No 28 7-13-18 “The Greatest Test of Courage”

“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.”             – R.G. Ingersoll (1833 – 1899) American lawyer

Do you like the rough times in life? I don’t. I can barely handle the great times in life with all their abundance and joy, much less loss, illness, and unexpected changes in life. The rough times are hard for me and they take their tole on me. I must have a lot of courage for I am truly able to bear defeat and much more somehow without losing heart. Perhaps it’s my mom, J. Clair, looking down on me from heaven. Perhaps it is the hand of my father that I often feel on my shoulder, giving me strength from the world above. No matter how it happens, somehow, I have the will to go on and not give up.

“People tend to think of happiness as a stroke of luck, something that will descend like fine weather if you’re fortunate. But happiness is the result of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly.”                                                  – Elizabeth Gilbert (1969) American author

We all want to be happy. I’m way beyond thinking that happiness is from luck or similar to the great weather we have in Santa Monica. At one time I did fight and strive and insist on happiness in my life. Is just did not come. I was not happy. I was not satisfied. Then the light went off in my life. I realized that Happiness was truly spelled, Service. The moment I quit looking for happiness, and began to serve, I finally relaxed in my heart and felt a little bit of peace.

I was tired of always trying to do the best thing for just me. Now, I looked outside my own life to others and realized the great need for leadership, service, and mentoring. There was and still is a wide-open field for anyone who has the calling to give to others.

“I never said it would be easy. I said it would be worth it.”                                                  – Pete Egoscue (1945) Founder of Physical Therapy Method The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion

Is this an easy path, the life of service? No, it is not, but it is worth it and rewarding. I’ll never get high enough on the ladder of success. I’ll never have enough stuff, money, or time to spend it. But, I’ll always have time to volunteer for an event, a fundraiser, a dance competition that supports kids, or just give some time to someone in need. I do now know the only secret of happiness and I’m sticking with it.

Thanks for reading to all my lovely readers!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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No 27 7-6-18 “Keeping your Memories”

“If you want to keep your memories, you first have to live them.”

– Bob Dylan (1941) American songwriter, singer

Living your dreams is not easy. It takes a lot of courage and pluck to turn a thought into an action that turns into a dream that becomes a reality. And dream has a way of changing, and turning and evolving. You can’t control destiny, but you can control how you live during the journey to your goals.

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”

– Epictetus (55AD – 135AD) Stoic philosopher

After the great Northridge Earthquake in Los Angeles in 1991, I decided that I would not worry about things that were out of my control. Yes, I do worry about what is in my control, but the rest I have given up on. I can’t control an earthquake and many other things in life, so I just stay vigilant and strong and try to live in the moment.

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have.”

– Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) 16th President of the United States

If I win and lose myself, what have I gained? If I succeed and am in darkness, what have I earned? I may not always win 1st place, but I am a winner in the joy I have in doing my best, meeting and exceeding my goals and expectations. I don’t cry if I don’t break the ribbon at the finish line. I rejoice in the fact that I am running, finishing the race, and that I loved running the course and enjoyed the other runners on the way.

“Courage is grace under pressure.”

– Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961) American Writer

I hope I have some grace in my life. Not just the grace that God has given and continues to give to me daily, but the grace that says “Thank You” “I appreciate you”

“I need you” and giving the praise to others in life.  I think that I have great courage that is fortified with wisdom and courage. I certainly have the pressure in my life so I hope to be a man of character and keep my cool when the days get rough.

“The four cornerstones of character on which this nation was built are: Initiative, Imagination, Individuality and Independence.”

– Eddie Rickenbacker (1890 – 1973) American Aviator and Business Executive

My father, Troy Woodbury, gave me the key to having initiative. My mom, J. Clair, gave me the imagination in my life and my individuality, and mom my independence. I thank my parents every day for giving me the best parts of their lifes and that they continue to guide and inspire me from their heavenly homes together again.

“I can’t do it” never yet accomplished anything: “I will try” has accomplished wonders.”

– George P. Burnham (1868 – 1939) Politician

I would hate to tell you that I am blamer, or that I sometimes say I can’t do something. I would never tell you that sometimes I give up, so I won’t. But I will tell you, that on my good days, I can see that I can do it all in my life and that the best is still yet to come. I have much more to do, accomplish, give, and experience in my life. I will admit that I say that I will try, and I do, and often accomplish many great things in my life.

