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Natural Beauty

Get Your Beauty Back!

April 30, 2016

Women are feeling lonely in front of the mirror

There are a host of things that can impede our beauty: stress, sickness, health imbalances, harsh chemicals, diet, lifestyle, pregnancies, just to name a few. Some are within our control; others are a byproduct of living life. As women we are inherently beautiful, but so much in our world can take that from us—both literally and mentally, as we are constantly faced with messages that we are not enough.

I started making my own skin care products after not being able to find a product on the market that would help my skin issues. As I researched and experimented tirelessly, my skin radically transformed and I became the poster child for beautiful skin. I was looking younger all the time and while everyone around me aged, it didn’t seem to touch me. Then something happened.

I entered a season of my life of extreme and prolonged stress. Every aspect of my life was being ransacked. My finances dwindled to nothing, my rent kept being due, and the creditors kept calling. My fridge was empty. My friends betrayed me. I met someone who I was deeply in love with and my past traumas started surfacing again. I suffered from night terrors that robbed me of rest. I wanted to become a mother, but I miscarried. People who I shared my home with turned it into an absolute nightmare. I got on a plan to pay off my debt, scrimped and saved to make my payments only to find out $7,000 into it none of it went to pay off my debt and there were now also a handful of lawsuits against me.

By the third year into it my body was going haywire. My skin was breaking out. My eyebrows were falling out. I was exhausted all the time. I struggled with depression. My brain was a fog. I had dark circles under my eyes. Though I tried to stay positive, I had virtually no hope left that life would ever get any better.

Naturally, seeing my own beauty diminish was upsetting, but the consequences were much further reaching. Beauty, skin, it’s my business. My company doesn’t have a marketing budget so I am my own advertising. How can I sell a product with messed up skin? How can I speak life and truth into someone’s deep places when I don’t even believe there is any life or truth left for my own? Here began my journey of getting not only my beauty back, but also my heart.

When I started Vaalia Lélek I had the knowledge that the conditions of the heart and the mind show up physically. I chose the name because it means, “nurture the soul”. The very heart of my company, the foundation it was built on, was to bring wholeness to the heart, mind, and spirit while giving people beautiful skin. I see now, on the other side of my recent challenging season, that the knowledge that our inner world affects our skin wasn’t enough. I had to come to really know this so that I could share it with the rest of the world, and truly deliver the very heart that my company was founded on.

As I struggled to get my beauty back, I was propelled into a journey of diving to the deep places of my soul, unraveling what was going, and letting healing come. The answers were often unexpected and mystifying, but they worked. Now I can speak into the lives and the hearts of others, stand with them, and fight alongside them as they get not only their beauty back, but also their heart.

The things that can ail us are endless and everyone’s situation is unique. Instead of going into every detail of what I went through and how I fixed it, I will a share some of my recent beauty issues that were a manifestation of a heart imbalance, and what the answer was for me. Hopefully, this will shed some light onto your own struggles and offer some solutions, or at the very least a starting point to getting freedom from the things that weigh you down.

First, you have to eliminate external factors as being the source of your diminishing beauty. Taking care of the skin topically is the easy part. We’ve been led to believe that it is complicated and expensive. This isn’t true. The body has an amazing ability to heal, rebalance, and regenerate itself provided it is given what it needs to function optimally and not given what disrupts its natural processes.

The three most important topical components to having beautiful skin are:
1) Don’t strip the skin of its natural oil. It is what maintains the pH balance, which is what forms the skin’s protective barrier, keeping collagen and elastin intact, and foreign invaders out.
2) Feed the skin with vitamins and minerals (topically and internally).
3) Don’t put unnatural substances on the skin. They disrupt the body’s natural healing and regenerating process.

This you can do today. Stop putting anything with a synthetic chemical in it on your skin and start using only natural substances. If you need a little guidance on this you can explore my skin care products at Vaalia Lélek.

If with the sole use of natural products your skin issues remain, look at your diet. Very few people are able to put anything they want into their body and have it cause virtually no effect on their physical appearance. For most of us, that isn’t the case. For me personally, what I eat definitely affects my skin. I have had to learn, through trial and error, which foods do and don’t work for my body. I could write a whole book on this, but for now I will sum it up with two points:
1) Eat real food that hasn’t been processed. Period.
2) Listen to your body and honor what it tells you is good for it and what is not. Even “good” foods can be wrong for you.

I hadn’t changed my skin care regimen or my diet, yet my beauty was still seriously breaking down. There was something else going on, but what? I had no idea.

One thing that I have learned, for any area of life, is that once you have done every practical thing you can do and things still aren’t getting better, ask for answers and don’t write off what starts to come up, no matter how strange or unconnected it seems.

