No 34 8-24-18 “Doing the Right Thing” Changing Lives Through Dancing!

“I have the right to do anything I want, but is that always the right thing to do?”

David Woodbury – Arthur Murray Professional

In ballroom dancing, we have a concept on the dance floor called Floorcraft. This is how couples dance Quickstep, Tango, Paso Doble, and Cha Cha on a crowded floor. The rule of dance is that we do not crash into or step on or bump into our fellow dancers on the floor and that we maintain decorum on the floor.

When there is a bump, the correct behavior is to pause, apologize and see if the other couple is OK. When all is determined to be well, the dance continues. We do not elbow anther couple, kick them, step on them, or push them. In fact, when watching a Quickstep competition, is sometimes seems like a runway with the planes positioning before they take off at full speed. It is a fascinating thing to watch!

Are these dance rules always followed? I once saw a Standard couple knock a judge over into the lights. The music stopped, and silence fell over the whole ballroom. The judge was slowly helped up and to my great surprise, she continued to judge the event and finished the evening of judging ahead of her. I will always remember that she had the right to react to what happened, but she responded with grace and poise.

What if the rules of the ballroom dance floor applied to our daily lives? What if we always looked out for the other person, carried ourselves with grace and poise, stopped to see if the other person is OK if we knock into them? Perhaps in some ways we already do this, just like walk through Grand Central Terminal in NYC. We all manage hopefully to make it peacefully to our destinations.

In relationships, I do have the right to say or do anything I want at any time. Does that mean that is the right thing to do? The answer is often no and if I exhibit destructive behavior, this is a withdrawal from the relationship, friendship, from those around me and even though I have done what I had the right to do, I have done the wrong thing. Once the withdrawals are made from the other person, sometimes it’s too late to make a deposit and there remains emptiness.

Every day, I am free to do what I want, say what I want and be what I want to be. It is my right as a person. I have now learned at 62 that does not mean that I am doing the right thing, and my incorrect behavior can be very destructive to others.

What is the solution? The answer in my life always comes back to service. Am I doing, saying, and acting the right way to make others uplifted around me? Am I giving the best daily that I can to others. During the periods of my life when it was just about me all the time, I was very empty and unfulfilled. I “got my way” and “did what I wanted” but I was not happy, I was not free, I was miserable.

Now, perhaps I sacrifice tiny moments of my life and let others be right instead of just me. Rather than defensively standing up just for myself, I allow others to feel right and listen to their viewpoint and I try to listen more than I speak. Instead of thinking of my own reply while someone else is speaking, I will listen and wait and respond rather than react.

Giving service and striving to be a good mentor in life requires practice, patience, perseverance, but not perfection. Do I always now say and do the right thing? I can only say that now I do take a moment, pause before speaking, and listen from the heart to what others are saying.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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No 33 8-17-18 “Good friendships are fragile things”

2018-06-07 08.23.22“Good friendships are fragile things and require as much care as any other fragile and precious thing.”

– Randolph S. Bourne (1886 – 1918) American Writer

After 42 years with Arthur Murray Dance Centers, I now have a lifetime of my dancing friends, and they are truly my family. These are precious and fragile relationships. All of us have gone through thick and thin, success and failure, sadness and happiness, health and illness, and we have stuck together for decades.

On the other hand, there are some friendships that have shattered like a precious vase, like a broken like a picture frame. These are the tragedies and losses of life and are very sad. Sometimes a cross word has caused a riff, a callous gesture, a blunt conversation, and repair is possible but not probable with some of these lost relationships. I always hope that at any time, especially at Lent that healing will happen and I always pray for that healing.

“Many a friendship — long, loyal, and self-sacrificing — rested at first upon no thicker a foundation than a kind word.”

– Frederick William Faber (1814 – 1863) English Priest and Hymn Writer

Many, many of my life-long friendships truly began with a hello. Or a compliment, or a dance, or an introduction. That thread was stronger than steel and a golden thread of love has been woven throughout our years of knowing each other. The sadness I feel for the relationships where the thread has broken, is that the reconciliation may never happen, but I never lose hope!

“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’

We just celebrated our 5th year of ownership of the Arthur Murray Dance Center in Santa Monica. I never thought it would be easy. In fact, I cannot believe how hard it was at time and still is to this day. But, it is worth it. The personal change I have experienced over the years has been fantastic and I have grown and matured 100 times over from when we started. Easy no, worth it, YES!

“The most important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one’s work seriously and taking one’s self seriously. The first is imperative, and the second disastrous.”