I’m busy making the memories that I want to keep, and living in the moment and loving the path of life, the lessons learned, and the rich rewards that I experience along the way.

As always, I wish you, the reader, hope, peace, guidance and always the presence of light and living water daily.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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No 24 – 6-15-18 “Run the Great Risk”

“I run great risk of failing. It may be that I shall encounter ruin where I look for reputation and a career of honor. The chances are perhaps more in favor of ruin than of success. But, whatever may be the chances, I shall go on as long as any means of carrying on the fight are at my disposal.”

– Anthony Trollope (1815 – 1882) English Novelist

Wow, this is my daily life! I generally feel on the edge most moments of every day. I too look for a good reputation and a career of honor. There is much risk in this type of life. I do go on as long as I have any means of carrying on the fight.

The great thing about living the life of great risk is that you get stronger every day. A risk turns into a decision from past experience. Fear turns into determination. Confusion disappears and is replaced with knowledge and confidence. The truth of living your best life is that it gets better.

The best part of living carrying on the fight at all costs is that you become a leader for others who want to take great risks as well and achieve great goals. You become the mentor and you go from strength to the next. This does not mean that you don’t have failure and obstacles, it means you see your challenges as learning experiences.

“The three great essentials to achieving anything worthwhile are; first, hard work, second, stick-to-it-iveness, and third, common sense.”

– Thomas A. Edison (1847 – 1931) American Inventor

This says it all. Be willing to work hard and stick to it with common sense. Where does common sense come from? Taking chances in life and learning from past mistakes. Here is where it is good to have wonderful mentors to guide and coach you. Just realize that everyone who has achieved greatness in their lives has failed many, many times, and they have also succeeded a great number of times.

“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.”

– J.B. Priestley (1894 – 1984) English Author

What do you do after a failure? You get up and dust yourself off and move on with a fresh day. You see a fresh start. You learn from what just happened to you and then you forge a new path, set a new goal, and move forward with all your heart. After receiving a new shoulder from UCLA in 2010, I found out that my nemesis would always be shoulder freeze. If I did not keep my shoulder flexible, it would freeze up and I would lose the range of motion and much of the use of my left arm. As eight years have past, I realized that I must keep my life moving to avoid “life freeze”. If I don’t move forward, I will just stop still in my tracks and stop living.

I’d be more fearful in my life, but I’m too busy achieving great things in my life. I’d be more tired, but I don’t have time for the fatigue. I’d have doubt, but I’m surrounded by great leaders and mentors who are always guiding me to greatness. I’d be failing more, but my passion for service overtakes my life and I only see opportunity ahead. Yes, “I shall go on as long as any means of carrying on the fight are at my disposal.”

Thanks for reading to all my lovely readers!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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No 23 6-8-18 “Learn to be Brave and Patient”

“…we could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.”

– Helen Keller (1880 – 1968) American Writer

First, with this quote, Helen Keller is listed as an American Writer. She is not listed as someone who was deaf and blind her entire life. She is not listed as having any physical challenges. Helen Keller is always an inspiration to me and her light always shines out to me.

When I get down, I think that Helen Keller graduated from university and she became a lecturer. She was a speaker, writer and she inspired millions to greatness during her life and even until now. I am grateful that I have all my faculties knowing that she did so much in her life with obstacles that would have stopped most people.

When she learned how to communicate, her life blossomed and she found the inspiration inside of her. She did not always have joy in her life, and yet she learned the lessons of bravery and patience.

Sometimes I still fall into the abyss of my self-pity and I am ashamed. With all the many blessings given to me, how can I possible not be up and happy and thankful all the time. Well, the truth is that I’m not always full of joy, or bravery or patience. Sometimes I think I’m not going to be able to make it, or I am running out of steam.

During rough times, I think of all the heroes in my life and how they overcame the challenges that life threw at them, and they persevered, and they realized their dreams. Now, as I strive for huge dreams I am learning not to give up.

I thought that I’d never have kids, ever. Now I have a big staff of young people who are all very talented, fun, motivated. They need me to be brave and patient with them every day and they need guidance. I think every day, they will not always remember what I said to them, but they will always remember how I made them feel. Most employees today need to feel needed and especially appreciated. I want them to love their jobs and look forward to always coming to their workplace.

