No 33 “Patience is passion tamed.” 8-18-17

Deborah Voigt as Brünnhilde 

No 33 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, August 18, 2017

“Patience is passion tamed.”

– Lyman Abbott (1835 – 1922) American Congregationalist theologian

For many years I never had patience. I was a ‘millennial’ in the 70’s. I wanted everything in my dancing to come to me on the first try and I wanted my technique to be perfect and natural from the first try. I had the passion and the talent, but not the patience to practice to perfection. Many others could just see a step and do it the first time. That skill I did not possess (I still can’t do this).

Then, I watched how others taught the steps that I was learning. They were fast and impatient with their students, and they lost patience with those that did not learn as fast as they had learned. They even became harsh with others when the step was not executed to their standard.

One of my teachers told me a wonderful key that has stayed with me for decades. She said “David, you’re a slow forgetter!” I just thought I was dumb sometimes when I could not get a pattern. But when I learned the step and the technique, I had it for a lifetime.

On the teaching end, since I was a “slow forgetter”, I was very patient with my students. I learned that the two key ingredients in teaching were laughter and praise. Later I learned that people did not remember what you said to them, they remembered how you made them feel. I learned that teaching could be a wonderful confidence building experience for the students who were learning.

“Thoughtfulness for others, generosity, modesty and self-respect are the qualities which make a real gentleman or lady.”

– Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895) British Scientist

Over the years I have had teachers who brought me to tears, made me hate and resent them, and teachers who tore me down. Then, there were the master teachers who made me feel as if I could learn and perform anything in my life. They made learning fun and made me feel confident and talented. They are still the heroes in my dancing life. Although some of the mean teachers taught me some greatly needed lessons, I still remember the emotional floggings they gave me.

Now, when I am teaching and someone makes a mistake, I pause, smile and say “What was that?”  We begin to laugh and share a hug, a giggle, and then we fix the step. Those students seem to love their lessons. They are the ones who smile on the floor and draw all eyes to their great smiles and beautiful technique and styling in their dancing.

Perhaps the best part of ballroom dancing is that we learn respect. Respect for our partner, other couples on the floor, the audience, the choreography and the music, the judges, and the wonderful audience for whom we are performing. Ballroom teaching discipline and how to present the other person with grace and elegance. Perhaps if we could just get all the leaders of the world together at the United Nations and teach them ballroom technique and the etiquette it teaches, we might have better world peace!

“Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.”

– Elizabeth Asquith Bibesco (1897-1945) English Writer

As I write to you today, the words flow from my heart to my fingers to the page. I give this love and support to you not remembering the effort of writing, and I take back the blessings I receive from sharing this love with you, never forgetting the experience.

Thanks 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!

My 60th Birthday 9-1-16

2016-09-01 00.06.37

No 36 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, September 2, 2016

My 60th Birthday!

Today is September 1st and I’m now 60 years old! I started with Arthur Murray October 15, 1975 and what a wonderful dancing life this has been.

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Arthur Murray has taken me around the world and was and has been my school of life. 41 years of dancing, laughing, performing, teaching and having fun have been the fountain of youth for me.

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Yes, my belt size is bigger, my feet are flatter, my knees sound like creaky doors, and my back goes out, but I have stamina and energy when I’m dancing that rivals 20-year old’s! I simply still love to dance.

Birthday Chamber Logo 2016

I always wondered what it would be like to be an older dancer. Well, I certainly am a lot more fun to take a lesson with, because I have learned to love and laugh. I listen to my students because I hurt all over just like they do. And when my students make a mistake, rather than being a rough teacher, I laugh and say “What was that!” and we both laugh until we have to hug each other.  A bit of loving laughter seems to go a lot further in instruction than a reprimand!

My personal teachers are all about 20 years older than I am. They are Arthur Murray legends and they are in such great demand today. They dance, teach, coach, own schools, travel and train others. They are constantly surrounded by young dancers and they have the stamina of much, much younger people. They are my dancing examples and I strive to be just like them in my next 20 years. Imagine, at 60, I have a new 20-year plan. Retirement for me will be to coach full time and train others for the rest of my dancing days.

The new fuel for me is now service. As long as I am giving great service to others, I seem to be OK in my life.  Depression is kept away, darkness and sadness seem to fade away when you are always planning some benefit to help others in some great way. When you always have to be at a meeting and you are giving time to serve, you seem to always be happy.  Also, the people who you are working with are usually just the same and they are happy in giving service to others!

