06 2-9-18 Our best use of Time!

2018-02-08 07.55.09

No 06 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, February 9, 2018

Our best use of Time!

“We have failed to recognize our one great asset: time. A conscientous use of it could make us into something quite amazing.”

– Friedrich Schiller (1759 – 1805) German poet, philosopher, physician, historian, and playwright

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The mastery of time for me comes through dancing. I’m 61. After 42 years of ballroom dancing my body hurts at times. Feet, back, shoulders. But when I am actually dancing, time stands still. When I dance I am healthy and my body does not hurt. When I’m dancing I do not age. Get this, I believe that when we continue to dance, that time reverses and we get younger. We become our best selves. We are young, slender, healthy, agile and happy again.

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When you dance, not only does time stand still, but you are in the moment. Not worrying about tomorrow, what happened yesterday, where you are going after you finish dancing today. Dancing frees us from our cell phones, our computers, our calendars, our obligations, our fears, our failures and even the pressures of success.

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When I was in my early 20’s and a new professional ballroom competitor, I would teach many students who were 30 to 50 years older than I was. They were accomplished, lovely dancers and beautiful people. Yet, I often heard them talk about their bodies. Fatigue, leg pain at night, surgeries, emotional challenges, family situations and just feeling “old” sometimes. Then, I remember how they were when they danced. They were healthy, happy, and complete. The pain of loss, separated families, illness, depression, and all worries would disappear when they danced.

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Because I was young and invincible, I did not pay much attention to all that, I just kept their words in my heart. I just kept saying “Dance Harder!” Well now, after many surgeries, loss of partner, parents and friends, fatigue, and many challenges of my own, I recall their words. I am really now just like an Arthur Murray Student. When I teach a personal session, it is the happiest time of my day. I experience laughter, freedom, joy, and perfect health. I still dance so hard on lessons that even my sox are wet with perspiration!

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Guess what? My students know how much I love the moments dancing with them and teaching them. I often say, “I’m so happy to be dancing with you. I can finally take a break from my work of running the school”. They know that I think that time stands still on those precious moments of our lessons. Many, many, many times I glance at the clock and to my amazement, the lesson time has passed. I often say to my partner “You are time thief. You stole another lesson that went by in a moment!” We always have a great laugh and a hug as we realize our lesson passed in a blink of the eye.

In finishing this message, I realize that I will never be able to dance enough for the rest of my life. In 8 years I will celebrate my 50th year with Arthur Murray. I promise you that I will enjoy every moment until then, for I know I will look back to today, and it will seem but a joyous, beautiful moment in time.

Yes, make good use of your time. Dance. Let time stand still for you. Rediscover your best you and return to your best health and happiness for those precious moments of moving on the dance floor.

A few years ago, a family brought to the studio their great, great grandmother. She was on a walker and seemed very frail. She did not speak English. I asked her great, great granddaughter to ask her if she would like to dance with me. The family immediately started saying No No No and to my great amazement, this frail woman had understood me and she stood up on her own and gave me her hand. We danced a whole song as the family pulled out their cell phone cameras. In my arms for those moments was a young girl, swaying and moving to the music, happy and young again.

At the end, the whole school applauded and the family had tears in their eyes, and the great, great grandmother kissed me on the cheek and gave me a hug. I helped her back to her seat and I was in love. I will never forget that dance. I will never forget that moment. I will never forget that magic use of time, a moment of time that stood still for us both.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

05 2-2-18 The Calamity of Not Dreaming!

No 05 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Calamity of Not Dreaming!

“The tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching your goals, the tragedy lies in not having any goals to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream.”

– Dr. Benjamin Mays (1894 – 1984)

Even to today, I love to dream. I dream of success with all the trimmings and rewards of achieved goals. All around me are post notes and small notebooks and pieces of paper and notations all over my computers and in every calendar I have. These are dreams, ideas, goals, hopes, aspirations, and hope lists filled with every type of idea I can think, see, feel, read, smell and discover.

“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can transform one million realities.”

– Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014) American poet

Sometimes in the middle of all my many, many fantasies, one takes hold and becomes a reality. It is glorious and powerful to see an idea, a dream, a thought turn into a benefit for children, a new dance show, a new dance routine, a book, a lecture, or a life-changing experience. Yes, I am lucky that I am awake to hearing ideas and capturing them in my own feeble way, and I’m able to see them turn into powerful realities in my life and the lives of others.

“Most groups have a potential for greatness that never quite takes off. But every so often the right person comes along who can put together a handful of superb people, set an impossible goal, engage them in a holy war, and let them rip.”