Because every day is not just full of joy, when the precious days of happiness, light, and fulfillment do come, I am truly grateful and very, very thankful. On my good days I say over and over, I’m having a great day and I feel good. I never take the good times for granted for I know that a champion is someone who can do the mundane over and over with focus and purpose. I know that the amazing days do come, but they are paved with many days of just doing what is needed with a good and happy heart.

Thanks for reading brave and patient readers!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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No 22 6-1-18 “How to Become Quite a Person”

“Any man whose errors take ten years to correct is quite a man.”

Robert Oppenheimer, American theoretical physicist and professor of physics

Ever think that you have messed up your life? Ever think that you have made a mistake so grave that you will never be able to recover? Has a wrong decision or a wrong turn in your life seem to have doomed you forever?

When disaster strikes, and the house of cards falls apart, it’s easy to throw your hands in the air and say, that’s that! The first reaction is to just give up and run away from the situation knowing that all is lost.

When I read Oppenheimer’s quote that correcting a life error in just 10 years is a great thing, I was truly moved. There was a time in my life, OK, many times, when I thought I had just made too big a mistake, taken too great a loss to ever recover to where I had been. I did just give up several times and I know that all I had worked so hard in my life to achieve was over.

Then, a curious thing happened. It got better, and yes, I did recover. I had never thought of the 10-year measuring stick. There was a great time in my life where I had it all, family, money, success, health and a bright future. Then, in one year those closest to me died, I lost all that I had built up, and I was seemingly done for. All that mattered to me was gone, never to return.

Then, it began to get better. I started to correct what had happened. Hope began to return. It was not overnight, but the light slowly began to shine again and one day I realized that I had regained all that was lost, but to my surprise I was also a different person. I had new experiences, new knowledge, new wisdom, and new hope in life.

That nagging question of “Why did all this happen to me” was solved the first time I met someone who was truly “in the dark night of the soul” and I was able to give them comfort and words of healing. I realized that life had given me lessons and training, so I would be able to help others in their darkest moments, and to also celebrate with those experiencing the most joyous times of life. Life had been a great teacher for me.

Now, I’m always on the lookout for someone who needs a word of encouragement, a word of hope. Someone who is desperate for that person who understands what they are going through. I keep both ears listening and my heart and words ready to be the friend they can talk to. In the last 16 years, I have had countless opportunities to help and guide those in need. I truly believe they are send to me and I’m always ready and I feel the moment it happens. It’s like a little miracle of light overtakes me and the right words come from my heart.

Now that I have passed several 10 years of corrections I have a new outlook in my life. I have stopped singing the blues. I don’t have time to wallow in failure. Now, I spend a great deal of my thoughts wanting to help others and guide them as they go through the school of life, and I try to help them so they can be that special person for others in their own lives.

I’m trying to be more like my cats these days. When the afternoon sun streams through the open windows, they find these rays of warm light and they stretch out and let the warmth of the sun comfort and heal them. They love the love the healing power that they feel as they rest in the light.

I know why I’m here and what I’m to do in my life and I’m doing it right now. Be of courage, the bad in your life will turn into the good and you will recover. You’ll be OK again. It will get better!

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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No 20 5-18-18 “Offering a Word of Praise”

“Yes, Thank You! I’d love to do that for you. May I assist you? You look great today. I love that color on you. You look happy and healthy. Thank for coming today. It is a pleasure to have you with us. Welcome! That’s the best I’ve ever seen you dance. You’re on fire today. Thanks for all your help. You’re amazing. I love seeing you, you’re always so cheerful. You brightened my day. Thanks for going the extra mile for me. You are fantastic. I rely on you. You’re the best part of my day.”

Wow, ever had any of these greetings? Did you notice the person who gave you this praise and how they greet everyone? They’re just super kind and nice people and everyone loves them, all the time, every day. They are surrounded by friends, followers, supporters and usually are friends with the same kind of positive people. They handle adversity in stride, they have full composure and they ride out the hard days with grace and dignity. They are amazing, and they make everyone around them feel great, important, and special.

Today I was in a meeting where someone was saying how bad things were, complaining about someone who was in our group and generally saying many negative things. Then, next to this person came in another team member who from the moment they sat down, gave sweet hellos, lovely compliments, uplifting responses, positive comments and they made everyone around feel great and happy. What a difference. What a contrast between someone with great positive words of praise and uplifting support from the other participant.

