No 19 5-11-18 “A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.”

“A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.”

– Jack Dempsey (1895 – 1983) American professional boxer

There have been a few times when I could not get up in life. I was beaten down, crushed, defeated, and lost in the dark night of the soul. And yet, I got up. Jack Dempsey said it well when he said we can’t. There are times when you just can’t go on, and yet you do.

This past week I was blessed to coach a man whose wife had just died tragically in a car accident just two months ago. He was taking an Arthur Murray Dance lesson and I was working with him and his teacher. He and his wife loved their dancing together when she was killed. He was continuing with his lessons. I did not bring his loss up in the coaching, but I told him that dancing was a safe place for him and that he could escape into his dancing.

He then began to weep and tell me the story of his wife’s passing. The three of us cried and held each other on the dance floor. Having lost my life partner to cancer, and his dying in my arms, I knew only too well what my student was currently feeling. His broken heart and the horrible heart ache that follows. The dark night of the soul that had surrounded him. Yes, I knew that he was hurting. Yet, he was dancing and preparing for a dance competition. He was getting up when he couldn’t.

This moving experience weighs heavily on my heart and I am praying constantly for this lovely man as he heals from his grief. I was so happy he had his loving Arthur Murray family to guide and to love him and to give him moments of healing through the magic of dance.

“Everything can be taken from a man, but one thing, the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude to any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.”

– Viktor Frankl (1905 – 1997) Nazi concentration camp survivor

The ability to get up and move on is a choice, a choice that we make or don’t. Even in grief, illness, or loss, we still have the choice to choose our own way.

“Fear is the opportunity for courage, not proof of cowardice.”

– John McCain (1936- ) United States Senator

Fear may keep us from knowing that we are even able to make this decision to choose. Overcoming fear often means walking through a fiery wall of flames, only to realize that the flames were only an illusion, and that we always had the power to walk through them. Fear causes us to make a decision of flight or moving forward with courage. This courage is magic if we us it, and once passing through the flames, our confidence is forever strengthened and we are forever changed.

“There are two ways of exerting one’s strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.”

– Booker T. Washington (1856 – 1915) American author

When it comes to the pushing down part, life will take care of that for you on its own. Life is always testing us, but to be able to see the light beyond the darkness and pull ourselves up, this is a tough choice that is give to us. I remember after the great losses in my life, then getting back on the dance floor and giving joyous performances. It just didn’t seem right, but the dancing, the smiling, the performing acted like a healing medicine that restored me from the inside out. I would not have made it up this point in life without my Arthur Murray Dancing, and the magical joy and strength it gave me.

Remember that you are a champion, and all you have to do is get up and walk forward to light in your life when the dark times come your way.

Thanks for reading,

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com

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No 17 4-27-18 “A Failure is a Mark of Experience”

SQA Winners 2018

“In Silicon Valley, failure is experience. Now, if you fail at everything, that’s different. But a failure is a mark of experience more than anything.”

– Vint Cerf, One of the Key Creators of the Internet

Today, Arthur Murray Santa Monica won the Sustainable Quality Award in Excellence in Social Responsibility. This is our second SQA award and we were honored to receive this special recognition!

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We won in 2016, but we lost in 2017. I was broken hearted to lose. We had done so much in the community and our application was not up to the standards to win that year. I truly felt as if I had failed and I truly took it to heart as we saw so many other businesses in Santa Monica come forth to accept their winner’s awards.

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This year, our writer was Joel Rieck, and we won from his great essay and his superb writing skills for our application. We had done all the same work as the past year, but Joel did an outstanding job in presenting our acts of service and all our involvement in giving back to Santa Monica.

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Being in the winner’s circle was very sweet after failing and not winning. As quoted above, the failure became a mark of experience and we learned from it, and that pushed us forward to achieve success and win.

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Last year someone wanted to buy our school from us. This came out of the blue and I shook us up. I knew we could be doing much better, and I was recovering from a heart scare and getting back my health.

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I thought, why does someone want to purchase our school? Then I gave a very sober and thoughtful look at what we had created.  We had a great location, wonderful and dedicated staff, and the best Arthur Murray Students anyone could ever hope to have. We had created a special branding of the Arthur Murray name in Santa Monica and the whole city knew about our great school.

In 4 short years, we had created a legacy of Arthur Murray returning to the city of Santa Monica. The value of the school became an overwhelming thought to me and I then said, instead of selling, why don’t I just double our success and recharge our energy? And guess what, we DID just that. We excelled in every area and ended up a top school in many areas for Arthur Murray for 2017!

I had not failed, but I had not fully opened my eyes to our true success and our great possibilities of growth. Perhaps my past ‘marks of experience’ had given me strength, wisdom, hope, vision, and a new excitement to achieve and hit new great goals.

Now, I see a fantastic future for 2018 and we are living our dream of success with much, much more to come. With all achievements will come the storms of life, and the trials and tribulations of life will test us to our very cores. But with failures, lessons learned, and life lessons, the experience we gain will take us to the winner’s circle.

Thanks for reading,

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com

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#ArthurMurraySantaMonica

#ArthurMurrayLifestyle

No 16 4-20-18 “Nothing becomes real until it is experienced”

 

“Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced.”