– Jennifer Clark Author of Mondo Agnelli: Fiat, Chrysler, and the Power of a Dynasty

This quote is the heart of this written message. I pray, O God, please make me the type of leader to guide out team to greatness and not to disaster. Please give me the wisdom and discernment to be a great leader that others will want to follow and one that will inspire others. I now have a team of superb people and I hope every day to not mess them up. Wisdom, I need wisdom! We have set our impossible goal and now is the time to make the magic happen!

“If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”

– B.J. Marshall (1951) Australian physician, Nobel Prize laureate in Physiology

 

“At first dreams seem impossible, then improbable, then inevitable.”

– Christopher Reeve (1952 – 2004) American Actor

 

“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

Three great quotes above. First, I am accomplishing a goal every day and am always seeing new visions as I travel down the great highway of life. Second, I know that many of my dreams seem impossible, but after a while I get that feeling deep in my soul that I have to take action, that no matter how hard, I will make my dreams come true. Third, I do live in a fantasy world and that I have not let that gift vanish from my life. Every time I am at the Magic Kingdom at Disneyland, I imagine Walt standing in that empty orange grove in Anaheim with his great dreams. I am amazed what his dreams and fantasies came true and that he never gave up. Walt said that Disneyland would never be finished and it continues to grow, expand and reinvent every year!

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

– Walt Disney (1901 – 1966) American Animator and Film Maker

 

“Your imagination is the preview to life’s coming attractions.”

– Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) German physicist

 

“Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly.”

– Robert Schuller (1926) American Minister, Evangelist

Dream to do the impossible in your life. Remember, many times when you awaken from sleep that your dreams are a map to the future. If you just take a moment upon awakening, you will remember answers to life that you dreamed about. You will remember that you dreamed up a life-changing answer to a problem in your life, or for someone else’s life. Then, let go of fear of messing up. I mess up all the time, but I do succeed a lot as well. We’re all going to make mistakes so we might as well get at it and enjoy the great moments of success! Remember to dream today!

“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach (1947) Author, Speaker, Mom and Philanthropist

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

01 1-5-18 Champions!

No 01 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, January 5, 2018

Champions!

“Champions talk success. Champions know that success is inevitable; That there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. They know that the best way to forecast the future is to create it.” Michael Gelb

 

“A Champion Team will always beat a team of Champions.” John McGrath

 

“True Champions are team players.” Alan Cohen

 

“Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character.” T. Allan Armstrong

 

Guess what? You are a champion for reading this message. You are a champion because you are feeding your mind, soul, heart, and spirit with positive thoughts and inspirational readings. You are a champion because you take the time to grow and expand your life.

 

I once thought that being a champion was having great things happening to me every day, conquering all obstacles in my life, and breaking new records. Yes, all those things are true. But a champion is also someone who shows up and does the work, even the mundane work. It’s easy to go from mountain to mountain of success on a daily basis. But the true champion also knows how to do the small tasks well.

 

It is said to be successful, you should be Visible, be Easy, be Useful and be Ready! I try to do these things daily. I try to be seen, do my tasks with a smile, be ready to offer a helping hand to others, and be prepared for all situations. This is a good formula for life in general.

 

Do you feel like a champion? Try this, go out and give a nice compliment to someone who is not having a good day. Help someone who cannot pay you back. Cheer up a friend or co-worker. Do a good deed for someone who cannot help themselves. Then, I assure you, you’ll feel like a champion and feel happy inside.

 

“Keep a Little Song in your Heart!” J. Clair Woodbury

 

Thanks for reading!

 

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

 

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

No 51 12-22-17 “I Love the Holidays”

No 51 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, December 22, 2017

I Love the Holidays!

We put up our Christmas tree Thanksgiving Day. Sent out our cards the next day. We knew that we would dance almost every day from then to Christmas Eve. Guess what? The days have been glorious. We have danced at many Arthur Murray Balls with hundreds of guest in attendance. We have participated in competitions, shows, graduations, dinners, celebrations and even our staff Marathon Day and staff party.

Our school has just won first place in our division for the international Tournament of Champions. Many months of preparation, many weeks of great lessons, groups, parties and events. We came out first place thanks to our great staff and wonderful students.

As for music, I have listened to hours and hours of Christmas music. I discovered the YouTube Christmas channels and my heart is in a constant state of singing. Music is life to me and these holidays have been full of all the classics, and even some new tunes! My mom, J. Clair, always said “Keep a little song in your heart!”

