No 36 9-8-17 Just Keep On Playing

No 36 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, September 1, 1956

Just Keep on Playing!

“If you just keep playing, keep believing and have some faith, something good can happen.”

– Washington Redskins coach Norv Turner, whose team became only the second in NFL history to win six games after losing the first seven games of the year. December 19, 1998

Does it not seem that others have all the luck? Money, success, talent, and it all seems to come so easy to them. Want to know what I think? They don’t have it all. To my surprise, I have found that others whom I have envied for having it all were feeling the same way about me at the same time. They thought that I had it all and that my life was so easy. The truth is, just don’t want what others have, or you just might get it!

I truly do just keep believing and having faith, and somehow everything seems to work out. Also, at 61 now, I find that down the road of other’s lives wasn’t as easy as I thought and they end up sometimes going through terrible trials and losses that test every fiber of their being. And at that time, I become a strength for them!

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”

– Charles Kingsley (1819 – 1875)

English Novelist and Clergyman

Perhaps having a dream is the most precious gift we may have in our lives. Dreaming of a fulfilled goal, dreaming of completing a task, dreaming of fully realizing our hopes, talents, and abilities. The best blessing is having enthusiasm for this dream. To wake up each day, no matter how hard the times might be, and having the motivation to get through that day from sheer excitement of the goals and tasks at hand.

“The greatest pleasure I know is to do a good action by stealth, and to have it found out by accident.”

– Charles Lamb

(1775-1834) British Essayist

So, are you going through a rough patch? Are you able to ‘keep on playing’? Are you living your best life? I’ll give you my formula for success. Just live a life of service. Give you time to someone, to a cause, to a group, to your church or temple, to kids, the sick, the elderly. Just give away time that may never give back to you and give it from the heart. You’ll find that is a prescription that may be refilled over and over for the rest of your lives, and the side effects are joy, peace, happiness and fulfillment!

“A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.”

– Charles Gordy (1833 – 1885)

British Army officer and administrator

Task today…..Go through your day with a smile and pretend that everyone you see is a mirror of your face. Just smile and you’ll see you own smile reflected through their faces! Give it a try.

“Many a friendship — long, loyal, and self-sacrificing — rested at first upon no thicker a foundation than a kind word.”

– Frederick William Faber (1814 – 1863)

English Priest and Hymn Writer

After you give that special smile, give a kind word to someone. Compliment them. Give them a message of hope and joy. Tell a friend “It will get better” and give them a big hug, then call them the next day to say you are thinking of them. These kind words that pave the long road to a lifetime of friendship.

I hope you loved the quotes. I feel so good after writing this. I hope you do as well!

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

 

No 21 Reflect on your past blessings! 5-26-17

No 21 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, May 26, 2017

“Reflect on your past blessings”

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many–not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” – Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870) English Novelist

We must all have regrets and thoughts of “what if” in our lives. These thoughts can actually pull us down into depression and isolation if we give into them. For some reason, it’s hard to focus on the good. We all have trouble with this. The beauty of the day, our food, clothing, opportunities, friends and family in our lives. It’s easy to awaken and hit the ‘poopie thought’ list before our feet even hit the floor. Every morning I try to find my ‘perfect’ spot. It is a brief moment before rising that I am 100% in tune and at peace. I feel it, experience it, reflect in it, respect it, then I get up and start the day.

“Man does not live by a turkey in every oven or a color TV set in every home. Man lives by faith and hope and love, by the star on the horizon, by the trumpet that will not call retreat.” – E. Merrill Root (1895-1973) American Writer

Some days, not only do I not have the trumpet of triumph, but I seem to be leading the retreat from the enemy even before I get up! I hate this. While my flesh body is thinking of my oven turkey and what I’ll watch on my laptop, I lose sight of my guiding star leading me to the faith, hope and love in my life.

“Quoted after breaking all single-handed woman’s records and finishing second in round the world yacht race. February 11th, 2001. 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 (1976 ) Retired English sailor

What the future holds, I just don’t know. I am only certain that today must be a good day, even a great day, and that I must make a difference in someone else’s life. If I could bottle dreams, it would be my fuel every day in my life. I dream of hope, success, health, service, faith, family, love, career, health, mentoring, sustaining, giving, creating, pursuing, cooking (of course), guiding others, and creating a world around me where others learn to be of inspiration to others. I don’t want to just have a business that makes money, I want a business that inspires my staff to greater heights in their lives. A business that will give our staff the skills to accomplish any dreams they might have in their lives. For my customers, I want them to feel they are in a place where they are loved, appreciated, wanted, needed, safe, happy, and where they have a place to be themselves and grow.

“Real heroes are men who fall and fail and are flawed, but win out in the end because they’ve stayed true to their ideals and beliefs and commitments.” – Kevin Costner (1955) American Actor, Producer and Director

Once I thought that you made a goal, focused on it and then, poof, it would happen. Little did I know that if you set a goal, you will be tested in many, many ways to prove your resolve and try your determination. Goals are great, but they are not the journey. The journey is staying focused through success, failure, doubt, glory, fears and achievements. Our goals are closest to us when we are in the hot, fiery oven of trials and tribulations.

Well, on that hot note, be positive and keep on dreaming. Every good thing we have in our lives is because we, or someone else had an incredible thought that became a dream that became a reality. Don’t be afraid of hard times. Don’t give up. Remember, It will get better!

Thank you for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

Thanks to Kristina Sado for the lovely Sand and Sea Ball 2017 photos!

@SadoPhoto ©KristinaSado

 

No 14 Can Dancing Protect Your Brain From Aging?

No 14 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, April 7, 2017

Can Dancing Protect Your Brain From Aging?

Our Arthur Murray Santa Monica student, Diana Ungerleider, brought in an article that said there may be something unique about learning a social dance. The demands dancing places on the mind and body could make it unusually potent at slowing some of the changes inside our skulls that come with aging. Neuroscientists and those in middle age or beyond know that brains alter as slow as we grow older. Dancing seems to accelerate the processing speed of how rapidly our brains can absorb, assess and respond to new information.

Any dancer who has attended a dance competition with two solos, 20+ Open and 20+ Closed entries, and an All Around Championship will tell you that their brains are buzzing with information. They feel more alive than they have felt in years. I remember my competition years where I had several hundred entries all floating around in my head at the same time, all ready to be danced. As I look back, I remember how happy those times were for me and how free and alive that I felt at the competitions!

“There is a sense of exhilaration that comes from facing head-on the hard truths and saying, “We will never give up. We will never capitulate. It might take a long time, but we will find a way to prevail.””- Jim Collins, from his book, Good to Great (1958) American business consultant

Perhaps facing the hard truths through the skill of dancing gives us a sense of direction and we never surrender or give up. Over so many years I have had many students who were racked with illness and they dance through the illness, pain, and depression. They become whole through their dancing and overcome and prevail with joy succeed in their quest to become good dancers.

“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 (1922 – 1986)

I spent many years with physical exercise, and now I am in a time of my life practicing spiritual exercise. I once thought that I “had it all together” in my life. I knew the magic of work and collaboration and success. Now, I think that I know very little and I have a world of knowledge to learn all over again. I feel like a novice and a beginner. Thanks goodness for the dancing, for when I’m dancing, I feel young, thin, alive, happy, healthy, fulfilled, at one with life, and full of energy.

“Unswerving loyalty to duty, constant devotion to truth, and a clear conscience will overcome every discouragement and surely lead the way to usefulness and high achievement.” – Grover Cleveland

“There is a sense of exhilaration that comes from facing head-on the hard truths and saying, “We will never give up. We will never capitulate. It might take a long time, but we will find a way to prevail.”  – Jim Collins, from his book, Good to Great (1958) American business consultant

In my past I think that gave up too early with problems. Now, I only want to be useful to help others reach their high achievements. I’m ready to face the hard truths. I’ll never give up. I’ll prevail to the end and I’ll find a way to make it in life.

Keep on dancing. Get your body moving. Shake off the dust and move on. As Jim Byrd always said “It will get better”, and it does!

Thank you for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

Keep on Dancing!

 

 

 

 

 

No 7 “A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.” 2-17-17

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No 7 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, February 17, 2017

“A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.” – Jack Dempsey (1895 – 1983) American professional boxer

Sometimes in my life, I just can’t seem to get up, but I do. After dancing 41+ years, having run 19 marathons, having taught many, many dance lessons, my legs get tired. I’m the last one to leave a movie. Just don’t want anyone to see me get up. For the other side, I can still teach all day, dance a full dance party at Arthur Murray Santa Monica at night, and also perform in the show with energy to burn. I feel on fire, alive, and ready to conquer the world with dance!

There have been times that after surgery, I’m up that very day walking. After back surgery, they were rolling me down the hall with I.V. in toe, and I taught one of the nurses Waltz and danced with her in the hallway. It was amazing, astounding, and fun. The dancing just took hold of me and off I went dancing at the hospital.

After having my shoulder rebuilt, I came back to choreograph a professional staff Quickstep formation, that I danced in, and tapped, skipped, jumped and chassed with all the 20-year old’s with my arm in a sling. By the time of the performance, I danced with my arm held high without any aid, and Quickstepped my little heart out.

After my Mom’s death, I remember dancing in a competition that following weekend. I had many entries with a lot of wonderful students. There I was, dancing, laughing, competing, and performing, even though my heart was aching. I went on and know that my Mom would have wanted that from me. I did what I knew I had to do and I did it with all my heart.

The hardest time was just after losing my partner, who died in my arms at home. I thought I could not go on. I remember putting together the funeral, calling the caterer for the reception, handling all the calls and scheduling the service for everyone. I had to get up. I had to move forward. I had to take care of others. I could not get up, but I did. I continue to get up today because I know I can, I must, and I shall get up.

Am I a champion? I don’t really know. But I know that my dad, Troy Woodbury, was a true champion. He lived to help others. He was selfless and lived a life guiding others every day. I am surrounded by champions. Joel Rieck is a true champion. He is always there in a giving and uplifting way and always takes the best path in life. I am surrounded by real champions and I am blessed to know them all and to be able to call them friends, family, and mentors.

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“Be comforted in the fact that the ache in your heart and the confusion in your soul means that you are still alive, still human, and still open to the beauty of the world.” – Paul Harding

Yes, there is still a bit of heartache going on, but I know the champion’s way and the life of a champion. We are knocked down, but we get up over and over.

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – W. Clement Stone (1902 – 2002) Businessman, Philanthropist and New Thought self-help book author

This is what I conceive in my life. I am not afraid of the future. In fact, I’m interested in what the future will bring and how I will live in that future. Now, I just want to give encouragement to others and to help others grow. This does not always make one popular, but it makes one true. Helping others means you are a coach and sometimes have to use tough love. In the end, I think that to help others become the champions they are meant to be is my soul calling in my life.

Think you can’t get up. You can, you must, you will. You will get up over and over. You will then find that others around you watch you rise up over and over and they will begin to rise with you. Then you will stand with a group of champions and stand strong, together, united. Don’t give up. It will get better!

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Thank you for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

What a man can be, he must be 9-30-16

2016-07-16 18.46.04

No 40 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

 

Friday, September 30, 2016

 

“What a man can be, he must be.” – Abraham Maslow

 

“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

 

As a ballroom dancer for 41 years and with Arthur Murray for 41 years, I have loved being the best I can be every day. Arthur Murray has given me to opportunity in every area to excel, grow, and achieve great things in my life. What I can be I have and continue to achieve with Arthur Murray.

