No 30 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, July 28, 2017

Burn the Ships!

In 1519, Captain Hernán Cortés landed in Veracruz. When they landed the Captain ordered his men to burn the ships. That order did not make sense to his men. Cortes knew that the only way to keep himself or his men from quitting was to take the option of failure off the table. He forced them all to either succeed or die. Retreat was not an option.

In our own lives, to achieve the great levels of success, there are times we must “burn the ships.” Here, we must look at the ships in our own lives that we must eliminate. What are we afraid of letting go of?

Could it be a relationship, job, career choice, bad business opportunity, or a dream that is not working for you. In ballroom dancing, we know that we must work hard at our dancing and polish our routines. Sometimes we take a dance lesson only to have our coach change everything we have worked on. We “burn our ships” and grow and learn.

Some coaches will change the way we look, walk, relate, connect, and practice. It is said that we should not get into a relationship if we are expecting the other person to change. In dancing, that change is exactly what we are hoping for, not just in the other person, but in ourselves as well. I hope I am not dancing the same a month, 3 months, for 6 months from now. I hope to grow, improve, and become a whole new me in my dancing.

“Each of us, if we would grow, must be committed to excellence and to victory, even though we know complete victory cannot be obtained, it must be pursued with all one’s might. The championships, the money, the color; all of these things linger only in the memory. It is the spirit, the will to excel, the will to win; these are the things that endure.” – Vince Lombardi (1913 – 1970) American Football Coach

Well, this message from Coach Lombardi floors me. In the job world today, finding an employee “committed to excellence” is very rare. Do you want to grow in your life? I do. And I surround myself with people who want me to be successful, who want themselves to be successful, and those who are willing to pay the price to be the best.

“It teaches the strong to know when they are weak and the brave to face themselves when they are afraid. To be proud and unbowed in defeat yet humble and gentle in victory. And to master ourselves before we attempt to master others. And to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep. And to give the predominance of courage over timidity.”

– General Douglas MacArthur, On the virtues of competitive athletics (1880 – 1964) American five-star general and field marshal 

Ok, another great quote. To know our weaknesses, to be brave. To know humility and self-mastery. The healing power of laughter and the power of courage.

“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

Sometimes my greatest virtue is that I am up in the morning with a positive attitude and a willingness to make the day a great day. We have two cats. I am forced to get up, wash bowls, clean poops, give rubs, distribute treats, and fill water and food bowls. I do not have a choice. I am the life blood of these two furry creatures and they depend on me. The first thing I do each morning is get me a little bit of lovin’ from two sweet cats, and the first words out of my mouth are “I love you”. Actually, I say that to three creatures, one who is human.

“No obstacles fell in his way that seemed to him insurmountable. He might be defeated, as he sometimes was, but he shrank from no hardship through impatience, he fled from no danger through cowardice.”

– J. P. Morgan writing about Napoleon Bonaparte

From this powerful quote, let’s fill ourselves with courage. Many days I think that this day, this week is just going to kill me, and guess what, it doesn’t. I somehow make it through the week with a wink and a smile. I don’t shrink, I don’t flee, but it does not mean that I am not often scared and frightened. I just don’t tell anyone. Especially myself!

Now, to my most favorite quote of all. I repeat this, say this and share this quote every day of my life and I hope it encourage others. Guess what, yes, I daily try to do the things I think I cannot do. And I DO it. To my amazement, it all works out. Please, don’t give up. No matter what you excuse, your obstacles, the people trying to sabotage you, your status, your beliefs, your health, even all the good in your life. Don’t let anything get in the way of your dreams, especially yourself. Read Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote over and over and say it to yourself. You can do it!

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962)American First Lady and Political Activist

Thank you for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

 

No 28 Nothing will take the place of persistence 7-14-17

No 28 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, July 14, 2017

“Nothing will take the place of persistence”

“I want to remind you that success in life is based on hard slogging. There will be periods when discouragement is great and upsetting, and the antidote for this is calmness and fortitude and a modest yet firm belief in your competence. Be sure that your priorities are in order so that you can proceed in a logical manner, and be ever mindful that nothing will take the place of persistence.”

