I’m Thankful 11-26-15

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No 48. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Thursday, November 26, 2015

I’m Thankful

I’m thankful that I’m sitting here in the Arthur Murray Dance Center of Santa Monica. We drove by St. Monica Parish tonight where 1000+ were served a hot dinner, and were taken to the “Boutique” for a full set of new clothes, all donated from our church. I’m so thankful I have a warm home to go to tonight for it is in the 40’s here in Santa Monica tonight. I pray for those without a home tonight.

I’m thankful that I found my parish of 27 years, St. Monica. I’m thankful that I walked up to a great man, Dan Schwala, 14 years ago and said “May I help?” and Dan put me to work. Thank you Dan! Thank God for giving me the good sense to find the miracle of service, leadership and volunteering to help others.

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Thankful for my wonderful parents, my dad the hero of my life and my mother the precious soul who I call to every day for guidance. The other part of the “trinity” in heaven, Jim Byrd, who was such a wonderful friend and partner and generous person. Jim always said “It will get better”, and it does. Thanks to my brother and two precious sisters and their families!

Now, I’m married to Joel Rieck, the kindest and nicest person I have ever known, next to my dear mother. Thank goodness I was in a good place in my life to have met Joel. I trust him with my life, business, and with my future.

I’m thankful for my 40 years with the world famous Arthur Murray organization. For Helen and Vadim Logvinov who first believed in me, also the great DeBeves who mentored me and shaped my skills and dancing. For the believers at Arthur Murray International who have always supported me. My coaches and especially Wenche Sevick, who guided my dancing. To the many others, I’m thankful for you all.

For the desire to write and read, I’m grateful for all my mentors who helped me with my love of books. Now, I have a strong burning desire to write and to become a world-class speaker. I feel electricity flow through me when I speak and I hope that the spirit of life flows through me as I share with others.

I’m thankful for my business partner, Gabriela Young, who inspired Joel and me to join together in this great journey of being franchisees.

I’m thankful that I love to cook and keep a house. My ample figure will show you how good a cook I am and yes, it is a passion for me.

For the great love of music, from Gospel to Opera, I love it all. Possessed by the love of music, I enjoy each day’s blessing of music.

For the smarts to be surrounded by great people. Our Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, Laurel Rosen and the many leaders in our Chamber. The great leaders in our City who I am delighted to know and serve with. Thanks to you all.

The list of why I have an attitude of gratitude is very long. For my health, the funds to live and have a good life, the geek part of me who loves electronics and science fiction and time travel.

After my faith and fantastic family, thanks to the wonderful friends who will be my friends through eternity. Thanks for forgiving me and helping round out my rough edges.

Yes, this is a great time to give thanks, and say to you reading this, thank you for your love and support. May God richly bless you and guide you in your life. If you every need a helping hand, like Diana Ross said, “If you need me call me, no matter where you are, no matter how far. I’ll be there in a hurry, and that you can depend and never worry”.

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Ok, I’ll wipe off my tears and get back to work and start counting another year’s worth of blessings.

Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury


Perseverance, Experience, Caution and Hope 11-20-15

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No 46. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury
Friday, November 20, 2015

Perseverance, Experience, Caution and Hope
“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

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.

Stay with it. Don’t give up. Life will never be easy. If your life is easy, it’s some else’s toil that is making your days tranquil and languid. Buckle up and get to work!


Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. -Steve Jobs

After 40 years of dancing and teaching, I love sharing the love and knowledge of dancing. Do I know it all? A big no to that. In fact, I am still humbled by my dancing mentors and teachers. Yet, I have my own gift. You can dance for me and I can fix you in just a few minutes and give you an easy way to remember the dancing key I gave you. Not only am I gifted at this, I love every minute of it. Teaching with laugher and joy is the best ways to have others learn from you.

Wondering what it would be like to be a “senior” instructor, I have learned that I love it as much as my students. Having an older body, I love and respect what dancing does for my health and my muscles. Dancing keeps me young and laughing every day. Also, I am surrounded by young people every day which keeps me from getting old and crotchet!


In 2010 I slipped and shattered my left shoulder. It was just a terrible and catastrophic fall. I broke off and cracked my shoulder into a million pieces. I now have a new shoulder from UCLA and it works like a charm. Do I feel it? Yes, every day. It never goes away. And now I am cautious about what I do, how I walk, and where I go. This caution has been a good thing for me. First, I’m not such a jerk anymore. With an injury comes humility. Now I truly listen to my students who hurt and have physical problems. Caution is a good thing. Don’t have an accident to learn it.


Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality. – Jonas Salk

Have you ever lost hope? Have you ever lost your mojo and lost your groove? Has there ever been a time in your life where you could not see clearly? Lost in the dark night of the soul? I’ve experienced all of that. I’ve had it all, lost it all, gotten it all back, and now am focused on a life of service to others. Do I have hope now, yes, abundantly yes!

I love this King James Version of this scripture:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” King James Version

Faith is the realization of what we have hoped for, the realization of what was not seen and now is. I’ve had a lot of faith that things would get better, the vision to see the end result, and the good sense to see and live in the moment of hope realized. Don’t fuss at someone when they say “I hope so”. Encourage them. You may need a little bit of their hope in the future yourself.

A very good friend of my, Jim Byrd, said to me years ago, “It will get better”. He knew that these words would get me through losing him and would give me the courage and hope to go on with my life. So today, I say to others all the time, “It will get better”. And it does get better.

Perseverance, experience, caution and hope. Learn them, experience them, and love them.

David Woodbury
Keep on Dancing!

