Please stop beeing productive

I am so tired of all these websites with lifehacks. All these collections of tiny, smart time-savers and productivity tips which claim to make life simpler, better and more optimized all proudly publish on the web by their “inventors”. Really lifehacks ? most of the stuff is pretty obvious, it is stuff that everybody should figure out for him / her self by experience, by growing up or falling on their nose. Stand up and enjoy the wisdom gained, but shut up. I mean; yes, you can save time by wearing your underwear an extra day by turning it inside out (hurrah saved an extra wash, minimize my stock of underwear, live is much simpler now), but is this productivity brain flash something to brag about ? Ah and by the way you can save enormous amounts of time by turning your socks inside out and buying only the same color socks. Dry used tissues and use them for toilet paper, save the water from your shower to flush the toilet. Use the dust in the vacuum cleaner as soil for your garden. Keep your used chewing gum and create toys for your kids from it. etc etc… or stop reading articles about lifehacks and productivity tips and actually do something in the time that you are saving.

The travellers of eternity

Days and months are travellers of eternity. So are the years that pass by. Those who steer a boat across the sea, or drive a horse over the earth till they succumb to the weight of years, spend every minute of their lives travelling. There are a great number of ancients, too, who died on the road. I myself have been tempted for a long time by the cloud-moving wind — filled with a strong desire to wander.

It was only towards the end of last autumn that I returned from rambling along the coast. I barely had time to sweep the cobwebs from my broken house on the River Sumida before the New Year, but no sooner had the spring mist begun to rise over the field than I wanted to be on the road again to cross the barrier-gate of Shirakawa in due time.

The gods seem to have possessed my soul and turned it inside out, and roadside images seemed to invite me from every corner, so that it was impossible for me to stay idle at home. Even while I was getting ready, mending my torn trousers, tying a new strap to my hat, and applying moxa to my legs to strengthen them, I was already dreaming of the full moon rising over the islands of Matsushima.

Finally, I sold my house, moving to the cottage of Sampû for a temporary stay. Upon the threshold of my old home, however, I wrote a linked verse of eight pieces and hung it on a wooden pillar. The starting piece was:

Behind this door
Now buried in deep grass,
A different generation will celebrate
The Festival of Dolls.

Oku no Hosomichi – Matsuo Bashō

Don’t read books!

Don’t read books!
Don’t chant poems!
When you read books your eyeballs wither away
leaving the bare sockets.
When you chant poems your heart leaks out slowly
with each word.
People say reading books is enjoyable.
People say chanting poems is fun.
But if your lips constantly make a sound
like an insect chirping in autumn,
you will only turn into a haggard old man.
And even if you don’t turn into a haggard old man,
it’s annoying for others to have to hear you.

It’s so much better
to close your eyes, sit in your study,
lower the curtains, sweep the floor,
burn incense.
It’s beautiful to listen to the wind,
listen to the rain,
take a walk when you feel energetic,
and when you’re tired go to sleep.

Penned by Chinese poet Yang Wanli in the 12th century