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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No 37 9-14-17 “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

No 37 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, September 15, 1956

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

– George Eliot (1819-1880) English Novelist

Do you ever say any of these things? Someday I’ll make it!  I can’t wait until my ship comes in! I’ll try again. Has that opportunity passed me by? I wonder what might have been? Well, I have thought of this a million times. What my life would have been had I made different decisions and taken different paths.

What if I had just stayed with my parents and taken over my dad’s business? What if I had chosen another great field? What if I had stayed in certain relationships, finished a different degree, walked a different path? What would have happened?

What I have learned today, is that everything I have, am, and will become is from all the experiences of my life and decisions I made. Also, I realize that I would not be who I am today without going down the paths I chose in life.

Do you feel like you’ve missed the boat? That it’s too late for you? That you missed your calling and that you are trapped in the current life you are living?

Well, you’re not trapped. Listen to this truth, you have lived your perfect life and you are perfect just as you are. You are wonderful, special, unique, and a great success at just being you! You are meant to be the perfect person you are today and you have a lot to give to others and the world.

The truth here is that it’s never too late to live your perfect dream. Where does all the hope and knowledge come from in my life?  Well, I finally found out that my life is just not about getting all the time. It’s about giving of my gifts to others. These are the only times when I’m truly happy. When I am able to help, inspire, mentor, or guide someone else, I’m truly happy. When I’m just trying to raise my bottom line, I’m not truly fulfilled.

Does this mean I don’t believer in success and prosperity? I believe that we must be successful to have the resources to help others and to be effective in our local and global communities.

It’s not too late for you.  Write your book, become a competition ballroom dancer, run a marathon, become a great cook, get married, study and graduate, open your dream business, get in shape, become a fundraising guru, or just find any dream you have and share it with others and get busy and make it happen.

Will I have it all in the end? I think I have it all right now. I think that during the hustle and bustle and confusion of the day, I try to take a quiet moment and realized how blessed my life truly is and I have hope, God willing, for all the many coming years in my life.

When I turned 60, I did not know how I’d feel. To my great astonishment, on that day, I set a 20-year goal. To be just like my great dance mentors who are 20 years older that I am. They are vibrant, surrounded by young people, in great demand, and are always helping and guiding others.

I want to be that handsome 70-year-old guy, perfectly dressed, in great health, and on the dance floor all night with energy to spare. At 80, I want to be the guy in demand on the dance floor and the guy who is elegant, poised, graceful, and strong. I can see my 80-year-old slender, healthy, happy self on the floor dancing the night away, full of laughter, love, and surrounded by friends.

Perhaps having this dream keeps me going. I remember my lovely mother, J. Clair Woodbury always said to me, “Keep a little song in your heart”. Yes, I try to do that every day. Put a smile on your face and see your reflection in the faces of others.

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

 

 

No 15 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, April 14, 2017

Things to Ponder!

These two questions were sent to me by Mr. Jacques DeBeve.

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the ‘Peanuts’ comic strip.

Here are the two sets of questions.

First Set:

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.

4 Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor &  actress.

6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday.

These are no second-rate achievers.

They are the best in their fields.

But the applause dies.

Awards tarnish.

Achievements are forgotten.

Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.
Here’s the second quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. Think of a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
The lessons learned:

The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the
most credentials, the most money…or the most awards. They simply are the ones who care the most!

This wonderful test was sent to me by one my best friends in the whole world, Mr. Jacques DeBeve. Jacques contacts me weekly and many, many of his emails leave me in tears from their deep emotional impact and powerful messages.

As Steve Platt says, “Life changes more when we help others to make their own lives better”. This is so true in life.

This Easter Sunday, I am a part of a team of several hundred, serving a total of 11 masses on Easter Sunday, welcoming over 12 thousand visitors to St. Monica Parish. I am honored to be serving three of these great masses with an amazing team of leaders and mentors. Many of my friends are serving 5 or 6 masses that day. Of the 11, we have three masses at the same time at 9:30 and 11:15 in three different venues on our campus.

Last Easter, I walked outside as Team Leader and listened to the music from the three 9:30 masses, in the church, the Grand Pavilion, and the Gym, all being celebrated at the same time. We had about 3 thousand guest on the campus and more arriving. The music sounded like angels to my ears.  After all three masses let out, many more were guests were entering for the next three 11:15 masses. I felt a wonderful blessing seeing so many hundreds of happy people all celebrating the season together. What great energy!