 

“True happiness is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” – Helen Keller (1880 – 1968) American Writer

 

When I first started with Arthur Murray I was a student enrolled on my Bronze Program. Then, I my love of dancing overtook me and I went on to teach full time.  In the beginning I thought I would stay a year or so. After that first year, I then said, OK, 5 years max. Well, at the end of the 5 years I took my judges exam and began traveling as a dance judge and I was competing as a professional dancer.

 

Now after so many years, I realize that my love of dancing, my love of meeting people, and my love of giving service to others kept me dancing. Arthur Murray has a training program called All Stars. It is the most amazing training program in the world and its focus in giving excellent service. Every day I feel that I learn something new when I step into the school. Thank you All Stars!

 

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”- Charlotte Bronte

 

Have the years all been easy? We all know that life has challenges, and that we will always have adversities. Yet, the sweet victory of overcoming hard times makes the springtime of our lives so much more exciting!

 

“Originality and the feeling of one’s own dignity are achieved only through work and struggle.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821 – 1881) Russian Novelist

 

“One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: ‘To rise above the little things.'” – John Burroughs (1837 – 1921) American Naturalist and Writer

 

Every time I seem to approach a difficult time in my life, I now think, “Time will pass and as the sun rises, there will be a new day dawning”. The dread of having a rough patch ahead of me is not so powerful as I know that I will make it to see another day and that “it will get better.”  It’s funny, the day after what seemed to be a terrible struggle, I realized that it was not as bad as I feared, and that I was stronger and wiser.

 

“There is great power in a resolution that has no reservations in it — a strong, persistent, tenacious purpose — which burns all bridges behind it and which clears all obstacles from its path and arrives at its goal, no matter how long it may take, no matter what the sacrifice or the cost.” – Orison Sweet Marden (1850 – 1924) American Editor and Speaker

 

This is an amazing quote. “No reservations” “A strong, persistent, tenacious purpose” “No matter what the sacrifice or cost”. I’m there. I’m going all the way. I’ve decided to move forward and make my dreams come true.

 

“The hero is the one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by. The saint is the man who walks through the dark paths of the world, himself a light.” – Felix Adler

 

I wanted to be that hero, setting up the light for others. Now, I want to be the light that takes other through the dark night of the soul. Someday you my friend will find yourself in the dark night, or you have gone through it, or you are there now with no end in sight. There will be a light soon for you and that will be delivered by a messenger of light who will see you to the end and see you though.

 

I love the above quote from Helen Keller. What I love most about Helen Keller, is that she is remembered as an American Writer. I am always humbled, always humbled by who she was and what she accomplished with her life. “Lord, help me to become all that I can become and use all my gifts to lead others to light”.

 

Thank you for reading!

 

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com

 

Keep on Dancing!

A Passionate Sense of the Potential 8-5-16

2016-08-04 12.16.43

No 32 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, August 5, 2016

A Passionate Sense of the Potential

“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible…what wine is so sparkling, so fragrant, so intoxicating, as possibility!”- Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813 – 1855) Danish Philosopher

There are some people in my life who electrify me. They are charismatic and are visionaries. Even an email from one of them gives me a chill, a laugh, a tear, a pause, a moment of rest, a ray of sunlight. There are those in my life who move me just by watching them in action. They cast a beam of light wherever they go.  And to talk to them, they are humble and do not feel their calling to serve others is anything less than a wonderful blessing.

“Surround yourself with people you want to become like”.  Now as I look around me, at the circle of the great pillars of strength in my life, I am surrounded with great leaders, mentors, givers, actuators, organizers, thinkers, inspirers, innovators, guides, teachers, examples of a good life, motivators, uplifters, guides, supporters, and humble servants. Yes, I do want to become just like those who surround me with their love and support.

Dancers always ask me “How do I get better in my dancing?” My answer is always the same, get on the dance floor and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Enter a dance competition. Scare yourself silly and dance in front of a 200-person crowd dancing a solo exhibition with your partner. Get out there and dance!