The Four Cornerstones of Character 11-13-15

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No 45. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Four Cornerstones of Character

“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

Why do we go through so many tests? It seems that from the moment we awaken, to the moment get to sleep we have problems. The toilet breaks. The insurance payment did not go through. The dryer breaks. You have a leak over your office at work. You have a flat and you’re late to an appointment. Why Why Why?

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For me, it’s all a test of character. I’m impatient and I have a very short fuse. Life is always throwing me under the bus and I seem to always meet those who are pushing my “go off on you button”. And you know what? I don’t go off. I don’t get upset. I don’t say the foolish words that first come to my mind. I breathe and think before speaking. Getting older and wiser I bet!

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Initiative: Be a self-starter. Be the first one to raise your hand and say “Yes, I’ll do that for you”. Be the one in the front row and volunteer for that job that you know nothing about and become an expert in a new field. Read a book about a problem and give a talk on it. Write an article on something you know little about and study until you are wise in that area. Be the first, be the best. Step up. Raise that hand high and speak up and say “Here I am…Use me!”


Imagination: Yes, you can do what you’re dreaming about. Yes, you can fulfill your hopes and desires. Yes, you can start a new life, begin to dance, sing, and perform in front of hundreds of people. Dream and act on your vision in life. Become deaf to those who are telling you can’t do something just about the time you are completing your task.


Individuality: Well, I just want to be unforgettable. I’m a handful and what comes out of my mouth sometimes stops other in their tracks, but usually we are all laughing so hard that I’m forgiven being so brash. Be who you have to be, without hurting anyone else, and go make a difference in the world. For me, you love me or you don’t. You’ll remember me one way or the other. Even your enemies can become good friends at some point in your life.


Independence: I don’t need anybody, yet I need everybody. I don’t want anyone’s help, but I need help all the time. I’m on my own, yet surrounded by guides and mentors. I can get the job done by myself and don’t need you to get me through, yet I’m helpless without some collaboration. Don’t be afraid of being independent. There are so few leaders, you’ll always feel a little lonely at the top, but go there anyway. If you are waiting for that phone to ring and the opportunity of a lifetime to be offered to you, you are dreaming my friend. Go out there and make that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity happen on your own. Knock on doors and don’t take no for an answer until you conquer your world.

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“Shallow men believe in luck, believe in circumstances — it was somebody’s name, or he happened to be there at the time, or it was so then, and another day would have been otherwise. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) American Poet and Essayist

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“I have fought: that is much. Victory is in the hands of fate. Be that as it may with me, at least future ages will not deny of me, be the victor who it may – that I did not fear to die, yielded to none of my fellows in constancy, and preferred a spirited death to a cowardly life. (These were the final words of Giordano Bruno (1548-1600), an Italian philosopher who refused to recant his beliefs when being tried by the Inquisition.)”- Giordano Bruno

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“Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do this or that. That’s nonsense. Make up your mind. Go anywhere you want to. But never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible. – Sir Douglas Bader was a British fighter pilot who lost both legs in a flying accident, but still fought in World War Two. He was knighted for his work with the disabled, and the quote above is from his talk to a 14-year-old boy who had lost a leg in a car accident.”- Sir Douglas Bader (1910 – 1982) British Aviator

David Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!






Finding that Bit of Magic 11-6-15

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No 45. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury
Friday, November 6, 2015

Finding that Bit of Magic
“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

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What happens when you wake up in the morning? Where does your mind go? What thoughts fill your consciousness and soul? For me, many things happen. I awaken with excited hope sometimes. Some mornings have been filled with a horrible dread. Having to bury a loved one, and then awakening the day after that burial with the knowledge of what just happened.

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Many mornings I awaken with my mantra “I am filled with light and love”. I imagine that light is flowing through my body. My spiritual vision shows me taking my heart out of my body and giving it a good wash, sometimes a shake, sometimes pulling out pieces of black glass out that have cut into my heart. Some days, I pound my heart against the rocks and let the stream from the waters of life wash my heart. I give is a good shimmy shake and then put my healed and clean heart back into my body.

There are some mornings I awaken with a headache and have to flood my head with light and I focus on healing water flowing through me. I have also taken my brain and given it a good scrub as well and put back a clean mind into my body before awakening. Generally, I just let bright energy flow through me, sometimes for an hour, then I get up and greet the morning in peace and with joy.

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There are going to be mornings when we need a bit of that magic. There will be the morning when you are going to get married. The day you will be on national television and millions of people will see you dancing. You may have that day you have to put down a beloved pet who has been your companion for many, many years. The horrible day you have to run a funeral as you say goodbye to your other half. The day when you sign a new lease and start a business, buy a new house, purchase a car, go to court, have major surgery, fly to Paris, take a week in Hawaii.

No matter what, we awaken and greet the day knowing that as night follows day, as darkness leads to light, time will march on and we will live though that day to see another. Sometimes when I am so busy, and have so much happening, I see people walking around who are obviously on vacation or on their day off. They are so relaxed, happy, without a care and I have to remember when I am on vacation, I see others who are working as I am, and I think, for everyone there is a season and we all live to see another day together.

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Find that bit of magic in your life. Hold on to it. Water it. Prune it. Tell others about it. Share it. Take out a loan on it. Invest it. But no matter what you do, don’t ignore that magic. Some people never find it. Some people kill it. Some people take that magic and build Disneyland from it. No matter what amount of magic you have, cherish it.

When I am teaching an Arthur Murray Dance Lesson, I always say to my student how much I love teaching them. Then I say to them that teaching and dancing with them is by far the best part of my day. I believe that when you dance time stops. You stop aging. Nothing on your body hurts and you are young, happy and healthy. When you continue to dance the clock turns back and you start getting younger again. I truly believe this. Perhaps that’s the bit of magic in my own Arthur Murray life!

David Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!