B Is For Balance.: Jillian Ann

Finding balance has always been a challenge for me I remember the first time I
knew I was really out of balance, my lover at the time looked at me knowing I
wasn't there and when they told me I wasn't there I knew I had some
serious work to do. I was blessed to be with someone who cared enough to look at
me and see the reality and express it without fear, I was blessed to be with
someone who loved me enough to look me in the eyes and dig beyond my outward
beauty my limitless sex drive and my facade which had everyone but me fooled.

At the time I was lost in a whirlwind because of trauma, fear and insecurity I
had severed my heart and soul from my body. It happens often to those who have
been raped abused or betrayed or who just feel they cannot handle reality, and
the darkness and pain which sometimes comes into our lives. Because of the
trauma I had lived through part of me was so scared to connect and so I hide, my
mind body and soul were not connected. Because of that I didn't treat myself
very well, I didn't sleep enough, move enough, eat enough, I wasn't
loving to my body and because of that I had severed my connection.

That conversation was one of the things motivated me to go inside and start to
face the things I feared, for in order to reconnect and in order to find balance
i had to learn how to embrace every aspect of myself and my life I had to stop
trying to cut out what I was afraid of, what hurt me, or what i didn't like
and rather face the darkness and work with it and move through it. Balance
cannot be attained without accepting yourself as you are for you are perfect as
you are, no matter what you did or what was done to you, it is all just part of
being . Balance is not about following lots of rules or guidelines but rather it
comes down to love and compassion for yourself as well as those who have both
loved and harmed you.

Finding balance started when I realized I was hurting myself and through that
was hurting others, it started when I realized by not being there, I was not
able to love. I wasn't there for myself, so how could I be there for anyone
else. This hit me hard and broke down a layer within my soul, as the layer
crumbled into a thousand splinters of sand I cried more then a few tears and
then I dived into all of the things that I was afraid of. I relived being raped,
The New York Optimist
February 2009
I relived abuse, heartbreaks, deception, and went deep into the darkest places I had been I returned to them in order to be at peace with
them. During the process I started to reconnect my body mind and soul, I no longer saw them as detached, as an object. I no longer saw
myself as just something to use and abuse to push till I broke. I started to see myself as I was, not something to be punished or ignored
but rather a beautiful creation to be nourished and loved.

Love starts within and as I started to love myself I was able to love my body, my story, I was no longer disconnected fragmented tied
together in fear but rather became accepting of both the choices I have made as well as those which others made that affected me. Balance
did not come from trying to be perfect but rather with accepting what was and working to love and nurture myself and those around me.
Because of love not out of fear,not out of doubt but out of love the love that was so expansive it covered all fears all doubts all pain.

I see many I love, many I meet who struggle with finding balance, and usually when I look a them I see part of myself, for the only reason
I have found any balance at all is that I have learned to listen to what my
body needs, what my soul needs what my mind needs for when I
listen its all there, it always was I just wasn't listening i was too busy hiding running rather then just being still and listening.  Balance has
come to me more and more the more I have stopped running, and rather started embracing what comes. If I feel I need to cry I cry, if I
feel I need to touch I touch, if I feel I need to dance I dance, and the more I embrace and go with what is natural the more balanced and
free I become.

Sadly the world is becoming more and more a world built high with distractions, all usually built to sell us something, to make us feel we
are not pretty enough, rich enough, and so on, a world piled high with dogmas and fear based
motivational reasons to start cutting apart our heart from our mind and body. This makes it more difficult to be balanced to be one with
ones self. Often leading to sickness, disease, depression, and the slow separation from balance. I have found that I must tune into my soul
in order to stay balanced and tuning in these days often means tuning out.

Tuning out is very hard for many I know and love, they are in positions of
power, leaders, presidents, band leaders, artist, politicians, ceos, I find
myself often encouraging them to spend time alone in silence or find something
that connects them to there souls, be it their art creation music feelings
meditation yoga sex or just being one with nature and themselves. I see and hear
often they just don't have time and that is something I don't believe at
all. We always have time, and the most important time there is spent is when
your soul is fully connected and fusing together your mind body and soul for
when one is off balance all are out of balance and the more balanced you are the
more productive inspired  peaceful and healthy you will become.

I have found I struggle to find the time to write, to make
music, to meditate
and do yoga, and so I have started making many of those things non negotiable as
in they happen in one way or another. Currently I am always behind, on email
phone calls, events, meetings, I am above my head in what I want and or need to
do, but I have come to a point of accepting sometimes i need time for me, to get
a massage, to
practice yoga, to make love, to cuddle, to walk in nature, to
laugh to sing, dance, create, read, meditate, dream, run, spend hours talking
with friends, spending days working on opening accepting and connecting all of
the layers of my being.

