Thoughts for No One in Particular

Shaken but unbreakable

As aftershocks continue to hit and experts say that they are spreading to regions adjacent to the area originally affected, I am deeply concerned about my people who are put in a state of constant and prolonged alert, fear, and restlessness. How do they, or anyone for that matter, avoid their hearts from being broken when they are shaken so hard?


In the past twenty years or so, we have had a significant development in the field of architecture, shifting away from earthquake-proof to earthquake-resistant structures. Now, I am not an expert on buildings and construction, but being a citizen of an earthquake-ridden nation makes even a lay person become a bit educated on this matter – buildings today do not try to block the effects of earthquakes, as they aimed to do a couple of decades ago, but they look to diminish (and possibly negate) by absorbing and dissipating.


Buildings in the past were constructed to keep their shape no matter how hard they are hit. They were rigid, heavy, and securely tied down to the ground. But no building could be constructed stiff enough to be earthquake-proof… at some point, they would all lose balance, fall, and crumble. So, in time, uncompromising posture was abandoned and a more accommodating attitude was acquired.


In absorbance, buildings are constructed with parts that act like cushions or weights that shift in the opposite direction to the buildings’ movement to maintain balance and remain standing. In dissipation, buildings are constructed with materials that actually allow them to be flexible (and even deform, if necessary!) to let the energy pass through. Buildings shake when hit, but they have many means to handle the blow, so they are more resistant to breaking down completely.


Maybe the same strategies can be applied with our hearts.

Maybe when we are faced with difficulties, we can absorb and dissipate instead of stiffening.

Maybe it is okay to be shaken – in fact, maybe it is even better to be shaken than to stay rigid – because what is more important is that you remain intact… that you remain yourself overall, even if some parts of you must undergo change.


And a couple more insights from the architectural world to keep our hearts quake-resistant:

For one, do not forget to do check-ups from time to time, and especially after every shake, to make sure all absorbing and dissipating parts are in undamaged and functioning properly.

For another, reinforcements are always a plus – have around you as many things and people that strengthen you… that brace you, support you… that encourage you.


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