When life turns up the heat, do you expand or contract?

As a citizen of earthquake country, over a lifetime of shaky moments I have picked up on a few geological terms.

Take “mechanical weathering,” for example.

In the simplest of terms, mechanical weathering takes place when rocks are essentially torn apart by physical force, rather than by chemical breakdown.


Tectonic forces, such as earthquakes, break and shatter rocks in the earth’s crust.

Temperature changes also effect mechanical weathering through slight expansion and contraction, weakening the rock itself.


I think there’s a lot more to it than these simple examples, but the term “mechanical weathering” comes to mind when I think about my personal stress levels. I think we expand and contract, depending on life circumstances, an unlimited number of times under stressful circumstances.

But don’t we all want to minimize our earthquakes?

I will admit that pressures have been a little high as I’ve been adjusting my schedule to accommodate the unexpected and the overflowing.

We’ve had a couple of family hospitalizations–nothing dreadful–just those things that come along and need addressing. When that’s the highest priority, I think I brace myself, contracting just a wee bit.

There are happy times, too. Anticipation of babies joining the family, anniversary celebrations and birthday parties. The calendar feels overloaded, with good things, mind you, but times of expansion are a different form of stress. Our neurons don’t always differentiate the positive from negative.

Perhaps I don’t  experience ACTUAL mechanical weathering, but to be certain, we can allow stress to build up, making an earthquake inevitable.

So what to do?

Don’t do…just be.

Let’s do a reverse energy flow, avoiding those fissures and cracks, if possible, focusing on what brings down those earthquake producing high stress-induced cortisol levels.

I didn’t have the attention span to follow-up on my last post and give the low-down on when John Muir spent time in Pasadena. For those of you who share my love of Muir and other American naturalists, I’m in a reading frenzy. I’ll be back to that very soon.

Instead, wherever I can find them, I’m taking little mental vacations. A few minutes with our workplace turtles, and anxiety lifts off my shoulders. You just have to change your focus. It’s another little law of nature!

Tell me now…do they look stressed?

Earthquake avoided.

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” John Muir