As a Positive Psychologist I help women find a personal sense of well-being that frees each woman to live a life of meaning, purpose and joy. May I share with you a little of my journey? My original research with women happened as a result of my concerns around pain that so many women experience. This personal and often private pain is felt when we are discouraged and/or criticized. Often this pain is inflicted when a parent, teacher, sibling, husband, boss or other important person in our lives, tells us that we can't do something or that we are not good enough.

Many women have been discouraged from the professions they dreamed of, the sports they wished to play, and even the hobbies and avocations they wished to pursue. I'll never forget the client who told me that her husband would say (when she had a creative idea), "that and 10 cents will get you a cup of coffee." You can imagine how that made her feel!

I also remember the woman I interviewed in my research of women, who told me that she had a difficult choice when she graduated high school. She could become a saleslady or take a course to become a secretary. She did not wish to be either, but that did not matter to the family. She chose another outlet—marrying at 19.

Negative messages about what we can and can not become are so destructive! I wanted to document the negative messages we are faced with and also gather some clues as how to offset those messages.
My research led to both of the above, but also took me on a path beyond my wildest dreams. Yes, indeed, each of the 18 women I interviewed had experienced negative messages, often at several different stages of life. That was easy to document.

What surprised me was the capacity for well-being—even for joyous living—that each woman shared with me in her own way. My innocent question, "When do you feel most whole, happy, 'on', etc.?" turned out to provide me with profound information. As each woman shared with me a special corner of her life, whether it was taking ballet lessons at age 50, reading to grandchildren, gardening, finally graduating high school at age 60, or having fun with her teenagers—-even though she came from abuse—I saw the sparkle of each woman's Enchantment.

Yes, each woman had capacities unnamed and under-celebrated. Each experienced joy and a special sense of purpose.

As a psychologist and a woman I realized:

As women we don't talk enough about what works for us—what gives us pleasure and fulfillment.
We often diminish rich parts of our life experience because they are private and personal.
We don't have enough language that easily works for us to talk about the positive aspects of our lives.
We get discouraged!
The above insights around women brought me to a place I first called THE DISENCHANTED FOREST, THE ENCHANTED SELF. However, over time ease of language took hold and THE ENCHANTED SELF was born. This expression became a verbal cue. It meant the capacity to recognize, validate and celebrate positive states of being. Some were joyful, others meaningful, still others pleasurable or vitalizing. All were unique to the woman experiencing them. All were to be treasured, understood and used as beacons for the courage to return again and again to such states.

As they say, the rest is history. I developed more language, and ways of teaching therapists and their clients to view life in a more positive, hopeful frame. A book emerged, THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy, (available on my site www.enchantedself.com or many other sites, including Amazon.com).

Then there was the second book, RECIPES FOR ENCHANTMENT, The Secret Ingredient is YOU! This book is inspirational stories and journaling activities for the woman as she reads the book and is also available on the sites listed above.

And more now, the audio show THE ENCHANTRESS WITHIN on www.ladybuglive.com is a living beacon to all the above.
I hope I shared enough with you to take you with me on one of my audio adventures. This is my project to bring the Enchantress Within each woman to the forefront. Let's celebrate her, honor her and learn from ourselves and others how to make her flourish!

