No 47 11-24-17 A Time to be Thankful!

No 47 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 24, 2017

A Time to be Thankful!

This time of year I’m the luckiest guy on the planet. I’ve just started my 42nd year with Arthur Murray Dance Centers. I am happily married and lucky in love with a great home life and two wonderful kitties. My faith life is strong at St. Monica’s and I am happy to be serving for many years now at my parish.

My health was not good this past year and was my own fault. It’s getting better and I have a way to go to my optimum health at 61. I always say “Your health is your wealth” and I am trying to make some changes in my diet and exercise life!

My associate with the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce has now put me on the Board of the Chamber as well as on several committees and being an Ambassador for the Chamber.

For personal goals I am looking forward, God willing, to 20 more years of dancing and being with Arthur Murray. After all these years, I now know a couple of good things to help others in the dance world. I look forward to life and to making our school stronger and stronger.

I take refuge in my faith and am fortunate to be serving and helping others on a regular basis. All the Hospitality Ministers confess that we serve so we will be sure to go to mass! For me, it keeps me out of trouble and keeps my heart and life in check!

What to be thankful for? I always heard it said that waking up in the morning was a great blessing and now in my early 60’s, it truly is a blessing. To be given the opportunity to life another day and grow and experience the challenges and blessings of life again is amazing!

The hard times, well, I think that if I can just keep on helping others and helping others grow that my eyes will not rest on the bad in life, but in the infinite possibilities of good and the blessing of being a mentor to others.

The good times, I just don’t look for them anymore. To me, every day is a good day. I use to live for the weekends and time to myself, and now I love sharing my gifts and time with others. I do not look for tomorrow to be better than today, but look to be my better self in the moment and making today a winning day.

With just a few twists in life, I could be out of the streets and not in my home of 29 years. I know that living in the moment is the greatest blessing and the greatest possession I can have. Everything could be gone tomorrow, so I want to make my mark today.

Is your heart full this Thanksgiving? My heart is full of hope, thankfulness for so much that live has given to me, and a clear vision of the future. My mom, J. Clair, always said “Keep a little song in your heart”. I am singing my way now through life thanks to her great advice!

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No 46 11-16-17 Three Keys to Success

No 46 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 17, 2017

Three Keys to Success!

First:

Believe in yourself and know who you are! Let go of what others expect you to be. We all know what defines us and what makes us special and unique. My life has been spent trying to impress others and trying to live up to standards others have set for me. Now, I know what greatness lies inside of me and what I am supposed to do with my life. The only task ahead is to give back from the gifts that have been given to me. Remember, we are books and others read us by our actions not our words!

 

Second:

Know what you have to give, and give that to others daily. Reach out to the community around us and see where we fit in to serve and inspire others. This may come from organizing huge events to raise money, or just be good for a smile and a good word to others each day. Social responsibility is not easy, but is very rewarding. Do you have trouble with doubt or the blues? Pull yourself up and volunteer and use your energy to lead and guide others.

 

Third:

Know the right thing and do the right thing. This is not the most popular or easy way to live. Our lives are measured by what we do, not by what we just say. Doing the right thing is also making the best decisions when no one else is watching. I often wonder if my thoughts were viewed in a bubble over my head for all others to see, how would I change them? How would I think when listening to others or when meeting someone new? The truth is that others do know what we are thinking, and that is by our body language, facial expressions, and our responses. God help me to truly listen twice as much as I speak and to let others talk without interrupting them!

 

Every day I experience the passion of life. From the moment of awakening and feeding our kitties, to making a great breakfast, to planning an awesome day, to opening our Arthur Murray Franchise School and planning a life-changing day. I wish to be someone who feels all aspects of life and use these experiences to help and guide others.

 

As I grow to into a life of service, I pray that I remember that God gave me two ears and one mouth. I pray that I truly listen to others and take in what they say and respond to their needs. I pray for wisdom and understanding to say the right responses when others have spoken.

 

Do I want to be myself in life? Yes, I want to be my greatest self!

 

Be Yourself:  Everyone else is already taken!! – Oscar Wilde

 

Thanks for reading!

 

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No 45 11-10-17 Nothing is ever lost by courtesy

No 45 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 10, 2017

Nothing is ever lost by courtesy

“Nothing is ever lost by courtesy. It is the cheapest of pleasures, costs nothing, and conveys much.”

