A catalyst is the trigger that can set in motion a turning point and new beginning. The forms it may take are many. The message is the same: this road has come to an end.
Are you being pushed to change?
One sort of catalyst is an inner sense, or an outer event, that tells you that the life you are living now cannot continue in its present form. You may suddenly admit to yourself that what you are doing is not good enough, does not honour the person you really are. It may be also that it was great once, but because you have changed, or the situation has changed, your heart has gone out of it, and now it doesn’t work for you anymore. Or it may be that an external event, whether job loss or divorce or death of a loved one, willy-nilly brings that chapter of your life to an end. Even significant birthdays can be catalysts for a review of your life purposes and plans. These catalysts push from behind, from a sense that something about your life has changed or needs to change.
Are you being pulled by the future?
Another sort of catalyst pulls from the future. It can be an inner vision or an outer offer that shows you the new life that could be waiting for you. Perhaps you have a picture of the life you would like to lead, the job you would like to have, the dream home that would be just right for you. Or you’ve been offered a new job, found a new home or a new partner, have had a new child. These voices from the future beckon you forward with excitement and a sense of new possibilities.
But don’t be surprised if they also threaten you with anxiety, stress, even terror. Research tells us that a marriage is as stressful as a divorce, a new home as stressful as losing the old one. Change is threatening to most people–even a good change.
Overdue turning points
The third kind of catalyst is the effects of an overdue turning point wreaking havoc in your life. Burnout is a good example of these. Its main characteristic is a profound loss of energy, the feeling that your fire is low. But it can also bring in its train other symptoms: illnesses that don’t go away even when they should, the sense that you are working so much harder and yet accomplishing so little, a disconnection from life, an increase in addictions, even deep despair. Other symptoms of an overdue turning point may be illnesses, even life threatening ones, depression, anxiety, or just the feeling that your bad old times are returning, and that something is very amiss.