presentsThe Evolving Self
When growth is the only option...

The Evolving Self is an e-newsletter that reflects the belief that growth is a choice that can bring an ever deepening and expanding awareness of who we are and what we are here for. The reader can expect affirmations, quotes, book reviews, insightful commentary and tips that support the growth of the individual.

Affirmation: The light gives me hope, darkness gives me wisdom.

Quote: "In the dark night of the soul, bright flows the river of God." -St. John of the Cross

Newsletter archives:

November 2019 - Loving Kindness

October 2019 - Stress in Relationships

September 2019 - Loving Yourself/Inner Child


Certified Aromatherapist

I am a Clinical Aromatherapist, which means I am qualified to work in a healhcare setting as an Aromatherapist and of course, to make custom blends to address various health concerns and skin issues. Many aromatherapy blends also have a quality of emotional support.

If you are interested in custom blends to support your physical and/or emotional health and/or coaching along with aromatherapy solutions, please email me at

Contact me to get your own custom blend!

Prisoner in the Dark Cave

The Prisoner In The Dark Cave (A parable taken from "Healing The Shame that Binds You" by John Bradshaw)

There once was a man who was sentenced to die. He was blindfolded and put in a pitch dark cave. The cave was 100 yards by 100 yards. He was told that there was a way out of the cave, and if he could find it, he was a free man. After a rock was secured at the entrance of the cave, the prisoner was allowed to take his blindfold off and roam freely in the darkness. He was to be fed only bread and water for the first 30 days and nothing thereafter. The bread and water were lowered from a small hole in the roof at the south end of the cave. The ceiling was about 18 feet high. The opening was about one foot in diameter. The prisoner could see a faint light up above, but no light came into the cave.  As the prisoner roamed and crawled around the cave, he bumped into rocks. Some were rather large. He thought that if he could build a mound of rocks and dirt that was high enough, he could reach the opening and enlarge it enough to crawl through and escape. Since he was 5'9", and his reach was two feet, the mound had to be at least 10 feet high. So the prisoner spent his waking hours picking up rocks and digging up dirt. At the end of two weeks, he had built a mound of about six feet. He thought that if he could duplicate that in the next two weeks, he could make it before his food ran out. But as he had already used most of the rocks in the cave, he had to dig harder and harder. He had to do the digging with his bare hands. After a month had passed, the mound was nine and half feet high and he could almost reach the opening if he jumped. He was almost exhausted and extremely weak. One day just as he thought he could touch the opening, he fell. He was simply too weak to get up, and in two days he died. His captors came to get his body. They rolled away the huge rock that covered the entrance. As the light flooded into the cave, it illuminated an opening in the wall of the cave about three feet in circumference.The opening was the opening to a tunnel which led to the other side of the mountain. This was the passage to freedom the prisoner had been told about. It was in the south wall directly under the opening in the ceiling. All the prisoner would have had to do was crawl about 200 feet and he would have found freedom. He had so completely focused on the opening of light that it never occurred to him to look for freedom in the darkness. Liberation was there all the time right next to the mound he was building, but it was in thedarkness.

Continue reading below...

Embracing the Dark

"I love the end of Fall when it gets dark at 4pm said no one ever." -Unknown

Except maybe me. I included the quote above and the parable of the prisoner in the dark cave to simply say; while I value, embrace and rejoice in the light, there is value in the darkness. It serves a very important purpose. It is a time for silence and stillness. It is a time for rest. "Turn, turn, turn..."

In fact, the concept I had when I started this newsletter, "The Evolving Self," is largely dependent upon moments of silence and stillness when a person stops to reflect upon their life. It is these moments that enable us to process our life experiences, both positive and negative.

In addition to the natural turn of the seasons from light to dark, at this time a year ago, I was experiencing a time of personal darkness as a consequence of a painful breakup. It seemed like several areas of my life imploded all at once and I struggled to be effective in all areas of my life. As a result, I sought help, I researched information that applied to my circumstances and I used my tools. I also went into the darkness. I spent time writing and using guided imagery to invite the parts of me that needed healing to speak.

As a highly sensitive person, I tend to be over-stimulated by a lot of noise and activity. In the darkness, I find silence. It is these times when I can hear myself think, feel my feelings and make sense of all that happens in my life.

If you would like to support in processing a dark time in your life, email me to learn more about Health Coaching.

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Jaqui Duvall works as a coach, mentor, trainer, facilitator and public speaker developing and delivering workshops, leading mentoring groups and working with individuals to help them identify and express their inner spirit and live a life of consciousness and intention. •  San Jose