– Erastus Wiman (1834 – 1904)

Canadian journalist and businessman

Growing up, my dad always said to my mom “Be sweet Miz Woodbury”. Why, she had a direct option on people and situations. I’m just the same. I’m quick to speak and fast to react. My weakness is that my buttons get pushed so fast that I can’t get them under control and bam, there goes my big mouth!

What’s the answer? This courtesy quote is excellent. The answer is wait a moment before speaking and reacting. Now at 61, finally I take a moment before saying the first thing that pops into my mouth. I have learned to take a breath, pause, and listen to the other person finish their sentence. My dear friend, Roz DeBeve, always said that God had perfect mathematics when He gave us two ears and one mouth. Roz said to be successful, listen twice as much as you speak!

For another aspect of courtesy, I have learned from my great friend, Linda Greenberg, to say “I’m sorry”. Perhaps there is a disagreement between two people, and you are caught in the middle of it and you did nothing wrong to either party. To be the peacemaker, just say “I’m sorry” that happened and just take out the fight and be the calming factor. I’ve seen many fires put out with this simple act of courtesy.

Monsignor Lloyd Torgerson said during a homily a few years ago that he had gone through a major change in his life. He said he would get angry and be “in the right” in arguments. He stood before us, hands behind his back, and he said, “Now I just say, I’m sorry” and I don’t fight. His message had a profound effect on me. Does it matter if I am right? It matters if I am a great peacemaker and am able to help, console, guide, and repair situations in a positive way.

“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

The biggest part of courtesy for me is laughter. Of the four personality types, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Melancholy, and Choleric, I am a Chosen Sanguine and a retired Choleric. That means that I was a jerk for a long time and did not laugh enough. I was way too strong and made others see that I was always right. Guess what readers, this was not good for my heart and I almost had a heart attack over this.

Now, I find that courtesy through laughter is a true medicine. When I am dancing and we make a mistake, we look at each other and say “what was that?” and we laugh and give each other a hug a move on. What a great approach to teaching and this keeps my students happy, and they do learn how to dance beautifully loving each and every moment.

Yes, I’m quick just like my mom J. Clair was, yet she was also a very polite and gracious woman. My dad always had a great laugh and he smiled at all who were around him. I’m so blessed to and honored to be their son and have their Southern characteristics in my personality.

Courtesy: try this. Just go out and give a smile and share a laugh with someone. Tell them how great they look today and how happy you are to see them. Ask them how they are and say you are looking forward to seeing them again. Remember, the smile we see in other’s faces is our own smile we are giving to them. From our quote today,

“It is the cheapest of pleasures, costs nothing and conveys much”.

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 35 9-1-56 The Formula for Success

 

No 35 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, September 1, 1956

The Formula for Success

“I can give you a six-word formula for success: Think things through – then follow through.”

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

How true is this quote! The art of thinking things through is almost a thing of the past. We are so fast in today’s world. I read that not only are we not using email, we have abandoned texting for live video chats! What happened to the written note? The phone call? Or, get this, the personal visit? To follow through, remember that people like doing business with people they like, and they need to see you and know you to like you!

“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.”

– George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950) Irish Playwright

I’ve learned that nothing in my life is hidden. Even the private thoughts that I think seem to surface. It’s like eating garlic, everyone knows you ate it. It comes out your pores! We might as well live as is the whole world is watching every move because all our thoughts turn into some type of actions in our lives. I always vision that I am surrounded by light. Am I a saint, by all means no. But I make a great effort to fill my mind, heart, and soul with light daily.

“You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.”

– Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774) Irish Writer

All day long I can talk about being a great Arthur Murray man. I can talk about my walk of faith and my belief in home life. But it is all nothing if my life does not reflect the words I speak. I’m a phony if I am not living up to my words. I heard it said once that our lives are the only scripture that some people will ever read.

“Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.”

– Sophia Loren (1934- ) Italian Actress

Mistakes, I’ve made a few. I may not be the brightest bulb, but I am a lasting bulb and I try to bring light to everyone with whom I come in contact. I guess that’s why I try so hard; I just finally get it right in the end!

“What ought one to say then as each hardship comes? I was practicing for this, I was training for this.”

– Epictetus (55 AD – 135 AD) Greek Philosopher

Let’s prepare for success and weather out the storms of life.

Happy Birthday to me today. I’m 61! October 15 is 41 years with Arthur Murray. It has all been a glorious journey for me. What a blessed life I have!

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