– Walter Annenberg, Publisher and philanthropist (1908 – 2002 )

 

 

Persistence, by Calvin Coolidge

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not; the world is filled with educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination are alone omnipotent.

“Press On!” has been and always will be the answer to every human problem.

I love this saying: “hard sloggin”. I think I know what that is. The good part of slogging is that the good days are so sweet and the good times are greatly appreciated. Going through the slog makes the good days all the more magical.

“When you cannot make up your mind which of two evenly balanced courses of action you should take – choose the bolder.”

 – W.J. Slim (1891 – 1970 ) British military commander

 

“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) American Poet and Essayist

Everyone is watching our every move. Do you believe this? I can say a lot of things about life, but I know that others are always watching my actions and seeing if I am walking the walk. Do you know what I found out? I discovered that somehow others know what we do in private. I don’t mean they have a video of us, but they know our hearts and our intentions and they know how are feeling and how we live. Our actions show others how we think in our personal lives and what we do when no one is watching.  I have recently been convicted of some of my private thoughts and actions and have changed my personal talk to positive words and my actions to positive actions. I am trying to “choose the bolder” in all my decisions.

“No obstacles fell in his way that seemed to him insurmountable. He might be defeated, as he sometimes was, but he shrank from no hardship through impatience, he fled from no danger through cowardice.”

– J. P. Morgan writing about Napoleon Bonaparte

 

“What is now proved was once only imagined.”

– William Blake (1757-1827) English Poet

Overcoming obstacles is how the once impossible has become the reality of today. Remember that Walt Disney stood in an orange orchard and visualized the Magic Kingdom. The theme park was in his dreams and he made an impossible idea a reality that has been enjoyed by millions from around the world.

I recently heard a very successful man say, “I’m not taking anything with me”. He was talking about how he was living his dreams and how he was teaching persistence and perseverance to others as his life work. He is such a great man and when you are around him, you just feel the great energy coming from every part of his being.

If I could write just one message every week, it would be to not be afraid of your dreams. Live them. You know how the motivational speakers say you can have anything you want in your life?  Well, they sometimes forget to tell you all the work that goes into making these dreams come true. They sometimes forget to include the fact that you can have anything you want in your life if you are willing to help others get whatever they want in their lives.

Yes, we can have it all, but the price is great. The road is full of challenges and only the ones who persevere will reach the end of their goal path.

Let go of fear. Have a little courage and you will live your dream.

Thank you for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

 

No 24 “If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.”

No 24 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, June 16, 2017

“If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.” – David Viscott (1938 – 1996) American psychiatrist

It seems I have begun over and over many times. My life does not seem like the normal life to me. Others seems to have an easier way. They set a goal, find a path, stay on the path and glide down the road that follows success.

“Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.” – Harvey Fierstein (1954 ) American actor

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao Tzu (5BCE – 531 BCE) Chinese philosopher

I’ve had a lot of people define my life and what I have and haven’t done. Others have even tried to guide my life by their definition of what I am doing and what I should be doing. I get “should” on quite a lot sometimes.

I use to believe that I had all the keys to success. Then the locks changed, the keys were no longer effective, and eventually the doors were not even there. I though success was “permanent”. Boy, that is a myth. I found out to my great surprise later in my life, that success is now “service” and must be maintained on a daily basis.

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” – Walt Disney (1901 – 1966) American Animator and Film Maker

“Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time.” – Betty Smith (1897-1972) German/American Author and Writer

My eyes see life for the first time more and more often now. Many times, I do think I’m doing the impossible. It seems, more and more, I am conquering tasks that in the past I would have never attempted. By the way, on this road of the impossible, I have met the most incredible people I have ever known. These heroes on my service road are the most inspiring friends I have ever met. They encourage me and lift me up. And together, yes, they make doing the impossible fun.

I truly don’t know what the future will bring. I only know that through a life of service am I truly happy and fulfilled. It’s hard to have the blues when you are completely spent from giving from your passions and talents. Live in the moment and plan for a great future, learn from the past. Embrace the impossible and surround yourself with heroes and superstars!

Thank you for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

Keep on Dancing!

 

 

No 20 5-19-17 Never Quit, Even if You Want To!