So, for Points to Ponder, I give you a challenge. Become the mentor that others will remember, the leader that others want to spend time with, the teacher who will guide others, the friend who is there in a rough time, and the one who will make others feel appreciated, loved, and special. Be unforgettable and be the person who will make a difference in the lives of others.

Feeling a bit low? Are you lonely and out of sorts? Are you lacking direction? Try this, find a place you can give back. Work at a shelter, clean the beach, offer your time to a sick friend or visit a shut-in. Find a group that gives back and ask them if they need some help. You’ll be shocked at their reaction and the huge “Yes” that you will hear from them.

It’s hard to be sad when you are helping others and it’s even harder to be down in the dumps when you are busy guiding, inspiring, and giving time to a great and worthy cause.

My mom, J. Clair, always said, “Keep a little song in your heart”. The key is to share and get others to sing along with you!

Thank you for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

Keep on Dancing!

Hospitality 9-17-16

hospitality-summitt-9-17-16-7

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

http://stmonica.net/

Hospitality

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.

hospitality-summitt-9-17-16-4

There is no hospitality like understanding.

Anonymous

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.

hospitality-summitt-9-17-16-3

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-summitt-9-17-16-2

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

Anonymous

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-summitt-9-17-16-8

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.

hospitality-summitt-9-17-16-9
The Heart of Hospitality is creating space for someone to feel seen and

heard and loved.

Anonymous

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-summitt-9-17-16-10

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-summitt-9-17-16-12

Hospitality is simply an opportunity to show love and care.

Anonymous

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.

Gandhi

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: davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

“A Kind Word is Never Thrown Away” 8-19-16

2016-08-04 12.16.43

No 34 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, August 19, 2016

“A Kind Word is Never Thrown Away”

“Wise sayings often fall on barren ground, but a kind word is never thrown away.”- Arthur Helps (1813 – 1875) English Historian and Novelist

My mom, J. Clair Woodbury, taught me a great lesson. She said that immediately when you meet someone, find what you like about them and build an empire on that one thing. It is a wonderful way to life and spreads light and love to all. I see someone and I like their hair, their clothes, their smile, their handshake, their scent, their laugh. Then I TELL them I like that special quality about them. I then go on a treasure hunt for more diamonds of things I like about them.

What I have found is that, just like J. Clair, I never know a stranger. I’ve met strangers and we have entered into full conversations as if we have known one another for a lifetime. In public I have had many such meaningful conversations with total strangers that ended with a handshake, a hug, or a kiss. We just connected.

The other secret ingredient is a smile.  Recently, I was the front usher at the 7:30 mass. I was positioned at the altar, next to the organ, and my job is to help anyone who needs assistance. I was standing with my best Arthur Murray posture ready to assist, and an older parishioner sitting in the 3rd row loudly said, “Hey David, could you crack a smile!” His words echoed in the 1000 seat sanctuary. Wow, I was sure my face had turned beet red and I quickly put a smile on. I realized that being Visible, Easy, Useful and Ready was not enough. I had to look the part as well.

Needless to say, I always smile at mass now. I always say “Thank you” when passing the baskets and I greet everyone with a smile. This is called “The Habit of Happiness” and is truly a lifestyle.

“What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?”- Adam Smith (1723-1790)

Do I want to be happy, yes! How is that every going to happen? Well get this, it’s by making others happy. That’s the only way for me. When someone irritates me, I quickly realize that I am seeing something in myself that I don’t like, and I must pull the speck out of my own eye before pulling the plank out of the other person’s eye. When someone comes up to me in an angry state, they are usually not angry with me, they are having a bad day, a flat tire, a rough day at work and they need a good word from me and a listening ear.

I’ll never have a tough skin, I’m too sensitive, but I can laugh a lot and smile a lot and that has done wonders in my life.

“Great is the road I climb, but the garland offered by an easier effort is not worth the gathering.”- Sextus Propertius, (50BC – 16AD) Roman Poet

Life will never be easy, but it sure can be a lot more fun if those around us are happier. Give a good word to someone else today. Throw on an unresistable smile. Lay a great sincere compliment on someone. And don’t stop until they are smiling with you. You’ll thank me and they will love you for it.

Thanks,

Ending this blog with a big smile!

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com