1: a substance that enables a chemical reaction to proceed at a usually faster rate or under different conditions (as at a lower temperature) than otherwise possible
2: an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action



Catalyst (n.): “substance which speeds a chemical reaction but itself remains unchanged,” 1902, formed in English (on analogy of analyst) from catalysis. Figurative use by 1943.

Catalysis (n.): 1650s, “dissolution,” from Latinized form of Greek katalysisdissolution, a dissolving” (of governments, military units, etc.), from katalyeinto dissolve,” from kata-down” (or “completely”), see cata-, lyeinto loosen.” Chemical sense “change caused by an agent which itself remains unchanged” is attested from 1836, introduced by Swedish chemist Jons Jakob Berzelius (1779-1848).



“The power of a bold idea uttered publicly in defiance of dominant opinion cannot be easily measured. Those special people who speak out in such a way as to shake up not only the self-assurance of their enemies, but the complacency of their friends, are precious catalysts for change.”

Howard Zinn (1922-2010, historian, author, professor, playwright, and activist, whose life’s work focused on a wide range of issues, including race, class, war, and history)

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“At the end of the day we’re all reactive personalities. We just don’t know it until we meet the right catalyst.”

Michelle Painchaud (author of the young adult thriller, “Pretending to be Erica”)

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“In a world of sleepwalkers an awakened mind is a teacher and a catalyst for new awakenings, whether they want to be or not.”

Bryant McGill (b. 1969, international bestselling author, human potential thought leader, activist, social entrepreneur, and one of the top social medial influencers)

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“They are the ones who bring meaning to our lives, who happen to inspire, who spark a fire that we carry with us for the rest of our days, who are but pillars of hope and sometimes sacrifice, life-changers, life-savers, catalysts.”

Chirag Tulsiani (Indian author, specifically in the satire, farce, and surrealism genres)

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“Painful as it may be, significant emotional event can be the catalyst for choosing a direction that serves us – and those around us - more effectively. Look for the learning.”

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888, novelist and poet, best known for the novels, “Little Women,” “Little Men,” and “Jo’s Boys”)

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“The skills you acquire can always be effectively redeployed. You will look back on setbacks and be grateful for the catalyst that came not a moment too soon.”

Tom Freston (b. 1945, former Viacom CEO and entertainment industry executive)

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“Whether it is an ad or a business, it must be something I believe in. I cannot do something simply for the money. It must connect with me because I want to be a catalyst to make people’s lives happier.”

Shilpa Shetty (b. 1975, Indian film actress, producer, and former model)

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“In a world of sleepwalkers an awakened mind is a teacher and a catalyst for new awakenings, whether they want to be or not.”

Bryant McGill


I was sleepwalking for a long time when I was in my twenties and early thirties.  I didn’t really know my state of mind until I started suffering in pain.  And it wasn’t a small ache, but catastrophic pain on many different levels, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and internally.  For a time, I stood transfixed on a fence, leaning to topple over into sickness and/or death.  I was at a huge fork in the road.  Either, I stayed the course and suffered in pain and sadness, or I take the challenging road of healing into the Unknown.

So, I took the “path of least resistance,” viscerally smacked down and broken apart still suffering for a time.   The pain, however, was different that it was stoked mostly in fear.  It also became a confirmation that I was becoming less numb and more sensitive.  Essentially, I had to let go of those things in my life that made me unhappy, my marriage, dead-end jobs, and those soul contracts that detracted from my life.

While I was in the midst of these challenges, I could not see far into the future.  The pain became a catalyst, a guide, to my spiritual initiation and to a deeply transformed life.

Let us keep searching for the silver linings, sojourners!  Trust me.  They are infinite in number.

Faithfully Yours, Tonya





2 thoughts on “Catalyst

  1. Love the word catalyst, this word has highly impacted my life over the last few weeks.