No 20 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, May 19, 2017

“Never quit, even if you want to”

“You, enlightened, self-sufficient, self-governed, endowed with gifts above your fellows, the world expects you to produce as well as to consume, to add to and not to subtract from its store of good, to build up and not to tear down, to ennoble and not degrade. The time is short, the opportunity is great; therefore, crowd the hours with the best that is in you.”- John Hibben, 1913 graduation address, president of Princeton University

My life is so full of great activity. There is always something great to look forward to every day, every week, even every moment. Funny, most of these anticipated activities are events of service to others. I just love the life of service. Being of use guiding and helping others, and stepping up to be the leader at all times.

“The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”- William James (1842 – 1910) American Philosopher and Psychologist

Do I love and live this life to be appreciated? Truth is, I have had enough accolades. Now it is time to give the spotlight to others and help develop others as champions. Many years I came out of the “Dark Night of the Soul”. The light that brought me through was not therapy, outside support, books, religion, even family. All these factors were part of what kept me alive and kept me going. The magic ingredient was when I woke up and starting volunteering to help others. My eyes were opened and I saw that I was not alone. I also saw that I was not the worst off of the bunch. In fact, I learned how great my life truly was, even coming through darkness. The day I stepped out of the back tunnel was the day I began to offer service to others.

“What a man is contributes much more to his happiness than what he has, or how he is regarded by others.” – Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860) German philosopher

Finally, I feel free from the constant want to be happy and for things to be going well. Free from the constant need to ‘get more stuff’. Free from wanting everything to go ‘my way’. The only times now that I am free from worry and doubt and stress and sorrow are the times I busy organizing something for someone else, offering a helping hand, or planning an event that will uplift and inspire others.

So to finish, you might think I’m just full of hot air. Perhaps I am. But I’m going to us my hot air to blow up a balloon of dreams that will lift someone else to a new destiny, to a new reality in their life. This may seem like a ‘pie in the sky’ philosophy, but guess what, I love pie!

Thank you for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

Keep on Dancing!

No 17 Changing Lives through Dancing

By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, April 28, 2017

Gaining Wisdom

“Wisdom comes alone through suffering.” – Aeschylus 525-456 BC

Well, that’s not too encouraging is it? But it is so true The best champion dancers have worked and trained for many years to get to the top. As with any athlete, they have gone through wins and losses, sickness and injuries, and also great triumphs. Yes, there is a great price to pay for wisdom and success.

When God asked Solomon what he desired above all other things, he replied, “Give me wisdom and knowledge so I may lead my people”. Solomon was wise, for he knew wisdom was the greatest of all riches.

2 Chronicles 1

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”- Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) 16th President of the United States

Along with Solomon’s wisdom came great riches and great power. Even though Solomon was warned to not turn away from God, he did so. The power overtook his believe and faith.

1 Kings 11

I have had power, riches, and knowledge. I found all those things to be nothing when it came to dealing with death and loss of loved ones. All I had, all I knew, and all I was could not help keep the angel of death away from the ones I loved. I realized that we bring nothing in with us and we take nothing with us as we leave life.

Now when writing about wisdom, I don’t think I know all about life. I know the basics. My goal is help, inspire and mentor others in life. Whether it is through dance, faith, career, relationships, or helping someone find their purpose in life. If I can just guide others in the right direction, and give them the tools to stay on the right paths for their lifetime, I think that is good.

“Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant.” – Horace (65-8 BC) Roman Poet

I would love, especially at 61 years old, to now avoid adversity and stress and problems, but that just ain’t going to happen. I realize that a diamond is only truly formed after extreme pressure over a long time to that little piece of coal. I now welcome the ‘refiner’s fire’ and I know that each day will bring challenges.

“An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army of lions led by a sheep.” – Arab proverb

Life does not work like Amazon One-Click ordering. You see it on line, click Amazon Prime, and have it the next day. That instant gratification is truly for an army sheep. I want to be the lion leading others to victory in their lives.  I just have to remember to embrace every challenge, every trial, count every blessing, and cherish all the good things in life.

Thank you for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

Keep on Dancing!

 

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 12 “What is Happiness?” 3-24-17

No 12 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, March 24, 2017

“What is Happiness?”

