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No 39. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, September 25, 2015

A person is only as big as the dream they dare to live.
— Unknown

We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of
life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to
be enthusiastic about.
— Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) English Novelist and Clergyman

Every day when I awaken, I’m excited about the upcoming day. Sometimes I’m excited because I have so many opportunities that day. Perhaps I have a challenging situation to take care of. The day may hold some mystery for me. I may be excited because I don’t know what will happen with what’s ahead for me. Then, sometimes I know that the day will be a home run all the way around.

Despite the success cult, men are most deeply moved not by the
reaching of the goal, but by the grandness of the effort involved in
getting there.
— Max Lerner (1902-1992) American Educator, Columnist

I know that I’m going to give each opportunity the “grandness of effort” that is deserved.

Man is happy only as he finds work worth doing — and does it well.
— E. Merrill Root (1895-1973) American Writer

I am so blessed in my life to have found the work worth doing. My “profession” as a professional dance instructor will be the path for the rest of my life, God willing!  My teachers are 20 to 25 years older than I am and they are all going strong.

To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate
the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man’s life.
— T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) American Poet

It is never too late to be what you might have been.
— George Eliot (1819-1880) English Novelist

The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must
not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but
jump in and scramble through as well as we can.
— Robert Cushing Dennison (1921-1998) American Military Officer

I like a person who knows his own mind and sticks to it; who sees at
once what, in given circumstances, is to be done, and does it.
— William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English Essayist

If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend,
experience your wise counselor,  caution your elder brother  and hope
your guardian genius.
— Joseph Addison (1672–1719) English Writer and Statesman

Let’s just go for it in life.  I’m not going to wait until I’m ready for a task. I’m going to move forward and learn as I go. Warts and all, I’m going to make it happen. How? First, set your goal and fix your mind on it. Second, surround yourself with others who will make your goal come alive. Third, calculate what it will take to get the task done, and plan to double the effort, resources, and energy needed to complete your task. (If you don’t believe this, you have never remodeled a home or business.) Lastly, make perseverance your best friend and just move forward and never look back.

An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; A pessimist sees
a calamity in every opportunity.
— Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British Politician

As I move forward to my goals, I just see wonderful opportunities meeting me as I move forward.

The past cannot be changed. The future is still in your power.

— Hugh Lawson White (1773-1840) American Politician

Don’t dwiddle on the past. Let it go. Being angry at someone is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. I found that I had been angry at someone for over 30 years. I was justified and if you knew what she did, you’d be angry too. Then, I just woke up and realized that she had no idea that I was always boiling mad at her.  I typed a letter when I apologized to her for carrying all this negativity for these many years and I asked her to forgive me.  Then, I did not mail the letter, I just let it go. I did not want her to know how shallow I had been for all these years. Now I feel great and I have love for her in my heart.  Let the past go, check your baggage at the ticket counter and get on board. Live, love, laugh!

Keep on Dancing!

David Woodbury







No 39. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, September 18, 2015

An Amazing Week!
Usually I give you several great quotes from a wonderful week of reading and study. But today I have to write about my week.

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Last Saturday, I was Co-Chair for the stages of the Wellbeing Buy Local Festival of Santa Monica.  We had thousands of visitors come to the Festival. What an exciting day! We had a 100 booths and presenters. We had two stages each with a producer, emcees, and a full schedule of groups on each stage with presentations.


I was emcee for the Wellbeing stage and Arthur Murray Dance Center of Santa Monica was on stage for a full hour. We taught two classes, had a dance competition and we produced a full show with our fantastic staff.


We ended the day with yours truly dancing with Laurel Rosen, our Santa Monica Chamber CEO and President, dancing a Swing Routine. It was so much fun and Laurel is a natural dancer. We hit the ball out of the park!

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Arthur Murray was all over the festival with our inspiring booth and all the new friends we met who are now coming in for lessons. And this was just a Saturday!