As for dancing, a lot of people have a very hard time during the holidays. With Arthur Murray I have the privilege of dancing through the entire season. It is an elixir to the blues, depression, loneliness, heartache, and stress. Now for 42 years I have danced through to the year’s end with great joy and happiness. I am the luckiest guy on the planet!

As for presents, Joel and I have a tradition. We serve at Christmas instead of giving presents. That means we are Hospitality Ministers at St. Monica Parish in Santa Monica. This year, because it is Sunday, we have 11 masses on the 24th. We will be serving the 7:30 AM, then return for the 6, 8, and 10 PM masses. It is glorious. We are Team Leaders for two of the four we are serving. We help organize our teams and say “Merry Christmas” hundreds of time to many, many smiling faces. We walk to and from mass and it is a magical experience from beginning to end.

It’s almost that special day of Christmas, and I have been happy the whole season. No time for the blues or feeling down. Just enough time to get to the next event, rest and eat a bit in front of the Christmas tree with Joel and the kitties, and lots and lots of dancing to make the holidays merry and bright. In my “spare” time, I am preparing for 2018 and planning a dream year of success for the upcoming year.

Love the holidays. Volunteer somewhere. Send some unexpected thank you notes. Visit an ill neighbor. Call someone you have not spoken to in a while. Take a friend some food. Reach out and the joy you will receive back will put you over the top.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

 

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

No 48 Six tips to become a stronger leader 12-1-17

 

 

No 48 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, December 1, 2017

 

Six tips to become a stronger leader

 

First:

Problems are not always what they seem. I’m a worrywart. My middle name is “I’m Sorry” and my last name is “Worry”. I just let things build up and I don’t think they will ever be resolved. My mom worried a lot and we’re just the same. I worry about time, money, my health, the business, home, just everything. And guess what? Time passes and always the things that seemed to be mountains actually moved and everything was resolved! I look back to see that the things I stressed over always went smoothly and that as surely as day follows night, time will pass. To be a good leader, just don’t stress and remember “it will get better”.

 

Second:

Get up from where you are and move. Sometimes at our Arthur Murray Dance Center, I just have to get up and move and go in the ballroom and dance and get out of my office. Oh, how I miss my many years of teaching, without a care in the world. Now, when I feel that elephant on my chest, I get up, move around, laugh, give some hugs, and the next thing I know, everyone around me is happy. To be a good leader, keep on moving, especially in the right direction!

 

Third:

Nothing is perfect and no one is perfect.  When I was a little boy, I would break, nick, or damage something. I always felt so terrible and it would start to destroy me.  My mom was so great, she would say “Why David Earl, now it’s personalized”. She told me that no one else in the world had the exact same thing. Now, in my 60’s, I’ve nicked a lot of things, and I just say “Thanks Mom, now it’s personalized”. We cannot expect others to be perfect. If we do, we will be leading an army of one, and that’s just us all alone. People like to led by a leader they like. A student of mine who managed a hospital of 180 staff once told me, “management is an art form”. She said we do not have jobs, we have lifestyles! To be a good leader, let mistakes happen and don’t expect everyone and everything to be perfect all the time.

 

Fourth:

Share your story. I am a dreamer and I get very excited about my dreams. When I get a new idea, I tell everyone about it. The next thing I know, they are telling someone else, who shares it with another person, and before I know it, a new idea becomes a reality.

I love to chat with others, asking them their secrets to life and success. I love to hear others tell their own stories of what got them to where they are in life. To my great joyous surprise, others are always full of great ideas and they are just waiting to be asked. To be a good leader, share, tell, and live the story of life.

 

Fifth:

Think up new ideas. Sometimes I awaken in the middle of the night with a great idea. It just comes to me. I’m always trying to see new and better ways of doing things.  The key for this element of leadership is God’s mathematics. Remember, God gave us two ears and one mouth. So listen twice as much as you speak! I can get lost in looking at recipes and cooking films, dance films, science films. I love to see how other innovate and how they turned their ideas into reality. To be a good leader, be flexible to new ideas and new ways of doing things.

 

Sixth:

Inspiration comes in many forms. Sometimes I hear a new song and before I know it, I have a new routine to teach. I see a dance move and want to use it as choreography. Since I now love to write, I’ll read just one quote and a full blog flows through my fingers. I’ve learned to open my mind to the simple inspirations that are everywhere around me. It’s almost as if I was a photographer of life, always taking snapshots of the glorious moments of life that are true revelations. To be a great leader, look for inspiration in every part of life all the time.

