Sex Toys and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sex Toy Sales are Way Up

Chocolate Chip Cookies are King

and other important research findings


Every Saturday morning I look forward to receiving a blog from John Dick. He titles his blog ”‘What we are seeing”. John runs a large US marketing research company. “Now steadily over 5 million (polls) every 24 hours. That’s like 1,000 people answering a 20-question survey every 5 minutes. Almost all of it is about the coronavirus because almost everything is about the coronavirus right now.”

One of the distinguishing features of John’s blog is his “Dick stories”. A favourite story that he shared was being out for breakfast with his kids one morning. They got to talking about their family name. They all have to contend with people making “Dick jokes”. John asked the kids if they wished they had another name. “No way”, said his young daughter, in a loud voice. “ I love Dick! ” The restaurant went quiet.  The Dick stories keep coming. Almost every week.

 A Key Finding 

Civic-mindedness is way up.  The Latin roots of the word ‘civic’ are community, selflessness, oneness. “And that’s what’s happening right now. At scale.” ( The name of John’s research company, Civic Science)

We’ve all seen this around the globe, the pictures are amazingly similar. People cooperating to stay safe and create new ways to be connected. Acts of kindness everywhere. 

Could this give birth to new meaning to the term ‘globalism’? People voluntarily cooperating with a sense of global community and a sense of oneness. Instead of the current meaning of globalism. Corporations with a global perspective for the sake of maximizing profits. No loyalty to the country that helped them get started. Avoid taxes by lobbying government and using every loophole possible. 

Other things they are “seeing” (click for more)

People are taking a lot more vitamins

Hiking is up (get it?). Especially among younger people

Food delivery is booming, relatively speaking, especially among remote workers. 

Weed is kind of in-between. Cannabis use is down appreciably since the start of the crisis mostly because the dispensaries have been closed. But the majority of people nonprofits or tipping service providers, (people) are giving;

People snacking more! We studied the most popular quarantine comfort foods and other indulgences (Spoiler: Chocolate chip cookies are king).

Generosity is way up. Whether it’s supporting local businesses, donating to nonprofits, or tipping service providers.


 If you’d like to subscribe to “What we are seeing: Sign up here. If you are new to this list, check out our Top Ten to get caught up. 


A Gift of Friendship


‘This Christmas I was given the best gift ever;

experiencing the value of friendship.’

Guest blogger, Becky Beaton

Guest blogger Becky Beaton

Late Christmas eve, I realized that I was going to be alone on Christmas Day.  Feeling melancholy, I decided to spend Christmas day with my best buddy Jane. She was recovering from surgery at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver.  

No one should be alone at Christmas. Much less someone in a hospital!


The minimal decorations I brought were strewn around the room. A goofy stuffed Christmas dinosaur clung to the IV pole. I wore my gaudy Christmas sweater and dangly snowflake earrings. For Jane, I’d brought a Santa hat and my favourite beaded Santa earrings. The Lions Gate Foundation gave every patient a small poinsettia. Jane’s plant was on the window sill.

It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.


We laughed and giggled until it hurt. We toasted with orange juice. And we hailed “Merry Christmas” to everyone we met on our ward walkabout. We got warm smiles and “Merry Christmas” in reply…. It was joyful and we were having fun playing.


My time with Jane was short and sweet. She was fading and needed her bed. Time to leave. My mood on the ferry ride home was sombre. I pondered what makes a true friend, and why is having a close friendship so fragile.


Having close friends is wonderful, but they need tender care. Complete faith and trust in each other have to be protected. One unintentional slip can threaten the connection.  Courage, love, acceptance and forgiveness may all be required to mend the damage. If it is not meant to be, let it go graciously and be truly thankful for the fond memories and time shared.


A true friend can share anything honestly, and be intimate, trusting and caring. Although most of mine live a distance away, we will always be there for each other, no matter what we may say or do.  When we do get together, we catch up as if we never parted. There is no judgement… no competition. Kerfuffles are resolved by talking and listening to each other.

We feel free to say ‘I Love You’.

I can count on my hand, four true friends. I feel blessed. True friends are few and far between. Hold on to them tightly, they are treasures. True friends are forever.


 “The best portion of your life will be the

small nameless moments smiling with someone who matters to you.”



Choose Joyfulness Every Day


Choose joyfulness every day.

You probably had someone wish you “a joyful New Year”.

