Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Philosophy Practiced

Philosophy practiced is the goal of learning. - Thoreau

Philosophy practiced is indeed the goal of learning. Having studied some philosophy, the next question is how do you integrate it into your life?

Below is an excerpt from an article about a young woman who has in my mind, figured it out. If you click on the title of this post, you'll be directed to the full article.


Skater's biggest jump is her rare route to top
By Elliott Almond
Mercury News
Gary Reyes/Mercury News

Margaret Wang, 18, works on her routine during a training session at Logitech Ice in San Jose on Jan. 21, 2007. Wang, of Saratoga, will be competing next week at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Washington.

Margaret Wang, a budding poet and figure skater, once wrote:

Fun in the rink
Judges are superfluous
Placement is extra

Prophetic words for the Saratoga High senior who competes this week in the U.S. figure skating championships in Spokane, Wash. The only Northern California skater in the elite senior women's division, Wang has little chance of winning against the likes of reigning world champion Kimmie Meissner and Olympian Emily Hughes.

But that's not the point. As she wrote in her self-published book, ``Haiku on Ice,'' Wang isn't trying to please judges.

``I try not to think about placing,'' she said last week.

Wang, 18, is a welcomed reminder that skating is more than ice princesses and Olympic gold medals. In a universe that combines high fashion and haughty attitudes, she has taken a utilitarian road to the championships by training no more than 90 minutes a day in Bay Area public rinks.

``I never thought in a million years she'd make it,'' said her mother, Gloria Wu, a Los Gatos ophthalmologist.

National judge Lisa Erle of Dublin said it is ``rare and surprising'' for a skater to reach the sport's elite category with limited training time. Wang is one of 21 skaters performing Thursday and Saturday in the weeklong championships showcase event.

She almost didn't make it after breaking an ankle while trying to land a triple jump in late 2005. Wang spent four months in a cast and had to relearn to jump when she started skating again in June.

By then, the sport had revised its scoring system, so Wang also had to upgrade her spins and footwork.

In her first competition, at the Silicon Valley Open in August, she broke a heel on her boot and placed seventh. Then Wang won the next two events before finishing fourth at a sectional championships to qualify for the Spokane meet.

``I found the same joy I had with skating before,'' she said of her past three performances.

Part of that joy is being a full-time student. Most of her rivals are home schooled while training six hours a day. And almost every serious skater takes ballet and dance classes; Wang quit ballet because of the demands of schoolwork.

``I'd like to serve as an example that you don't have to give up everything'' for skating, she said after training at Ice Oasis in Redwood City.


Silverstar said...

Neat story that to me serves as a reminder to the importance of having balance in one's life.:)

ms_lili said...

ability, and ability to focus, can take you places. is that "it" to you?

Rick Matz said...

I think the ability to have a clear mind is "it."

ms_lili said...

do you mean the ability to clear your mind and keep your mind clear except for what you are focusing on at the moment?

i think chuang-tzu is full of parables about just such people.

Rick Matz said...

Cook Ding comes to mind.