Many people ask how I do what I do, how do I stay looking young, beautiful, and have so much energy, these are things I believe we all
want to be healthy, happy, free, full of energy and able to love and be loved. These things are not obtained through practicing rules but
rather being in tune with yourself.  If you are really listening to your body and you are about to eat something unhealthy the body will send
you a signal either right before or after you eat it . If you are really listening to your soul when it wants your attention in order to give you a
gift of creation or inspiration it may take you away from your job into the woods driving down the highway or just being alone in the

I am still working on balance I always will be I don't have it all figured out, I just learned to listen to what my mind, body and soul needs,
and the more I nurture and love myself completely and in a connected way the more I am given energy, ideas, love and joy. Sometimes I
do things which to others seem irrational, I make the time to write rather then get back to all my
emails, I make the time to do yoga even
if it means doing it behind the stage for 20 min looking rather silly, I make the time to see my friends now and spend hours with them
engaged in deep soulful conversations and connections, even though I have so much work to do I have learned the work will always be
there and if I am not there for the work completely the work will suffer.

No matter how busy you are if you aren't showing up for life because you're not there that busy state will never leave behind what it would
if you did less but were more present in what you did. If I come to a show or a shoot without sleep without a soul without my heart mind
and body what I can give is so much less then if I took just a little time an hour a day a few days
a month to recharge reconnect re fuel what is within for that is where it all starts and ends. At this point in my life I have learned how to
show up and to be present and I try to give that to whatever I am doing, if I am in a meeting  I try to be there completely if I am with a
friend I try to only be there with them in the moment, when I am on stage acting or shooting I do everything I can to connect and be
present for those I am working with or performing too these things have helped me greatly for it becomes magic when you really connect.

In order to be able to be there for others be it in life or art I have learned I have to be there for myself and sometimes thats hard but I try to
create my sanctuaries in my life be it in my car or in my studio or just a hotel room. At the same time I have learned the word no is
essential to balance for sometimes you just have to be honest and say no, I can't see you, I need alone time, I am working on a project, or
no this isn't healthy for me spiritually emotionally and or physically. But with no also comes the acceptance that when I
say no others may not be happy about it, may get angry, hurt, or mad at me and sometimes I have to accept I cannot make everyone
happy for if I never said no I would be consumed by people who want something from me often without any concern to how thats going
to leave me.

It may sound selfish but at the end of the day if you are not present how can you love or really give. I love people I love nurturing giving
and sharing with people but because of that I have also learned I must make sure that I protect myself and don't burn myself out by never
nurturing myself. Often people wonder why they are so unhappy and more often then not it can be solved with a little bit of self love and
self nurture. Balance is about finding a place where you feel peace, in mind body and spirit. Depression and anger are often just a
symptom of lack of balance and the need for change. Sadly the western medical system treats anger,
depression and insomnia with pills
rather then pushing people to dig into the why. For if you are depressed, overweight, sad, can't sleep, angry, or sick chances are it starts
with lack of balance.

Balance is not the same for everyone but there are somethings which can help you find your balance, the most important is to tune in, to be
present, to listen and to really dig under the skin and ask why? are you sick because you are not giving your body what it needs? are you
angry because you starve yourself from love play and fun? are you depressed because you are trapped in fear and are hiding under the bed
of your soul from your demons? are you unable to sleep because it's the only time your soul and mind have a chance to talk
and all of the sudden all the fear and pain doubt and loneliness come storming up and push past the barriers we so often intact to function.

I just want to encourage all of you to carve out time in your busy lives for your
mind body and soul, to love listen tune in and be present
with yourself and the world around you. Life is full of beauty and love as well as fear and hate but we
can chose what we focus on what we believe what we invest our time and energy into. The dark is our
teacher not our enemy and when things get tough it's a chance to expand to learn and to grow.  Fear is
what will put bars around us if we let it, for in the end there is nothing to fear, there is nothing we can
take with us but the love we shared.  The best choice I ever made was running into the dark, running into
my fears rather then running away. Sometimes it takes every ounce of courage in my soul to face
something  or say something or create. But I push myself into the fear into the darkness I climb under the
bed to see my monster only to find it was only in my head.  Fear is often used as a tool to control, the
more I face my fear the more balanced happy and free I Become.

Not saying its easy not saying I don't cry not saying sometimes it takes every single ounce of energy I
have to do it but I keep being present even when it hurts, even when its hard, even when I don't know
what to do, whatever it is wherever I am I just try to be there....

Jillian Ann,  jillianann333@gmail.com
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Jillian Ann