You CAN get too much of a good thing.
ANY good thing, apparently.
There is one exception.
Balance in body chemistry
The doctor’s office called with results of my latest blood work. The news wasn’t good. (1) I have Stage 3 kidney failure. (2) I’m anemic. (We know this only from the blood work. I have no symptoms.) (3) I’m deficient in Vitamin B-12 and in iron.
I’ve had diabetes and high blood pressure for years. These may play a role in the kidney disease. And it turns out chronic kidney disease can cause anemia. (Pause.) I’m a-let that be for the rest of this post. As to the kidney disease, I’m going to see a specialist.
As to the anemia, one of three things is happening. Either (1) I’m taking in too little of those nutrients (Not likely: the diet they give us at the shelter where I stay is actually pretty damn good; and I’m taking many pertinent supplements besides.); (2) something’s interfering with the absorption of those nutrients (Will examine some possibilities below.); or (3) some condition in my body is creating an excess need for those nutrients, so that the amount I’m taking isn’t enough (Foremost candidate for that is possible intestinal bleeding.).
So I did a little research on vitamin deficiencies, and what I found was a dizzying array of different outcomes depending on whether one has enough, too much or too little of THIS, relative having enough, too much or too little of THAT. And there are many this’s and that’s. Balances and imbalances.
- Drinking large amounts of milk can interfere with absorption of iron.
- Iron won’t get absorbed if one doesn’t have enough vitamin C. (I do.)
- “However, spinach and Swiss chard contain oxalates which bind iron, making it almost entirely unavailable for absorption.” So much for Popeye. Oxalates are also implicated in kidney stones.
- Metformin, a medicine I’ve taken for years for diabetes, can cause deficiencies of B-12 and of folate. So I may cut back on that and make my B-12 level better — but also make my diabetes worse.
- Smoking can cause folate deficiency.
Some other issues of balance in body chemistry I’m aware of:
(1) Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. It has many functions. Too little is a symptom of Parkinson’s disease; too much is a cause of psychosis. Enough is essential to being “able to enjoy things,” like tasting your food or seeing colors. Many anti-psychotic drugs lower one’s dopamine, and an issue that moves many psychotic patients to go off their meds is, on them, life’s just not as much fun.
(2) Cortisol is a hormone secreted by a part of the adrenal glands. It’s normally released in response to stress, and high levels spell fear, anxiety and confusion. Chronic high levels damage various organs. Now, different people produce different amounts in response to stress: those we regard as courageous, like firefighters, produce very little; those we regard as cowards produce a lot.
So, for years, I regarded cortisol as The Enemy. Come to find out, however, that enough is essential to many important body functions. I wanted to list some of those here, but the current Wikipedia article is so technical I can’t possibly understand it.
(3) A diabetes medication I was on some years ago got taken off the market because it unacceptably increases patients’ risk of developing, of all things, bladder cancer.
(4) I am currently taking low-dose aspirin to protect my heart. But I cannot take normal doses as a pain reliever, lest it further damage my kidneys.
Balance in spirit
If I knew enough about soul-body connections, which I don’t, I could probably specify spiritual correlates for every thing I’ve just said. In that case, resistance to healing would represent unwillingness to change my ways.
Related: Treatment resistant
The Qabala and Eastern mysticism, two different systems, share the conviction that inner peace, optimal health, and effectiveness in life depend on establishing balance among one’s emotions. The Qabala speaks of this in terms of ten different sephirot, or dimensions through which the Life Force may express itself; the ten, taken together, are called the Tree of Life. Eastern mysticism speaks of seven chakras, specific places in the body where spiritual energy may enter experience in the form of various emotions. Each chakra contributes a different color to one’s aura; when they are all in balance, one’s aura is white.
Related: Un[b]locking the Spirit
One dare not place too much confidence in facile correspondences between different systems; but for the moment, I’ll take the risk. The heart chakra, which has the color green, appears to me to correspond to the sephirah Tifaret (“Beauty”). Emotions which may express through this chakra include affectionate love, compassion, and healing, but also hard-heartedness, envy and greed. How much energy the chakra passes can be enough, too little or too much only relative the activity of each of the other chakras. Only those balances make it enough, too little or too much.
Too much compassion can make one a “bleeding heart.” As to the other negative emotions, it’s not clear to me whether they represent too little activity, or instead dark or negative activity. Each sephirah has its positive or “light” potentials and its negative or “dark” potentials. The “light” potentials together make up the Tree of Life; the “dark” potentials together make up a less-well-known Tree of Death. Activity of the Tree of Death damages health and relationships and society, and finally reduces lifespans.
Related: The Wandering Will
How music affects the chakras is a mystery to me, but it must be so, given the emotionality of the Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn and Bruche violin concertos, for example (Visit the Playlist.) and my dislike of music that makes me feel ways I don’t want to feel. Herbert Puryear said that over-activity of the heart chakra can lead to fornication. On one occasion, I was listening to a certain song typical of the “California Sound,” and it took hold of that chakra, and I perceived how that genre encouraged the promiscuity common among its fans.
The word “eccentric” …
… means “off-center” or “off-balance.” The “lovable eccentric,” like Sherlock Holmes in TV’s Elementary, is a stock character in literature, and for decades I sought to see myself that way. A major learning of my years in poverty: every eccentricity tends to marginalize, and every marginalization tends to cost. Financially. The Jason Robards character in A Thousand Clowns marginalized himself into unemployability.
How to get there
Meditation is the primary tool I know of to establish spiritual balance. In meditation, one is constantly bringing wayward thoughts and feelings back to a chosen center.
You CAN get too much of ANY good thing, but one:
you can never get too much balance.
Postscript, Wednesday 05/12/21
Here comes a new dilemma. Met with my primary care physician Monday, and also got a message from my kidney doctor. The latter was per the results of a 24-hour urine collection done some weeks ago; she had just now got the results. There is too little citric acid in my urine, and that can encourage kidney stones. She wants me to start taking citric acid, particularly recommending lemon juice. The actual recommendation is that the kidney stone patient consume the equivalent of a quart of lemonade every day. That is hard for me to believe; but if my body is passing too little citric acid, that’s just the way it is, and the same may be true of most other kidney stone patients.
I would tend to prefer orange juice to lemonade; however, vitamin C encourages kidney stones, also. The kidney stone patient must restrict her or his intake of that.
As to my primary care physician: the last time we checked my A1c (blood sugar), it was 6.8 — OK for a diabetic. This time, it was 8.6, drastically not good for a diabetic. There had been no change in my diet, but I had been doing some vigorous exercise for quite a while, and had expected my A1c to go down, not up.
My chronic intake of sweetened beverages has actually been pretty high; now I must cut that down as far as I can. But drinking lemonade won’t help. I need to find a regular grocery store (There is none near my current housing.) and buy some lemon juice.