Skip to content

Let Life Live Through You

Click to Read in Turkish

Hokusai Says by Roger Keyes

Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.

He says there is no end to seeing

He says look forward to getting old.

He says keep changing,
you just get more who you really are.

He says get stuck, accept it, repeat yourself
as long as it is interesting.

He says keep doing what you love.

He says keep praying.

He says every one of us is a child,
every one of us is ancient
every one of us has a body.
He says every one of us is frightened.

He says every one of us has to find
a way to live with fear.

He says everything is alive–
shells, buildings, people, fish,
mountains, trees, wood is alive.
Water is alive.

Everything has its own life.

Everything lives inside us.

He says live with the world inside you.

He says it doesn’t matter if you draw,or write books.
It doesn’t matter if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your veranda
or the shadows of the trees and grasses in your garden.

It matters that you care.

It matters that you feel.
It matters that you notice.
It matters that life lives through you.

Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength is life living through you.

He says don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid.

Love, feel, let life take you by the hand.

Let life live through you.

Katsushika Hokusai who lived in the 18th century was a great Japanese artist well ahead of his time. You may be hearing his name for the first time but I’m sure you might have seen his drawing below named “Kanagawa’s Big Waves”. He kept painting until his last days. He had quite an interesting personality as you can guess from all his sayings. Imagine that he exclaimed at 89 on his deathbed: “If only Heaven will give me just another ten years… Just another five more years, then I could become a real painter.”

HokusaiWaveHe was eager to constantly improve his work and look always ahead even at difficult times. At 79 a fire in his studio destroyed much of his work and yet he continued to paint and completed the Ducks in a Stream at the age of 87. Look what he wrote in a postscript to “One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji”:

“…Nothing I did before the age of seventy was worthy of attention. At seventy-three, I began to grasp the structures of birds and beasts, insects and fish, and of the way plants grow. If I go on trying, I will surely understand them still better by the time I am eighty-six, so that by ninety I will have penetrated to their essential nature. At one hundred, I may well have a positively divine understanding of them, while at one hundred and thirty, forty, or more I will have reached the stage where every dot and every stroke I paint will be alive….”

Like Hokusai, I think that we should be hungry for life in every aspect, eager to learn as much as we can, excited about external but also internal discoveries, full of willpower to improve ourselves towards the best that we can. .

Let’s look around carefully, not while planning the daily or weekly tasks and worrying about our meeting in the afternoon but by really watching carefully noticing every single detail. Then and only then there is no end to the things we should see and discover.

Let’s be curious about life… Remember how curious we were when we were little kids. We should not give up on it with age. We should keep being curious of the outside world, but we should also be curious about ourselves. Let’s get excited of unveiling and discovering our real selves from under all these shells that we have built with time.

Let’s not be scared of changing. What would our lives have served to, if we were to leave this world without ever changing?

Let’s keep doing what we love. We might have chosen a profession that does not really suit us. We might need to keep working in a job that we don’t really love due to our family responsibilities. But at least we should try to do what we love in our spare time. Let’s free up some space to do the things we love.

Let’s learn to live with fear. We might feel the fear but we should do it anyway. In other words, the fear that we feel should not limit our lives. We are so scared of failure that we don’t even try in most of the cases. If we love traveling but are afraid of flying, let’s not limit ourselves to only places we can travel by car or train. By accepting the fear instead of trying to escape from it or fighting it and by learning to live with it, we’ll open out a new door to life.

In summary, let’s live fully.

Let’s live with awareness and enthusiasm: loving, feeling, noticing, and enjoying every moment.

Let’s not let life pass by while we’re too busy planning for the future or weeping for the past. Let’s let life live through us.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. I am so inspired by this post and have to tell you I love this painting and have thought about how beautiful it is in the past and had no idea how deep the artist was. Thank you for enlightening with these beautiful thoughts and words and sharing them today. Stay curious and inspired.


    October 19, 2015
    • Thank you! I found a wonderful book on Amazon called “Ehon: The Artist and the Book in Japan” by Roger Keyes. You might find it interesting. Life is full of discoveries as long as we stay curious!


      October 21, 2015

Leave a Reply to Madeline Johnson Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: