No 52 12-29-17 Happy New Year!

No 52 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, December 29, 2017

Happy New Year 2018!

“To think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world. If you leave your mind to itself, it will spiral down into ever increasing unhappiness. To think good thoughts, however, requires effort. This is one of the things that discipline – training – is about.”

– James Clavell, in his novel Shogun (1924 – 1994)


British novelist, screenwriter, director, and World War II veteran and prisoner of war

“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


“Do not falter or shrink; But just think out your work, and just work out your think.”

– Nixon Waterman (1859 – 1944)

newspaper writer, poet and Chautauqua lecturer


Yes, our thoughts are a huge part of our lives. Imagine if we could only control what we think! What if our self-talk was not so brutal? My self-talk is rough. I scold myself and beat myself up for just minor infractions. Now, I am stopping myself and ceasing the cruel thoughts and I try to think good thoughts to myself. I know we all do this and I know that I become my own thoughts, so they should be good even great ones!

“We need a renaissance of wonder. We need to renew, in our hearts and in our souls, the deathless dream, the eternal poetry, the perennial sense that life is miracle and magic.”

– E. Merrill Root (1895 – 1973)

American Writer


Thinking good thoughts for me means that I often must let go. Let go of being “right”. Let go of controlling situations and others. Let go of my acerbic tongue and quick responses. Now, I am waiting for others to speak and listening much more in conversations. Also, letting go of fear of loss and the fear of something bad happening. Now, I find that my situations and life work out without me being nasty, controlling, and too overbearing. I am learning to say “this is working out” and truly letting good things happen in my life.

As a result of this, I do feel more a sense of wonder and magic. I dream more and these dreams come true. Now that I am not trying to control every aspect of my life, but live more in the moment, I am happier and those around me are happier with me!

“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


“It is a hard rule of life, and I believe a healthy one, that no great plan is ever carried out without meeting and overcoming endless obstacles that come up to try the skill of a man’s hand, the quality of his courage, and the endurance of his faith.”

– Donald Douglas (1892 – 1981)

American, Founder Douglas Aircraft Company, later McDonnell Douglas


“I like a man who attempts the impossible.”

– J.P. Morgan (1837 – 1913)

American financier


Life can be impossible with endless obstacles. Yet, when we attempt the impossible with skill, courage, and faith we succeed in the end. I truly don’t want my life to be easy. Why, because during the rough times, I have learned the most and grown the most in my life. During the “dark nights of the soul” I have met mentors who have remained my guides, friends, and leaders until this day. I know life is going to be rough, so I use the magic of service to focus on the good and the positive.


“Trials, temptations, disappointments — all these are helps instead of hindrances, if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fiber of a character, but strengthen it. Every conquered temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.”

– James Buckham (1844 – 1930)


Canadian lumberman and Liberal politician

“If you smile when you lose, then you win in life.”

– From Tai-Pan, the great adventure novel by James Clavell (1924 – 1994)

British novelist, screenwriter, director, and World War II veteran and prisoner of war


As I look back on my years, I realize that there is so much I do not know about life and people. I realize that I am learning daily about people, work, faith, family, health, relationships, service, and patience. The list goes on and on. That’s exciting for me. There is a great future. As the above quote says, I smile a lot and that makes me a winner in life.

Go into the new year with a clean slate. Good thoughts, good hopes and dreams, good plans for the future. Let the bad times go and smile and appreciate the good times.

Happy New Year!

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!












Life is Miracle and Magic 4-3-15

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No 14. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, April 3, 2015

Life is Miracle and Magic

We need a renaissance of wonder. We need to renew, in our hearts and
in our souls, the deathless dream, the eternal poetry, the perennial
sense that life is miracle and magic. — E. Merrill Root (1895-1973) American Writer

If I have any message from this then it is if you really have a dream
and you want to achieve it then you can and it really is possible.”
— Ellen MacArthur, quoted after breaking all single-handed woman’s records and finishing second in round the world yacht race. February 11th, 2001

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Here we are at Easter and Passover at the same time. I wish all of you, no matter if or what you celebrate, a great holiday season. This is truly a time of renewing our hearts and our dreams.

The last almost 40 days of Lent have been a great time of reflection for me. I did OK in my “fast” of a bad habit of mine. It is a life-long quest to change something about myself that I detest, and I gave it a lot of work during my Lenten journey. Still working on it!

One great result of this time was the renewal of my own deathless dream, and the rekindling of the fire of my enthusiasm. There were many, many moments in the last 40 days of joy in my life, happiness in where I am at peace with all the challenges that have come my way. A grateful heart has grown within me as I have counted the many blessings and opportunities all around me.

The simple renewing of a dream has been wonderful for me. The reality, if God is willing, that I will dance for the rest of my life has been a great joy of thought for me. The knowing that I can teach, dance, perform, enjoy, and participate in dancing has given me immense joy daily.

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Wisdom begins in wonder. – Socrates

As the body needs physical exercise in order to remain in fit
condition, man’s spirit also requires the spiritual exercise derived
when he confronts his problems and combats life’s vicissitudes.
— William Sahakian and Mabel Lewis Sahakian, describing the philosophy of Epictetus

The wisdom of life comes after we have met life’s challenges, overcome the trials that have tried our patience and tested our character, and then moved forward with the knowledge that we have learned from our journeys. For many, many years I focused primarily on my physical exercise which is still essential until today. Yet, now I know that our spiritual exercises are just as important to develop our character. A healthy heart and soul are both important to overall fitness and conditioning.

For me, I will always be a kid inside.

A child-like man is not a man whose development has been arrested; on the contrary, he is a man who has given himself a chance of continuing to develop long after most adults have muffled themselves in the cocoon of middle-aged habit and convention.

–Aldous Huxley

See you all next week!

David Woodbury