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


“Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced.”

– John Keats (1795 – 1821) English Romantic poet


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


Thanks for reading,


David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

FB: David Earl Woodbury



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!










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!



No 13 “Be a Part of the Winning Team!” 3-31-17

No 13 Changing Lives through Dancing

By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, March 31, 2017

“Be a Part of the Winning Team!”

“What do the right people want more than almost anything else? They want to be part of a winning team. They want to contribute to producing visible, tangible results. They want to feel the excitement of being involved in something that just flat out works.” – Jim Collins

We are so very quick today with social media to label someone as a “Loser or Legend” without always knowing all the facts. In 1951, Rookie Willie Mays got one hit in his first 26 at bats. But then things picked up. He would go on to win rookie of the year and become one of the year and become one of the legends of baseball, once hitting 4 home runs in a single game.

Sometimes it just takes a while to reach your full potential. I have asked thousands of times in my life “What is success?” and I have come up with many, many answers. When I see anyone over 60, I think that they are a success. 70 I think they are amazing and 80 and over they are heroes to me. I don’t care how much money they have, how big of a house they own, or their 401K amount. I am just amazed to see them in good health, happy, usually dancing, and loving life.

Over so many years of seeing older students come into Arthur Murray, and seeing their lives change, has made me a lifelong believer in the benefits of dancing. The sad truth is that many older students who dance, are never seen by their kids who are themselves in their 40’s, 50’s, and even 60’s. The kids cannot wrap their minds around the fact that their elderly parent is competing in an exciting ballroom dance competition, dressed in the most beautiful outfits, surrounded by many friends, professional dancers, and the great Arthur Murray Family. The kids of the older dancers are shocked to see their “old” parent taking the dance floor looking glamorous, being cheered on by hundreds of friends that they, the children themselves, have never met or seen.

They see their parents winning awards and truly look amazing on the dance floor and witness their lives being transformed through the magic of dance. Sometimes, this transformation of the senior parent has been the catalyst for the older child themselves to start dancing and sharing the lifetime benefits of dancing and competing.

“We will all experience disappointments and crushing events somewhere along the way, setbacks for which there is no “reason”; no one to blame. It might be a disease; it might be injury; it might be an accident; it might be losing a loved one; it might be getting swept away in a political shake up; it might be getting shot down over Vietnam and thrown into a POW camp for 8 years. What separates people, James Stockdale taught me, is not the presence or absence of difficulties, but how they deal with the inevitable difficulties of life.” – Jim Collins (1958) American business consultant

A winner does learn how to deal with the daily trials of life. I’m almost 61 and I’m still trying to figure this out. Somehow I think that just getting up, getting dressed and serving another day, day after day, makes me a hero. We will, we must, we shall go on with our daily lives making a difference in the world.

“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”- James Stockdale (1923 – 2005) American Naval Officer and Prisoner of War

This quote is very important because it is easy to get confused in the middle of a brutal current reality. Yes, we must have faith that we will make it in the end, yet we must carry on in the current moment with discipline so that we do not give up in the present moment. Sometimes, I find that I get swept up in the current storm of life and lose my focus. This is a dangerous moment because despair may enter in and hope may flee my thoughts.  Then, as I maintain my discipline, it does get better. I don’t know how, but I continue on bravely with my daily life, and it gets better.

“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.”- Thomas Edward Lawrence (1888 – 1935) British author, archaeologist, military officer, and diplomat.

Be a dreamer of the day. Act on your dreams with your eyes open. Never be a prisoner of your past, it was just a lesson, not a life sentence. Thank you for being a part of the winning team and for taking others with you on your path to success.

Thank you for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!







Hospitality 9-17-16


Hospitality Summit 9-17-16 at St. Monica Parish Community.


Last weekend, Joel Rieck and I were facilitators at a Hospitality Summit. This was an all-day training for leaders from many different ministries. Our privilege was to lead our table of leaders and help focus on what Hospitality means and how to live the life of Hospitality. All around the ballroom were posters with quotes and I would love to share these with you in this blog.


There is no hospitality like understanding.


Understanding is accepting people just as they are and letting them know that “All are welcome”. You may look different, dress different, believe different and come from a completely different background, but you are welcome just as you are.


I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

Have you ever left a place and not felt welcome? Did they exclude you, judge you, or say to you that you will be accepted when you change and become just like they are?

Has you ever left had an interaction with someone that left them feeling badly about themselves? Hospitality is making others feel that they are welcome and will be accepted for who they are at that time.


Hospitality is love in action. It is the flesh and muscle on the bones of love.


It’s OK to say to someone “I love you”, it’s another thing to say to them “How may I help you?”. Hospitality is a verb and it means giving of ourselves to others in the “flesh and bones” of action.


Hospitality is the practice of God’s welcome by reaching across difference to

participate in God’s actions bringing justice and healing to our world in crisis.

Letty M. Russell

In the world of dance, there are great differences. Smooth, Ballroom, Latin, Standard,

Rhythm, Theater Arts, the world of Tango and Swing. How do we unite the worlds of partnership dancing? They are united on respect for the dance, respect for the partner, respect for the other dancers, and respect for the judges. If the world acted more like the competitive dance world, we would have a great period of partnership and connection in the world. Justice and healing on the dance floor is always based on honoring the dance and the music and moving harmoniously with our partner surrounded by other couples.

The Heart of Hospitality is creating space for someone to feel seen and

heard and loved.


At a dance competition final, with six finalists, there is a major component that the couples must show in order to place. That is floor craft. We must not bump into, impede, hit, obstruct, or disrupt another couple’s dancing. This is a learned skill and is what makes watching a dancing final so exciting. Each couple is trying for first place, dancing their best, exhibiting dancing that has taken years to learn with hours of practice, while all the time giving all the other couples to space to do the same. This is a great lesson for life.