That Sunday, I was Team Leader for the 7:30 AM Mass. This is an honor for me and I was happy to guide our great team to help our 7:30 parishioner have a safe, clean, cool, and organized place to worship and gather. What a wonderful Sunday morning.

Wednesday, we started our Fall Youth Program in our school. What a wonderful way to start our Fall season of dancing. They youth kids will dance for 8 weeks and end with a special performance. Here’s to our great group of young dancers.

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Wednesday night, Joel Rieck, Maria Leon, and I took some exciting dancing to the Lime Café for the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce Mixer. We are a recent Green Certified Business and we were featured to share about our greening process. Then, Arthur Murray was in the house. We taught our first group class of Swing. The dancing was a bit hit.

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We then had a bit of a break at this Zero Waste event. Then, Arthur Murray took over the floor. We taught three line dances, Salsa, and then we went crazy with some Hustle Dancing!  What a great group and we had a ball dancing the night away the Arthur Murray Way with the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce and with Sustainable Works from the City of Santa Monica.  I left on a high and am still floating on the fun we had.  Laurel Rosen and I danced our Swing spotlight again and we shared the last dance together. We were creating Golden Moments that would last a lifetime.

Today, Joel Rieck and I started our first Enrichment Program Ballroom Dance Class at St. Monica Elementary School. We taught a wonderful group of youths and our Fall Semester dances are Foxtrot and Swing. What a blessing to be on the campus of this parish that has over nine thousand registered families. We taught and danced our little hearts out and we can’t wait for next week to dance again.

This is on top of just being in our amazing school, with our inspiring staff, and our precious students, dancing, dancing, and dancing our way to health, fun, and happiness!

It has been such an amazing week, I just had to share it with you.  Walk in light. Live with an attitude of gratitude. Love life, experience each moment to the fullest. Go with change and ride the crest of the wave of life.

Keep on Dancing!

David Woodbury

Be One of the Happy People!

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No 37. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, September 11, 2015

Be One of the Happy People!

The happy people are those who are producing something; the bored
people are those who are consuming much and producing nothing.
— William Ralph Inge (1860-1954 ) English Theologian

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How do you become a happy person? Beverly Sills, the great American coloratura said it this way: A happy woman is one who has no cares at all; a cheerful woman is one who has cares but doesn’t let them get her down.”

Anne Frank quoted this for happiness: “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”

What is going to take to make you happy? Money, fame, education, achievement, awards, the perfect body, perfect health, a great family, established faith?

My question is this, what will make you happy after you “have it all?” What will you do then? What will you do if you don’t “get it all?”

I have been happy in my life and sad at other times. I’ve been rich and I’ve been broke. I’ve had ultimate happiness and the deepest sorrow. There have been times I have had a lot of time, and times I live from moment to moment. When was I the happiest?

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I’m happy right now. In the midst of what others would say is chaos, I find peace and tranquility. As problems seem to mount up, I find hope and I’m eager to grow from all of my experiences. The only chink in my armor is my mouth. When thing get tough, I get colorful sometimes. Oh well, I’d rather feel life that be numb from boredom!

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As I get older, I find happiness from helping other grow and achieve their goals. God willing, I have a career from the rest of my life just from the 40 years of experience I have with dancing. I can pretty much fix any dance step or polish any dance sequence. I love seeing others grow and find that the rare person that is passionate about life, that is focused and willing to work hard for what they want in life, the person who is willing to give of themselves to help others achieve their goals. This is the gem of a person that I love to help and mentor. They make life worthwhile as a coach.

Perhaps if you are not happy today, you need to volunteer for something to help others. If you are a dancer and bored, get involved in the dance competition and help out. You’ll find out that your services are greatly needed. Need some motivation, offer your services to lead a group, help others who cannot pay you back, or just find someone that needs a good word and give them your ear and some time to talk.

