No 28 7-13-18 “The Greatest Test of Courage”

“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.”             – R.G. Ingersoll (1833 – 1899) American lawyer

Do you like the rough times in life? I don’t. I can barely handle the great times in life with all their abundance and joy, much less loss, illness, and unexpected changes in life. The rough times are hard for me and they take their tole on me. I must have a lot of courage for I am truly able to bear defeat and much more somehow without losing heart. Perhaps it’s my mom, J. Clair, looking down on me from heaven. Perhaps it is the hand of my father that I often feel on my shoulder, giving me strength from the world above. No matter how it happens, somehow, I have the will to go on and not give up.

“People tend to think of happiness as a stroke of luck, something that will descend like fine weather if you’re fortunate. But happiness is the result of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly.”                                                  – Elizabeth Gilbert (1969) American author

We all want to be happy. I’m way beyond thinking that happiness is from luck or similar to the great weather we have in Santa Monica. At one time I did fight and strive and insist on happiness in my life. Is just did not come. I was not happy. I was not satisfied. Then the light went off in my life. I realized that Happiness was truly spelled, Service. The moment I quit looking for happiness, and began to serve, I finally relaxed in my heart and felt a little bit of peace.

I was tired of always trying to do the best thing for just me. Now, I looked outside my own life to others and realized the great need for leadership, service, and mentoring. There was and still is a wide-open field for anyone who has the calling to give to others.

“I never said it would be easy. I said it would be worth it.”                                                  – Pete Egoscue (1945) Founder of Physical Therapy Method The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion

Is this an easy path, the life of service? No, it is not, but it is worth it and rewarding. I’ll never get high enough on the ladder of success. I’ll never have enough stuff, money, or time to spend it. But, I’ll always have time to volunteer for an event, a fundraiser, a dance competition that supports kids, or just give some time to someone in need. I do now know the only secret of happiness and I’m sticking with it.

Thanks for reading to all my lovely readers!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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No 27 7-6-18 “Keeping your Memories”

“If you want to keep your memories, you first have to live them.”

– Bob Dylan (1941) American songwriter, singer

Living your dreams is not easy. It takes a lot of courage and pluck to turn a thought into an action that turns into a dream that becomes a reality. And dream has a way of changing, and turning and evolving. You can’t control destiny, but you can control how you live during the journey to your goals.

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”

– Epictetus (55AD – 135AD) Stoic philosopher

After the great Northridge Earthquake in Los Angeles in 1991, I decided that I would not worry about things that were out of my control. Yes, I do worry about what is in my control, but the rest I have given up on. I can’t control an earthquake and many other things in life, so I just stay vigilant and strong and try to live in the moment.

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have.”

– Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) 16th President of the United States

If I win and lose myself, what have I gained? If I succeed and am in darkness, what have I earned? I may not always win 1st place, but I am a winner in the joy I have in doing my best, meeting and exceeding my goals and expectations. I don’t cry if I don’t break the ribbon at the finish line. I rejoice in the fact that I am running, finishing the race, and that I loved running the course and enjoyed the other runners on the way.

“Courage is grace under pressure.”

– Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961) American Writer

I hope I have some grace in my life. Not just the grace that God has given and continues to give to me daily, but the grace that says “Thank You” “I appreciate you”

“I need you” and giving the praise to others in life.  I think that I have great courage that is fortified with wisdom and courage. I certainly have the pressure in my life so I hope to be a man of character and keep my cool when the days get rough.

“The four cornerstones of character on which this nation was built are: Initiative, Imagination, Individuality and Independence.”

– Eddie Rickenbacker (1890 – 1973) American Aviator and Business Executive

My father, Troy Woodbury, gave me the key to having initiative. My mom, J. Clair, gave me the imagination in my life and my individuality, and mom my independence. I thank my parents every day for giving me the best parts of their lifes and that they continue to guide and inspire me from their heavenly homes together again.

