Mira voce: pivot

This post is part of a series of reflections during Lent. This year for Lent I’m trying to create more than copy once a week, inspired by the Portuguese phrase mira voce, prominently featured in my jam “Mira,” by Melody Gardot.

This week’s mira voce moment came at the 30 minute mark of my Monday morning Zumba class. Yes, I am that girl. I am the crazy Zumba girl who dances with everyone and their mother and will talk about benefits of Zumba in this blog (among other things) from now until a to-be-determined date.

But today, half way through some intense cardio, I was not singing praises of my 60 minutes of daily exercise (Ok, most days. Ok, half of them). I was grooving along, Marlena, our fabulous instructor, was giving her all to get us going, and I realized I was secondarily focused something else – my headache that had crept back up again, as it has intermittently been for the last three days. A headache I have refused to feed Excedrin to because I’m not a huge fan of pain meds every two or so weeks when I either get a headache or cramps or cramps or a headache. For the record I begrudgingly took half a dose two minutes before class started. Yes, I’m a hippie, and it comes out in inconsistent ways.

I realized that in the middle of this awesome class, I was silently circulating the following complaints:

1. I hate headaches. Why me. WHY.

2. OH NO my favorite song is at the end again isn’t it? Perfect timing for when I’m tired and sweaty and nasty and I’ll be invited up to flail about up front and “lead” with Marlena and friends.

3. Oh my gosh I’m popping so many personal bubbles right now I should dance smaller; oops, sorry, oops, sorry.

Physically, I was just “going through the motions.” It was helping no one. I was distracted and putting in some effort. The result: I was getting what I was putting in – I was kind of sore, I was sort of happy, I felt mildly rejuvenated.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks – I had to pivot my attitude. I could blame my headache, the gym, the space, the people in the class, the song, my inability to really master any of these steps – but it was on me to have a good attitude. I was choosing to focus on what was going wrong, rather than focus on what was going right, what was healthy, what was good. I was in the way of myself. Completely.

So I pivoted emotionally, and literally (how can you not during tu sabes que te amo?). I forced myself to think of this class (and the gift of a body that can move and walk and dance daily) not as an obligation, but a gift. I switched my thinking pattern from “How much time is left?” to “I LOVE THIS SONG!!”


This internal mantra felt a little ridiculous. But all the sudden I found myself very sore and very smiley – two things that don’t often increase together, but there you go. And when I heard my favorite song, I ran up to lead because once you realize leadership isn’t an obligation but a gift, you run

Now there are awful and unthinkable days and situations that mental practice and mantras just don’t fix. But for the majority of situations and people, I think the power of changing your attitude – this is a practice that is far under-utilized. I don’t mean “attitude,” like, kids having a bad attitude about doing chores or doing homework, but “attitude” as in your posture to the world. I’m learning that when I change my vocabulary from “have to” to “get to,” it makes a difference.

So as the week starts, I hope you have anything but a case of the Mondays …and dance more. Often. All the time.

This blog has no ownership or rights to music by Melody Gardot or Verve Music Group.


8 thoughts on “Mira voce: pivot

  1. This is awesome Allison! Leadership is indeed a gift.

    I struggle with always being present and aware of this too. I think its common for anyone to occasionally “go through the motions.” But isn’t it a wonderful moment when you seemingly have that “ah-ha” or “wake-up” moment and realize just how much of a gift what you are doing or being able to do is? Those are special and perhaps even holy moments. Some might call them even vocational affirming/discerning moments. What do you think?

    1. Oh they’re good moments. I think you could call them holy moments or vocational affirming/discerning moments. I think vocational discerning moments are much more ordinary than people give them credit for. They’re not always punctuated by doves flying, light beaming down through the clouds, choirs singing (although that would be awesome). I think vocational discerning moments, which I’m willing to speculate that this post describes, are much more ordinary and “plain” than people might think. God is working in those too. Does that make sense? [tag you’re it]

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