“Breathe, Believe, Battle.” This is a perfect mantra for the London Olympics, the arrival of the woman. The command comes from one of America’s great duo’s, the beach volleyball queens, Kerri Walsh, and Misty May. Kerri offered it to a microphone when they asked, ‘how do you come back from disappointment, and loss to win?’ Kerri said it was the instruction from her old coach, Terry Tanner.
This mantra could be the energetic expression behind every Olympic participant who struggles and works to take it to the next level. But it is particularly feminine in its word-order. A man would be more inclined to chant, “Battle, believe, grunt.” Placing the breath first, as undergarment for belief, and belief as the injunction for battle, puts a different spin on the road to winning.
As every true warrior knows, the battle is always over self, not over other, and when we begin with breath, it is the feminine giving instruction to the masculine within so that the masculine can then take correct action. We come into being when we breathe. Respiration is life force. Under ‘breathe,’ the fifth meaning in Webster’s New International Dictionary is, ‘to feel desire, aspiration,’ and ‘to express, manifest, to give forth.’ All this takes place within a breath, when we are conscious. With breath, we listen, allowing time and space for thought and spirit to manifest. With life force, we believe…in something: angels, devils, self, others, heaven, hell. To believe is to have a ‘firm persuasion, faith, and confidence’ that we know we have it right. This is the courage it takes to carry us into battle.
If setting out to win the Olympics seems daunting, think – Joan of Arc. Every single body that walked through the Olympic gates experienced this transmutation in some way. It was not just the winners, though clearly they have learned the art of doing it better than others. But every one of us who aspire to be better, higher, faster, stronger, braver, kinder, smarter, quicker can use a transformative mantra like this one. There were extraordinary, wonderful bodies at the Olympics. This year the women got their chance. Title IX has paid off. I choose their mantra, their spirit of friendship, their belief that they could be women of wonder, performing magically in battle.