Hospitality is one form of worship.

Jewish Proverb

For me, Hospitality saved my life. I walked up to a man, Dan Schwala, 14 years ago and asked “May I help you?” and he put me to work and he taught me how to show and live the life of Hospitality.  As I was on my last thread, and I have been several times since then, the giving life of Hospitality has always given me a reason to live and go on. Serving other led me out of the “Dark Night of the Soul” and opened my eyes to how to be happy in my life.


Hospitality is simply an opportunity to show love and care.


Want to have a great day? Just ask someone if you may help them. Ask them if they would like to talk with you. Do they need some help in their life? Do they need a friend? Do they just need to talk? Show someone else that you love and care how they are and you will find that life will bring these “opportunities” to you daily.

In the cherry blossom’s shade there’s no such thing as a stranger.

Kobayashi Issa

My mother, J. Clair Woodbury, did not know a stranger. Yes, she had Southern opinions about a lot of people, but they were always her friends. Daddy and I would leave mother sitting in a mall as we went to shop, and we would come back to find a group of people around her listening and enjoying stories about Louisiana. J. Clair truly did not know a stranger.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.


Unfortunately, I spent a great deal of my life trying to “find myself”. I was often unhappy, lost and unfulfilled. I was always looking for that magic that would make me feel completed. It was not until I learned the magic of helping others that truly became “Free” in my life. This Hospitality Summit has opened my eyes to the joy of helping others in every area of life. I can’t wait to use more of this in my Arthur Murray Dance life and in all other areas of living.

Hope you enjoyed this little view into the wonderful world of Hospitality and serving others!

Thank you,

David Woodbury

Keep on Dancing

Email me if you like this blog:

Do You Know Where You’re Going? 4-8-16

2016-02-06 21.02.09

No 16 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, April 15, 2016

Do you know where you’re going?

“The world stands aside to let anyone pass who knows where he is going.”- David Starr Jordan (1851-1931) American, University President, Author

Where are you going? Up, down, in, out, bad to good, what’s happening to you? Where is your path taking you?

“The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.”- Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English Writer and Statesman

I can tell you where I’m going, and that’s up, up, and away! I’m striving every day to live my dream. Slowly, I’m finding the answers to the questions that I have been asking every day of my life, and I don’t think I was ready until now for the solutions. Lent was a tough time for me this year. Full of challenges and trials that seems insurmountable for me. Then, right after Easter, I received some answers to some very trying questions. Answers that have already changed my life and are sure to change my future!

“The way to get things done is not to mind who gets the credit for doing them.- Benjamin Jowett (1817 – 1893) British Theologian and Classicist

Part knowing where I’m going is that I don’t care who gets the credit these days. I’ve had all my awards and trophies. Enough for a lifetime. Now, I enjoy seeing others receive their accolades and their prizes for success. Yes, it is true, you can have everything in your life if you help everyone around you achieve their goals in life.

“The best portion of a good man’s life is the little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.”- William Wordsworth (1770-1850) English poet

After over 400 blogs over these past years, I have never dreamed the way I dream today. I remember them and write about them. The dreams have chapters and they ebb and flow. It’s like a series on HBO. I watch the dreams and awaken to clarity and change. Don’t let go of a dream. Don’t let a grumpy dumpy around you foul up your dreams. Don’t let anyone stop you from moving forward with your dreams. It may be rough, but the journey will change your life.

“Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul; the blue prints of your ultimate accomplishments.”- Napoleon Hill (1883-1970) American Motivational Speaker

Enjoy your blue prints of you are to build your life, and act on your dreams.

Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury (email me if you like this blog)

To Witness Someone’s Life 3-11-16

2016-03-06 20.15.43

No 11 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, March 11, 2016

To Witness Someone’s Life

“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” – Jack London

Tonight I said to Joel Rieck, my husband, that I did not mind the fact that I make a fool of myself in front of him all the time. Trying to Twitter, upload videos to YouTube, edit photos, work our computer program, handle daily problems. Making choreography work, decorating, planning, all while I put my creativity on the line and all the while, working hard to get it right.

During the journey to achieve making it all happen, I make a million boo boos. I told Joel, how do you watch me over and over as I try to succeed and I keep getting up over and over, although with each setback, there is a silver lining of success. Joel said this to me, “Well, I’m here to witness your life. To go through your life with you.” In the middle of Starbucks, I wept. What a nice thing to say to me. Warts and all, Joel is the witness of my life, and I of his.

“I don’t think anything is unrealistic if you believe you can do it. I think if you are determined enough and willing to pay the price, you can get it done.”- Mike Ditka (1939) American, Football Coach, Chicago Bears

I know that Joel and I are both willing to pay the price and we believe we can get it done. Joel is the hardest worker I have ever known. Although he is an accomplished dancer, and franchisee, he still commits more, harder and longer than anyone I have ever known. And he continues to amaze me with his work ethic.

For me, I have to go home and rest sometimes. I need naps, I get tired, beyond my ability to push and yet Joel still works another 6 hours beyond me. What he knows is that I am witnessing his life as well. His ability to work with and motivate others. How he makes the studio active and productive and happy. Joel is a 100% fully committed person and exemplifies honor and dedication.

I’ll never be on that rocking chair sipping mint julips in the late afternoon. I’ll be organizing the Ming Julip Festival that will be a benefit for something and I’ll be on two more committees for more fund raisers! Are there moments of repose, yes, but I love the action and being in the heart of the game.

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Let’s not worry about fear. Just look at it in the face and say “Get behind me” and them move forward and move on. I think I might be depressed sometimes, but I just don’t have the time. I’m too busy with light and life and living to the fullest.

Move forward, move ahead, live life!

Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury (email me if you like this blog)