That’s a nice sentiment, but it won’t happen by someone wishing it for you.

Or even wishing it for yourself. You have to choose it.


I was reminded of this by watching a Sadhguru video early this morning. If you are a YouTube fan, you may know of him. I find him relatable and practical.


One of his teachings is about joyfulness.

Before I encountered his teaching on joyfulness, I would have said to myself that to aspire to ‘joy’ as a constant would be over the top. Not realistic. An irritating idea. Certainly not an expectation I would have for every day. I’d settle for contentment or satisfaction or peace. But joyfulness? Not likely. And I would have been wrong!


In ‘Five Life Hacks for 2020′, the first hack is how to create joyfulness every day.

It occurred to me as a perfect New Years’ challenge.

Here’s the simple practice…

Start every day start with a question.

Shall I be miserable or joyful?


If you choose to be ‘joyful’, you may notice that you feel lighter,

brighter, and more optimistic right away.

Now do it every morning:)

Let’s create a joyful new year!


Sadhguru talks about creating joyfulness. Start at 0.30. You may have to drag it back.

New Life Focus

The theme of ‘new life’ had a special meaning this month with the arrival of our granddaughter Shalamay Worsfold. 

I also gave birth to a new song called ‘Take the Stage’.

About giving birth to a new self.

I sang the song at our MorningStars Toastmasters last week

at the home of one of our members. Shortly after 7 am I might add:)


Take The Stage 


I know you’ve got a secret dream 

Of who you’re meant to be 

Your future self is calling you 

Yearning to be free 


When I saw who you could be 

You felt like you’d been busted

Now your secret’s out

I wonder if you trust it



Your destiny is calling you

                        No place now to hide                      

It’s time to take the stage 

The world is open wide


Your life is going to change

No more playing small

Your dream is coming true now

Stand up strong and tall


I see your fancy coloured sox 

I know they’re all the rage

They’re sure to boost your confidence 

When you take the stage


Not many people feel the joy 

Of betting on their dreams

There’s really nothing like it

And It’s safer than it seems



©. December 2019

In tribute to Katherine Scott,

fellow Toastmaster and mentor, who died this month.

Katherine helped me start this blog earlier this year. She will be missed.

Mastering Change


A reactive experience goes something like this.

A change occurs.

That creates a problem that stops you.

You feel helpless and powerless and you are stuck!

You just want to get something done and you can’t. It’s infuriating!

Usually, you are pretty easy going, but this time, it’s been a bad week, you are hungry and tired and this pushes you over the edge.

You lose it. You feel enraged… you want to smash something.

You seriously want this problem to go away. NOW!

But it just sits there… mocking you.


So you lash out!  You fire off an angry email. You cancel your program, you quit your association, you quit your job, you quit that relationship. You walk away. You call somebody and let them have it, or attack some innocent bystander. Perhaps you retreat into a dark place and cut yourself off from people. The stress is too much to bear!

And then… there’s the morning after.  You wake up to the carnage.  You start realizing the consequences of your reactive actions. The people you hurt. How you hurt yourself.  What you’ve lost. The guilt. The regret. The embarrassment. If only you could pull that back. 

You may still justify your actions, but you know that it goes deeper. There are times when anger is appropriate, but the equivalent of road rage over some relatively minor problem isn’t one of them. If we are honest with ourselves, we all know the difference. 

Perhaps you can’t pull your actions back, but you may be able to do some cleanup. Acknowledgement is a good start. You may or may not want to change your decision. Perhaps you can’t change it.  But an apology might do wonders. People are generally understanding.

You might still be able to ask for help to solve the problem that had you so activated. I know… asking for help is a stretch.:)

This description may sound extreme. But we all have experienced something like this. This blog is about how to deal with it when it happens, and how to prevent such reactive breakdowns from occurring.

Managing Autopilot Reactions

The pace of change: Technology driven change is getting faster and faster. The more change there is, the more problems we have. Problems tend to accumulate, not go away. We experience change as a threat. When we feel threatened we react defensively. It’s wired into us. 

Solutions, not sedation: Our first reaction to change is often resentment and resistance. If the stress and depression get too much we want to escape. We may act out, or we may ask our friendly doctor for help. But usually, we don’t need sedation, we need solutions to life problems. 

Guidelines for Managing Reactivity in Times of Change

One: Self Observation: It starts with observing yourself in reaction. You can be conscious and self-aware. You are not your reaction. You are the observer and the chooser. You can observe yourself in reaction, and knowing that you are at risk, you can make a wiser choice.

