Picture Perfect Cravings (Tony Litster Success Stories)

Everyone loves a good success story. It stimulates a part of our brain that is linked to the reward centre. It’s likely why motivational speakers have been really populariz over the past 70+ years, at least in western culture anyway.

Quite a few years ago, I got serious about the teachings of man by the name of Tony Litster. I could have selected from many different coaches, gurus, and experts, but I landed on him. Mostly be accident. Tony Litster is a success coach, who focuses on success over addictions, namely pornography. Now, I’m no chicken, and will admit that I have struggled with this exact challenge in the past.

In fact, I bawked at the idea that I’d ever find someone who understood the struggle. But then I found Tony.

Tony Litster Straight Talk

Litster teaches that pornography addiction is quite often a result of the shame cycle, which comes out of childhood challenges and continues right through our adult lives.

The shame cycle makes you believe that your self-worth is tied directly into what others think of you. And that’s just not true. Each of us is invaluable and infinitely worth our lives. Learning to separate yourself from your behaviour, and more importantly, your behaviour from your sense of worth, is what allows you to move away from stimulants like pornography that ultimately do not satisfy. How you do this is by reinforcing the new idea of who you are:

One of the ways is by speaking positive belief statements to yourself, and repeating them over and over again (through recorded tracks set to classical music) – positive affirmations.

Another way is through meditation, which means settling into exhaustion for only a brief period of time, and then allowing yourself to experience all of the thoughts racing through your head while you focus on breathing in and out.

A third way is through regular and exciting forms of exercise. This could mean time at the gym, rock climbing, playing team sports or preparing for a marathon.

But there is so much more that he teaches then those three concepts. From drinking lots of water regularly, to maintaining a neutral pH balance, to visualization routines, to paying off high interest debts, this guy is in it for the long haul. He really focuses on dwelling within reality, while dealing with the chemical imbalances of serotonin, dopamine and adrenalin that result from a lifetime of pornography addiction. Better yet, there are effective ways to combat these high levels of chemical stimulation from porn watching…

Biological Peacekeeping

Adrenaline is easily fed through competition – sports, games, exercise or frightening activities like public speaking. Serotonin can be kept in check via meditation, and also by practicing Yoga. Lastly dopamine is released when we get creative – writing, playing music, painting, and using our imaginations.

Seems simple right? But it’s just another example of the importance regular exercise, meditation, and creativity play in a balanced life. I only discovered that my body was out of balance because I was constantly drawn to watching pornography whenever I would come home from work, and my girlfriend at the time couldn’t really understand why I struggled with this compulsion (read: the shame cycle). It stemmed from challenges of my youth, which probably deserve a whole other post to themselves, but this is just another layer to purpose of timotheories, and why digitally curating at heart is essential for me to live.

If I didn’t make art, take care of my body, and my mind, I’d be a hot mess. And no use to anybody.

theories Summarized

Maybe this post would’ve been better served for a timely Thursday entry, but when I sat down to write this afternoon, and saw the topic Facebook Success Stories, I thought to myself, no one really cares if I share success stories from other people. You’re all here because of my authentic experiences, and at the core of my stories are tales such as this one that I’ve hinted at. Picking up the pieces and fighting against something which I did not want for myself was imperative dear readers.

My theories all stem from this desire to live a life completely chosen of free will, and pornography was limiting me from doing just that. So I to you without motive or expectation, #liveyourlife and you will learn to #loveyourlife.

Tim!

The Price To Not Pay Is Steep (Health)

Holistic health has been on my mind as of late dear readers.

 

You see, I have this theory that there is a strong connection between art, healing, and health. And I think holistic health holds the key to that connection.

Holistic health is a type of healing process which considers the whole human being and not just the body parts and/or symptoms. As we strive towards optimal health and wellness, considerations of the body, mind, spirit, and emotions are all relevant.

I like to believe that we can address each of those aspects of ourselves with some basic activities. For the body, there is exercise. When it comes to the mind, reading things and a variety of things covers it off, emotions are founded in both positive relationships and pursuing our passions, but spirit is the most difficult to address.

To put it simply, I think that art is key to addressing the spirit, and if we ignore this part of ourselves, we suffer all the more for it.

Medicine For The Heart

 

The interesting part of this theory is that there is evidence out there which suggests a healing connection between art and the spirit, but it is not given nearly as much research as other disciplines, but it certainly can provide value. The point we need to consider most in this discussion is that each of us is drawn to different forms of art, so what heals me might not heal you as easily. And I think that has to do with our preferred learning styles.

  • Visual learners prefer two dimensional forms of art like drawing, painting, and photography.
  • Kinesthetic learners should look towards performance arts, like dance, magic, and theatre.
  • Auditory learners are best served by music, writing, and narration.

Now, outlining the reasons why I think art has the power to heal our spirit will take up far more time than a single post can give, so rather than diving deeply into it today, I will share a few of my favourite videos on the power of art for affecting the spirit.

Namely this one.

 

And also this one.

And definitely this one.

Health Matters

If it hasn’t been made clear yet, the aim of this post is to address health as it relates to the OECD index, making this the eighth entry in the Wellness Factors of Life series inspired by Postconsumers.

Artists matter, and I know in my heart of hearts that I will always advocate for the arts, no matter where I am or whatever the context that I am making the argument in. But timotheories isn’t just about me, it’s also about providing you with the resources you need to fight the good fight. As art makers, art facilitators, art collectors, and art enthusiasts, each of us has a responsibility to share with the world the merits of working on creative projects, from economics, to health, to politics, to entertainment, you creative cuties know that art has the power to heal. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

The spirit is the key in all of this.

 

theories Summarized

It is absolutely essential to reconsider the notion of the starving artist, and start to consider the notion of the starving souls who do not support the arts nor make room for creativity within their lives, it takes time to establish yourself creatively, no different than any other specialization.

Doctors, engineers, lawyers, scientists, politicians, professors, and teachers, I’m looking squarely at you.

So let’s invest in art, because it’s good for us.

And yes, I am theoried out for the night, so I’m gonna settle into bed with a good book, after a night of exercise, writing, and communicating with my lovely girlfriend, and know that I met all of my wellness needs. Another day, another theory satisfied.

Tim!

The Bends (Decompression)

The past few weeks have just been nuts for me, dear readers. On top of it all, I got sick not once, but twice. I’ve already written about this experience in my post about community, but today I wanted to focus on the practical side of dealing with a seemingly never-ending illness, jam-packed days filled with meetings, hundreds of emails to wade through, and all of events that happen over the holidays, plus the holiday aftermath.

Normally I pride myself on being calm no matter what the circumstance, working through the pressure, deadlines, and workload. But sometimes our bodies just shut down, and we get sick.

You see friends, stress suppresses the immune system, and as a consequence it becomes easier for you to get sick. So while stress cannot “make” you sick, it definitely contributes to the environment.

You have to make time to care for yourself when in stressful situations.

Decompression

What that really means is that you have to teach yourself some decompression techniques. No, I’m not writing about decompression sickness (also known as the bends or divers’ disease) but that is another type of illness that requires treatment early on.

What I’m referring to creative cuties is decompression from stress. I may have written about this in a different capacity once before, focusing on things like self-care, taking breaks, reviewing previous successes, enlisting support and seeking inspiration, but today I want to focus on things you can do immediately to help with the decompression process.

Most of these actions are physical which is good when you’re sick or stressed. We hold a lot of tension in our bodies from stress.

Here are some of the best options:

  1. Deep breathing. Take a breath in, slowly exhale, and start over again. If you do this for about ten seconds each time and keep at it for ten minutes, you’ll feel it quick.
  2. Self-massage. Tense and then relax each muscle, from your toes to your head.
  3. Take a walk. A five minute walk in the midst of a stressful day does wonders.
  4. Exercise. This can be great for quiet thinking AND all of the chemicals your body releases while exercising are great stress relievers.
  5. Get outdoors. Just connecting with the outdoors can be helpful, but the fresh air helps too.
  6. Sex. An obvious choice. Just ask my girlfriend.
  7. Vacation day. Take the time to focus and recenter.
  8. Meditate. Be somewhere quiet, close your eyes, relax, and focus on your breathing. Your mind will be very active during this process, so embrace the thoughts and allow them to leave.
  9. Read. Whether you read fiction or something more practicaI like a biography. Taking some time with a good book is great exercise for your mind.
  10. Love. Get in some hugs and cuddles with your loved ones. It’s a win-win-win scenario and helps strengthen intimacy for all involved.
  11. Disconnect. Technology can be both a godsend and water torture. Do yourself a favour, and turn off the phones, computer, and ignore the outside world for as long as you can.
  12. Take a nap. A shot nap does wonders for refreshing the mind and the body. Thirty minutes should do the trick.

Now with that said, finding and using different ways to reduce tension is important but it should never add to your stress. You need to pick the techniques that best suit your lifestyle, but I have this theory that as you add different habits, you’ll be hungry for even more.

Another thing to consider folks.

On a really busy day it might feel like you are faced with an impossible task and that none of those techniques will do the trick. Just stick with it though. I can assure you that taking the time to unwind will be huge for your health and I have this theory that you’ll be more productive in the long run.

Tim!

Destined For Great Things (Arnold, The Eduation of A Bodybuilder)

This is a story in progress.

It’s not finished yet because… well, I’m not dead. Yes, I realize that’s something of a graphic and incredible overstatement of a point I haven’t even made about the importance of living in the moment, but I suspect you already knew that dear readers.

today-i-will-live-in-the-moment

I’ve always wanted to be better. When I was a boy, I imagined a better life for myself, something far behind the loving family environment of my middle-class upbringing. It was a typical and uninspired belief for a white kid in a first world country, in a province on the rise. I had everything going for me. I should have been happy to have what I had available to me and just ease into a life of what was supposed to be full of comfortability.

Politics, gender norms, and cultural appropriations aside. Of course. Of course.

But as I got older, I couldn’t shake that feeling. I tried dammit, I tried. I suspect it started around junior high school, but this isn’t a post about my story, no. It’s a story about following a feeling.

To indirectly quote from the first episode of Netflix Original – Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

And I noticed an acceleration of strangeness in my life. A continuing series of intense and extraordinary events, which, up until a certain point, seemed unconnected, with the exception of each being separately bizarre.

Perhaps ever day before then was, for the most part, been humdrum and inane, my life a mundane, unvarying slog through unfulfilling jobs, shallow depression, and boring, boring sex.

And then suddenly, everything changed, and my life became a swirl of interesting activity.

This is a story about one of my heroes. Well, it’s a story about the story one of my heroes wrote about his own story. Still following me?

Reading Into It

This month, I decided to take a book off of my own shelf for The Reading List. A book which I have been meaning to read before I ever even had this idea of undertaking a project to expand my mind and demonstrate a way to get myself thinking creatively often.

I did this to show you, that you too can achieve results if you set up a reading regimen for yourself AND want more than just success. That’s why every month, I use the Reading List for another book to read and another artist for you to consider in your own personal journey.The 5 L’s of Language give us LIFE (Biographies/Art/Music) LOVE (Classic Fiction/Non-Fiction/Graphic Novels) LEARN (Business/Leadership/Self-Help) LABEL (Philosophy/Sociology/Psychology) and LEET (The Internet).

This month is all about LIFE, because it’s almost the end of the year, I’ve seen another wave of personal growth and it’s in the holiday season that I purchase most of my movies. Which reminds me of one of my favourite actors – Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I Have a Headache

It might be a tumour…. no, it’s not a toomah, it’s not a toomach, at all.

Arnold Schwarzenegger co-wrote this great book called Arnold The Education of A Bodybuilder with Douglas Kent Hall in 1977. This is well before he had broken into Hollywood and definitely before he was the governor of California (remember that?). Arnold had already taken the international bodybuilding scene by storm – First he became Mr. Europe, then Mr. Universe, followed by Mr. World and shortly thereafter Mr. Olympia.

