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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.
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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.
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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

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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!