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 43 10-27-17 The size of the fight in the dog.

No 43 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, October 27, 2017

The size of the fight in the dog.

“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”

– Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 – 1969)

Military Commander and 34th US President

I’ve not always been the brightest crayon in the box, but I was just like your favorite color, I lasted a long time and you loved me! I’ve not always had the most clout or been the biggest fighter, but I have certainly had enough fight to last me throughout the years.

What happens today, especially with young people? If it’s too hard, they will just quit. If the goal has struggle, if you have to sweat, if you have to clean a toilet, sweep a mat, or answer a phone, they just give up. It’s often been said that a hero’s life is the life of someone doing the mundane over and over, year after year successfully and honestly. I am always full of respect for older people (I are one now at 61!). Anyone in their 60’s, 70’, 80’s and beyond deserves applause. They have been strong enough, smart enough, and had enough good sense to make it through the years. They truly have the fight in them.

What will kill your fight? The first thing is fear. Constant daily fear. Worrying that your partner is going to die, our you’re going to die. Worrying about money, all the time, especially the want and lack thereof. Health fears, job fears, global fears. Just plain old fear will rob you not only of your joy in life, but of all your bark and fight.

What else will kill your vision? Inactivity. Just sitting and waiting for something good to come your way. This lack of action leads to depression, suicide, failure, and illness. What do I do to keep my bark strong, I take action! What action, I volunteer to help and serve others. It’s not an easy life, but it is immensely rewarding in hundreds of ways. If I am depressed and worried, I’m not busy and not helping others.

The greatest thing that has happened to me with my bark, is that it has lasted me so many years. I’m fearless when speaking to hundreds of people. I love to lead, guide, direct, promote, and direct. I have a strong voice, and I have the gift of speech and I have no fear of sharing with others. When I speak, I feel my father’s presence and I feel a strength flow through me like a river. When I finish a lecture, my coat is always wet with perspiration from the electricity that I feel going through me. I always feel my mom’s hand in mine, and my dad’s hand on my shoulder. I know where I get my bark from and I love my parents for this!

If you think you’re not the biggest dog with the loudest bark, it’s not true. You are amazing, you are special, you are indeed a strong dog with a loud voice. Go out and offer your services to others. The holidays are upon us and hundreds of volunteers are needed around the world to help those less fortunate and organizations that need helpers. Trust me, just call your local shelter, parish, temple, or any organization that feeds and clothes others and volunteer. They will welcome you with open arms and you’ll find yourself surrounded by a lot of dogs with enough fight to help others and make a difference in the world. (By the way, we have two cats with big meows!)

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No 42 10-20-17 Enter to Learn – Go Forth to Serve!

No 42 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, October 20, 2017

 

Enter to Learn – Go Forth to Serve!

-Tom Murdock – Arthur Murray International

 

At a recent Fall Forum staff awards and training weekend for Arthur Murray Dance Centers, Tom Murdock opened our great weekend with the above words. Tom is such a good friend to me and when he said his opening remarks, I said, that’s my diamond of knowledge for the weekend. I even made a note to write this blog today!

Yes, I am here to run a great Arthur Murray Dance Center, yet Joel Rieck and I try to run our school from the point of giving the best service first! Giving service to our staff, students, neighbors, to our parent company Arthur Murray Int’l, Inc., our city, our friends, faith family, and to one another. We want to share that knowledge of dance with others and help them grow. No mistake, I want to prosper and earn my fair share, but earn from helping others receive what they want in their lives.

 

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

– Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) Spanish painter, sculptor

 

Every day I do something that I cannot do. This leads to some big mistakes and some great triumphs, yet I learn from all of them. I just let fear go and realize that I must move forward and take action. When I’m done, I always say, Well Done! Even on the hardest days and the most challenging moments, I know that time marches on and that the sun will rise tomorrow and that I’ll make it.

“Genius is eternal patience.”

– Michelangelo Di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475 – 1564) Italian Sculptor and Painter

 

Are you a truly patient person? I am not at all a patient person. So guess what life brings me all the time? Situations where I must be patient to see the end result. Trials that require lots of time and resilience. Moments where I must breathe in and wait before I speak. Gee whiz, I hope l learn a little patience in my 60’s. It’s about time!

