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 live in presence and take actions for my highest good.

Quote: “I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.” ― Walt Whitman

Newsletter archives:

June 2019 - Taking Things Personally/Presence

May 2019 - Shame, Self-Esteem and Your Inner Child

April 2019 - Incivility/Becoming the Monster

Certified Aromatherapist

I have recently completed yet more training and am now 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.

In contemplating fun things I could do to help others learn and experience aromatherapy, I thought it would be fun to offer a workshop where people could learn about the benefit of the oils for skin, make their own blends and do their own facial. Please let me know if this would be of interest to you.

And, as always, 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!


Brene Brown has written extensively about the basic human need for belonging. She says that much of people's behavior in groups is to help them fit in. We do things like laughing at unfunny jokes, being loyal beyond reason, dressing like, acting like, eating like, not setting limits or criticizing in any way.etc. etc. These acts are all about fitting in rather than being genuine, authentic and real. Interestingly, once you really get this, you discover that the people who require you to fit in are usually not people you really want to be around. People who recognize the value of your authenticity are sometimes rare but very valuable. I have had a few experiences recently learning about authenticity by participating in equine therapy.

In the few experiences I have had at the ranch, I had never interacted with Moonshine who is the youngest member of the herd, one year old. I have been a bit shy and measured in my approach to the five horses in the herd I realize, because I want them to like me. This is a great example of the desire to fit in and it turns out, is just the sort of thing equine therapy can help with.

In my recent visit, Moonshine was tethered to the fence very loosely and a handler was there to ensure that he was ok because he wasn't used to being tied up. As I groomed him, noticing how soft and unscarred his coat is, he started to pull away and take a few steps back. I asked the handler if he was scared, she said "No." So, I stood there, waiting to see what Moonshine would do. I got the sense I was being tested, like he was thinking, "I wonder what she would do, if I backed away?" After a few seconds, he stepped forward again and I resumed grooming him.

Later when we were debriefing our experiences. I received confirmation that that is exactly what Moonshine was up to. I was elated that I maintained my presence of detachment and simply waited to see what Moonshine did rather than take it personally, which is what I would normally have done in the past.

Through my interactions with the horses I have become more keenly aware of my desire to be liked by the self-talk that goes through my head when I'm around them. Interestingly, when I meditate and move into "presence," I am much more authentic which is where I was coming from when I was "detached and waiting" for Moonshine to step back up.

A bit later, Moonshine crossed in front of the entire group to come straight to me and nuzzled me. Did I say that I am in love with Moonshine?

More below...

Empathy and Presence

I have come to discover that many of the challenges I have encountered in my life have happened because of empathy. To clarify, I believe empathizing with others is generally a really good thing. It helps us to connect in an emotionally intimate way with others, and it often serves people's need to be heard and understood.

There is a difference however, from empathizing and being an empath. Many people are born with the ability to empathize while some learn to empathize. Others, like myself are empaths. As an empath, I automatically start aligning myself with the needs of others when I'm around them. There are times when it is really hard to know whether I'm feeling my own feelings or someone else's. Just the way I was built, I guess. For empaths, this can be a double-edged sword. While it has served me in my profession as a trainer, coach and spiritual counselor, in my personal life it has, at times, been challenging to determine where the lines are between me and other people. I often don't even realize I'm doing it. When I align myself with someone else's needs, I lose connection with myself. I start serving and deferring to their needs. When interacting with the horses, they respond when I stay connected with myself.

As I entered the round pen with Levi, another horse I had only groomed up to this point. Trying to apply presence, I walked to the other side of the pen and stood with my eyes closed for a minute, simply asking myself, "What do I want?"  This is an important question for me to ask myself and important that I separate myself from others when I ask it because of that empath boundary issue. 

I then, approached Levi and asked with intention, "Do you want to go for a walk?" I turned around and started walking. It took a few seconds, but he started to follow me. I walked the whole round of the pen with Levi very close at my side, feeling victorious because I acted on my own desires, was present when I did it and succeeded in connecting authentically in the moment.

If you would like to learn how being more present and authentic can change your life, email me to learn more about Life 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