A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
— Charles Gordy

Many a friendship — long, loyal, and self-sacrificing — rested at
first upon no thicker a foundation than a kind word.
— Frederick William Faber (1814-1863) English Priest and Hymn Writer

Exercise: My mom had a philosophy of life. She said that when you met someone, you should find what you like about them instantly, and build an empire on that like. It might be their voice, smile, their choice of words, laughter, clothing, their perfume, but find it in the first moment of greeting and say something about it. Let the first words that come out of your mouth be something wonderful about THEM and make them feel special. You’ll find that your smile and kind word will not only make them happy, but will ultimately make you happy as well!

Keep on Dancing!

David Woodbury


Mistakes 9-4-15

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No 36. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, September 4, 2015

Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.
— Sophia Loren (1934-  ) Italian Actress

Ever made a mistake? Ever feel really stupid about it. Every had someone else make you feel small and insignificant over doing something wrong? I think this has happened to us all at some point in time.

Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy.
— Howard W. Newton

How do you handle it? How is your tact? What do you do when someone catches you in a mistake and they say something?

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I’m a hothead and I have a quick acerbic mouth. It’s not a good thing and gets me into all kinds of trouble. Just because I can speed read you does not mean I should! I have to think before I speak and always take a deep breath before sharing my opinion.

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This I know, I’m going to make mistakes, I just don’t need my big mouth to make things worse. How do I handle mistakes now? Monsignor gave a homily a few years ago. Being a fellow Virgo, he has a quick response and he said he had made a change. When someone came up to him and challenged him, instead of going off, he bowed his head and said “I’m sorry”. He just took another road and had made that a habit in his life.

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I have practiced this for a long time now. When I feel attacked, I bow my head and close my mouth, wait and say “I’m sorry”. You cannot imagine how many times this has turned a conflict into a pleasant conversation and has made me many more friends than enemies. I’m not saying that I’m perfect or that I don’t still go off on people, but that negative approach never gets me too far in life.

If you just keep playing, keep believing and have some faith,
something good can happen. — Washington Redskins coach Norv Turner, whose team became only the second in NFL history to win six games after losing the first seven games of the year. December 19, 1998

Perhaps mistakes are ways we check ourselves. Perhaps they protect us from something worse. My great coach, Miss Pat Traymore, always said to me when I got lost driving, “Don’t get upset, you’re being protected from something bad”. I grew to believe in this and now I find that as I am driving, before me a bad accident has happened, and I just missed it. I have been late and have actually seen accidents happen just before me that would have been in had I been on time.

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Someone got mad at me once and said “Ok, just don’t ever do that again”. I could not guarantee that and I became so blocked that I could not do my work without fear of doing something wrong. What is the answer? Practice and do your task over and over and over and learn your craft so perfectly that you best work becomes your natural way of doing things.

Practice will make permanent and that perfect practice will make you happy in all areas of your life. Live without fear and do your best with song in your heart. I use to be a high-powered ballroom teacher and I use to get so upset with my students when they made mistakes. Now after these 40 years, when my student makes a mistake, we both start laughing and we have some much fun, instead of conflict, that we have a hug and move on. Yes, I still teach a good lesson, but this is now a fun lesson as well.

Mistakes, yes, we’re all going to make them. We might as well have some fun along the way and try to not make the same old mistakes over and over, but not live in fear at the same time.

Ballroom dancing changes your concept of what a mistake is. Sometimes when you are dancing, you do a step in an unusual way that is brilliant and you end up with a new, exciting variation. When you are competing, you have your game plan and you are ready to take the floor. Oops, there is another couple in the way. You have to pause, change plans, redirect, change your amalgamation, even dance a new pattern to follow the etiquette of floorcraft. Mistakes often take on a whole new life and become something altogether magical and fresh.

Exercise: Find someone in your life that has “made it” and ask them what the hardest trial they have ever experienced. Ask them what they learned from that trial and how they became better. I guess the fact of life is that we never truly stop learning and growing in our lives. I’m so lucky, God willing, I will be able to dance, teach, perform and stay a ballroom dancer for the rest of my life; always growing, learning, making some mistakes, and striving for perfection in my life.

Keep on Dancing!

David Woodbury