Nocturnal Works death doula resources

Compassion Mindfulness Therapy


Is compassion a "feeling", is it a state of mind, or is it a way of being? This site will explore that at some length, but a brief response would be to say that it is a way of approaching the world, based on our understanding that living involves suffering and that within our shared suffering, we can approach each other with empathy and kindness. This approach to others - and ourselves - creates a more gentle and understanding environment for interactions. This compassion then leads to better outcomes for ourselves personally and within our interpersonal relationships. Compassion helps to create the basis for a flourishing life.


Why do we need this? We can spend our lives in busy-ness, as we run from one task and idea to another. When we then encounter difficulties and stress, this busy life can then feed into anxiety and depression. Mindfulness is one of the greatest possible remedies for anxiety of the future and depression related to the past, as mindfulness grounds us in the present. Being able to stay in the present allows us to experience our lives as they are taking place, rather than to get lost in fear and grief.


We can call our efforts in compassion and mindfulness "therapy". We could just as easily call these efforts "practice". Regardless of which term you use, you will make no positive movement if you don't actually take the effort to PRACTICE. This is not something you can read about alone. Without practice, you will not advance in this approach.

Welcome to a journey of compassion that keeps you grounded in the present - where you learn about yourself and others through your own efforts to consistently practice.

Aroha nui,

Lee Jordan signature

Gerald Lee Jordan, MBA, MEd, MCouns ❤️

Mental Health Emphasis

Surviving Versus Thriving

Yesterday, I was coming out of a meditative state and my mind turned to thriving – what it means to be doing very well mentally, spiritually or however you choose to refer to it. After my own difficulties more than a decade ago, I found myself just trying to survive. Due to the difficulties experienced, I was anxious and depressed. This went on for some years. Time and being away from the cause of the stress helped, but my emphasis for years was on surviving. I was not in a place to consider what my best self looked like, I was just swimming for the shore.

After years of work on my own mental health, including the best thing I have ever done for myself – starting a consistent meditation practice – I have finally found myself in a good enough space where I can truly imagine my best self. What does he look like? I will discuss that more in the coming months, but suffice it to say he is pursuing his dreams of creativity, passion and openness.

Mental Health Emphasis

As I have moved from surviving to thriving, my focus on mental health work shifts. For those who have worked through their distress, what is next? We all yearn for more than to have the energy to get out of bed each day. We want to make a difference. We want love and affection. We want to hope for a better world. I became involved with Positive Psychology a decade or so ago and while I will no doubt have things to add to this site from the research into what makes us thrive from a Positive Psychology perspective, my instincts tell me that thriving is more than what quantitative analyses can provide. Self-actualisation must include the subjective and qualitative aspects of what it means to be human.

I am thinking at the moment that this emphasis will see me wearing my educator hat a lot more, as I explore and share what it might mean to thrive mentally. Educator or counsellor? Perhaps these labels are both too restrictive – we shall see! As I matured in counselling and realised that all assistance is ultimately non-directive and that the client is the expert in his or her own life, I began to see my role shift from therapist to educator. I will continue this journey here.

Becoming Your Best Self

Who will you be when you are your best self? I cannot say. No one else can answer that for you, but it might help to get some insights into what has meaning for others and what makes them thrive. I hope that the coming resources on this site will inspire you and help you to hope for the future. Your future is what you make it.

Aroha nui,

Lee Jordan signature

Gerald Lee Jordan, MBA, MEd, MCouns ❤️

Our Wedding

Tracy and I Met Online

It was July 2020 and Aotearoa New Zealand was out of our first lock-down. People were making their way back to offices and other public venues. After the better part of two months in lock-down at home with my son, New Zealand had beaten COVID-19 and I was back in an office and trying to get into the rhythm of work again. I got a message on my phone from the the vegetarian/vegan dating app that I had joined.

It was a Friday morning. I was feeling relaxed at thoughts of the weekend coming. I was feeling relaxed, because my meditation practice had entered another depth a few days before (discussed here). I was feeling relaxed because I was going to meet a friend for coffee in less than two hours. Everything was great. Minutes before, I had taken a photo of Mana Island, while waiting for the train to the city - basking in the view (that photo on Instagram follows this paragraph)

I look at the app and there is a message from someone I had "liked" which speaks to my heart. I sense the gentleness, the sincerity. I respond in kind. What followed was one of the most genuine and natural interactions of my life. I was open to her heart and needs and she was open to mine. At one point, she commented on how easy it was between us and I smiled and agreed. That was more than seven months ago and it has remained this way between us.

Getting Married

We decided we would marry and initially thought of later this year. One morning, I woke to a message from Tracy, suggesting that an online wedding was possible. The last moments before I had drifted to sleep, I had wondered if an online wedding was possible and I wake to Tracy having the same idea. Immediately, I responded that we should do this and she agreed. We loved each other and saw no reason to wait, regardless of some opinions later voiced by others. In matters of love, follow your heart.

We planned our wedding, with the officiant in Provo, Utah, Tracy in North Carolina and me in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Online Wedding

We got married at 11.30 New Zealand time on 27 February and 17.30 US Eastern time on 26 February.

Our loved ones were online, with Tracy's children, brother, sister and brother-in-law at her home. At my home was my best man (my son, Jack), my witness (Steve) and me.

The officiant took us through the ceremony of our creating, which included karakia, pepeha, poems read by her children, a song performed by my son and the reciting of our vows.