 

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you, you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”

– James Allen (1864 – 1912) British philosophical writer

 

What are your past thoughts, your present thoughts, your tomorrow thoughts? These are mine. Every morning I fill myself with light and the waters of healing. I allow the waters to wash over me, cleanse me, heal me and revive me. Then, I find a moment of serene peace, a perfect moment where all is well and safe. Then, I awaken to my day and to life.  Are all my thoughts good? No. I sometimes have a hard time controlling my thoughts to keep them positive. It is a daily effort to think good thoughts and stay positive.

Solution: continue to live a life of service and giving to others. Continue to seek the council of great leaders and mentors and strong life coaches. Then, give that light to others. For me, it’s the only way I will ever have peace in my life. Give strength to others and guide others. Through dance, through faith, through leadership, through example. It is my calling. It is my life. It is who I am. Success = Service.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No 32 8-11-17 What is Creativity?

 

Photo is my lovely mom, J. Clair Woodbury.

No 32 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, August 4, 2017

What is Creativity?

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.”- Mary Lou Cook (1918) American educator

Are you a risk taker? I never thought I was. I liked the sure way and the clear way. I only wanted to move forward when I could clearly know the outcome and what would happen at the end of my efforts. Study, take test, pass, accomplish, and do the proven thing.

Now in my life, it seems that everything I do is a gamble and a risk. I’m forced to do my best, even when I don’t feel like it. Even when I feel old, tired, and useless and irrelevant, I move forward. The spark of creativity is always the great energy recharger for me. I’m always breaking my rules, doing things in a new way that I swore I would never do. I make a ton on mistakes, but yes, I do have some fun! And I have lots of laughter in my life.

“Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle never know.” – Charles Kingsley (1819 – 1875) English Novelist and Clergyman

There is a day when you want to call your parents for advice, money, love, food, a visit, or just a quick hello, and they are no longer there. There is a time you will want to call your old best friend and just have a quick hello, a little cry, or a hearty laugh, and they too are gone. You are now your own parent and confidant and mentor. You’re forced to work and to produce your best. This pressure does breed a strong will and will bring out greatness inside of you that you never knew existed!

“Find a purpose in life so big it will challenge every capacity to be at your best.” – David O. McKay (1873 – 1970) American Religious Leader

I have found my purpose in life. It challenges every fiber of my soul and being every day. I guess you want to know what it is! My purpose is to help, guide, inspire, and motivate others in their lives. I thoroughly know that the riches of this world will not make me happy and will not save me on the last day. I came in with nothing and I will take nothing with me when I leave. I will only leave behind the legacy of how I lived my life and what service I give to others. I don’t mind a good roof over my head, safe transportation, a good business life, yet all the possessions and money in the world will not buy me happiness. Now that I can afford to eat and drink anything I want, my doctor tells me I can’t! The only cure for the blues for me has been helping others through service. It is long, tough, hard, challenging and tiring, but the fulfillment of that service is immeasurable.

“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself – and be lenient to everybody else.” – Henry Ward Beecher (1813 – 1887) American Presbyterian Minister

My task in life now is to be ready. Be ready for that person who comes up to me on their last thread. The couple, man or woman, who comes to me in tears and tells me of their life and what is happening to them. I have a gift. I always have a good word for them. A word that stays with them and heals them. A word that sends love, forgiveness, power, and hope. As the years go on, I want to continue my work as a dancer for the rest of my life, but the deep river that runs through that work is to transform lives, through dancing and through service. This is tough life mission, but a mission I have accepted.

“Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young.”- A.W. Pinero (1855 – 1934) English actor

Yes, I love strongly and deeply. I’ve always been lucky in the love department. Perhaps that’s why, even at almost 61, I still do what my mom, J. Clair, always said, “Keep a little song in your heart!”. Keep on singing and believing!

Thank you for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

 

Optimism is Essential – February 26, 2016

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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)

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)

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

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com