Somehow I realized that my acne was being caused by candida. Okay, I knew what to do about this. Take herbs to internally kill the yeast, change my diet to starve the yeast, use essential oils vaginally, and add in probiotics. After months of this, though it got somewhat better, it would keep coming back. There was something more to it.

Someone entered my life that recognized my other symptoms as severe adrenal gland burnout. In my research of how to recover from adrenal burnout I realized that it could support candida overgrowth. It was all starting to make sense. Reason would tell me that if while taking supportive measures to combat the candida, I focused on restoring my adrenal health, then my candida overgrowth would follow suit and regain a healthy balance.

I knew that the biggest culprit of my adrenal burnout was stress. While taking herbs and supplements to support my adrenal glands would help, if I wanted to get my wellbeing back, I needed to seriously overhaul my life. I chose to examine all of my relationships. Were they nurturing me or depleting me? If they were depleting, they had to go. It was no longer about loyalties; my health was at stake. I had to make some difficult choices with people that I love and care about. Some needed to no longer be in my life; others just needed to be repositioned in my life. These were hard and painful decisions to make, and certainly made me unpopular with some, but my moments of peace and happiness began to outnumber those of pain and heartache. It was working.

In this, I realized how little I had allowed my feelings and my needs to matter. I could see the evidence of this in the relationships that I chose to be closest to me, and how this was contributing to my stress. I was attracting to my life the characteristics that were familiar to me even though they didn’t work for me. I could trace the roots back to certain people in my childhood and how they related to me. How to heal this and stop it from perpetuating in my life? I had to stand on truth. What is true for me is also true for you. We are worth feeling great. We are worth being loved and related to in a way that speaks to our hearts. Our feelings are valid and worth being acknowledged. Vibrant health, happiness, and beauty is our divine right.

I had to speak this truth over my life regularly. I had to make decisions that aligned with this truth, even if I struggled to believe it or that my life would ever truly reflect it. Again, more really hard decisions had to be made, but with them came freedom I never thought I would taste, joyful and more satisfying relationships, and a deeper knowing and a firmer resolve of my value and my worth.

I do want to be clear that romantic relationships are only a small part of this. Too often it is the regular relationships in our lives that are undercutting our joy and our happiness. I know that letting something go, even if it doesn’t really make you happy, can be very scary and leave you feeling like you are left with nothing. I know it can feel like having something, even if it is unsatisfying, is better than having nothing. It is in the letting go of the things that don’t serve you that you are making room in your life for things that will.

So, there I was feeling a lot less stressed, generally more happy, my relationships were more satisfying, my sleep was rejuvenating again, my periods were back on track, and my acne had cleared up. Things were looking up, right? Yes, but my eyebrows were still falling out. After having tasted such immense inner healing and freedom I wasn’t willing to just sit by and let this one win. No matter how discouraged I was, I had to carry on.

I did some more research. I realize that bald spots in eyebrows can sometimes signal a thyroid imbalance. I head to the doctor and he confirms that indeed my thyroid wasn’t working. Always preferring the natural route if it is safe to do so, I dove into what would boost my thyroid. I spent a ton of money, time, and energy on herbs and supplements, but it didn’t help. I put oils on my eyebrows that stimulate hair growth, but that didn’t help either. Embarrassed about my eyebrows and really depressed about making no headway, I started crying out for answers.

One day I came across something that said that thyroid imbalances could stem from the throat chakra being out of balance. The throat chakra represents self-expression. Immediately, I thought of one of my formative relationships that set the pace for my whole way of being. In this relationship I am not, and have never been, allowed to speak my truth, to express my feelings, and have them validated and heard.

I did an experiment. I stopped taking the thyroid supplements and stopped talking to this person who silences me when I speak my truth. My eyebrows grew back, full and thick, just like they had always been. This is an important relationship to me, one I am used to and that I like. A little time would go by and I would desire to connect with them. I would pick up the phone and call them and the very next morning there would be a bald spot in my eyebrows again.

This, more than anything, really drove home for me just how much the conditions of our heart and mind affect our beauty, and how we have the power to get whole again and to stay whole. Something rose up inside of me and I became fierce in a way that I have never been before. I am not accepting sub par anymore, not for myself and not for you. I know what we are made to be, and I will fight for it in my own life and in yours.

I know how hard it can be at times. I know pain that runs so deep that even though I know it can be different, I can’t imagine it. I know the uphill battle it is to get whole and to remain whole. I also know what it is to be set free from things that long since have had a hold on me.

It’s time to not just survive, but to thrive. It’s time to be happy and healthy. It’s time to be whole again. You deserve this. You can be set free from ALL of the things that hold you captive and hinder the beauty of both your inner and outer worlds.

It’s time to get your beauty back. You deserve to look and feel beautiful ALL the time. I know it can be hard to believe this, so I will remind you of it and speak this truth over your life as often as you need it.