Two: Responsibility: Seeing yourself in reaction, and seeing your compulsion to blame and complain, you can choose to accept responsibility for managing your reactions. You’ve heard it said that pain is a fact of life, and that suffering is a choice. But it’s really only a choice if you are aware that you have a choice. Otherwise, you become victimized by your lack of options. 

It is not easy to accept responsibility for your reactive state. It’s much easier to be the victim and blame someone or something else, but it’s costly. Accepting responsibility is the way through.

Three: From Reaction to Response. This may be the most basic strategy. Finding yourself in reaction you ask yourself -What would be a more appropriate, more effective response? You may be surprised. The answers come immediately. 

Four: Notice your mood: We think of mood in terms of ‘good mood’ or ‘bad mood’. But it actually more complicated than that. And more important. Your mood, your emotional state, predisposes you for action.  Living in a mood of resentment you are resistant. Creativity dies. Your inner conversation is words of complaining and blaming. You ‘sentence’ yourself to prison. But the door is not locked.

The Mood Continuum

The mood continuum shows the steps to free yourself from negative moods.

Resignation >>>>Resentment>>>>Acceptance>>>>Ambition

You can stay stuck in resignation or resentment and continue to blame and complain, which will spoil your experience and make you less effective. You can walk away in a huff, which may cost you more. Or, you can simply accept what is, take responsibility for moving out of your victim state, and shift to a state of ambition.  Stop letting the problem run you. Decide to take back your power and master the problem.

In my experience once you see where you are on this continuum, and what it’s costing you, it’s relatively easy to shift your state to acceptance and then ambition,  it’s amazing how fast it works. It is as simple as making a couple of decisions.

Five: Time out rule. If you are extremely reactive, your body chemistry has you in flight/fight mode.  You are not thinking clearly. The smart move is to take a time out. Go for a walk. Create space. Sleep on it. Allow your system to normalize. (Don’t push send until you reconsider the next day)

Six: Seek help from Google: I am constantly amazed at the answers I can find to the most basic questions. Especially tech problems. Got a problem?  Google your question. Make it a habit to save a lot of time and frustration.

It happened to me a couple of days ago. I noticed that I hadn’t received any email on my laptop for three days. I Googled for an answer. I couldn’t make sense of the answers that I found. So I slept on it. Came back the next day. Tried again. I found the Mailbox bar that I couldn’t find before. I followed the instructions to click ‘receive mail’ and voila I was back in business. It feels good to solve these problems yourself.

Seven: Ask for help: This is an advanced strategy:) There’s this thing called ‘asking for help’. It’s amazing what can happen. I have had to seek help a number of times this year with tech problems. People have been very willing and very helpful. Sometimes just talking about the problem helps solve it.

Eight: Change Your Way of Being: I tell a story about a reactive episode I had with our Apple TV. After fuming for some time, I said to myself  “You know better than this Mike. What is your current way of being? Angry and avoiding. How is that working? It’s not. What would be a more effective way of being?” The words “creative problem solver” came to mind. I kid you not. Right away I noticed my internal state shift. I called Apple support and we got it done.

Nine: Master it: Doing a minimum to get through a problem is the norm. That usually means that the problem will come back because you haven’t really mastered it.

As an example, I got my first Apple laptop a couple of years ago. They said learning to operate it would be ”intuitive”. Maybe for twelve years olds, but not for me. I struggled. Finally, I got some coaching from my son PJ. He said, “Dad, you have to master it.” That meant going online, finding the tutorials and spending time figuring it out step by step.  I got a few extra tips from PJ along the way and learned to collaborate with friends who were having similar problems. Soon I was able to function. I keep learning.

Note: When I say ‘mastery’ I mean pushing through to a place where you can function. There may be plenty more to learn. 

Summary: As the pace of change increases, we have more problems. We need to see that our basic problem is change management. There’s a natural cycle that starts with reactive emotions such as resentment and resistance. We may fall into fight or flight mode.  If we don’t see what is happening, we become the victims of our reactive state. We get stuck. We may say and do things that are costly and which we later regret. Mastery starts with self-observation. Seeing ourselves stuck in ‘reaction’ we can choose ‘response’; take back our power, be more effective, and improve the quality of our lives. It’s about managing change so it doesn’t manage us.