Grow by Brave Reflection 1-1-16

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No 53. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, January 1, 2016

Grow by Brave Reflection!

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“I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.”- Thomas Paine (1737-1809) British-American Writer

What happened to the holidays and 2015? It seems as if just yesterday we were taking Christmas Eve off for mass. Joel and I served the 4 PM, 6 PM, were Co-Team Leaders of the 9 PM, and we served the Midnight in the Church. Plus, we walked to and from the campus. We did a little bit of everything that night. We directed traffic on Lincoln, had dinner in the rectory, said “Merry Christmas” to hundreds of guests, and we heard the best Christmas music in the world with four different choirs and cantors. What a great night.

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Christmas Day was quiet and peaceful. The next thing I knew, it was Saturday night and I was getting ready for Sunday’s Mass. Then, I was preparing for my return to the studio. Wow, time flies!

This reflection shows me that time passes quickly and we should make the most of our lives, while we have them. A poison to me is apathy. I asked someone recently how their Christmas was and they shrugged their shoulders and said “naaaah” with a frown. The response still saddens me, for I had the best Christmas of my life, and I’m still excited over it. Take joy from life, then share it with others. Don’t share the “grumpy” part of life, share the excitement and thrill of life.

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“Despite some of the horrors and barbarisms of modern life which appall and grieve us, life has – or has the potential of – such richness, joy and adventure as were unknown to our ancestors except in their dreams.”- Arthur Holly Compton (1892 – 1962) American Physicist

We can live the dream today that in the past others could only imagine. We are surrounded by the richness of life; we just have to embrace it.

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Are you afraid of making mistakes? I make mistakes every day. Usually it is my big mouth and the words that come out of it that trips me up daily. Controlling my tongue is my greatest challenge. Yet, I plan living my life as a presenter, trainer and speaker. The price for this goal will be to master what I think first, then govern the words that come from my heart to other’s ears. Yes, life is an experiment to see if we are able to achieve our great potential.

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” – Moliere (Jean Baptiste Poquelin) (1622 – 1673)

On this, the first day of 2016, write out a dream list of what you will do this year. Tell others about it. Choose tough goals and plan how you will achieve them. I think that 2016 is your year. My word for this year is “Unforgettable”. I want to be remembered for the service given and the lives that were changed. A big goal yes, but a goal of a lifetime for me. Live in the glory and have a great year!

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Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury

What is your Word for 2016?

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No 52. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury
Friday, December 26, 2015

What is your word for 2016?

One of our dancers and our friend, Erin Deviny, introduced me to this concept of finding your word for the year. Her word for 2015 was “Unparalleled” and for 2016 is “Risk”. Such powerful words! They go with empowered, growth, release, exploration. Erin loves words and I was just drinking in her message as she is preparing her positive attitude for the new year.
Erin also gave me an alternative for the New Year’s Resolution. Take a big glass jar and write down all the wonderful thing that happen to you during the year. Save them, and read them at the end of the year. What an amazing thought. New Year’s Resolutions are great, but sometimes tough to keep. Remembering the wonderful things that happen all year and reading those on your next New Year’s eve. Now that’s exciting!

What’s my word? Guess what? It’s “Unforgettable”. Just as Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole sang:
In Every Way,
And Forever More
That’s How You’ll Stay.

Why Unforgettable for 2016? Well, I want to leave a legacy of giving service to others. Leave a legacy of
helping to change lives. Leave a legacy to those who don’t think that they can make it, and show them that they can make it in their lives. That “having it all” sometimes means helping others to “have it all” in their lives. As it is said, you can have everything you want in your life as long as you help other have what they want in their lives.

What will be your word for 2016? Prepared – Excited – Empowered – Healthy – Successful – Mentoring – Live-Changer – Incredible? What is your theme for the new year?

To be unforgettable, I have to get out there and let others know first how truly great they are and the amazing potential for greatness that they have locked inside of themselves. I have unlocked my own greatness box and I’m trying to hang on as the new life flows out. What is the fuel for all of this energy…the desire to give direction to others and to help them grow in their lives.

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Do I know how to do everything? Well, to be honest, no. I know a few things in my life and I do them quite well. But for the things I cannot do, I have surrounded myself with the most amazing friends, leaders and mentors who can do the things I cannot, and we share our gifts with one another.

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Do I have fear of failure? As a blogger and writer and speaker, I’m supposed to say “No”, but I do have fears of failure. I usually don’t fail because I’m moving forward so fast in my life trying to accomplish great things daily. If I can create some magic each day, motivate someone, get and share a great idea, or just check off a few important items daily, I’m happy. Daily I’m moving forward in my life, living my dream.

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Exercise: Take a piece of paper, or your computer, tablet, cell, or Etch a Sketch and write down a few words. It’s OK to write anything that comes to mind. It does not all have to pie in the sky stuff. But I want you to write down some life altering thoughts as well. Put this list under your pillow and sleep on it. Then wake up and choose a word for your year of 2016!

