The Disenchanted Forest, The Enchanted Self - A Tale of Female Development in a Strange Land


Once upon a time there was a Princess who set out on a raft to find the Enchanted Forest. She took with her a canteen full of hopes and dreams, minimal provisions, and outdated maps. The raft swayed. the wind blew. It was too cold. It was too hot. She was hungry. She was tired. She was scared. At times she was almost swept overboard.

Finally, she arrived at what she thought was the Enchanted Forest. At first it was welcoming. There were beautiful trees and lovely smells. However, quickly she fell in the brambles and was pricked again and again. It was dark inside the forest and she couldn't see where she was. She realized that most of the signposts were missing, some that were there were tilted the wrong way. Night was falling, this was not an Enchanted Forest! She was sure of that as she lay down in a pile of leaves to try to sleep. This was feeling like a Disenchanted Place!

I wandered for ages through this disenchanted forest. I was alone and yet not alone as many others were wandering also. Yet there was a hole in my heart as I felt even though others were in the forest we weren't connecting. We were shadowing each other but not speaking in ways to each other that were full enough to create connection and a sense of joy! I wanted to go home. But where was home now?

Then some women came along and gave me time and opened their hearts and minds to me. I listened to what they shared and went over their wisdom and knowledge again and again. I suddenly realized that more sunlight was coming through the forest. The birds were singing and the flowers were all in bloom. I realized that I had gone from a disheartened state to a state of elation!

The women had helped me discover and give life to THE ENCHANTED SELF. I realized quickly that each of us has one! For some of us, our enchanted selves are clear and central to our beings. For others our enchanted selves are vague and barely breathing. But everyone has one! It is our most special part of ourselves that is where joy, wisdom and meaning emanate from. It is a gift that we carry. It is a gift we share. It provides the light when everything is dark and it takes us again and again away from disenchantment and despair!

Now as I walked through the forest verything changed for me. Light kept filling the forest and when the light was dim, I would remember the women and how they taught me to light my own way-pull from my own passions and loves and what gives me delight. I would remember that my own potential can not be extinguished by negative words from someone else as it is my blueprint of who I am and my gifts to be shared. I knew a great gift had been sent to me by these women who had shared their stories with me. I was blessed. And immediately I knew that I a responsibility to send the news far out over the land.

I was filled with the passion that comes from knowing a special assignment had been given and I flung open my arms to all!

I welcomed all in to receive this glorious news-We have the capacity for delight and joy within! We are not the victims of disenchantment! We are each able to use enchantment as a way to unfold our personal talents, capacities and convictions. We are not doomed to by mesmerized by darkness nor do we have to wait for a power to come from without! The power of elation is waiting within each of us!

But just opening my arms was not enough-I had to take an instrument of wisdom and use it wisely. And so I did-for me often that meant taking pen or computer in hand. And that meant I reached out to you! And I am so happy that you are hear. I hope you will also take in your hand the wisdom of Enchantment and begin to send it out into endless waves of positive energy and encouragement. I look forward to sharing many wondrous tales!

For more information on how my search began please read the professional paper I have prepared at:

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein , originator of THE ENCHANTED SELF®, a method of bringing delight, purpose and meaning into everyday living, is a nationally known Positive Psychologist. Visit her website at and sign up for her free e-mail newsletter and upcoming teleclass. Listen to her e-radio magazine show, THE ENCHANTED SELF, at Join Dr. Holstein's online community at Order her books, THE ENCHANTED SELF: A Positive Therapy, RECIPES FOR ENCHANTMENT: The Secret Ingredient is YOU!, and now her new book, There Comes a Time in Every Women's Life for DELIGHT! at You can call her at 1-877-B-Joyful for more information.

By Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Published: 6/14/2005