“Happiness is essentially a state of going somewhere, wholeheartedly, one-directionally, without regret or reservation.”– William H. Sheldon (1898 – 1977)American psychologist and numismatist

“Will and I could hardly wait for the morning to come to get at something that interested us. That’s happiness.”– Orville Wright (1871 – 1948) co-inventor of the airplane

Happiness, we are all looking for it. William H. Sheldon mentioned having wholeheartedness without regret or reservation. The Wright Brothers could not wait to greet happiness every morning. What was this all so easy for them? What are people so unhappy today. We are all carrying around little plastic disks that have more computing power than the first manned mission to the moon. These cell phones do not make us any happier. In fact, we tend to curse them as the beep and vibrate in our hands.

I’ll be honest with you, happiness for me is based on my thoughts and my mental state. I struggle with keeping a positive mental attitude every day. Yesterday I was walking to Career Day at SAMOHI and I was saying, “Count all your blessings and focus on them” and a dear friend walked up beside me and as we continued together, she told me about how she completely beat cancer. The good thoughts flooded over us and through us. Good thoughts attract good energy.

“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

When my negative talk overtakes my mind, I say my daily mantra:

I am perfect as I am. Everything in my life is working towards my ultimate good. I am loved and I am love. I have perfect health, wealth, faith, and weight. I am free from fear, anger, depression, resentment and unforgiveness. I walk in light; I live in peace.

Sometimes I have to repeat this many times. Then, I surround myself with the healing waters of light and let the positive healing take over my mind and body. It always works for me.

“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.”– R.G. Ingersoll (1833 – 1899) American lawyer

“Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can be aroused by two things: first, an idea which takes the imagination by storm; and second, a definite, intelligible plan for carrying that idea into action.”– Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975)

The lack of passion and commitment keeps me from being happy always. I see so apathy around me, especially in the times we live in. There is little initiative and the spark of life is hard to find in others. It seems as if our salt has lost its savor. I love to meet anyone who is passionate and on fire in their lives. They lift me up and inspire me. They have the imagination and the plan and they are taking action to make it happen.

To finish up this message on happiness, I want to share something from J. Clair, my mom. She always said “Keep a little song in your heart”. Momma would always laugh with me and we just enjoyed being silly having a chuckle together. If growing up means giving up that youthful attitude, I don’t want to group at all.

“The great man is he who does not lose his child’s heart.”  – Mencius Chinese philosopher (372-289 B.C.)

“A childlike 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 (1894 – 1963) English writer

I hope you loved the quotes in this blog!

Thank you for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

Keep on Dancing!

 

Bonus Quotes Just For You!

“There is work that is work and there is play that is play; there is play that is work and work that is play. And in only one of these lie happiness.”

– Gelett Burgess (1866 – 1951) American Author

 

“Happiness is mostly a by-product of doing what makes us feel fulfilled.”

– Dr. Benjamin Spock (1903 – 1998) American pediatrician

 

“Happiness is something you get as a by-product in the process of making something else.”

– Aldous Huxley (1894 – 1963) English Novelist

 

“Continuity of purpose is one of the most essential ingredients of happiness in the long run, and for most men this comes chiefly through their work.”

– Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970) – English Mathematician and Philosopher

 

“I’m not happy, I’m cheerful. There’s a difference. A happy woman has no cares at all. A cheerful woman has cares but has learned how to deal with them.”

– Beverly Sills (1929 – 2007) American Opera Singer

 

“I believe the recipe for happiness to be just enough money to pay the monthly bills you acquire, a little surplus to give you confidence, a little too much work each day, enthusiasm for your work, a substantial share of good health, a couple of real friends and a wife and children to share life’s beauty with you.” – J. Kenfield Morley (1838 – 1923) a British Liberal statesman, writer and newspaper editor

 

“Happiness is essentially a state of going somewhere, wholeheartedly, one-directionally, without regret or reservation.” – William H. Sheldon (1898 – 1977) American psychologist and numismatist

 

“I believe the recipe for happiness to be just enough money to pay the monthly bills you acquire, a little surplus to give you confidence, a little too much work each day, enthusiasm for your work, a substantial share of good health, a couple of real friends and a wife and children to share life’s beauty with you.” – J. Kenfield Morley (1838 – 1923) a British Liberal statesman, writer and newspaper editor