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: I put awareness into action by taking steps everyday.

Quote:  "Where ignorance is our master there is no possibility of real peace." -Dalai Lama

Newsletter archives:

January 2017 - Powerlessness/Forgiveness

December 2016 - PTSD and Aromatherapy

November 2016 - What is Dysfunctional?/Re-Parenting







Ignorance is Bliss

Many years ago I watched as a friend of mine had a whirlwind romance of two weeks before getting engaged. Then she began planning the wedding of her dreams.

Knowing my friend was challenged by past trauma and abuse, I was convinced that she was in the midst of blissful ignorance rushing into a situation that was not going to end well and tried to gently tell her so. I was one of the only of her friends who did and she said, "Why can't you just be happy for me?" I certainly wanted to be happy for her, but I couldn't get past my gut sense that she was being guided not by the voice of intuition but by the voice of dysfunction within her. In truth, I also found myself feeling a bit jealous of that moment when she was enjoying the fantasy of a happy ever-after. Ignorance as they say, is bliss.

The wedding was lavish and beautiful. There were rose petals lining the aisle as I looked for a seat, flowers everywhere and a gazebo to enfold the couple as they exchanged their vows. Fortunately, her mother was paying for it and had a lot of money to spend, which she did.

I have worked with scores of people who talk about the bliss of ignorance in the past tense, wishing they could get it back after awareness has replaced it with a cold, hard truth. Don't get me wrong, I think awareness is wonderful and is the first step to making great changes in our lives. But, it is typically followed by the realization that our lives will never be the same, that we and only we can make the changes we need to make and life and change is just not that easy. Once awareness has been raised, we can never really go back to ignorance. As for my friend, her marriage ended after 8 months.

The Flip Side of Ignorance

Working as a health coach in a healthcare setting gives me a fascinating view of humans in a variety of stages of personal development and growth. My patients are either told by their doctor to come see me or are simply shown a chart and asked what they want to work on.

There is no guarantee that the person who shows up at my door is actually ready or even willing to change anything in their life. I have said before that awareness is the first step toward change and I absolutely believe that to be true, but like many things, awareness is a double-edged sword.

In my article above I discussed the bliss of ignorance and how sometimes I wish for the return of the bliss of that ignorance.  As long as we don't know or are unaware of our issues, we can move through our lives on automatic pilot wreaking havoc wherever we go and have no conscience about it.

The truth for many people is that much of the pain we experience in our lives and the challenges we face are self-created or at least made worse by our ignorant actions. That's the ignorance we encounter every day in many of the people around us. With awareness comes responsibility. Knowing what I know, I feel obligated  and determined to do something about it, to actually take steps toward change.

Even with the sometimes painful truths of awareness, most people I encounter say they are happier to know how they contributed to their problems and realize they would not be who they are today had they not experienced the challenges they faced, whatever they might be.

The good news is that on the other side of awareness is the possibility of growth and the hope for attaining peace of mind. I think this comes with the action of accepting and loving ourselves as we are. It sometimes also requires that we forgive ourselves for ignorant actions we took before we knew better.

I work with individuals who are interested in overcoming challenges to moving forward. Please click here: to contact me.

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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