This is just the way it is in life. I don’t condone the Debbie Downer, and I don’t think the person of light is a better person, but I do think that you can get a lot more bees with honey than with vinegar. My dad always said to my mom, “Be sweet Miss W”, for my mom had a quick word and a final word of judgment regarding people and situations. I was that way for many, many years, and now I am learning to wait before I speak, and I try to deliver words of light and healing.

How do you turn into a person of praise? Well, I’ll give you a secret that my mom, J. Clair, gave me later in her life. She called it “Build an Empire”. Mom said, when you first see someone, immediately find something you love about them and say it to them. Wow, you look great today. I love your outfit. You look so healthy and happy today. I love that suit. Just say the first positive thing you feel and then build an empire of conversation of good about that person. You’ll find that the other person loves it, that it makes you both feel great, and you begin to make this a part of your life.

I’ve spoken about, written about and practiced “Building an Empire” for so many years that it has truly become a part of my life and I love it. Guess what, your smile is reflected in the faces of others. So, if during conversation your friends are looking back at you with big smiles, you are smiling at them. This holds true with and just try it. You’ll make someone’s day a happy day. Offer unexpected praise and guess what, it will boost your day.

I have often read that petting your animals calms and relaxes them. But get this, it calms YOU as well and makes YOU feel good. It’s the same with people. Just give little praise pats to others all the time and you’ll have day after day of love, laughter, happiness, and friendship. Remember, laughter is a medicine that all can take, at any time.

Thank you for reading this and let me tell you that YOU my friend are wonderful and worthy and special to me as you read this. I love you and praise you and wish you a great and happy day. You bless me by reading this!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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No 19 5-11-18 “A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.”

“A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.”

– Jack Dempsey (1895 – 1983) American professional boxer

There have been a few times when I could not get up in life. I was beaten down, crushed, defeated, and lost in the dark night of the soul. And yet, I got up. Jack Dempsey said it well when he said we can’t. There are times when you just can’t go on, and yet you do.

This past week I was blessed to coach a man whose wife had just died tragically in a car accident just two months ago. He was taking an Arthur Murray Dance lesson and I was working with him and his teacher. He and his wife loved their dancing together when she was killed. He was continuing with his lessons. I did not bring his loss up in the coaching, but I told him that dancing was a safe place for him and that he could escape into his dancing.

He then began to weep and tell me the story of his wife’s passing. The three of us cried and held each other on the dance floor. Having lost my life partner to cancer, and his dying in my arms, I knew only too well what my student was currently feeling. His broken heart and the horrible heart ache that follows. The dark night of the soul that had surrounded him. Yes, I knew that he was hurting. Yet, he was dancing and preparing for a dance competition. He was getting up when he couldn’t.

This moving experience weighs heavily on my heart and I am praying constantly for this lovely man as he heals from his grief. I was so happy he had his loving Arthur Murray family to guide and to love him and to give him moments of healing through the magic of dance.

“Everything can be taken from a man, but one thing, the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude to any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.”

– Viktor Frankl (1905 – 1997) Nazi concentration camp survivor

The ability to get up and move on is a choice, a choice that we make or don’t. Even in grief, illness, or loss, we still have the choice to choose our own way.

“Fear is the opportunity for courage, not proof of cowardice.”

– John McCain (1936- ) United States Senator

Fear may keep us from knowing that we are even able to make this decision to choose. Overcoming fear often means walking through a fiery wall of flames, only to realize that the flames were only an illusion, and that we always had the power to walk through them. Fear causes us to make a decision of flight or moving forward with courage. This courage is magic if we us it, and once passing through the flames, our confidence is forever strengthened and we are forever changed.

“There are two ways of exerting one’s strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.”

– Booker T. Washington (1856 – 1915) American author

When it comes to the pushing down part, life will take care of that for you on its own. Life is always testing us, but to be able to see the light beyond the darkness and pull ourselves up, this is a tough choice that is give to us. I remember after the great losses in my life, then getting back on the dance floor and giving joyous performances. It just didn’t seem right, but the dancing, the smiling, the performing acted like a healing medicine that restored me from the inside out. I would not have made it up this point in life without my Arthur Murray Dancing, and the magical joy and strength it gave me.

Remember that you are a champion, and all you have to do is get up and walk forward to light in your life when the dark times come your way.

Thanks for reading,

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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