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!

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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!

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No 20 5-18-18 “Offering a Word of Praise”

“Yes, Thank You! I’d love to do that for you. May I assist you? You look great today. I love that color on you. You look happy and healthy. Thank for coming today. It is a pleasure to have you with us. Welcome! That’s the best I’ve ever seen you dance. You’re on fire today. Thanks for all your help. You’re amazing. I love seeing you, you’re always so cheerful. You brightened my day. Thanks for going the extra mile for me. You are fantastic. I rely on you. You’re the best part of my day.”

Wow, ever had any of these greetings? Did you notice the person who gave you this praise and how they greet everyone? They’re just super kind and nice people and everyone loves them, all the time, every day. They are surrounded by friends, followers, supporters and usually are friends with the same kind of positive people. They handle adversity in stride, they have full composure and they ride out the hard days with grace and dignity. They are amazing, and they make everyone around them feel great, important, and special.

Today I was in a meeting where someone was saying how bad things were, complaining about someone who was in our group and generally saying many negative things. Then, next to this person came in another team member who from the moment they sat down, gave sweet hellos, lovely compliments, uplifting responses, positive comments and they made everyone around feel great and happy. What a difference. What a contrast between someone with great positive words of praise and uplifting support from the other participant.

This is just the way it is in life. I don’t condone the Debbie Downer, and I don’t think the person of light is a better person, but I do think that you can get a lot more bees with honey than with vinegar. My dad always said to my mom, “Be sweet Miss W”, for my mom had a quick word and a final word of judgment regarding people and situations. I was that way for many, many years, and now I am learning to wait before I speak, and I try to deliver words of light and healing.

How do you turn into a person of praise? Well, I’ll give you a secret that my mom, J. Clair, gave me later in her life. She called it “Build an Empire”. Mom said, when you first see someone, immediately find something you love about them and say it to them. Wow, you look great today. I love your outfit. You look so healthy and happy today. I love that suit. Just say the first positive thing you feel and then build an empire of conversation of good about that person. You’ll find that the other person loves it, that it makes you both feel great, and you begin to make this a part of your life.

I’ve spoken about, written about and practiced “Building an Empire” for so many years that it has truly become a part of my life and I love it. Guess what, your smile is reflected in the faces of others. So, if during conversation your friends are looking back at you with big smiles, you are smiling at them. This holds true with and just try it. You’ll make someone’s day a happy day. Offer unexpected praise and guess what, it will boost your day.

I have often read that petting your animals calms and relaxes them. But get this, it calms YOU as well and makes YOU feel good. It’s the same with people. Just give little praise pats to others all the time and you’ll have day after day of love, laughter, happiness, and friendship. Remember, laughter is a medicine that all can take, at any time.

Thank you for reading this and let me tell you that YOU my friend are wonderful and worthy and special to me as you read this. I love you and praise you and wish you a great and happy day. You bless me by reading this!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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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!

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No 15 4-13-18 “We Must Do the Thing We Think We Cannot Do”

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No 15 4-13-18 “We Must Do the Thing We Think We Cannot Do”

 

These are two of my favorite quotes in life, both from Eleanor Roosevelt

 

“You must do the things you think you cannot do.”

 and

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

-both by Eleanor Roosevelt

(1884-1962) American First Lady and Political Activist

 

Since learning these quotes, I have begun to lose my fear of trying the impossible in my life. Attempting the impossible is hard, risky, and challenging. You cannot look back and you cannot run forward with the luggage of fear and double. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

 

Also, a great change has been the ability to dream, and dream big in my life. Dreaming is easy, speaking and sharing that dream with others can be heart-stopping. To declare in front of others what you are going to attempt and accomplish is not for the faint hearted!

 

“Life is no brief candle to me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

– George Bernard Shaw

(1856-1950) Irish Playwright

 

This quote from Shaw states how I wish to life my life. I want to burn that splendid torch for others to use to light their ways in life. I want to be remembered for service and for guiding others to greatness in every area of their lives. Even at 62, I am living on the edge of my energy and resources, pushing and running forward in life to achieve the ability to always motivate and inspire others.

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“Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not.”

– Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895) British Biologist

 

There is a price to pay for all this greatness. Hard work, every day, all the time, with no excuses. I know that I can write all this easily, but am I willing to do the work and am I willing to do it whether I want to or not. I hope the answer is Yes and that I have the courage to move forward, good days and bad days, days of light or darkness, good or bad health, through good or bad decisions, or just when I feel I am about to give up, to pick myself up and go through another day, knowing that light will continue to fill my heart and spirit again the next day. Yes, to doing the hard work, yes!

 

It’s funny, I don’t think I reached my goals in life. I thought I had failed. I thought I was too old. I thought it was time to rest and step back. Life does not have that in store for me. Life is calling me to move forward to greatness, every day in every way. I still have that burning passion in my life, and boy am I happy about that. Let your heart go, let passion for life overtake you. Fulfill your destiny in life.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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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!

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