No 44 The Road to Happiness 11-3-17

#44 Changing Lives through Dancing

By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Road to Happiness

“The road to happiness lies in two simple principles: find what it is that interests you and that you can do well, and when you find it, put your whole soul into it — every bit of energy and ambition and natural ability you have.”

– John D. Rockefeller III (1906 – 1978)

American Philanthopist

After 41 years with the great company Arthur Murray, I have finally found my place. I love being a studio franchisee and seeing so many Santa Monacans loving their dancing. Yet my heart lies in service. We give our students the service to become as great of dancers as they want to be. We train our staff to be studio owners themselves. I love inspiring others to live a life of greatness and to always have a dream in their hearts.

Now, I know where my destiny lies and I’m putting my 100% into that goal. Everything that I hear that is motivating, everything that I read that is uplifting, every experience that is life-changing, goes into my “life reservoir” and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with others. When someone asks me a question, I have an answer and a life example to share with them. My only goal is to positively inspire other and give them a moment of clarity and motivation. Many times I feel that these words of inspiration are drops of water on a desert landscape. These positive saying are in such need and demand in today’s world.

“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

I’ve long since given up on taking myself seriously. The truth is that no one cares about what is happening to me. What they do care about is how I use my experiences to help them in their lives. What I have and who am I mean nothing if I don’t have a good reputation and a good name. For me, I have everything I need or want in my life. Now it is time to give back and be the inspiration for others.

I hope for my readers who come back weekly, that you will awaken to the opportunities in your lives to help others. That your eyes will see clearly the power that is inside of you to change lives.  Guess what? When you discover these service truths, your life will change! Depression will flee, illness will lose its power over you, darkness will turn to light and you will finally be free in your life. It has and continues to work for me every day. Remember that the smiles in the faces we see daily are reflections of the smiles we give to others. Remember that we are the examples of hope, life, and light for others every day. Try this, just go through a day and smile to those around you. Just see what happens to your life!

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 39 9-29-17 Until One Is Committed!

No 39 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, September 29, 1956

Until one is Committed!

“Until one is committed, there is always hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one element of truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans – that moment one commits oneself, then providence moves all.”

– Johann von Goethe (1749 – 1832)

German Poet and Dramatist

 

In my laptop is a book that I’m finishing “Closing the Back Door – Making Life’s Ultimate Commitments!” The book is about making a decision and sticking with it to the end and not giving up. As I was writing it, I lost both parents and ultimately my life partner to cancer. The book was left for a while because some of my life commitments had been taken away from me. I had to rethink a closed back door that did not exist.

Now, I realize that times will change and modify our goals, yet we may stay focused and keep our goals and dreams in life.

“If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother and hope your guardian genius.”

– Joseph Addison

(1672-1719) English Writer and Statesman

These words are nuggets of gold. Perseverance, experience, caution, and hope.  A friend came up to me a last weekend’s dance competition, with tears in her eyes and she hugged me and said that I never give up and how that has inspired her. This moment stuck with me and was deeply moving. It is easy to throw in the towel, to walk away, to give up, but the rewards of sticking with it are powerful and long lasting.

 

“An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; A pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity.”

– Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)

British Politician

 

Calamities, I’ve had a few. Water over our ballroom dance floor, illness, the passing of friends and families, and changes that I could not control. Now, I know that something good will come out of all these situations.  Years ago, one of my mentors, Miss Pat Traymore, was in my car driving from LAX and I missed an exit. I was very upset and embarrassed and this is what she said to me. It was meant to me. That I was being protected from something bad happening to me. My mom, J. Clair always said the same thing. She said that the way things turned out was Gods way of protecting us from some unforeseen calamity that we could not envision. Now, I’m always aware of this when I forget a key, run back into the house, or I’m late. I know that I’m truly being protected.

 

“The past cannot be changed. The future is still in your power.”

– Hugh Lawson White (1773 – 1840)

American Politician

In the 80’s, my dance partner did a reading for me. I usually do not participate in this practice but I did receive this reading just this once. She saw many upcoming things in my life and before she gave me her reading, I asked her, am I in charge of my destiny and she said yes. She can I could control my future by the actions I was taking today. Ultimately, many of the predictions she saw came true, but my positive attitude and my heart of faith truly shaped and helped destine my future.

