Impossible, then improbable, then inevitable. 4-23-15

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No 17. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury
Friday, April 24, 2015

At first dreams seem impossible, then improbable, then inevitable.
— Christopher Reeve (1952-2004) American Actor

It seems that every day, I am amazed by what’s happening around me. We’re owners of an Arthur Murray Dance Center in Santa Monica. We are active members in the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, and EVERYONE in business knows that Arthur Murray is in Santa Monica. We are blessed with active service at St. Monica Parish Community and given every possible opportunity to serve. Our franchisor, Arthur Murray Int’l, Inc., has showered us with opportunities to grow, participate, learn and prosper.

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The doors that are opening all around us open up to endless possibilities of a fantastic life of service and dancing. Funny, a few years this all seemed impossible, yes improbable, then finally inevitable. God opened the doors and we walked through on a pathway of hard work, faith, and determination.

It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.
— Walt Disney (1901-1966) American Animator and Film Maker

I loved to walk around Disneyland. Just imagine that it was all just an orange grove that was transformed by one man’s dream and vision. That vision continues today many years after Walt’s passing. Walt Disney made the impossible come true.

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Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.
— Harvey Fierstein

As I sometimes try to catch my breath with all that is happening around me, I look for how this wonderful life is defining me. How will I be remembered? What legacy will I leave behind? I want this said at my memorial service, “I am happy to serve”. And that’s the truth. I’m happy to give back after such a miraculous life of constantly receiving blessings from others in every area of my life.

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an
invincible summer. — Albert Camus (1913-1960) French Writer

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Have there been rough times? Yes. Do I intimately know about the “Dark Night of the Soul”? Yes. Yet during the darkest days of my life, I truly found my greatest calling in life and I hope to go on to help others find their callings in their lives and to be a light and a living example to all who are growing and learning.

Real heroes are men who fall and fail and are flawed, but win out in
the end because they’ve stayed true to their ideals and beliefs and
commitments.– Kevin Costner (1955-) American Actor, Producer and Director

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Take a minute and look at the extraordinary life all around you. Pause and think of all of those who got you to where you are today. Let a moment of excitement go through you as you think of all the possibilities that are ahead for you. Then, stay true to who you are and give others the same hope that is in your heart.

Thank you,
David Woodbury

Turn Your Dreams Into Reality 4-17-15

Arthur Murray on Ship

No 16. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, April 17, 2015

Turn Your Dancing Dreams into Reality

When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the
conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my
talent for absorbing positive knowledge.
— Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American Physicist

Einstein had it right when it came to making dreams come true. Do you think you’re not talented? Do you have ability or rhythm? Did someone tell you you’re a terrible dancer and that you can’t learn. Well, listen to this. First, the body has a natural rhythm. Put your right hand over your heart and feel, “boom, boom – boom boom”. Your heart has a natural rhythm. Notice while you are listening to your heart, you are breathing, “we-hoo, we-hoo, we-hoo, we-hoo.”  You’re a walking, breathing one-man-band! Yes you have rhythm, and ability naturally.

Secondly, did you walk today and not fall down (I don’t always do that)? Did you drive today? Well, if you can drive in LA, you can dance. Give yourself some credit, dancing is natural and you CAN learn how to dance, and have a lot of fun learning!

Don’t give up!

You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.
— Margaret Thatcher, (1925-2013)  British Prime Minister

I have known dancers who picked up immediately, and lost it immediately. I have seen dancers who can see a step and can execute it perfectly. Then, there’s me! My first dance teacher told me, “David, you’re a slow forgetter”. I have always loved the fact that she told me that. It takes me forever to get something, and I never forget it (hopefully).

This is one of my favorite quotes:

Persistence, by Calvin Coolidge

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not; the world is filled with educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination are alone omnipotent.

“Press On!” has been and always will be the answer to every human problem.

Never ever give up. Never think you day is coming, for it may be coming right now, this day! I tell my staff this, keep on going. You haven’t learned the lesson you were meant to learn for this situation. This is hard for me, I have no patience, ever, yet I have seen this come true in my own life and the lives of others. When God closes a door, He opens a window. Just stay true to your hopes and dreams.

Dancing is such a great skill. It teaches you patience, discipline, structure, organization, and practice and time management skills. Dancing success will not come overnight, but over a period of time, you’ll realize your dreams and you’ll never have to say no to a partner, never have to sit out a dance, and you will be a winner for your skill of dancing with a partner.

Real heroes are men who fall and fail and are flawed, but win out in
the end because they’ve stayed true to their ideals and beliefs and
— Kevin Costner (1955-) American Actor, Producer and Director

Be a real hero and stay true to your dreams and goals.

Happy Dancing!

