The Ash Man 4-1-16

David and Paola DSB 3-6-16 with Logo and Text

No 14 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, April 1, 2016

“The Ash Man”

Dreams. I was having a rough time in my life. My attitude was flawed and I would go to sleep and awaken in the same mood. Just couldn’t shake it. I even got cross with God during Lent. I said “If you’re mad at me, that’s OK. I’m still going to believe”. I was shutting down and not feeling well and my light was dim for a while.

Then a new dream. I dreamt of myself being free of anxiety and not worrying about tomorrow. A voice said “Be happy today, be happy now and don’t worry about the future”. Then, a foul mouthed, angry ‘me’ came up and start speaking. I pushed his hand away and his skin slit open and a gray ash seeped out the tear in his skin. I looked at this person and I realized he was “The Ash Man” and was fully of soot and dirt. He was real and but was not the real me.

He tried to talk to me and as I pushed him away, more ash began to seep from him. The light and water of life washed over me and he was swept away and then I awoke. I was happy, and that joy lasted. I realized that the trees on my street were turning green. The Spring was coming and was aware that Lent was just ending. The man of ash had left me and I saw him for the man of despair that he was, and that I was not that sad or negative person. I was alive and full of hope!

Lesson learned, Live in the Moment. If today is good, don’t worry about tomorrow. If today is rough, know that tomorrow is a fresh, new day, a new start, a new beginning.

“You can have anything you want — if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose.”- Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) 16th President of the United States

My singleness of purpose is to not give up, knowing that life has changes and turns and I must turn with those changes. Also, from the last dream, I have learned to get to my life’s destination ‘all in one piece’.

“The best portion of a good man’s life is the little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.” – William Wordsworth (1770-1850) English poet

I want to get to the end of the road of success, but with a giving heart that still practices service and with a heart that has not grown cold. My mom had a philosophy, Build an Empire. She said the moment you met someone, instantly find out what you liked about them, and build an empire on that quality. This has been a wonderful tool in life that I have now learned and I practice this daily. I tell my staff that when I see them doing something wonderful, that I only remember that moment and always see their best every day.

I’ve never before seen the “Ash Man” and the next time I see him, I’ll know what he is made of and know that he has no power over me or the light that I see and experience daily. Do you have an Ash Man? Remember he’s not you and that you are truly wonderful and a miracle of light and life!

Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury

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Optimism is Essential – February 26, 2016

2016-02-06 21.02.09

No 9 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, February 27, 2016

Optimism is Essential…

“Optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress.” – Nicholas Murray Butler

Everywhere around us we are met with challenges. Even those who seem to ‘have it all’ have obstacles that they must overcome. Never envy the other person, or you might have to walk in their shoes. Some days my ‘opportunities’ seem never-ending and courage seems to flee from me, yet time marches on and I make it through my encounters. Perhaps optimism is just us going on and doing our best every day. Perhaps the prize goes to the brave souls who go the whole distance.

“Give us, O give us, the man who sings at his work! Be his occupation what it may, he is equal to any of those who follow the same pursuit in silent sullenness. He will do more in the same time — he will do it better, he will persevere longer. One is scarcely sensible of fatigue whilst he marches (dances) to music.” – Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish Writer

All my over 40 years with Arthur Murray, I have seen the best workers in the world. Dancers who just love every aspect of their lives. An unparalleled work ethic that is humbling to the average person. Dancers who come in early, practice late, get a day’s worth of choreography done in an hour. They are too busy to feel fatigue and the joy of dancing replenishes their spirits. What is truly amazing are my teachers who have had the same work ethic for many, many decades and continue strong after a half century of devotion to dance. They are unstoppable.

“I don’t like work… but I like what is in work — the chance to find yourself. Your own reality — for yourself, not for others — which no other man can ever know.” – Joseph Conrad

Perhaps no one truly loves working a 12 to 14-hour day, week in and week out, but no one ever thinks of their doctor working 3 day shifts, your accountant sleeping 2-3 hours a night in April, the driver who is guiding your tour bus overnight, or the pilot who is flying you across the world on a 14-hour flight. It must be the reward of the job well done, the feeling of accomplishment, or the fact that they truly find their best selves in their works each day. They truly know their champion selves for they see the fruits of their well-earned labor weekly, sometimes daily.

Optimism is not a gift, it is a habit gained through actions, positive actions. We’ll never understand a sunrise until we have gone through a dark night. We’ll never truly appreciate a rest until we have spent our energies in a longtime endeavor. I chose to have optimism. I chose to be positive. I chose to not give up.

Just like ballroom dancing, we get out of it what we put into it. The practice, perseverance, preparation, and patience are habits that make us champions. Any champion who is at the top has overcome failure, disappointment, and defeat. The reason they are superstars is that every setback only made them better and stronger. Live in the moment and remember “it will get better”.

Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury (email me if you like this blog)

The Brevity of Time! David Woodbury’s Blog 7-31-15

2015-07-25 20.19.46

No 31. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Brevity of Time!

The life that conquers is the life that moves with a steady
resolution and persistence toward a predetermined goal. Those who
succeed are those who have thoroughly learned the immense importance
of plan in life, and the tragic brevity of time.