– John Keats (1795 – 1821) English Romantic poet

 

The path to having an understanding heart has been paved for me with years of experience. Now that I have experienced loss, illness, success, failure, good days and bad days, my many stupid mistakes, and my precious accomplishments, I now have a good ear for others.

 

Recently, our web guys lost their father. I understood that loss and was able to comfort, listen, and support them, even though I am their customer. I went to my doctor today with a perfect blood pressure reading after having heart failure last July with my blood pressure over 185! I understand now when anyone talks about their heart problems. I’ve experienced it.

 

What about the things we have not experienced but we need it to be real in our lives? The answer is listening with a heart of love and compassion. That will provided the listening ears and experience will come through empathy and kindness to the other person.

 

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest accomplishment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

– Leo Buscaglia (1924 – 1998) American author and motivational speaker

 

One thing that I have learned and use every day is to speak with a smile, all the time. I did not know this for a long time and would often hear the phrase “are you in a bad mood” and I wasn’t. I just did not let the smile in my heart reach my face. Now, I know that I am smiling for I see the reflection of my smile in other’s faces. Perhaps that small act of caring is the only act of kindness others will receive that day. That small gesture has the power to truly change some’s day, or perhaps turn their whole life around.

 

Now, I’m not afraid of the bad times. I’m finally smart enough to know that I am learning lessons daily that will make me a better leader and mentor. The only thing you can truly count on in life is change, and it comes at us from every angle. I remember when I was young dreading finals in school, and the dread of those tests. Little did I know that there are many “finals” we must take in our adult life, and we briefly “graduate” to a new level and then we are tried by life again to make us stronger.

 

Recently I experience my spell checker as I was typing Success. The spell checker popped up and said “You are now ready to use this new auto-correct in your life. Success is truly spelled Service”! Now I am not full of fear in my life. I want to serve in my life and learn how to be the best leader, guide, mentor, coach, and example that I can be in every area of my life with everyone I meet.

 

“Knock, knock, knock…I hear that new challenge rapping at my front door. Time to accept another challenge, a new adventure, a new path leading to another great lesson in life. I can’t wait to see what I find on my spell checker in the future!

 

Thanks for reading,

 

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com

FB: David Earl Woodbury

#ArthurMurraySantaMonica

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No 15 4-13-18 “We Must Do the Thing We Think We Cannot Do”

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No 15 4-13-18 “We Must Do the Thing We Think We Cannot Do”

 

These are two of my favorite quotes in life, both from Eleanor Roosevelt

 

“You must do the things you think you cannot do.”

 and

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

-both by Eleanor Roosevelt

(1884-1962) American First Lady and Political Activist

 

Since learning these quotes, I have begun to lose my fear of trying the impossible in my life. Attempting the impossible is hard, risky, and challenging. You cannot look back and you cannot run forward with the luggage of fear and double. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

 

Also, a great change has been the ability to dream, and dream big in my life. Dreaming is easy, speaking and sharing that dream with others can be heart-stopping. To declare in front of others what you are going to attempt and accomplish is not for the faint hearted!

 

“Life is no brief candle to me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

– George Bernard Shaw

(1856-1950) Irish Playwright

 

This quote from Shaw states how I wish to life my life. I want to burn that splendid torch for others to use to light their ways in life. I want to be remembered for service and for guiding others to greatness in every area of their lives. Even at 62, I am living on the edge of my energy and resources, pushing and running forward in life to achieve the ability to always motivate and inspire others.

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“Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not.”

– Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895) British Biologist

 

There is a price to pay for all this greatness. Hard work, every day, all the time, with no excuses. I know that I can write all this easily, but am I willing to do the work and am I willing to do it whether I want to or not. I hope the answer is Yes and that I have the courage to move forward, good days and bad days, days of light or darkness, good or bad health, through good or bad decisions, or just when I feel I am about to give up, to pick myself up and go through another day, knowing that light will continue to fill my heart and spirit again the next day. Yes, to doing the hard work, yes!

 

It’s funny, I don’t think I reached my goals in life. I thought I had failed. I thought I was too old. I thought it was time to rest and step back. Life does not have that in store for me. Life is calling me to move forward to greatness, every day in every way. I still have that burning passion in my life, and boy am I happy about that. Let your heart go, let passion for life overtake you. Fulfill your destiny in life.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com

FB: David Earl Woodbury

#ArthurMurraySantaMonica

#ArthurMurrayLifestyle

2018-03-01 06.36.11

No 14 4-6-18 “We Must Sail Sometimes with the Wind”

 

“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, — but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809 – 1894) American Writer

 

 

Our journey of life takes us on many twists and turns. I have always wanted to be the person standing firmly on the rock of life, unmovable and invincible. I was sure what direction I was always going in life. What I have found is that I have ended up sailing with the wind many times and also sailing against the wind. The one thing I have found to be sure, I’m always moving now in my life, never anchoring and still in the seas of life.