“I can’t do it” never yet accomplished anything: “I will try” has accomplished wonders.”

– George P. Burnham (1868 – 1939) Politician

I would hate to tell you that I am blamer, or that I sometimes say I can’t do something. I would never tell you that sometimes I give up, so I won’t. But I will tell you, that on my good days, I can see that I can do it all in my life and that the best is still yet to come. I have much more to do, accomplish, give, and experience in my life. I will admit that I say that I will try, and I do, and often accomplish many great things in my life.

I’m busy making the memories that I want to keep, and living in the moment and loving the path of life, the lessons learned, and the rich rewards that I experience along the way.

As always, I wish you, the reader, hope, peace, guidance and always the presence of light and living water daily.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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No 24 – 6-15-18 “Run the Great Risk”

“I run great risk of failing. It may be that I shall encounter ruin where I look for reputation and a career of honor. The chances are perhaps more in favor of ruin than of success. But, whatever may be the chances, I shall go on as long as any means of carrying on the fight are at my disposal.”

– Anthony Trollope (1815 – 1882) English Novelist

Wow, this is my daily life! I generally feel on the edge most moments of every day. I too look for a good reputation and a career of honor. There is much risk in this type of life. I do go on as long as I have any means of carrying on the fight.

The great thing about living the life of great risk is that you get stronger every day. A risk turns into a decision from past experience. Fear turns into determination. Confusion disappears and is replaced with knowledge and confidence. The truth of living your best life is that it gets better.

The best part of living carrying on the fight at all costs is that you become a leader for others who want to take great risks as well and achieve great goals. You become the mentor and you go from strength to the next. This does not mean that you don’t have failure and obstacles, it means you see your challenges as learning experiences.

“The three great essentials to achieving anything worthwhile are; first, hard work, second, stick-to-it-iveness, and third, common sense.”

– Thomas A. Edison (1847 – 1931) American Inventor

This says it all. Be willing to work hard and stick to it with common sense. Where does common sense come from? Taking chances in life and learning from past mistakes. Here is where it is good to have wonderful mentors to guide and coach you. Just realize that everyone who has achieved greatness in their lives has failed many, many times, and they have also succeeded a great number of times.

“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.”

– J.B. Priestley (1894 – 1984) English Author

What do you do after a failure? You get up and dust yourself off and move on with a fresh day. You see a fresh start. You learn from what just happened to you and then you forge a new path, set a new goal, and move forward with all your heart. After receiving a new shoulder from UCLA in 2010, I found out that my nemesis would always be shoulder freeze. If I did not keep my shoulder flexible, it would freeze up and I would lose the range of motion and much of the use of my left arm. As eight years have past, I realized that I must keep my life moving to avoid “life freeze”. If I don’t move forward, I will just stop still in my tracks and stop living.

I’d be more fearful in my life, but I’m too busy achieving great things in my life. I’d be more tired, but I don’t have time for the fatigue. I’d have doubt, but I’m surrounded by great leaders and mentors who are always guiding me to greatness. I’d be failing more, but my passion for service overtakes my life and I only see opportunity ahead. Yes, “I shall go on as long as any means of carrying on the fight are at my disposal.”

Thanks for reading to all my lovely readers!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com

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No 23 6-8-18 “Learn to be Brave and Patient”

“…we could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.”

– Helen Keller (1880 – 1968) American Writer

First, with this quote, Helen Keller is listed as an American Writer. She is not listed as someone who was deaf and blind her entire life. She is not listed as having any physical challenges. Helen Keller is always an inspiration to me and her light always shines out to me.

When I get down, I think that Helen Keller graduated from university and she became a lecturer. She was a speaker, writer and she inspired millions to greatness during her life and even until now. I am grateful that I have all my faculties knowing that she did so much in her life with obstacles that would have stopped most people.

When she learned how to communicate, her life blossomed and she found the inspiration inside of her. She did not always have joy in her life, and yet she learned the lessons of bravery and patience.