— W.J. Davison

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

 2015-07-25 21.28.02 2015-07-25 21.28.23 2015-07-25 21.28.35 2015-07-25 21.28.50

Time is short. I was at a Magnificent 7 party last Saturday for all the 21 great students who achieved 7 wonderful goals during International Dance Festival 2015. Joel and I planned the evening, sent out tons of emails, visited many places and finally decided on Rusty’s on the Santa Monica Pier. We danced to a great blues band and the food and drinks were wonderful.

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There was one problem, it all went by too quickly. Joel and I showed up an hour early to set up, check in, order the food and prepare with drink tickets. The band was setting up. The weather on the pier was a perfect summer’s night over the Pacific Ocean. Then, everyone began to show up. Hugs, laughter, photos, food, fun, drinks all around. Wow, the first hour flew by!

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Then this great band began to play. I love to dance to live music. It’s so much fun for me. We all began to dance and it was pure magic. I was taking lots of photos and I noticed on my phone that it was already 10:30. It took me a minute to realize that all this fun was passing so quickly.

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Then, it was 11 and we had our last night of the evening. We said good night, gave all our hugs and we walked back to the studio where we had parked our car. It was a good long walk and a perfect night. I realized that it had been a great evening and everyone had fun and celebrated their part of the Magnificent 7.

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Then I realized how fast it had passed. To tell the truth, Joel and I worked for an hour at the school, then went home only to rise at 5:15 AM. I was Team Leader for the 7:30 AM Mass and Joel was serving as well. The night had passed and it was now a glorious Sunday.

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I realized that I must live in the moment, for time is flying all around us. One of our Mag 7 dancers came in and she had tears in her eyes when she told me that the evening had passed too quickly and that it was over so fast. I got teary eyes as well and we gave each other a big hug and a big smile.

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Enjoy the moment:

No pleasure philosophy, no sensuality, no place nor power, no
material success can for a moment give such inner satisfaction as the
sense of living for good purposes, for maintenance of integrity, for
the preservation of self-approval.

— Minot Simons

Have Fun!

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking  risks,
breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.

— Mary Lou Cook

2015-07-25 22.48.09 2015-07-25 23.07.54

If life is calling to you, and your destiny is being unveiled before you, I beg you, step forward and join in life and join in the fun. We only go around once. Make each day count and love each moment and give away the joy of life.

Keep on Dancing!’

David Woodbury

What we are capable of becoming 8-29-14

2014-08-24 11.40.08

No 35 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, August 29th, 2014

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end in life. Robert Louis Stevenson

There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying
about things which are beyond the power of our will.
— Epictetus

The Northridge Earthquake on January 17, 1994 changed my life. We had experienced two 6.0 earthquakes in Santa Monica a week before the big quake. My flashlight was ready, shoes, and water. After the horrible shaking stopped, I reached for my bed stand for my flashlight. The bed stand was not there. My TV had flown across the room and my end table was overturned.

My tables and dressers had been covered with plate glass, covered with glass collectables, now all broken all over the floor. The sliding mirrored closed door has flown across the room and blocked my escape from my bed.

That was a morning I’ll never forget. My cat was in a tiny ball under the guest bed. My kitchen floor was a mixture of precious crystal glasses. My china, refrigerator contents and all manner of food that had spilled from the pantry and shelves. I wept as I threw away my mom’s broken crystal and plates.

2014-08-24 12.39.14

From that day on I decided on two things. 1. I was not going to worry about what I could not control, i.e. earthquakes. 2. Eat off your good dishes in life.  I promised myself that I was not going to eat off of paper plates in my life again.  That is an analogy for always doing my best every day and delivering the best I have to give to others daily! Even today, I have my best china out and eat from it and drink from my most expensive Waterford goblets. Yes, I have broken a few glasses and chipped a few dishes, but I did it from using them and not having them covered in dust and unused then broken in an earthquake.

2014-08-24 17.11.37

Our neighborhood walk the earthquake morning revealed apartment buildings where you could see directly into apartments, brick walls now lying on the ground. St. Monica’s church had a tilted steeple and you could see through the cracks in the walls of the sanctuary. The heavy stone cross lay smashed on the entrance steps. No home had a chimney and Montana Avenue brick store fronts lay on the sidewalk. The market looked as if someone had thrown all the food on the floor and we had no power, water, and gas fumes filled the air.

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Now, I don’t worry. I have decided to be the best I can become in life. This truly is my only end.

We watch movies and TV about heroic acts by soldiers or cops, but
maybe that sort of heroism isn’t very relevant to modern reality.
Maybe real courage is being willing to get up and face another day,
and do honest work to the best of our ability despite knowing that,
in all likelihood, we won’t get the recognition or financial reward
we deserve.– John F. Groom

2014-08-24 11.40.27

I consider myself lucky and know that all I have, everything around me, my health, and even my life could be taken away from me in a few seconds. Live in the moment. Live life to the fullest. Eat off your “good dishes” every day and give your all in life. Don’t worry about the other guy. Be happy for what you have and strive for greatness and all great things will come your way.

I call people rich when they’re able to meet the requirements of
their imagination. — Novelist Henry James

Thank You,

David Earl Woodbury

Next Week: VACATION IN HAWAII! See you in two weeks!