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 am powerful beyond measure and I use my power intentionally and deliberately for good.

Quote:  "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." -Mahatma Gandhi

Newsletter archives:

December 2016 - PTSD and Aromatherapy

November 2016 - What is Dysfunctional?/Re-Parenting

October 2016 - The Need/Obligate System

Certified Aromatherapist

It has taken a whole year, but I received my certificate this week and am now a fully certified Aromatherapist. I am in the process of creating a business card, business plan and website. In the meantime, if you are interested in custom blends or coaching along with aromatherapy solutions, please email me at





One of the things I love about coaching other people is that I often have the most amazing insights that I can apply to myself. I was working with a veteran this week who has been the source of inspiration and insight many times for me as we were discussing his issues with anger. The gyst of the conversation was the realization that he is using anger in situations where he has positional power to balance out the many other areas of his life in which he feels completely powerless.

This makes perfect sense when you think about it. The whole foundation of the Stress System (Fight/Flight/Freeze) of the mind/body is our perception of power in the particular situation. When we perceive that we are more powerful than our "opponent"--which can be a situation or a person--our instinctive response is to get angry. This is why so many people have road rage, the separation of individuals in cars gives us a false sense of power. When we perceive that we are less powerful, our instinctive response is to run away, to get the heck out of Dodge. When we don't have enough information, or are overwhelmed or there is no way to get away from the stressor, we freeze.

So many people I encounter, have accumulated quite a collection of situations, people etc., in their lives over which they have no power. This is the foundation for the serenity prayer composed by Reinholdt Niebuhr for Alcoholics Anonymous: God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. The intention is to consciously let go of those people, places and things we can't change and can't control.

So, first we accept the things we cannot change. Second we change the things we can. What do we have control/power over? While it may come as a shock to some, the only person we ultimately have control over is ourselves. We have power over our own behavior and actions. We also have power over our inner experience, including thoughts and feelings. We also have power over what we say, what comes out of our mouths. We just have to learn how to utilize it.

Having control over ourselves I believe to be a life long endeavor of personal growth and development as there are plenty of situations in which our past traumas and dramas get triggered and our reactions seem to be beyond our control. Our emotional programming is 95% unconscious by the time we are 18. So much of the work is to raise awareness of and examine our own stuff. Much of that "stuff" is recognizing when we have given away our personal power to people who have abused it which brings me to forgiveness.

Continue reading below...


Forgiveness is another subject that has recently come to my attention thanks to a veteran I work with. It just happens to be a very timely subject for me personally right now.

I don't believe there are many people who have gotten into their 50's without having collected a few people and situations that are challenging to forgive. There is no argument that some behavior and actions are unforgiveable. The only explanation for this is that "Hurt people, hurt people." I spent several months discussing this in 2015. Nevertheless, the challenge with forgiveness is another perception issue. If I forgive this person, I am condoning their behavior, inviting them to do it again or losing power in the situation. My anger protects me somehow and the boundary it creates keeps me safe. By not forgiving, I am actually punishing the person for their behavior.

All of these are simply false perceptions because the truth is...and often a very painful truth: The only person who is being hurt by our lack of forgiveness is ourselves. You may have heard the saying, "Hanging on to anger/resentment is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die." The source of this saying is nebulous but the truth of it is undeniable.

Here's the clincher, when I look more closely, the situations and people with whom I have the toughest time forgiving are people with whom, for whatever reason, I gave away my power. This behavior also goes back to our early experiences and programming. This is why when we forgive others for their abuse of the power we gave them, we also have to forgive ourselves for having given it. In virtually every circumstance, there is some inner cue or signal that I ignored or ran roughshod over to the pursuance of what seemed more important to me at the time. The end result, I got hurt. And in reality I am responsible for my own hurt and that is really, really hard to accept. But, to set ourselves free, accept it we must and thus releasing ourselves from our self-made prison of unforgiveness.

In addition, imagining ourselves in the other person's shoes and seriously trying to empathize with their position can be very helpful. In reality, 100% of people 100% of the time act out of their own needs. So, whatever it was that another person may have done can be directly tied to a need they were trying to fill, however misguided.

I work with individuals who are interested in releasing the past and 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