In life, as in chemistry, there are catalysts, people who influence or effect change or trigger events but themselves are unchanged and unaffected. In chemistry, I can understand this effect and power. It is like the finger that taps that first domino into motion. The finger is unchanged, but triggers a cascade of events, which themselves trigger others, all from the tip of one index finger.
[thank you mmcdomino @ youtube.com]
But, in life, why would one wish to pass through the lives of those around them and remain untouched, unblemished, unmoved, unchanged. While having an active investment, like any investments, places one at risk; it is in that risk we find the juice, the fire, the sweetness. There can be satisfaction in either role. There is a power in the catalyst; the ability to cause change without cost to oneself. The degree of separation is a safe power, a clinical and sterile power. But to be a reagent means that you step into the equation, you place yourself into the dynamic and risk changing, even risk identity. In some chemical reactions, reagents get consumed in their entirety, exhausted to make a new product. Their whole existence used to form something new potentially leaving no real trace of the original components. There is no safety net for that kind of life. And no real recovery.
The dance of life, like the search for the perfect equation for perpetual and infinite energy from a finite amount of mass, we hope for a symbiosis of reagent and catalyst. We hope we are neither consumed or destroyed in the course of our life or in the interactions with others. And when we approach a point when we run dangerously close to expending all of our own precious resources, like a vacuum hood in a chemistry lab filled with monitors and sensors – alarms should sound!
And we should listen to them.
The problem is that we often have so many fire DRILLS that when the alarm sounds because there is a real fire, we are immune to the clanging and ringing. No longer does our heart race or our palms sweat. The same immunity to self-preservation occurs. We permit our SELVES to be lost in others, consumed or demolished for the benefit of another’s needs. And before our own internal alarms sound, we are lost. We have sacrificed a vital component for our own survival.
A harmonious life, a generous life, is one in which the people we share and welcome are equally generous. We may not all offer the same reagents. We may function as catalytic converters in different ways, but we never consume or erase another. The cost is never ourselves. And any investment we make we are returned in equal measure. Kindness and generosity are the ideal building blocks of life’s investment portfolio. Focus on giving, kindness, generosity, compassion and the dividends will be thankfulness, acceptance, contentment, joy and love.