Sometimes I still fall into the abyss of my self-pity and I am ashamed. With all the many blessings given to me, how can I possible not be up and happy and thankful all the time. Well, the truth is that I’m not always full of joy, or bravery or patience. Sometimes I think I’m not going to be able to make it, or I am running out of steam.

During rough times, I think of all the heroes in my life and how they overcame the challenges that life threw at them, and they persevered, and they realized their dreams. Now, as I strive for huge dreams I am learning not to give up.

I thought that I’d never have kids, ever. Now I have a big staff of young people who are all very talented, fun, motivated. They need me to be brave and patient with them every day and they need guidance. I think every day, they will not always remember what I said to them, but they will always remember how I made them feel. Most employees today need to feel needed and especially appreciated. I want them to love their jobs and look forward to always coming to their workplace.

Because every day is not just full of joy, when the precious days of happiness, light, and fulfillment do come, I am truly grateful and very, very thankful. On my good days I say over and over, I’m having a great day and I feel good. I never take the good times for granted for I know that a champion is someone who can do the mundane over and over with focus and purpose. I know that the amazing days do come, but they are paved with many days of just doing what is needed with a good and happy heart.

Thanks for reading brave and patient readers!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com

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No 22 6-1-18 “How to Become Quite a Person”

“Any man whose errors take ten years to correct is quite a man.”

Robert Oppenheimer, American theoretical physicist and professor of physics

Ever think that you have messed up your life? Ever think that you have made a mistake so grave that you will never be able to recover? Has a wrong decision or a wrong turn in your life seem to have doomed you forever?

When disaster strikes, and the house of cards falls apart, it’s easy to throw your hands in the air and say, that’s that! The first reaction is to just give up and run away from the situation knowing that all is lost.

When I read Oppenheimer’s quote that correcting a life error in just 10 years is a great thing, I was truly moved. There was a time in my life, OK, many times, when I thought I had just made too big a mistake, taken too great a loss to ever recover to where I had been. I did just give up several times and I know that all I had worked so hard in my life to achieve was over.

Then, a curious thing happened. It got better, and yes, I did recover. I had never thought of the 10-year measuring stick. There was a great time in my life where I had it all, family, money, success, health and a bright future. Then, in one year those closest to me died, I lost all that I had built up, and I was seemingly done for. All that mattered to me was gone, never to return.

Then, it began to get better. I started to correct what had happened. Hope began to return. It was not overnight, but the light slowly began to shine again and one day I realized that I had regained all that was lost, but to my surprise I was also a different person. I had new experiences, new knowledge, new wisdom, and new hope in life.

That nagging question of “Why did all this happen to me” was solved the first time I met someone who was truly “in the dark night of the soul” and I was able to give them comfort and words of healing. I realized that life had given me lessons and training, so I would be able to help others in their darkest moments, and to also celebrate with those experiencing the most joyous times of life. Life had been a great teacher for me.

Now, I’m always on the lookout for someone who needs a word of encouragement, a word of hope. Someone who is desperate for that person who understands what they are going through. I keep both ears listening and my heart and words ready to be the friend they can talk to. In the last 16 years, I have had countless opportunities to help and guide those in need. I truly believe they are send to me and I’m always ready and I feel the moment it happens. It’s like a little miracle of light overtakes me and the right words come from my heart.

Now that I have passed several 10 years of corrections I have a new outlook in my life. I have stopped singing the blues. I don’t have time to wallow in failure. Now, I spend a great deal of my thoughts wanting to help others and guide them as they go through the school of life, and I try to help them so they can be that special person for others in their own lives.

I’m trying to be more like my cats these days. When the afternoon sun streams through the open windows, they find these rays of warm light and they stretch out and let the warmth of the sun comfort and heal them. They love the love the healing power that they feel as they rest in the light.

I know why I’m here and what I’m to do in my life and I’m doing it right now. Be of courage, the bad in your life will turn into the good and you will recover. You’ll be OK again. It will get better!

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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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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