I was single for almost seven years because I was waiting for Tracy. I knew I had to follow my heart and not settle for just anyone. I knew she would be loving, open, compassionate (she is vegan), intelligent, insightful and would get my sense of humour. She is all of those things and more.

The Future

We will meet this year as husband and wife. We are planning the details for the coming months and no doubt there will be more to share here, with you.

Aroha nui,

Lee Jordan signature

Gerald Lee Jordan, MBA, MEd, MCouns ❤️

Caring for the body is promoting mental health

Viewing the body as an instrument

I have been thinking about my relationship with my body. Like many (or most) people, I haven’t been happy just being with myself, but have spent most of my time with “busyness”. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t negative with myself. I didn’t think badly of myself, physically or otherwise. Rather, I imagine that I have treated my body as an “instrument” for use.

Ignoring your home

Rather than nurturing and cherishing this space which is my ultimate home, I pushed my body to perform through studies, with little sleep and in many ways ignoring its needs for gentle care. I have eaten terribly (chips, pizza, etc). Physical exercise has taken a back seat to study and many other things. I suppose I have just expected my body to keep going, regardless of how much I have ignored its needs.

Spending time understanding yourself

Enter meditation – when I sit, I am with myself. There is no one else there. I feel my breath, I notice my chest rising and falling hour after hour. I begin to realise the miracle of every moment, as my body takes care of me (body and "me" are the same). Actually, this distinction between body and mind, body and spirit or however you wish to frame it is one of the causes of our neglecting ourselves. Dichotomies are generally simplistic and have little value. It takes a larger consciousness to hold thoughts of things having many possible aspects, than it takes to imagine simple extremes of this versus that. Body versus mind. Body versus spirit. Body versus me.

What we take in becomes us

We are not separate from our bodies. Great thinkers have long understood this. The things which we use to sustain us become a part of who we are. When we fill ourselves with the suffering of others, can we really be surprised that we have heart disease, diabetes and a myriad of other ailments? We are creating our future, every moment we live.

Your body is your mental health

So, what is the point of a discussion of the body when considering mental health topics? There is no distinction between who you are physically and mentally – caring for your body is caring for your mind. Your mind is part of your body and you cannot have good mental health, while punishing your body. Looking for your next steps in mental health? Take care of your body. It IS your mental health.

Aroha nui,

Lee Jordan signature

Gerald Lee Jordan, MBA, MEd, MCouns ❤️

In the Moment

The Now

Since I began meditating in 2003, I have heard a lot about “the now”. Some comment that the now is all we have, emphasising that the past and future do not exist. All of this can seem a bit esoteric. I was thinking about this topic on the train during the commute into Wellington this morning.

The Future

Some of us can easily imagine that the past is gone (while others might be in the habit of fixating on it in depressive states), but isn’t the future real? We tend to push our minds into the future – thinking of what we will accomplish, imagining that the future will be better than now – imagining an ever-continuing future. We don’t really imagine we will die, do we? Letting go of the future can be a terrifying consideration.

Here and Now

On the train, I was in a meditative state. Since my meditation practice became much more intense last year, I am able to go into a “here and now” state quite quickly. After a few moments, I returned to my busy thoughts and began to consider the now. I tried to imagine how this might be considered and discussed.

Starting each day without memory of the past

While being in the moment in meditation is an example, what about an example for those who do not meditate? I imagined a scenario where a person began each day “fresh” – not remembering their past and consequently unsure what the future might bring. So, you wake up each day and have no memory of the past. Without a past, it could be argued that you would be less likely to devise quick plans for the future. What questions would you have?

Who am I?

Without a past to define you, how would you define yourself? You might look at your body and then the bodies of others and decide that you are of average build and appearance. You might search your emotions to figure out what sort of person you are inside – Am I intelligent? Am I kind? Do I seem to have any anger issues? You scan yourself inside to understand who you might be.

Will I last?

You don’t know if your absence of memory is something that has just happened today, or if you wake up every morning like this. Is there any purpose in planning for tomorrow, if you don’t remember who you are and you don’t know if you will have a tomorrow where you remember your plans of today?


Does this mental game bring you peace? Does it make you anxious? I considered this after a brief meditative state and I found it soothing. Living in the continual present seemed desirable. Imagine not being defined by the past! Not everyone would react like this.

What’s next

Each of us start each day fresh. If we have baggage from the past, we pick it up each morning and carry it forward. The pain you think you feel from years ago is not pain from years ago – it is pain you recreate each day. Understanding that you recreate the past now can empower you to let it go – truly realising that you are empowering the suffering. Every day is truly new. You can create the person you want to be. If this mental exercise allow you to consider possibilities and how you create yourself, then it has been of value. Imagine yourself new in the world. Who would you want to be? You can be that person by learning to live in the now.

Aroha nui,

Lee Jordan signature

Gerald Lee Jordan, MBA, MEd, MCouns ❤️

About Nocturnal Works

The content on this site is provided to give resources and support to those dying, their loved ones and those providing death doula (end of life) support. When we find out that death is near and the initial shock wears off, emotions and questions flood into our minds. Noctural Works exists as place where you can find out about mental health issues and therapy related to death, dying, grief and bereavement - as well as more practical support, such as planning for death and supporting others on their journey.

The resources on this site are provided by Death Doula Ltd, a company in Aotearoa New Zealand which provides end of life doula support online, in Wellington, Blenheim and Picton (New Zealand). These resources are not legal or medical in nature, so do no rely upon them, but seek legal and medical advice, as required. If you are interested in counselling resources not focusing on death and dying, you can visit our other site, Therapy Aroha.