This week’s visit mentions the death by murder of Michael Jordan’s father and how grief can shift, influence, or downright pivot decisions, choices, and directions.
I was watching The Last Dance series on Netflix last week.
Before you marvel at my interest in the NBA, allow me to assure you I have none.
The series was suggested by my coach as a way to study Michael Jordan’s mindset and focus across the span of his career.
I got much more than what I thought I’d get. A lot more.
James Raymond Jordan Sr died by murder July 23, 1993 at 56 years old.
October 6, 1993, Michael Jordan retired from the Chicago Bulls team (for the first time).
In under 3 months, Jordan experienced more than one radical shift, the first, his father’s murder was incredible and tragic. The second, retirement and a shift to a totally different focus… baseball.
Was it the death of his father that “made him retire”?
No. I don’t think so.
But I do think his dad’s death brought new insight and helped him bring about his own change in making a radical choice to retire from basketball at 30.
Basketball was less inspiring and less a pleasure for him in those days. He’d been thinking about making some kind of change prior to his dad’s death. In my understanding, moving to baseball was something that Michael and his dad had talked about together… and his father encouraged him and supported that desire.
Baseball provided new challenges and whole new, literal and proverbial, fields of opportunity.
In this new focus and new direction, baseball also provided a distraction that could create new time and space to heal from tremendous emotional pain due to the loss of his father. I wonder if immersing himself in baseball might have given him moments of feeling closer to his dad… I hope so.
I think that this change, in his decision to retire from what wasn’t working for him, was the healthiest move he could have given himself. Giving himself time, space, and an environment in which he could immerse himself in something he was interested in as a means of support.
He retired from basketball in ‘93 and came back to basketball in ‘95. Two-ish years.
New awareness can be part of the pain of loss.
I work with people who have wanted to go out on their own to build new businesses after tremendous losses. We work together for a year at a time… and it’s something that is new for just about everybody: having support for a whole year.
Sometimes the prospect of having a grief coach for a year can be daunting. Most people are a little bit shocked by the idea of having a year together… but here’s the thing… Most people think of our time together as “work” - as in, “grief work”... instead of support.
Support, not work
It’s not their fault. Not many people know what moving through life with support really looks or feels like. Once some of the wins and shifts come in, it feels better. And support gets more normalized as we move through a year together.
Many do allow themselves to go for what they really want… especially since a sudden change or tragedy instantly clarifies how they are choosing to spend their time, money, feelings, and energy. There’s new awareness… new awake-ness.
Inside the pain of loss, new drive can be harnessed toward more LIVING.
Healing doesn’t just happen via distraction though.
Navigating loss consciously and directly is still part of healing. And so is rest. They don’t have to be equal parts at all times… but each of those 3 elements bring about healing.
Thinking of you.
Is it time for you to give yourself more support? I’d love to be a part of your support team and journey toward more meaningful living, and more aliveness.
It’s your move. And you’re the only one who can decide and choose more support for your own dear self.
Connect with me here and let’s have a call together. We can talk about what working together looks like.