He did all of this because he wanted to be the best bodybuilder in the world. Not the best of the season or best of a particular year. His vision was for a perfectly balanced and well considered champion that was undisputed by the world at large. He worked hard and challenged himself every day to accomplish over 18 titles in bodybuilding. Over time he has acquired several businesses related to practice and education of future generations of bodybuilders.

Schwarzenegger is one of my heroes because he knew he achieves results before he achieved them. Yes that last sentence is a bastardization of the English language, but that’s the point. You have to work at the rules before you can break them proper. Work them over, and over and over. This man has continuously committed himself to his vision, lived his life while in pursuit of goals he wanted to realize, and believed he would do what he wanted. And he has.

What this has to do with the arts is both everything and nothing. It’s nothing if you choose not to be effected by others success and see inspiration in the world around you. It’s everything if you want to be an artist and see that no matter what the stakes, I will be a cultivator of the arts for you. This always has been and always will be digital curating at heart.

And I too am destined for great things. A theory for now.

Tim!

 

A Product Of Time (Exercise)

Ah yes, physical exercise. You know that process wherein you harm yourself through activity to strengthen or maintain your fitness level?

When we get right down to it, fitness means being able to perform physical activity. But that’s not all of it. Now I know you know that I know that you want to know what else it also means, so let’s be honest with ourselves for once – having that energy and strength to feel as good as possible doing what you want to do is crucial. Gaining in fitness, even a little bit, is good for your overall health after all. It’s important when you decide to lift that 5 x 6 strainer, it’s important when you decide to hit the high notes, and it’s sure as shit important when you decide to perform that headspin or barrel roll.

I know what you’re thinking my friends.

It’s probably very strange to come to a website which proclaims it focuses on the arts, and which also admits that it sometimes dabbles in philosophy, sociology, marketing, and even psychology because of course theories are not unique to the arts. This I know. But writing about exercise? What does exercise have to do with anything timotheories? But I promise you that what I’m heading towards is important.

I’m going to share a quote from a Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Arnold: The Education of A Bodybuilder. Mostly because I want to make a point, but also because I intend to read the book and this is a good reminder that I should share it with you in the near future.

It was the summer I turned fifteen, a magical season for me because that year I’d discovered exactly what I wanted to do with my life. It was more than a young boy’s mere pipe dream of a distant, hazy future – confused fantasies of being a fireman, detective, sailor, test pilot, or spy. I knew I was going to be a bodybuilder. It wasn’t simply that either. I would be the best bodybuilder in the world, the greatest, the best-built man.

He later admits that family, friends, and strangers all thought he was crazy. It wasn’t a popular sport at the time, but he burned with purpose and passion for life. It was an exhilarating experience for him every time he did it. He did it despite all of the criticism. This is how you should feel whenever you are making anything creative. Do it for you and no one else, that is your day to day motivation. We’ve gone down this path before friends.

Now when you think of your higher purpose, you should make work that is meaningful and important, and people will begin to reach out to you.

But it’s not that simple, after all.

Your motivation is fickle, your mind is weak. It cannot handle stress and pressure without proper support. No matter how much strength of will you think you have, taking care of your physical self is key to maintenance.

You see dear readers, exercise affects your body in so many different ways than just strength and energy. It also forces your lungs to work faster and increase your maximum capacity of oxygen. Your heart becomes more efficient at supplying properly oxygenated blood to you, and your resting heart rate improves too – Not to mention your decreased blood pressure. And osteoporosis is a real problem as we age, but when we exercise with weights we can better maintain healthy bone mass. Last, but most definitely not least, your brain health is directly related to exercise.

Our brains release a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) when under stress, and exercise stresses our brains. After the exercise is complete BDNF provides repair and protection to our neurons and calms us down.

AND our brains release endorphins when we exercise. So we get post-workout euphoria and reduced physical pain and discomfort while exercising.

BDNF and endorphins are triggered by regular exercise which will help with your mood and better your cognitive abilities. That’s why you need to exercise routinely. Exercise allows you to be the best version of yourself, for yourself, so that you can lift those canvases and drop those beats. It’s essential.

But you know what, that’s just a theory.

Tim!