401 Days since these scences. On Saturday 12th June 2021, whilst playing Finland in the European Championships, Danish footballer Kristian Eriksen suddenly collapsed and went into cardiac arrest.
Fast forward to July 15th 2022 and Eriksen has just signed a contract with Manschester United. What a mind-bending achievement of the human capacity for resilience, not to mention miraculous medical procedures. Simon Kjaer in this picture however, the Danish Captain, is who struck me the most. It was well documented how in the face emergency, Kjaer displayed composed and compassionate leadership qualities - awareness, application, communication and clarity - the list could go on. The picture shows the circle of unity created by the Danish team as instructed by Kjaer so as to shield Eriksen from the cameras.
Kjer in this picture stands out to me as he is facing Eriksen in this time of crisis.
His posture embodies presence - he is fully and purposefully there with his man.
In a sense, he is facing his life in this moment in all its excruciating difficulty; not turning or pushing away from the harshness of the moment.
The man looks ready for war. The 3 players to the right of Kjaer and facing outwards of the circle*, seem to be embodying their emotions - the anguish, suffering, scared for their brother, disbelief, worry and anxiety.
The hand on the head, hands covering a gasping mouth and the want to hide behind a shirt, all suggest the physical body is reacting to inner feelings & emotions.
(*perhaps this was an instruction by Kjaer?)
This is no mean judging the behaviour (simply observations) - these are all emotions I know that would arise for me, and sure many would relate.
And really who knows how they’d react until presented with a situation of this emotional and psychological magnitude? In a sense they are turning away from life in this moment** - the pain of seeing their friend helpless perhaps too much to bear - the automatic response was to turn away, to feel safe again by averting the gaze.
(**not a judgement of a completely natural human reaction to this crisis involving a loved one)
Challenging emotions naturally arise in response to challenging situations. Work life. Our relationships. Our health or finances. A loved one falling sick. Political & humanitarian affairs. The state of our planet. And so on. Mindfulness teaches us how we may face life in its entirety (the good, the bad and the ugly as they say). Sure, there may still be times when turning away is the most suitable act in the moment - but our power lies in the opportunity to choose a response.
Mindful attention enable us to develop awareness of our habitual reactions to stress triggering situations.
With the space created by this awareness, we then have the possibility to make new, more mindful decisions based on this moment, rather than controlled by things based on our past experiences.
Mindfulness and meditation are not practices that provide an escape from life, but are tools that with practice give us the opportunity to be with life in all of its expression.