Research supports that storytelling evokes an emotional response in each of us with strong positive neurological effects. It offers a way to connect with others and a way to cope with the sometimes painful details of being human. Similarly, talk therapy offers patients long-lasting positive effects when they discuss their feelings openly. As someone who has worked in the mental health field for the last 10 years, I have listened to people of all ages tell the stories of their lives, share their struggles and their triumphs, celebrate their strengths and their weaknesses and more through talk therapy. I have helped young people find the words to verbalize their feelings and create a narrative, and I have waited patiently for young adults to stream their thoughts together. I have worked with adults to explore their past and weave chapters of their lives together to find meaning and purpose, and I have witnessed others find their truth as they unpack the details of a painful past to find true beauty in what they once called a mess. I love stories, especially in finding relatable meaning and purpose in each of them. I love that resolution typically follows conflict and I love the empathic responses that follow a powerful narrative. Connect | Explore | Marvel is a representation of myself, and a place to share stories and to highlight the beautiful connection they create between us.
As I often advise my clients, the best place to start a story is anywhere and so I thought I would begin at an uncertain time in my and my family’s life. Almost a year ago, my husband, Jack and I were introduced to a foreign idea and a new chapter in our own story; to pack up our belongings, change jobs and schools, and move ourselves across the globe to live in Hong Kong. At the time I was a mix between excited and completely overwhelmed and I felt like the only one on the planet who had ever been presented with something so big. Then I realized that I wasn’t the only one on the planet at all, let alone the only one who was experiencing such an impactful and disruptive life event. So, slowly and carefully, we began peeling back the layers of what this move would mean for our family, not only as a collective unit, but also for each individual in our family, including our three children, John, Christopher and Violet. We connected with friends and friends of friends who had previously spent time in Hong Kong or in Asia and we marveled at how gracious they were to offer their time and advice, their own experiences and a glimpse into their time spent abroad. Jack and I talked about this together and chose to share as much as we could with our kids without completely overloading their little hearts and brains. As we moved further through our decision-making process, we also contemplated what we would be leaving behind; our family, friends, community and treasured memories in a town we had lived in as a family for eight years. We continued to examine every detail until we came to the decision to move to Hong Kong. It felt scary and brave, exciting and melancholy, comfortable and most certainly uncomfortable. Through connection, exploration, and marveling at the details, I am going to share my story with you, the journey we will take as a family and the places, people, and experiences we will encounter along the way.
Hong Kong Skyline Photo Credit: Lonely Planet