• Piyumi Kapugeekiyana

Stabilizing the soil

Did you know that soil needs to be stabilized before you can build on it? I didn't.

Of course, we all know that soil is extremely pliable and pulls apart in response to tension.

But I was today years old when I learned about soil stabilization—the alteration of soils to enhance their physical properties.

The goal of stabilization is to increase the shear strength of the soil and controls its shrink-swell properties. Traditionally, the process was accomplished using lime, fly ash and Portland cement. Today, you also have the option of geosynthetics like geogrids and geocells to reinforce the soil. Once stabilized, the soil becomes suitable for various load-bearing engineering purposes, from bridges to payments. Soil stabilization also brings environmental advantages—it means that run-off water during stormy seasons will not cause soil erosion and send silt into vital waterways.

Of course, this isn't a post about construction.

It's a message about taking the time to create a stable foundation for whatever you're building. You may be tempted to take shortcuts or skimp on the foundation, but if the soil isn't well-prepped, the structure you create won't stand the test of time.

You get to decide what your particular 'soil' is—consider what elements undergird the life you're building. Perhaps, it's your attitude, your daily practices, your mental health, your finances, or your relationships. Maybe it's all of the above.

Now, think about your stabilization agents. There may be health professionals, life coaches, self-help gurus, career advisers and spiritual mentors in the mix. You may resort to edifying books, mindfulness practices, healthy eating patterns and disciplined routines. Some of these agents are peripheral, some are central. It's our job to know which is which.

For instance, I know that nothing brings me greater stability than reading the Bible. That's central to anything I build. Anything else I do to fortify myself is layered atop. When I fail to immerse myself in the scriptures, I find myself whipped about by the storms and gales of change. When I make the effort to study the word, its wisdom grounds me.

All of this is to say, pay attention to your soil.


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