Optimism is Essential – February 26, 2016

2016-02-06 21.02.09

No 9 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, February 27, 2016

Optimism is Essential…

“Optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress.” – Nicholas Murray Butler

Everywhere around us we are met with challenges. Even those who seem to ‘have it all’ have obstacles that they must overcome. Never envy the other person, or you might have to walk in their shoes. Some days my ‘opportunities’ seem never-ending and courage seems to flee from me, yet time marches on and I make it through my encounters. Perhaps optimism is just us going on and doing our best every day. Perhaps the prize goes to the brave souls who go the whole distance.

“Give us, O give us, the man who sings at his work! Be his occupation what it may, he is equal to any of those who follow the same pursuit in silent sullenness. He will do more in the same time — he will do it better, he will persevere longer. One is scarcely sensible of fatigue whilst he marches (dances) to music.” – Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish Writer

All my over 40 years with Arthur Murray, I have seen the best workers in the world. Dancers who just love every aspect of their lives. An unparalleled work ethic that is humbling to the average person. Dancers who come in early, practice late, get a day’s worth of choreography done in an hour. They are too busy to feel fatigue and the joy of dancing replenishes their spirits. What is truly amazing are my teachers who have had the same work ethic for many, many decades and continue strong after a half century of devotion to dance. They are unstoppable.

“I don’t like work… but I like what is in work — the chance to find yourself. Your own reality — for yourself, not for others — which no other man can ever know.” – Joseph Conrad

Perhaps no one truly loves working a 12 to 14-hour day, week in and week out, but no one ever thinks of their doctor working 3 day shifts, your accountant sleeping 2-3 hours a night in April, the driver who is guiding your tour bus overnight, or the pilot who is flying you across the world on a 14-hour flight. It must be the reward of the job well done, the feeling of accomplishment, or the fact that they truly find their best selves in their works each day. They truly know their champion selves for they see the fruits of their well-earned labor weekly, sometimes daily.

Optimism is not a gift, it is a habit gained through actions, positive actions. We’ll never understand a sunrise until we have gone through a dark night. We’ll never truly appreciate a rest until we have spent our energies in a longtime endeavor. I chose to have optimism. I chose to be positive. I chose to not give up.

Just like ballroom dancing, we get out of it what we put into it. The practice, perseverance, preparation, and patience are habits that make us champions. Any champion who is at the top has overcome failure, disappointment, and defeat. The reason they are superstars is that every setback only made them better and stronger. Live in the moment and remember “it will get better”.

Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com (email me if you like this blog)

“What Lies Within Us” 2-19-16

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No 8 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, February 19, 2016

What Lies Within Us

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I just love to watch ballroom dancing. Young, old, professional, amateur, championships, solos, I love it all. I especially loved to judge dance competitions. You get to stand on the floor and see the dancers dance past inches from where you are standing. You can hear them, smell their perfumes, smile at them, sometimes even speak with them. But not matter how you watch, you become one with the dancers and the dance floor.

Being so close to the dancers gives you the ability to truly see the inner dancer. You get to see the dancers with floor craft and perfect dance habits. You admire the men who never have their ladies bumped into, and they never use their partners as human ram rods. They follow the most polite rules of the floor and moving with the other dancers.

You also see the couples who are fighting and not getting along. Or, you may see some under-rehearsed dancing. When you are judging a competition, you immediately see the first place couples early in the game. In fact, you find the final 6 couples pretty quickly. As the quarter finals turn into the simi finals, you see the first place and top 6 always looking polished and well-rehearsed. They shine!

Funny thing, when you get to the final, you see the couple who has done rounds to build stamina very quickly. They do not look tired and seem full of life and energy. You see the couple who has “paid the price” of success and has not cheated on practice and physical preparation. When that perfect first place couple wins, it’s amazing how elegant they are with perfect respect and humility with the other dancers. They are lovely on and off the floor and exude the joy of dance.

“We can often do more for other men by trying to correct our own faults than by trying to correct theirs.”- Francois Fenelon (1651-1715) French Roman Catholic Theologian

The championship couple, professional or amateur, is always directing their criticism to their own dancing and they are continuously looking for self-improvement. They immediately read their scores and anxiously await the feedback from their coaches on their performance. They study their videos and are in a relentless pursuit of perfections through daily practice and preparation.

“Nothing will sustain you more potently than the power to recognize in your humdrum routine, as perhaps it may be thought, the true poetry of life.” – Sir William Osler (1849-1919) Canadian Physician

You can bet money that the most common denominator of all champion dance couples is the amount of practice time they share. They practice without fail, several hours a day. They take many lessons, study fitness and nutrition and they meditate. They listen to advice and their best friends are other champions and champion coaches. They know they true poetry of their dance lives is the humdrum routine of practice, practice, and more practice.

“We shall not flag or fail. We shall fight in France, we shall fight in the seas or oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender. – speaking in the House of Commons on British resistance to the Nazis, June 1940” – Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British Politician

Sir Winston Churchill pluck and daring kept the British spirit alive during WWII. His statement “we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength” burns in my heart. Do I have this will to fight within me? Do I have the faith to never surrender? By myself, no. But with the circle of champions around me, yes, I will make it. With the leaders and mentors that circle my every day, I will make it. In dancing, in business, in service, in faith, in family, in home life. In all areas, I will succeed because I know that little spark that lies within me will never go out.

Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com (email me if you like this blog)

A Spark of Heavenly Fire 2-12-16

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No 7. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, February 12, 2016

A Spark of Heavenly Fire

“There is in every true woman’s heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.” – Washington Irving (1783-1859) American Writer

Steve and Georgetta TOC 2016

For 40 years I have been associated with, guided by, taught by, led by, worked for, and mentored by some of the strongest women in the world. These women are amazing leaders and full of light and vision. They have guided my life and directed me forward into my current amazing life. Thank you my wonderful life-changing ladies! I love you all!

Mr. Kimmins TOC 2016

“Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he’s been given.” – Anton Chekhov (1860 – 1904) Russian Dramatist and Writer

Steve and Georgetta TOC 2016

Chekhov had it right for me because I feel empowered, full of power to create, yet each day I feel the spark of heavenly fire that helps me to grow and renew my strength daily.

Area 7 Santa Monica TOC

“The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress.” – Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French Philosopher

East Meets West TOC 2016

Not every day is a victory day for me. Especially during this season of Lent, I am award of my shortcomings and am aware of where I need to improve in my life. The progress I feel is the most important part of Lent for me. Just get a little bit better each day and don’t go backwards into the old ways.

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“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle

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When in my old life I was a 100% Choleric personality, I met someone who was 100% a Sanguine personality. He was always up, friendly and happy. It dawned on me that he was, every day, practicing the Habit of Happiness. He was choosing to be happy in his life.

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Now, I am a retired Choleric. It’s not good for the heart to always be right (in your own mind) and always upset when things aren’t going your way. As a Chosen Sanguine, I find myself laughing rather than being so cross and “right” all the time. My “spark of heavenly fire” often gets snuffed out when I do not let joy and happiness take me over.

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Whether or not you are observing these 40 days of Lent, or just trying to be a better person daily, try this. Cultivate that “spark of heavenly fire” in your life and share it with others. Just see how you too will become a “chosen Sanguine” in your own life!

Check this out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_temperaments.


Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com (email me if you like this blog)

Miserably Fail or Gloriously Conquer! 2-5-16

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No 6. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, February 5, 2016

Miserably Fail or Gloriously Conquer!

“Some day, in years to come, you will be wrestling with the great temptation, or trembling under the great sorrow of your life. But the real struggle is here, now, in these quiet weeks. Now it is being decided whether, in the day of your supreme sorrow or temptation, you shall miserably fail or gloriously conquer. Character cannot be made except by a steady, long continued process.”- Phillips Brooks (1835 – 1893) American Bishop

Well, wouldn’t you just love it if everything always just worked out. If everyone would just agree with you and do it your way. Then everything would just be perfect. We’d have our way all the time, no one would every question us or argue with us and we would always have the final word.

Ok, get a grip. This will never happen. You might be the one in charge, have the original idea, be the butcher, baker, and the candlestick maker, but you will not be immune to change, and even at times failure of your original plans. A Sherpas will tell you that the only way to get to the top of Mt. Everest is to plan on everything that can go wrong to go wrong. The guides always plan on the worst possible of conditions, and even so, many perish on the path to the top.

Getting to the top of your own Mt. Everest may be the most challenging and long continues process of your life. For me, it will be the rest of my life. I’m just not going to retire and sit at home watching TV for the rest of my days. I want to wear out, not rust out. Also, I’ve too much to learn about people and life to stop now. Sometimes I just feel as if I don’t know ANYTHING about life and what to do.

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?” – Robert Browning

“They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.” – Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626) English Philosopher, Lawyer and Politician

I have a detractor in my life who is always saying everything I’m doing is at the wrong time. So frustrating to not have them believe in me. When the heck is the right time to do something? And to my amazement, this person is going along the same, day after day with the same comfort zone as I’m feeling like a ping pong ball in the game of life. I think that today is the right time to get started and to begin living a dream. I outreach my grasp every day. My saving grace is that in my sea of life, I only envision the new land that is ahead for me.

“Who would have ever heard of Theodore Roosevelt outside of his immediate community if he had only half committed himself to what he had undertaken, if he had brought only a part of himself to his task? The great secret of his career has been that he has flung his whole life, not a part of it, with all the determination and energy and power he could muster, into everything he has undertaken. No dillydallying, no faint-hearted efforts, no lukewarm purpose for him!” – Orison Sweet Marden (1850 – 1924) American Editor and Speaker

This quote means everything to me. Daily, I am flinging my whole life with all my determination and energy and power into everything that I am undertaking. It costs me my health, wealth, peace of mind, sleep, friendships, and challenges the very core of my being. But I am not going out with a whimper. I’m moving forward with a shout of triumph. (Listen to Brahms Song of Triumph – this is the sound of what I feel daily!)

With every struggle, I grow stronger. Every challenge, I become a better may. I will not quit. I will not give up. I will achieve my dreams!

Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com (email me if you like this blog)