Balancing act: homeostasis and words I live by

A balance has two ends: when one goes up, the other goes down. As a metaphor for living, it lacks dimension.

Homeostasis is better. It has no end, but it does count every factor. With a balance, it’s possible to find a point where everything holds perfectly still – until the wind changes. With homeostasis, there is no still-point, because even the thing that pushes the wind is part of it. It’s always shifting.

Homeostasis is a puzzle to which there is no lasting solution, only a series of adjustments. There’s always something new to learn, something different happening.

I find that intriguing.

After living on the water, in the forest, by the desert, and in cities of all sizes, it also makes perfect sense to me. No change sets off only one corresponding change. All real things are clusters of changes, and in the end we can either adjust or be adjusted – and only one of those alternatives accounts for our own wishes.

Living, like homeostasis, is not about flattening the ocean. It’s about riding the waves.

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Chalk boored: cortisol and dentition

My teeth were crumbling. I thought that was churlish of them, especially since I was moving at the time and had quite enough going on.

My naturopath has gotten them back to something more toothlike and durable, but the thing about tooth chips — like stretch marks — is that there’s no undoing them.

Another blow to my vanity, or what’s left of it.

I’m told this churlish chalkification was due to the effects of the cortisol my body now has again — and responds far too strenuously to. This makes sense at a basic level, since mineralization is one of the things cortisol affects. I haven’t looked into the specific science but, since I can chew without fearing for my molars now, I’ll accept the explanation and keep going.

I’m glad my teeth are stronger. I can probably live without using them for pulling needles and trimming cuticles, but I was stumped for ways to chew my food without them. As it is, I suspect beef jerky and rock cakes are entirely in my past.

Think I’ll have an apple for breakfast. Wonderful thought. It really is the simple things that make life sweet.

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Hope

At 12:11 this morning, a soft sea-wind went through me. My insides relaxed.

2010 was tough all over. We know that. Mortality sucks, life is hard, and all the rest.

But something has changed in here. Even though this date is, technically, just an arbitrary accident of history, it’s a good one. A happy accident.

I don’t know if this year will be any better than the last one, but I like this gentler sense of life I’ve woken up with. It leaves more room for hope.

Now there’s a New Year resolution I hadn’t even imagined: keep this inward gentleness. Leave more room for hope.

Yeah. I like that.

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