David Woodbury

The Legend of the Noble Bamboo 4-10-15

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No 15. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Legend of the Noble Bamboo

The Thais have a wonderful legend about the bamboo plant. In the beginning, the Bamboo was the most beautiful plant of all. But in the corners of the garden, there were dry beds. A spring in the center of the gardens could not reach to the dry earth.

The Master of the garden called the great Bamboo to be used for a special purpose. The Master cut down the Bamboo and hacked off its branches and stripped it of its leaves, cleaved him into and then cut out his heart. The Master laid one end of the Bamboo at the spring and then laid out the Bamboo’s torn open body end to end, as a channel for water reaching to the dry ground, flowing to the edges of the garden. The now watered ground yielded a great harvest.

The once glorious Bamboo became even more glorious in his brokenness and humility. It is clear to me that I can have everything I want in my life if I am willing to help get others what they want in life. Also, for me to be the leader I want to become, I must become a servant to all, learning how to give to others.

We have high hopes and dreams. We are the greatest and most beautiful plant in the garden of life, and then we are called into service. We are cut down, stripped, cleaved into and our hearts are cut out. If you don’t believe this, you haven’t lived long enough. Life will test us and call us into service at some point.

Do you want to be a dance champion? Be ready for all the practice, and the practice, and the practice. The many, many lessons. The physical grooming and changes in diet and exercise, meditation and time management. The commitment that must be made to another person, to your dancing, to your coach. Being able to get through four rounds to get to a final and still be at your best, trying to win the competition.

For an amateur dancer, you find your dream Arthur Murray Dance Center, your best Arthur Murray Pro Partner. You master the closed patterns and technique in your level and then you perfect your open category and scholarship dancing. For the Arthur Murray Professional, you master your dancing skills, certify through the highest levels, compete professionally, achieve the highest levels in the Arthur Murray world, and you mentor other dancers. It is not a job, or a career, it is a lifestyle!

The great coaches in the world are sometimes great with years. You see someone in their 70’s walk in and they are your coach. You begin dancing with them, and suddenly your coach is once again young and they can out dance you. They have amazing style, technique, poise, and grace. You feel your dancing go up to a new level and at the end, you have found a new dancing mentor.

Remember the great Bamboo and what he experienced first being the most glorious plant in the garden, to becoming the most humble and useful plant in the garden. Be ready to let the water of life flow through you to nurture others and to help them yield a great harvest.

Keep on Dancing!

David Woodbury

Life is Miracle and Magic 4-3-15

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No 14. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, April 3, 2015

Life is Miracle and Magic

We need a renaissance of wonder. We need to renew, in our hearts and
in our souls, the deathless dream, the eternal poetry, the perennial
sense that life is miracle and magic. — E. Merrill Root (1895-1973) American Writer

If I have any message from this then it is if you really have a dream
and you want to achieve it then you can and it really is possible.”
— Ellen MacArthur, quoted after breaking all single-handed woman’s records and finishing second in round the world yacht race. February 11th, 2001

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Here we are at Easter and Passover at the same time. I wish all of you, no matter if or what you celebrate, a great holiday season. This is truly a time of renewing our hearts and our dreams.

The last almost 40 days of Lent have been a great time of reflection for me. I did OK in my “fast” of a bad habit of mine. It is a life-long quest to change something about myself that I detest, and I gave it a lot of work during my Lenten journey. Still working on it!

One great result of this time was the renewal of my own deathless dream, and the rekindling of the fire of my enthusiasm. There were many, many moments in the last 40 days of joy in my life, happiness in where I am at peace with all the challenges that have come my way. A grateful heart has grown within me as I have counted the many blessings and opportunities all around me.

The simple renewing of a dream has been wonderful for me. The reality, if God is willing, that I will dance for the rest of my life has been a great joy of thought for me. The knowing that I can teach, dance, perform, enjoy, and participate in dancing has given me immense joy daily.

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Wisdom begins in wonder. – Socrates

As the body needs physical exercise in order to remain in fit
condition, man’s spirit also requires the spiritual exercise derived
when he confronts his problems and combats life’s vicissitudes.
— William Sahakian and Mabel Lewis Sahakian, describing the philosophy of Epictetus

The wisdom of life comes after we have met life’s challenges, overcome the trials that have tried our patience and tested our character, and then moved forward with the knowledge that we have learned from our journeys. For many, many years I focused primarily on my physical exercise which is still essential until today. Yet, now I know that our spiritual exercises are just as important to develop our character. A healthy heart and soul are both important to overall fitness and conditioning.

For me, I will always be a kid inside.

A child-like man is not a man whose development has been arrested; on the contrary, he is a man who has given himself a chance of continuing to develop long after most adults have muffled themselves in the cocoon of middle-aged habit and convention.

–Aldous Huxley

See you all next week!

David Woodbury