 

I want to be a great leader. I’m too emotional and I let my feelings get the best of me, but I truly love helping other and I think the desire to serve and help others is stronger than all my faults. Every day I strive to be a good leader and to inspire others.

 

You may be reading this and at the end, you’ll have the revelation that you, now, are ready to be a leader. If you are a leader, help others around you to grow so they may take your place so you can move on and inspire new people. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

 

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

No 47 11-24-17 A Time to be Thankful!

No 47 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 24, 2017

A Time to be Thankful!

This time of year I’m the luckiest guy on the planet. I’ve just started my 42nd year with Arthur Murray Dance Centers. I am happily married and lucky in love with a great home life and two wonderful kitties. My faith life is strong at St. Monica’s and I am happy to be serving for many years now at my parish.

My health was not good this past year and was my own fault. It’s getting better and I have a way to go to my optimum health at 61. I always say “Your health is your wealth” and I am trying to make some changes in my diet and exercise life!

My associate with the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce has now put me on the Board of the Chamber as well as on several committees and being an Ambassador for the Chamber.

For personal goals I am looking forward, God willing, to 20 more years of dancing and being with Arthur Murray. After all these years, I now know a couple of good things to help others in the dance world. I look forward to life and to making our school stronger and stronger.

I take refuge in my faith and am fortunate to be serving and helping others on a regular basis. All the Hospitality Ministers confess that we serve so we will be sure to go to mass! For me, it keeps me out of trouble and keeps my heart and life in check!

What to be thankful for? I always heard it said that waking up in the morning was a great blessing and now in my early 60’s, it truly is a blessing. To be given the opportunity to life another day and grow and experience the challenges and blessings of life again is amazing!

The hard times, well, I think that if I can just keep on helping others and helping others grow that my eyes will not rest on the bad in life, but in the infinite possibilities of good and the blessing of being a mentor to others.

The good times, I just don’t look for them anymore. To me, every day is a good day. I use to live for the weekends and time to myself, and now I love sharing my gifts and time with others. I do not look for tomorrow to be better than today, but look to be my better self in the moment and making today a winning day.

With just a few twists in life, I could be out of the streets and not in my home of 29 years. I know that living in the moment is the greatest blessing and the greatest possession I can have. Everything could be gone tomorrow, so I want to make my mark today.

Is your heart full this Thanksgiving? My heart is full of hope, thankfulness for so much that live has given to me, and a clear vision of the future. My mom, J. Clair, always said “Keep a little song in your heart”. I am singing my way now through life thanks to her great advice!

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No 46 11-16-17 Three Keys to Success

No 46 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 17, 2017

Three Keys to Success!

First:

Believe in yourself and know who you are! Let go of what others expect you to be. We all know what defines us and what makes us special and unique. My life has been spent trying to impress others and trying to live up to standards others have set for me. Now, I know what greatness lies inside of me and what I am supposed to do with my life. The only task ahead is to give back from the gifts that have been given to me. Remember, we are books and others read us by our actions not our words!

 

Second:

Know what you have to give, and give that to others daily. Reach out to the community around us and see where we fit in to serve and inspire others. This may come from organizing huge events to raise money, or just be good for a smile and a good word to others each day. Social responsibility is not easy, but is very rewarding. Do you have trouble with doubt or the blues? Pull yourself up and volunteer and use your energy to lead and guide others.

 

Third:

Know the right thing and do the right thing. This is not the most popular or easy way to live. Our lives are measured by what we do, not by what we just say. Doing the right thing is also making the best decisions when no one else is watching. I often wonder if my thoughts were viewed in a bubble over my head for all others to see, how would I change them? How would I think when listening to others or when meeting someone new? The truth is that others do know what we are thinking, and that is by our body language, facial expressions, and our responses. God help me to truly listen twice as much as I speak and to let others talk without interrupting them!

 

Every day I experience the passion of life. From the moment of awakening and feeding our kitties, to making a great breakfast, to planning an awesome day, to opening our Arthur Murray Franchise School and planning a life-changing day. I wish to be someone who feels all aspects of life and use these experiences to help and guide others.

 

As I grow to into a life of service, I pray that I remember that God gave me two ears and one mouth. I pray that I truly listen to others and take in what they say and respond to their needs. I pray for wisdom and understanding to say the right responses when others have spoken.

 

Do I want to be myself in life? Yes, I want to be my greatest self!

 

Be Yourself:  Everyone else is already taken!! – Oscar Wilde

 

Thanks for reading!

 

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com