Last thought for commitments: Let go of fear. It’s just like driving your car with one foot on the gas pedal and one heavy foot on the break, all at the same time. Letting go of fear is a daily routine and a daily habit. Try it, you’ll like the new you and like living a life without fear.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

How to make pressure work in your favor!

No 38 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, September 22, 1956

How to make pressure work in your favor!

Some ideas on making stress work in the positive for you!

 

Inside Influences

Have a positive optimistic outlook

Have an anchor of faith or spirituality

Always be motivated

Take action – be the proactive person

Always enjoy learning

Go with the flow – be flexible

Adapt with life’s changes

Be a leader socially – be the Go-To person

Show self-confidence and self-esteem

 

Outside influences

Take every opportunity that comes your way

Use the support of family, friends, and co-workers

Manage the stress and difficulties that you face

Surround yourself with a nurturing, happy environment

Live in an autonomous area

Earn the trust of others and be trusted by others

 

Do I do all these things? I attempt them all daily. The fact that I have them listed, and I study them, and I try to achieve all of them makes me a winner. Have these goals in front of you and strive to achieve them. Personally, I hate negative stress and what it does to my blood pressure and my heart. Yet, I must, I do, and I will manage the challenges that come to me daily. Owing a dance studio may put you on the mountain top one minute, then into the depths of hell the next when a water pipe breaks over you dance floor! You just learn to adapt and try to not have a stroke or turn into a mean person. The truth is, it will all get better.

I love receiving a bag of lemons. Tea, sauces, fish, steaming, cleaning, salads. So many uses for lemons. When I take a lemon, I let it settle to room temperature. Then I roll the lemon to release the juices. Before cutting it, I zest the whole outside.

Then I cut it open, squeeze all the juice out. I take a grapefruit knife and then cut out all the inside and chop it up and use it in my dish. When I’m finished, all that is left is the white skin and I have completely used up the lemon. I use this analogy, because this is what I want to do with my life. I want to use up every part of me to the service of others and use every drop of ability that I have to influence and guide others.

So, go be a good lemon in your life.  Remember, surround yourself with people you want to become like. Surround yourself with great leaders, mentors, guides, helpers, and with friends who will tell you “NO” when you are wrong. Truly, we become exactly like those around us all the time.

Remember pressure can make you blow up, or cook a great pot roast. Use life’s challenges to empower you and make you stronger!

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

 

 

No 33 “Patience is passion tamed.” 8-18-17

Deborah Voigt as Brünnhilde 

No 33 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, August 18, 2017

“Patience is passion tamed.”

– Lyman Abbott (1835 – 1922) American Congregationalist theologian

For many years I never had patience. I was a ‘millennial’ in the 70’s. I wanted everything in my dancing to come to me on the first try and I wanted my technique to be perfect and natural from the first try. I had the passion and the talent, but not the patience to practice to perfection. Many others could just see a step and do it the first time. That skill I did not possess (I still can’t do this).

Then, I watched how others taught the steps that I was learning. They were fast and impatient with their students, and they lost patience with those that did not learn as fast as they had learned. They even became harsh with others when the step was not executed to their standard.

One of my teachers told me a wonderful key that has stayed with me for decades. She said “David, you’re a slow forgetter!” I just thought I was dumb sometimes when I could not get a pattern. But when I learned the step and the technique, I had it for a lifetime.

On the teaching end, since I was a “slow forgetter”, I was very patient with my students. I learned that the two key ingredients in teaching were laughter and praise. Later I learned that people did not remember what you said to them, they remembered how you made them feel. I learned that teaching could be a wonderful confidence building experience for the students who were learning.

“Thoughtfulness for others, generosity, modesty and self-respect are the qualities which make a real gentleman or lady.”

– Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895) British Scientist

Over the years I have had teachers who brought me to tears, made me hate and resent them, and teachers who tore me down. Then, there were the master teachers who made me feel as if I could learn and perform anything in my life. They made learning fun and made me feel confident and talented. They are still the heroes in my dancing life. Although some of the mean teachers taught me some greatly needed lessons, I still remember the emotional floggings they gave me.

Now, when I am teaching and someone makes a mistake, I pause, smile and say “What was that?”  We begin to laugh and share a hug, a giggle, and then we fix the step. Those students seem to love their lessons. They are the ones who smile on the floor and draw all eyes to their great smiles and beautiful technique and styling in their dancing.