 

 

There was a time when I had the perfect life. Perfect family home, business, health, hobbies, finances and career. I found out how strong life was when the loved ones in my life passed away very quickly, I sold my business, lost my health, and was completely lost in the dark night of the soul. It all happened very quickly, and I could not stop the angel of death from taking the ones I loved, and in such a short period of time.

 

 

During the dark night of the soul, I grew and changed as a person. I found out that I was not the center of the universe and that I was not as strong as I thought I was. Until that time in my life, I was convinced that my success in life was in what I had rather than who I was. I had lost almost everything in my life.  I was alone. I was adrift at sea.

 

 

Then, as I saw the light at the end of that path beginning to appear, I began to see that happiness for me could only be attained through a whole new part of my life – giving service. I had never thought of that in my life. I could not overcome my sadness, but a saint of a friend showed me freedom through service. I thought I know now to spell success, but did not know that it was actually spelled service!

 

 

Now as I look back, I see that I was not that stable person I thought I was. I was truly lost at that time but did not know it. After going to the bottom, my rise to light was achieved by looking beyond what was just good for me, but seeing how I could use my life to help, inspire, lead, mentor and guide others.

 

 

Now, service is a drug for me. I want more and more of it and I feel completely happy and satisfied through helping others. Am I a saint now, hardly, but I’m a nicer and better person and I have learned that the need for leaders and mentors is great in life. Is life any easier, not really, just a lot happier. The best part of service is the company you keep. You’re surrounded by like-minded people who truly get high from helping others.

 

 

Need a lift in your life? Find a friend who is down and out. Take them to a dinner and a movie. Send someone a card, an email, a text, or actually CALL someone and tell them you are thinking of them. Reach out to someone who needs you. You’ll be pleasantly surprised what a difference this will make in their lives!

 

 

“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.”

– Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) American Psychologist

 

 

Be who you must be in life. Set your sails and ride the winds of life!

 

 

Thanks for reading,

 

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com

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No 12 3-23-18 “A Bumblebee Shouldn’t be Able to Fly”

Joel and David 12-19-17

No 12 3-23-18 “A Bumblebee Shouldn’t be Able to Fly”

“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

 

I do not know that there are certain things I should not be able to do. I know that I make mistakes, but I keep on trying, and I am able to accomplish impossible things many times in my life. Recently I had a new task ahead of me and I was terrified. Guess what, I accomplished it! And did it well. I look back and saw it was the pressure of the task that pushed me to greatness and to expand my realm of possibilities. Life tricked me, and either I was to succeed or fail, and I made it.

 

Just a side note, my failures are not usually in what I do, but in what I say. I am working on the words that come out of my mouth, for they reflect the nature of my heart, character, and spirit. My actions are pretty good, but I must now conquer my speech and the delivery of what I say and and how it is said. “From the abundance of the heart a person speaks”.

 
“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

 
The good in my life does not come easily or quickly. It comes after a lot of focus, concentration, and relentless determination and hard work. As Norv Turner quoted above, I just keep on dancing, believing in the great outcome of life, and use lots and lots of never ending faith!

 
“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”- Helen Keller (1880 – 1968) American Writer

 
Is it not amazing that Helen Keller is listed above as an American Writer? Not as someone who was born deaf and blind. She later learned to speak, giving speeches and lectures on aspects of her life, and was the first deaf and blind student to graduate from Radcliffe with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Imagine her humble nature saying it is her chief duty to do small tasks as if they were great and noble. He life was a miracle, and a continued inspiration to thousands.

 
“If you have made mistakes…there is always another chance for you…you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.” – Mary Pickford (1893 – 1979) Canadian Actress

 
Have I made mistakes? What do you think! I have made such huge boo boos in my life that I am amazed that I am still standing today. Still, mostly because of my mouth, I make many mistakes. What do I do about it? I get up from the messy floor of failure, dust myself off, and head onward to the next challenge. Will I make more mistakes? Well, I’m loud spoken and still have strong opinions. But I think I will try not to make so many errors in my life.
Please, keep playing, believing and having faith. You’ll inspire others to greatness in their lives!

Thanks for reading,

David Earl Woodbury
Keep on Dancing!
DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com
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No 11 3-16-18 “If We Had No Winter”

2018-03-01 06.36.11
No 11 3-16-18 “If We Had No Winter”

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
– Charlotte Bronte (1816 – 1855) English novelist and poet

Almost 16 years ago, my life partner died in my arms, at home, surrounded by love, family, and friends. I was so angry in the Spring when the trees began to bloom. I wrote this as I realized time could not keep me in my Winter of sorrow but was ushering me to my time of Spring renewal.

March 3, 2003

I cannot stop the trees from budding.

I cannot stop the spring from coming.

I cannot stop the days from growing lighter and longer.

I cannot stop the awakening of Spring and the good-bye to Winter.

I cannot stop the warmth of Summer from arriving.

I cannot stop time.

Time is moving on.

Time is removing all bad memories and renewing all good memories.

Time is soothing the pain of grief and is the solace of mourning.

Time is the author of hope and a new tomorrow.

Time is healing the brokenness.

Time renews the spirit that has been crushed.

Time moves on.

Thanks for reading,

David Earl Woodbury
Keep on Dancing!
DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com
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