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 can handle whatever life sends my way.

Quote: "Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." -Marianne Williamson

Newsletter archives:

August 2018 - What I've Learned From Teaching Assertiveness for 30 Years

July 2018 - Positive Fantasy/Fantasy Gone Wild

June 2018 - Engagement vs. Control

Certified Aromatherapist

As a Certified Aromatherapist, I am qualified 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

Essential Oils can be used to deal with minor injuries and wounds to the skin. Some time ago I accidently jabbed my hand with a screw driver (don't ask) while I was at work. I had a full schedule of clients that day so I didn't address the wound. By the end of the day my thumb and finger were swollen and tender. Before I went to bed, I put a couple of drops of lavender oil directly on the wound. Amazingly, the next day, the swelling and tenderness were almost completely gone. 

Perception of Power

A Veteran patient of mine was talking about anger issues and depression and the very sad story of Veteran suicide. He told me that he had previously made a suicide attempt and still struggled with it. He also said that he made the attempt because he believed it was really the only thing he still had control over in his life.

This relates to a topic I've been contemplating lately and that is: how people's perception of personal power effects their behavior. Our daily lives are largely, if not completely effected by the perception we have of the world and our place in it. This perception is a direct result of our early experiences in life. 

When you were growing up, if you had too much stress to deal with in your life,  (family challenges, friend challenges, physical challenges, trauma, abuse) then you tend to go through life believing that stress, any stress, is too much. When I say too much, I mean you felt you couldn't cope, didn't have the resources, didn't have support. 

If, when you're growing up, you didn't have enough stress-strange as it sounds, there are some people like this-then when you start experiencing stress which inevitably happens for everyone at some point, you also tend to perceive it as being too much because you never dealt with it before and didn't develop inner resources to cope with it. 

Finally, if when you were growing up you had just the right amount of stress and had support and guidance to learn to deal with it, you likely developed the perception that you can cope, no matter what it is. So, you go through life believing that things will work out, you'll figure it out, etc., simply because you always have, no matter what the stressor is.

The types of stressors we deal with as adults in these scenarios, typically aren't different, it is simply our perception of our available resources to cope that is different.

You could say that this perception of "available resources to cope" is basically a perception of power. I may not have all the answers and I may not like dealing with this stressor but I know it will work out in the end, or I'll get through it.

These kinds of perceptions are part of our emotional programming. 80% of which is complete by the time we are 8 years old, and is the blueprint from which we live our lives. It is the source of the nice, or not so nice, voice you hear constantly chattering in your head and is the source of the first automatic thought you are aware of when a triggering event happens.

The good news is: We can change our perceptions. Scientists have confirmed that we have Neuroplasticity and therefore, no matter how old we are, we can still learn.

Continue reading below...

Changing Your Perception

This perception of personal power is a huge factor in how we interact with the world. Our perceptions of our relationship with the world activate our internal systems to respond to the challenges we face. You know, Fight, Flight or Freeze.

Interestingly, the major muscle groups in the body as part of the stress system tend to respond based on our perceived level of power in a given situation. If you perceive that you are more powerful than the challenge you are facing, then you tend to respond with anger and your upper body activates in preparation for fighting. If you perceive yourself as being less powerful than the challenge, your lower body activates in preparation for fleeing. If your perception is that you have no available actions to take which often happens for chronic stress situations and what I refer to as inescapable stressors, then you tend to freeze up, just like your computer does sometimes when there has been too much data input at once.

The point to all of this discussion of the perception of personal power is to say that we can change our perceptions. For people who are frozen in inaction (which could include depression and suicidal thoughts) helping them to shift their perceptions of their level of personal power can help them take steps toward healing.

This past week I attended a training to learn how to respond to assaults in the workplace. Fortunately, I have never experienced an assault personally, but I have been given the opportunity to help train others in violence prevention. I walked away from the training with increased confidence because I now know what to do if someone tries to assault me. I haven't done anything differently, but my perception of my own level of power has changed.

I work with people who want to iincrease their perception of personal power. Contact me to learn more.


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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