Let me share with you an excerpt from my audio show, THE ENCHANTRESS WITHIN, so that you can be included in this wonderful flowering of US!
Come, now as I introduce the show and then enjoy some of my discussion with Lisa Hammond, creator and founder of FEMAIL Creations.
Dr. Holstein: I've been thinking a lot about us women and I have come to the clear and ultimate conclusion that within each of us lurks an enchantress just waiting to be born ...
I'm interested in helping you get to the enchantress that lurks inside of you, the special
unique person that you are and how you can use your magical spells--and I don't mean witchcraft, I mean your talents, your potential, your coping skills, your imagination, your abilities to convince others--your abilities to create how you can turn all of this into the magic of your own enchantress ...
Today I have with me an absolutely true enchantress. I have with me Lisa Hammond who is an entrepreneur and a creator of a whole world for women called Femail Creations and I'm really, really hoping that she will share with us some of the magic of her world.
Welcome Lisa.
Lisa: Thank you!
Dr. Holstein: I am so happy to have you with us! Well, your catalog has certainly gone around the world and your products and I know that you are--you seemed to have lived a somewhat magical life, coming to grips with your own authenticity life from some of the material I've read and would you be willing to hop in and tell us about yourself?
Lisa: Sure! I began Femail Creations a little over six years ago and it was really born out of my passion for women's issues and wanting to support and help the women. And I thought this would be a great tool for me to encompass not only my passion for women's issues but also my creative side. So that's how that was born.
Dr. Holstein: ... I hope you'll be willing to go back with me and do some exploring. Because for those women listening--the woman home with three babies or the middle aged woman who maybe retired young from being a public school teacher and really has 30 years in front of her--and all sorts of women in different situations, can you explore with me some of the courage and influences on you. I mean, you know, I never started a catalog company, you know? What was working? Or who came into your life? How did this take on some shape?
Lisa: Well it was a long journey as it is, I think, with most women. And you know, it really began you know ten years before I even started the catalog. It was just knowing that I really wouldn't be fulfilled as a person unless the work I was doing was truly meaningful. And then trying to decide what would that meaningful work be.
Dr. Holstein: Can you give us a couple of the things that went along the way with that process.
Lisa: Well I certainly. I journaled a lot and you know I always had a basic understanding that the work for me personally to be meaningful would somehow have to empower other women to be their best help. So I had that as a basic foundation but what would that be? It was very long in coming. I thought about doing a bookstore. I thought about many other ideas and I really wanted this catalog to arrive in my mailbox. This is the catalog I wanted to shop at.
... I just thought it would be so wonderful to have a venue to shop at that I knew as a consumer that every time I purchased from this catalog, my shopping dollars were going to support other women artists and other women business owners. ... It really is the heart of the catalog.

Really, you know, giving back, working with charities and truly supporting women business owners and women artists, it's the whole reason the catalog was born. And you know, once I figured out what it would be, once I decided that the vehicle would be to start a mail-order catalog I just leaped. But getting to that point, I think, is the part women often miss. I think we too long wait for all of our ducks in a row so to speak. We don't want to take our turn.

Dr. Holstein: So did somebody give you the courage or share with you some enthusiasm, for example, we were just on vacation and I met this woman who had become very successful as an author and she said that when she was traveling on some mountaintop somewhere she ran into somebody who took a liking to her and they chatted and you know it's just the right person saying "you know I think you have great ideas. I think you can do it. You can get in touch with me when you're back." And it started the whole process.
Linda: ... I think for me it wasn't so much for any one specific thing being said, I think it was
years and years of kind of feeling like I was waiting to take my turn. You know waiting for, you know, my children to be in school, waiting for you know, my home to be finished, waiting for all of these things to have every body else's life perfectly organized before I kind of dared to take my turn. And I had done for the first time in my life something that was purely selfish and had gone on a women's tour of the (goddess) sites of Europe ...

I was gone for a couple of weeks. And I think being on that tour gave me a new space with which to process all these thoughts. For the first time in my life, I wasn't worried about anyone, really, but myself. And I got to be in a space that women are rarely in of really being nurtured by other women and being on very sacred ground and not being in the chaos we all live with our car pools and dishes and laundry and jobs and everything else that goes in our women--in our lives, we're just busy as women. ... I think that having some quiet time for myself was really instrumental and it was just a few months after returning from that trip that everything kind of bubbled to the surface and I just kind of had this deep knowing that the ducks are never in a row. If you wait for that perfect moment when it will be the least disruptive to everyone else's life to take your turn, you'll never do it.

And I had just a real sense of my daughter was about actually about ten at the time and I remember thinking I spent my whole life with her, you know, encouraging her to do anything she wants, telling her she can be anything she wants to be and I just had this real deep knowing that you know, I needed to walk my talk and you know so for her to really believe that be possible, I had to do more than just say that and I think I didn't want to set the example for her that it's okay for a woman to start her own business or it's a woman to follow her dreams as long as ... I just think there was just a real congealing of all these thoughts when they came together. And it just jelled. And I suddenly knew that I had to take my turn now.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein , originator of THE ENCHANTED SELF®, a method of bringing delight and meaning into everyday living, invites you to view her new line of ENCHANTED WOMAN products, downloadable e-books, and free gifts at http://www.enchantedself.com. Chat with others in Dr. Holstein's e-group, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/encself/join, and sign up for her free e-group at www.enchantedself.com. Order her book, THE ENCHANTED SELF: A Positive Therapy, or the CD-rom or tape version and her book RECIPES FOR ENCHANTMENT: The Secret Ingredient is YOU!, or the ED-rom version, at http://www.enchantedself.com/ordering.htm