and back around again.

Let X = Three Months.

Let me set up my space for the known quantities of these three months, run my experiments, learn what I learn, see what changes, until Three Months Later.

I wrote up some solstice wishes, and can share them here later if you like. And I wrote up my notes for the next quarter, and for my winter quarters, named the Known Quantities, and can share those too.

Of course there is much room for unknowns, because unknowns is most of what we are working with.

But there are known elements…

Known elements, for example

  • I do not love being cold!
  • It helps to actively notice as the days get longer!
  • I will be sad on certain days because of past heartbreak, and this calls for a Feast of Liberations or we can invent a new holiday, a Feast of Small Gods!
  • Menu-planning helps! Candles help! Soup helps!
  • It’s okay to have soup every day in winter! We are refining something that is nourishing, sustaining and delicious.
  • Winter is challenging for me, but also I can call on the superpower of We Trained For This!

What else about Known Elements?

Known elements help me strategize.

Some known elements lead to mysteries that need solving.

Some known elements lead to solutions.

Example of a mystery that needs solving

Known element: Ten days is how long I can go without a shower before losing my entire mind.

My trailer doesn’t have hot water or a heated bathroom or a fan, so I have to heat up water for daily wash cloth baths, and what I have learned is that this solution works fine for a week, and then it kind of works for up to three more days, and then it doesn’t work at all.

After ten days I require a real shower or I land in the pits of despair, but actually I need to arrange for this shower to happen every seven days because if something goes wrong with the logistics, then whoops, I’m in the pits of despair again, and it turns out that clawing my out of the pits of despair can be very difficult, even with a map. Even with a shower.

During this period of up to seven days without a shower, a shower will magically cure mild depression, moodiness and irritability.

But if things go sideways because of circumstances (snowed in, icy roads, various situations) and we get to twelve days, then acquiring a shower will no longer solve things, because I will already be in the pits of despair, and it takes a lot more than a shower to get me out of them again.

Erased from the brain

Somehow I forget this entire phenomenon, and by “somehow” I mean ADHD plus traumatic brain injury plus long covid (the trifecta), but also I have learned that it can be mysteriously hard for many of us to remember the basics of self-care, and for that I blame external culture.

Anyway, I have this information about what I need to not fall into the pits of despair, and at the same time I forget it, or I forget to prioritize it, or I try to prioritize it but circumstances get in the way, and the past three months have involved too many trips in and out of those pits.

See, we are learning things. Learning and refining. This is also the crux of the mystery.

Asking for new solutions to reveal themselves

Currently, way too much of my energy and attention go to either a) trying to Solve For A Shower, or b) trying to solve for Clawing My Way Out of The Pits Of Despair because I did not solve for a shower, or c) recovering from my time in the pits.

I am hoping that in this next period of [Three Months Later, Dot Dot Dot…], a perfect simple solution will reveal itself, or maybe there are multiple solutions.

We have talked about this before, but solution is also a word for a body of water, a solution is liquid, a solution solves-and-dissolves.

Solutions are like quarters in that each word has two meanings that sometimes overlap and sometimes don’t. Solutions come in waves. Quarters come in quarters.

I can live in my quarters and bathe in solutions. May it be so, or something even better.

Three Months Later, Dot Dot Dot

I am wishing you all the most beautiful solstice wishes. If you are here with me in the northern hemisphere, battling the bitter cold, then I am wishing you warmth, comforts, coziness, high regard hygge, luscious upgrades, whatever is needed, and the hopeful reminder that in a few weeks, we will have noticeably incrementally longer days.

If you are in the southern hemisphere, then I wish you cool breezes, ease of ease, replenishment, sweet comforts, whatever is needed.

And for all of us, as many glorious reassuring permission slips as we need to support us in existing outside of any cultural pressures to reinvent ourselves for the new year, or come up with resolutions or do anything at all in this period of extreme temperatures and indicated nap-time.

Siesta life is what is indicated, not taking up running.

Though of course, whatever brings you joy is what I wish you, and if that’s running, then god bless. I support it.

Grand experiments

As you already know from reading and hanging out here, I am not a fan of new year’s resolutions but I am a big fan of experiments, so maybe something I will write about soon is past and future (and ongoing) experiments in my life, many of which are related to quarters and quarters.

And one of my experiments is sharing more of what I write instead of keeping it to myself.

Though to be fair, sometimes I keep it to myself because I forget about it, but that just makes the experiment even more about pattern-mapping, and all experiments are about pattern-mapping, and much of what I write about is on the theme of pattern-mapping, so it all works!

Another experiment is about having more ritual around my writing, so maybe that’s something to share as well.

Looking forward-and-towards

I am looking forward to these new cozy winter quarters, this period of time and space in which to chrysalis, to emerge with a Three Months Later title card and see where the experiments take me, I am looking forward to updating on my experiments as I experiment.

Of course I am looking forward to green chile cauliflower potato soup, and I am looking forward to getting better at making shredded non-dairy fake-cheese.

Obviously I am not looking forward to visits to the pits of despair or the work of clawing my way out, but I am looking forward to being a better observer, especially when it comes the Refinement Ops of getting better at not falling in to begin with, and strategizing ways to bring more ease into my life so that I’m not spending so much time at the pit edge.

At the very least, I have done some refining when it comes to how I find my way back to the surface, and to how much I can trust that process and my own skill level. Hey, I trained for lots of things, as it turns out.

Good surprises

And I am looking forward to good surprises, as-yet-unknown treasures and pleasures, the reframings that have not yet been reframed, discovering how to imbue this process with even more compassion, and learning how to making a sweet home inside this new quarter.

Maybe I don’t dread winter as much as I think I do, or maybe there is a new way of relating to this time period.

More than anything, I am looking forward to rededicating and redecorating, symbolically and otherwise.

Here’s to time-space and feeling at home in new quarters. Safe passage for this. Wishing all this for you too, or something even better…

Come play with me, I love company

You are welcome to play with any of the concepts here in any way you like. Come play in the comments!

You can brainstorm experiments & practices, for rewriting any patters or for whatever you might going through, People Vary.

And as always, you’re invited to share anything sparked for you while reading, themes you’re playing with, or add any wishes into the pot, into the healing zone, as a friend of mine said, who knows, the power of the collective is no small thing, and companionship is healing.

Wishing you a solstice full of light, happy Hannuka (festival of dedicating & rededicating if you are celebrating), and an easy safe joyful passage into the new year, with whatever rearranging of cargo that entails, or blissful guilt-free hibernation time, whatever is needed.

A request

If you received clues or perspective or just want to send appreciation for the writing and work/play we do here, I appreciate it tremendously. Working on some stuff to offer this coming year, but between traumatic brain injury recovery & Long Covid, it’s still slow going.

I am accepting support (with joy & gratitude) in the form of Appreciation Money to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund. Asking is not where my strength resides but Brave & Stalwart is the theme these days, and pattern-rewriting is the work, and it all helps with fixing what needs fixing, currently focused on making it through winter.

Or you can buy a copy of the my Monster Manual & Coloring Book if you don’t have it!

And if those aren’t options, I get it, you can light a candle for support (or light one in your mind!), share one of my posts with someone who loves words, tell people about these techniques, approaches and themes, send them here, it all helps, it’s all welcome, and I appreciate it so much. ❤️

The Fluent Self