Do you know when you are ready to do an exhibition? It’s the moment you walk off the floor, for your first thought is “I wish I could dance that over again”. And you will dance it over again many times.

The best part of being on the competitive dance floor is that you are surrounded by great dancers and they pull your skill level up to new heights! A dance showcase is worth 50 lessons, for you come back a different, transformed dancer.  A major dance competition, one over 3 to 5 days, is in itself worth 100 personal sessions. You come back twice the dancer you were when you left, and you are then ready to tackle a new dance adventure. Your confidence is solid and your vision of your dancing is clear!

For the ‘passionate sense of the potential’, I feel it so strongly that it eats me up. Sometimes this passion is like a burning heat and consumes me. I’d rather feel passion for life every moment that to go through life without feeling and a strong sense of direction.

I have a friend who is lost. Completely lost. Not sure what to do, when to do it, how to do it, or even why to do it. They are beyond my help at this point and I just try to live a life of example for them. Every day I try to give a smile, a great word of direction and never cast a cloud of uncertainty or blame.  I remember when I was lost and I remember those who pulled me through it, and those that hindered me. To this day, I am full or gratitude for those who kept my light burning through the ‘dark night of the soul’.

“Tough times never last. Tough people do.”- Robert Schuller (1926) American Minister, Evangelist

Never envy others. Who knows, you might end up with what they have you might be miserable with what they have. The money, good looks, the luck, the family, the education, the possessions. You never know what it is like to be someone else so just remember that any rough time you might be having will pass, and you’ll be stronger for going through it.

I’ll leave you with this thought. “It will get better” You’ll make it. You’ll succeed. You’ll see light again. You’ll be alright and OK very soon! I love you. I believe in you. My heart goes out to you to share with you that it’s OK to see in life what is sparkling, fragrant, intoxicating.

Live it up, today is a miracle!

Keep On Dancing!

David Woodbury

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com (email me if you like my blogs!)

 

Pain nourishes courage – July 1, 2016

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No 27 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, July 1, 2016

“Pain nourishes courage. You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.” – Mary Tyler Moore (1937-) American Actress

“Tears are often the telescope by which men see far into heaven.”- Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American Presbyterian Minister

Have you ever felt heart ache? A real pain in your heart. A feeling that your chest was being crushed and that your heart would stop? I have. And I remember it. During my worst pain, I had to have the most courage, not for me, but for others. During times that I thought that my world had stopped, but others around me needed so much help that I was busy helping them. The service to others truly saved me during that time.

I remember my first Christmas when I was in the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’. I had asked an usher one mass if he needed any help and he said “Hand out these bulletins” and 14 years later, I’m a Team Leader. That Christmas I served 11 masses in two days. My heart was broken, and I was lost, but I saw something that changed my life. I must have handed out several thousand bulletins and song sheets for those services. I saw people who were sad. I saw sad eyes and troubled faces and I was smiling and wishing everyone a Happy Holiday. I realized that it was not just about me and that I could help others overcome their sadness through giving and encouraging them.

That experience changed me forever because I then knew the only way I would ever be happy again would be to serve others and volunteer. And yes, that has remained true to today! Perhaps all my tears did let me see far into heaven.

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“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.”- Bernard Williams

When you live through pain, something always happens to you. It happens to everyone all over the world. The sun rises again. The new day dawns. There is always a fresh beginning and if we are alive, we are part of a new day, a new sunrise, a new hope.

You may not be able to cope with a new day, but with these famous words, “It will get better”. And it does!

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“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” – William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925) American Politician, Religious Advocate

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Destiny is mine and I am in charge of my future. We are predestined to just one thing in life, and that thing is greatness. Each of us has miraculous gifts that are unique just to us and needed by others. We are special, we are empowered by our individuality. Be brave and let your greatness shine through!

Keep On Dancing!

David Woodbury

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com (email me if you like my blogs!)