Perhaps the best part of ballroom dancing is that we learn respect. Respect for our partner, other couples on the floor, the audience, the choreography and the music, the judges, and the wonderful audience for whom we are performing. Ballroom teaching discipline and how to present the other person with grace and elegance. Perhaps if we could just get all the leaders of the world together at the United Nations and teach them ballroom technique and the etiquette it teaches, we might have better world peace!

“Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.”

– Elizabeth Asquith Bibesco (1897-1945) English Writer

As I write to you today, the words flow from my heart to my fingers to the page. I give this love and support to you not remembering the effort of writing, and I take back the blessings I receive from sharing this love with you, never forgetting the experience.

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

 

 

No 30 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, July 28, 2017

Burn the Ships!

In 1519, Captain Hernán Cortés landed in Veracruz. When they landed the Captain ordered his men to burn the ships. That order did not make sense to his men. Cortes knew that the only way to keep himself or his men from quitting was to take the option of failure off the table. He forced them all to either succeed or die. Retreat was not an option.

In our own lives, to achieve the great levels of success, there are times we must “burn the ships.” Here, we must look at the ships in our own lives that we must eliminate. What are we afraid of letting go of?

Could it be a relationship, job, career choice, bad business opportunity, or a dream that is not working for you. In ballroom dancing, we know that we must work hard at our dancing and polish our routines. Sometimes we take a dance lesson only to have our coach change everything we have worked on. We “burn our ships” and grow and learn.

Some coaches will change the way we look, walk, relate, connect, and practice. It is said that we should not get into a relationship if we are expecting the other person to change. In dancing, that change is exactly what we are hoping for, not just in the other person, but in ourselves as well. I hope I am not dancing the same a month, 3 months, for 6 months from now. I hope to grow, improve, and become a whole new me in my dancing.

“Each of us, if we would grow, must be committed to excellence and to victory, even though we know complete victory cannot be obtained, it must be pursued with all one’s might. The championships, the money, the color; all of these things linger only in the memory. It is the spirit, the will to excel, the will to win; these are the things that endure.” – Vince Lombardi (1913 – 1970) American Football Coach

Well, this message from Coach Lombardi floors me. In the job world today, finding an employee “committed to excellence” is very rare. Do you want to grow in your life? I do. And I surround myself with people who want me to be successful, who want themselves to be successful, and those who are willing to pay the price to be the best.

“It teaches the strong to know when they are weak and the brave to face themselves when they are afraid. To be proud and unbowed in defeat yet humble and gentle in victory. And to master ourselves before we attempt to master others. And to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep. And to give the predominance of courage over timidity.”

– General Douglas MacArthur, On the virtues of competitive athletics (1880 – 1964) American five-star general and field marshal 

Ok, another great quote. To know our weaknesses, to be brave. To know humility and self-mastery. The healing power of laughter and the power of courage.

“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

Sometimes my greatest virtue is that I am up in the morning with a positive attitude and a willingness to make the day a great day. We have two cats. I am forced to get up, wash bowls, clean poops, give rubs, distribute treats, and fill water and food bowls. I do not have a choice. I am the life blood of these two furry creatures and they depend on me. The first thing I do each morning is get me a little bit of lovin’ from two sweet cats, and the first words out of my mouth are “I love you”. Actually, I say that to three creatures, one who is human.

“No obstacles fell in his way that seemed to him insurmountable. He might be defeated, as he sometimes was, but he shrank from no hardship through impatience, he fled from no danger through cowardice.”

– J. P. Morgan writing about Napoleon Bonaparte

From this powerful quote, let’s fill ourselves with courage. Many days I think that this day, this week is just going to kill me, and guess what, it doesn’t. I somehow make it through the week with a wink and a smile. I don’t shrink, I don’t flee, but it does not mean that I am not often scared and frightened. I just don’t tell anyone. Especially myself!

Now, to my most favorite quote of all. I repeat this, say this and share this quote every day of my life and I hope it encourage others. Guess what, yes, I daily try to do the things I think I cannot do. And I DO it. To my amazement, it all works out. Please, don’t give up. No matter what you excuse, your obstacles, the people trying to sabotage you, your status, your beliefs, your health, even all the good in your life. Don’t let anything get in the way of your dreams, especially yourself. Read Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote over and over and say it to yourself. You can do it!

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962)American First Lady and Political Activist

Thank you for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com