When my daddy passed, his funeral was long with the many, many organizations that came to honor him for his service.  Daddy was a part of so many groups that help others that I sat in amazement as “strangers” to me seemed to know him and love him so very much. Guess what, I’m becoming my dad. I love being surrounded with workers and leaders and find life is rich with joy when I’m around these people. I love being a part of many groups who specialize in changing the lives of others.

Leaders are timeless and ageless. They seem to have great health and happiness. They are known and loved by many others. They seek out new ways to serve and give of their time.  They seem to thrive on the art of donating time to worthy causes.  They seldom complain because they are too busy making a phone call or planning on a committee.

Am I happy at turning 60? Well, I think I have a lot more to learn, and I definitely know that I have a lot more to give. I’d be worried, except I have to finish my city-wide Buy Local event next weekend, and I have a major Hospitality Summit at St. Monica’s the next Saturday followed by a wonderful dance competition the next day. November and December are our busiest months, then we have our Dancing with Our Stars Event in January, Seasons of Love Show in February, then the Sand and Sea Ball in early 2017.

I guess if I’m going to have a pity party, I’ll have to find some time and schedule it, for right now, I’m just too busy to worry about unimportant things in my life.

By the way, time to get moving and motivating others. Thanks for letting me share my wonderful 60th birthday with you all!

Keep on Dancing!

David Woodbury

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com

Email me if you like my blogs!

“I Am Marketing” 3-21-14

DEW Good Photo 11-7-David Earl Woodbury

No 13 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury
Friday, March 21, 2014
“I AM Marketing”

At a recent meeting for the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, the president Laurel Rosen said to us “I am marketing”. We were all talking about what we were doing to promote our businesses and she said we should live as ambassadors for our businesses and let others know what we do for our careers.

IMGP4831For me, I am a walking, talking, breathing Arthur Murray man. I love our business, believe in our work, and know that our mission statement is: “Changing Lives Through Dancing, One Step at a Time”. Every day I walk out my door after an Arthur Murray morning of preparation, arrive at the studio to serve all day as an Arthur Murray professional, and I leave, I go into the world as an Arthur Murray man. What is an Arthur Murray man? A man of dancing skills, character, faith, dedication, professionalism, leadership and commitment.

Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes
Opportunity looks a lot like work.

IMGP4988In my one of my pockets I always have two one decade rosaries, one to give away and another to keep. The other pocket has my Arthur Murray cards to give as I share about the benefits of dancing and how it is good for your health and life. Go out in the world and have faith and work through the day! Remember, life is your friend, go enjoy it!

“Oh, I couldn’t possibly live that way, always thinking about work and ‘marketing’ people”. Well, I’m not different when I’m at mass, the grocery, on a run, or at the studio. I live my life each moment as the same man, always striving to be the best in every way, being a man of character.

Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional
glance towards the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful
scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point. — Harold B. Melchart

IMGP4989I Am Marketing. That just means that I live each moment. Sometimes there are many challenges with lots of ups and downs. The mentors in my life are the same great people all the time. They are always leaders and living to serve others, whether it’s through their faith, career, or the ways they give back in their lives.

The beauty of the soul shines out when a man bears with composure one
heavy mischance after another, not because he does not feel them, but
because he is a man of high and heroic temper. — Aristotle

Sophia Putnam and David Woodbury Tango 3-7-14

Take a stand and decide who you are and be that man or woman, all the time. Promise yourself that you will value long term character over short term gain that may vanish in a moment. After our last 4.4 earthquake in Santa Monica this past week, I was jolted into remembering what really mattered in my life. Knowing in those few horrible and frightening moments of shaking, the sounds of the house shaking as things fell, and my own shouts of fear, I was reminded of what truly matters in life, and how we can face loss in a fraction of a second. When the quake was over, my only concern was that we and the kitties were OK. Then I ran to the window to see EVERYONE’s lights on and people out on the streets. Imagine that one moment in time awoke millions of people and was felt for hundreds of miles!

You don’t have to think of your life as marketing, but I do urge you to live your beliefs and values. Whatever you do in your life, do it with all your might and all the gusto you can muster! Talk to others, never know a stranger, always share a smile and give a compliment. Laugh out loud and make some noise in your life.

For me, I’ll live the rest of my years sharing my faith, my love of dancing, and my passion for life with everyone I meet. Arthur Murray…changing lives, one step at a time!

Thank You and Sophia Putnam in all these great photos!

David Earl Woodbury

Next Week: The Time Machine!