Serenity Sunday: Tune Your Instrument

Alicia Keys With Piano

Devotionals. Daily affirmations. Practicing thankfulness. Listening to music, sermons, positive lectures, and podcasts keep me consistently tuned, or in-tune. While productivity, for me, comes naturally, I still have to do the work and tune up to stay vibrant.

Do you ever notice how certain practices that are meant to fuel our success in life, love, and business, can actually manifest in non-vibrant ways if overpracticed? Almost dimming our light and making us feel like prisoners trapped inside of our own passion?

Here’s a “we scenario”:

We establish work goals for a day including strategies for meeting those goals and when something happens, shifting the entire plan of action, we get anxious. Agitated. The overachiever in us wails. We check out on our children and become out of tune with our spouse. Do you know why a piano gets out of tune? Because the whole instrument is under great stress. I’m talking hundreds of strings constantly being pulled. Then, there’s the expectations those strings have to create harmonious sound. A lot goes into tuning. And it costs a lot to keep pianos tuned up, which is why so many instruments go bad.

This is us. We become such strategists at our days that we forget how normal it is to live in repose. We forget to chill. I’m telling you. Our work– our goals– can literally stress us out and before we know it, we’re saying too much, doing too much, and jumping to all kind of conclusions:


I’m wasting time because of _______.

I’m losing relevancy because I’m not _______.

I need to be doing _______ by the time I’m _____ years old or I won’t be able to _______.

The icing on the cake? We convince ourselves of it all! That the level we’re on isn’t good enough compared to _______.

We even author the idea that we have a right to feel these things and respond how we damn well please because we’ve worked hard enough, experienced enough, earned enough, etc. We convince ourselves that flaws are good because they make us seem more real, more dimensional, more human. We convince ourselves if we don’t go for self, we will lose the race (or battle), and someone else will become champion.

Our loved ones watch us longingly. They miss us and don’t always know how to cope with their hankering for our attention. We may even start resenting them because if it weren’t for them needing us, we would have more time to produce whatever “music” we make.

Self-centeredness is real. So is anxiety. Some people embrace and re-appropriate these traits, but I’m determined to put in the work and go to war with my selfishness and my angst.

If you’re reading this, may there be peace and harmony in your life today. If there’s stress and anxiety, if you’re constantly jumping to conclusions, maybe it’s time to get your instrument tuned. The tune up, you see, is necessary for longevity.


Clinnesha is a writer and social entrepreneur who feels most accountable to southern, black citizen-artists, elders, children, and families. Her work is at the intersection of arts, culture, innovation, and community.


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