Then, find a memory jar, or a file box, or daily journal or blog, and write down the wonderful things in your life that happen each day. Put your word-for-the-year on the outside of your memory jar and think about it daily. Then, at the end of the year, pull out your thoughts and have a cup of tea and fill your heart and mind and soul with the beautiful experiences of your 2016. Have a peaceful and safe and Happy Holiday everyone!

David Woodbury
Keep on Dancing!

I Praise Loudly, I Blame Softly 12-18-15

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No 51. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, December 18, 2015

“I praise loudly; I blame softly.” – Catherine the Second (1729 – 1796) Russian Empress

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During the holidays, we are all running crazy with 18 hour days, many fun get togethers, and holiday parties. We have gifts to purchase and wrap, cards to send and open. We have great dinners to experience with friends, special parties at work and with those we call friends. Yes, it is a festive time.

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Sometimes the holidays cause a bit of stress and things may go askew. We may even have some short fuses when it comes to the mail, traffic, restaurants, shopping and getting around during the holidays. It’s this time of year I try to remember to give lots of praise and little blame. To say hearty thank yous to those around me and try to have a pleasant and genuine smile. In fact, I find that keeping that smile alive is one of the most essential ingredients for me in sharing a happy holiday with others.

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“The manner in which it is given is worth more than the gift.”- Pierre Corneille (1606-1684) French Playwright

Every year at this time I am determined to send out all my Christmas cards and mail my gifts and have a great Arthur Murray Christmas at the studio. The house must be festive and I love seeing the magic of Christmas all around me. What I have learned is that how I deliver this cheer is the most important part of the giving. Am I relaxed, peaceful, at ease, not in a hurry as I do this wonderful giving? Do others truly feel the love and the spirit of the giving? Yes my reader, this is what I am trying to master this holiday season.

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A few years ago during Christmas I was truly broken. I had sold my business, my life partner had died in my arms, my mother was gone and my dad and just gone to be with her after Thanksgiving. I was lost, in the dark night of the soul and alone. It was the hardest time of my entire life and I was desperate.

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One day at mass, I went up to a man who looked as if he was in charge and said to him “May I help you?”. That man, Dan Schwala, gave me a stack of bulletins and said, “Stand here and greet people as they leave.” Well, I did that, and continued greeting people, for 14 years! That Christmas, I served with Dan for 11 Masses and handed out a LOT of Christmas bulletins.

Guess what happened to me? I, who was the saddest person on the planet, became very happy. Having lost my life and purpose, I suddenly saw that others were also sad, and that my smile and my cheerful Merry Christmas made a lot of people smile. Suddenly, I was not the unhappy person and I awakened to the fact that OTHERS needed love and encouragement. Well, I was healed! That “sad” Christmas turned out to be a life-changing time for me and was a glorious Christmas.

Now, years later, I’m still serving and saying “Merry Christmas” to hundreds of guests at many masses. I cannot do the 11 masses anymore, my feet only allow me to stand for about 8-9 hours, while also walking to and from church so we don’t take up a parking spot. Helping so many others have a great experience has become so much more important to me than “receiving a gift” and worrying about the holidays. Giving of time and leadership is now my Christmas present to myself and to my community.

Daddy was so good to share this story with. He loved people and serving others. Only now, at 59, do I truly understand Mr. Woodbury and what a great man of service he was. I am becoming my dad not and am full of the desire to give back as he did so generously.

“Nothing can resist a will which will stake even existence upon its fulfillment.”- Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) British Prime Minister

Yes, I am determined no matter what the cost to continue on this path and I know that it is my only hope in life now to find happiness and joy. All has been given to me, and now I must give back to others.

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“It is only as a man puts off from himself all external support, and stands alone, that I see him to be strong and to prevail.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) American Poet and Essayist

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Stand up this holiday season and know what is your greatest gift to give to others. Be strong and determined in your goals and move forward doing what you are called to do, giving what you are called to give. You will have a life full of riches beyond belief, have everything you need every day in your life, and you will find peace of mind in this fast-paced world of ours. Be true to your calling and go out there and change lives!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Keep on Dancing!

Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury


“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” 12-11-15

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No 50. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, December 11, 2015

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” – Moliere (Jean Baptiste Poquelin) (1622 – 1673) French Playwright

Is life just hard for you sometimes? Do you get thrown a curve now and then? What do you do, what do you say?

I don’t like the rough times. They make me sick. Last night I was up ALL night from illness due to a crucial conversation. I had to be up by 6 AM, so being sick as a dog and then having an 18-hour day afterwards is a challenge.

So, what did I do to overcome this “obstacle” that made me so ill. First, since I was Team Leader for mass this morning, I just went right to the alter and prayed and turned it all over to the Lord, and still prayed some more. Then, I served. I got busy and helped others and pulled myself up through serving the needs of others. After that I was busy all day.