– Margaret Fontey (1919 – 1991) English ballerina

At one time, I thought I was very serious about my career. I began to believe what others graciously said about me and I began to believe that I had arrived and that I “had it all”. Then I quit growing. Today, I am surrounded by many mentors and guides, and leaders who constantly correct and guide me. Today, I truly take my career seriously, but I don’t take myself seriously. My mom, J. Clair, always said to me “Keep a little song in your heart”. It’s hard to take yourself too seriously when you have a joyous laughter in your voice and you’re focused on service to others.

“We cheerfully assume that in some mystic way love conquers all, that good outweighs evil in the just balances of the universe and that at the eleventh hour something gloriously triumphant will prevent the worst before it happens.”

– Brooks Atkinson (1894 – 1984) American theatre critic

This magic does happen in my life. Somehow, at the eleventh hour, things do seem to work out. I once worried so much, almost to the point of illness. Then I realized that the sun would rise in the morning and no matter what happened, there would be a new dawn in the morning. So now, I cherish my friends and family, pray for the broken threads that need to be mended, and I try to laugh every day.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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No 31 8-2-18 “Perseverance is a great element of success”

“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.”

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882) American poet

Do you compare yourself to others, their success, their money, their status, their material possessions, looks, careers? I do and wish I didn’t. What I’m trying to learn as I grow older is that I’m perfect just as I am and that I am valuable and worthy. I do give myself credit in that I do knock at the door over and over until someone wakes up, turns on the light and opens the gate for me.

“Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can be aroused by two things: first, an idea which takes the imagination by storm; and second, a definite, intelligible plan for carrying that idea into action.”

– Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975)

Today, the two greatest motivational killers are apathy and complacency. Just settling for the average is rampant today. Just getting by and going the easiest route and using the lease amount of effort is OK today. But apathy is not for everyone. There are many, many excited souls in this world who have the power of enthusiasm coupled with a great imagination. They then have a plan to carry that action through and make their dreams realities.

“The highest reward for man’s toil is not what he gets for it but what he becomes by it.”

– John Ruskin (1819 – 1900) English art critic

“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

Our great efforts in life are rewarded by what we become through them, not just by what we gain from them. If I just had a nickel for all the fabulously wealth clients that I have known over my years who were unhappy. They had money, possessions, time, health and even partnership, but they were so unhappy in life. I too was unhappy at one point in my life and found that giving service through participating relentlessly was the only Balm in Gilead for me.

“The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.”

– Bishop W.C. Magee (1821 – 1891) Irish clergyman

When it comes to mistakes, I’m driving the lead goof up car. I make a million mistakes.

The other day I jumped out of an Uber and left my bag in the seat! What a knucklehead!

I was so ashamed that I did not tell ANYONE! The driver was a saint and drove all the way back to my drop off point and gave me my bag. She accepted her big cash tip and a hug and a blessing for bailing me out! I will never do that again, but I always remember that mistake. Where was my mind?

When I was little, and I would break something, I was brokenhearted. My dear mom, J. Clair, would say “Now it’s personalized”. I say that to myself over and over as I “personalized” many areas in my life. Thanks mom for giving me this healing salve to use in all my errors in my life.

“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.”

– R.G. Ingersoll (1833 – 1899)American lawyer

“We tend to make courage too dramatic. Courage is often doing something simple, unpleasant, or boring again and again until we get it down pat. People who are physically challenged and who have the determination to get around their handicaps are great examples because their courage makes them test their limits every day.”

– Dave Thomas (1932 – 2002) American Businessman, Founder of Wendy’s International Restaurant Chain

The person is faithful, that always shows up, that does not forget to lock the doors at night, the quiet soul that does the daily work day in and day out is truly my hero in life. To me, they have the greatest courage to get up, get going, and get the job done. Courage is not just being David in the lion’s den, but the person that is always there for you on whom you may always rely.

“Nothing is more endangered in the modern world than the powerful combination of hard work toward meaningful goals joined with an exuberant embrace of the present moment.”

– Tom Morris (1821 – 1908) Scottish golfer

I’ve been so lucky in my life that I have done what I love for 42 years. My “work” has always been my passion and I have never had to worry about a job. Hard work and faithfulness to that work have been my goal over all these years. Yes, in do work toward my goals daily and I relish the present moment in life. I’ll always have a place to fulfill my dreams and hopes if I faithfully, with courage, strive to make every dream I have a reality. (I promise to try to not be the driver of the goofy car of mistakes anymore.)

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com

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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!

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com

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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!

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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!

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