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“The force is within you. Force yourself.” – Harrison Ford (1942-) American Actor

Get this, to make things even more interesting for today, I cycled to work, cycled to and from a Chamber event, and I’m seeing my Santa Monica Breeze rental bike outside ready to take me home tonight. Nothing will help you get over a trial than some fresh air and exercise. Before I knew it, and after a few blessed emails, the day had changed into a glorious day in my life.

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“The greatest achievement of the human spirit is to live up to one’s opportunities, and to make the most of one’s resources.” – Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues(1715 – 1747) French Essayist

I forgot to mention that today I also had the honor of mentoring a Chamber member and just releasing all the best knowledge that I could conceive of, hoping to change her life for the better. Just that on its own made my day a blessed day.

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“Aerodynamically a bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway.” – Mary Kay Ash (1915 – 2001) American Businesswoman, founder Mary Kay Cosmetics

If you look at me you don’t think I can dance, much less ride a bike all over town. To be a motivator, you would never know that I have overcome so many emotional trials in my life. Today, I stand on the shoulders of the service given and motivation of others. I think this, if I can make it, anyone can make it. How could I ever throw the first stone and judge someone else? How could I hold grudges? I just let go. Remember, being angry at someone is just like you drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Anger does not make any sense to me.

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Do you try to avoid troubles and sometimes cocoon yourself into a safety zone? Do you miss opportunities because they might be hard? Remember that gold is refined by fire for purity, and diamonds are created through unspeakable pressure and heat. By successfully getting through the trials of life, we are refined and purified. We are made into life’s heroes.

“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

Stand up and face your trials. It’s frightening and will scare the bones out of you, but do it anyway. Stand up and face your challenges. When someone asks for help, raise your hand and say, “I’ll do it”. Be the first to take a chance and be the leader. Make it a life habit and you’ll find that you are always in the front row as a leader, a mentor, a guiding light to others. And guess what, your life will be great!

Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

Achievement vs Success 12-4-15

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No 49. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, December 4, 2015

Achievement vs. Success

“My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She said that achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is within you. Success is being praised by others. That is nice but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about success.”- Helen Hayes 1900-1993) American Stage/Film Actress

All my life I have wanted to be a success. A star. The best of the bunch. The leader in every area. I wanted to have be most, be the most and be at the top of the ladder. Success was all I strived to do.

“The important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part. The essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.” – Baron de Coubertin, The Olympic Creed

Yes, now in my life I still want to be the winner, and I love being a winner. At 59 I also know the value of taking part and fighting the game and fighting well.

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“Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall, and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight on to the end.”- Earl Douglas Haig (1861-1928) British General and Commander of the Expeditionary Force in World War I

As we strive for our winning position in life, perhaps we meet with challenges that test the core of our being. We set up our “perfect life” and then the walls of Jericho come tumbling down around us. Have you ever been just sure that everything was right, then suddenly everything around you changed? Have you experienced everything in your life going right, everything going wrong? I hate to tell you this, but that’s normal life. Change is the one true thing we may depend on in our lives.

“It doesn’t matter how often you get knocked down; what matters is how often you get back up.” – Vince Lombardi (1913 – 1970)American Football Coach

How do I cope with all the changes that come my way? Humor has been a been factor for me in these post years. Don’t think I don’t have my share of tears. I’m good for a cry daily. But I am laughing more every day. It’s a medicine for the soul. It makes me look on the bright side of life.

“Humor is an affirmation of dignity, a declaration of man’s superiority to all that befalls him.” – Romain Gary (1914-1980) French Writer

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My life now consists of constantly thinking about the many, many opportunities that I have in my life. To serve at St. Monica Church, to write motivational material and to speak to uplift others. How to raise money for kids through dance and music? Supporting our Chamber and local businesses. Keeping a great home and a beautiful love life. Honoring my family and friends. Being a mentor and guiding others to be the best in their lives. Mistakes are now met with a huge laugh and then moving on. I need all my energy to be positive for the great things in my life. Oh by the way, all this is full of great Arthur Murray Dancing!

What I think of comes to pass in my life. I watch the thoughts that enter and have border control for my mind. You must have a purpose to enter and a reason to stay if you are a thought coming through my brain. I don’t want the negative thoughts and I have seen how this behavior destroy others. Remember anger is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. It’s not worth it. Just let go and move on!

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind.” – William James (1842 – 1910) American Philosopher and Psychologist

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Have a bit of courage in your life. Take a chance. Have a mentor or two check your actions and remember to ask lots of questions along the way. Make sure you only ask champions and friends of light and hope to help guide your way. And remember to GIVE BACK after you receive. Blessings are like produce, if you don’t share them they will perish and spoil. Be of a good heart and do as my mother always said, “Keep a little song in your heart!”

David Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!