You are Beauty. Brilliantly created, perfectly crafted. I would be proud to be seen with you.

~Emily

© 2016 Emily Francis Tavis

Woman: Valiant, Vulnerable, Scandalous

May 28, 2015

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I once saw it written that a woman living out her true design will be valiant, vulnerable and scandalous. Upon reading this, I felt a certain sense of release as if somehow by just seeing it in words, the life I have always innately been compelled to live had been validated. This was all too quickly followed by a pang deep in my heart as I know the reality of how painfully difficult it is as a woman, even with all of my “freedom”, to live valiantly in a way that most interpret as scandalous while fighting the urge to squelch my vulnerability as it seems to possess the power to hinder living a fully realized life.

Embracing these three corresponding elements while living out our unique design invites a few admirers and many criticizers, as are too prominent the beliefs that bold and tender together do not belong.

I am not a feminist. I am a woman who knows how hard it is to live what comes alive inside of her because of the way the world views us, the expectations that are put on us and the ideas formed about us by those who have never meandered through the inside of us.

Woman. Valiant: Boldly courageous. Vulnerable: Capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt. Scandalous: Displaying shocking behavior (and not necessarily sexual). If these things are part of the design of a woman then they don’t need to be attained, rather simply allowed to exist and cultivated.

I believe that how these attributes manifest in each woman is going to be different because no two people are entirely alike, but the essence remains the same. A woman living out her true design will be boldly courageous. She will be capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt and she will display shocking behavior.

So, live boldly and courageously without succumbing to the urge to squelch your vulnerability and pay them no mind when they call this scandalous.

Emily

©2015 Emily Francis Tavis

Photo ©Emily Francis Tavis

 

Changing the Face of Beauty

May 2, 2015

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You’ve heard me say it before and I’ll say it many times after this. You are Beauty. How much does that actually mean when there are real things affecting your beauty?

Let’s be real. We don’t always look or feel beautiful. Pimples, scars, uneven skin tone, sagging skin, wrinkles, dull, lifeless skin, cellulite, stretch marks… The list goes on. These are often the marks of living life. However, in large part they don’t have to be.

People often comment on how nice my skin is and then immediately say, “Well, you were just born with nice skin.” The truth is that we were all born with nice skin and then adolescence happens. Stress happens. Life shifts happen. Imbalance happens. I founded Vaalia Lélek and its skin care products because I DIDN’T have nice skin. I was suffering from a whole host of skin issues. Deep underground pimples, excessive oiliness mixed in with random dryness, blackheads, scarring from the acne I had in my teenage years…

I used oil blotting sheets and powder countless times a day to sop up the oil. I washed my face twice a day with “oil free” and harsh face washes. I tried countless products on the market to treat my underground pimples. Nothing worked. I started doing some research. Ancient research. What I wanted to know was what people groups with notoriously nice skin used in their beauty regimens. What I found out? Oil. It. Freaked. Me. Out.

How could I possibly use oil on my already oily skin?! They must not know what they are talking about. I kept researching and I kept coming up with the same answer. In this search I learned that the reason that skin gets extremely oily is because the chemicals we are slathering all over our skin are stripping the skin of its natural oils (the sebum). This causes the body to overproduce oil to compensate for the imbalance. Our natural oil is what provides a protective barrier, keeping invaders out. It keeps collagen and elastin intact. Every time we put a synthetic chemical on our skin we are removing our skin’s natural defense and thus disrupting our skin’s natural moisturizing, healing, protecting, and regenerating mechanism. It blew my mind. I wasn’t confidant but I was desperate so I tried it. It a took a few days for my skin to realize that it no longer had to overproduce oil. The extreme oily/dryness, the underground pimples, the dullness, the uneven skin tone…they fixed themselves in a couple of weeks.

I then began experimenting with essential oils, which I realized have skin regenerating properties. Within a few days people were stopping dead in their tracks saying, “What did you do to your skin?” That was the beginning of not just a company, but a great realization that we can actually restore our natural beauty. So, I took one thing at a time that was bothering me, figured out a solution, and found freedom from it.

I’m not going to promise you a magic fix overnight. Sometimes skin issues are more than skin deep. This past year my skin took a turn for the worse. I suffered. I agonized over it. I was depressed about it at times. I didn’t feel beautiful and I definitely wasn’t looking at my best. That’s reality. Something changed, something needed attention. My body was telling me this loud and clear. It took all year to figure out it was glandular burnout, which caused a lot of other disruptions throughout my bodily organs and functions. We are living, breathing, changing organisms and life affects us and sometimes this gets in the way of our true beauty shining through.

If you are experiencing skin ailments the first step is to restore the health of your skin by: 1) not stripping the skin of its natural oils, 2) feed the skin with vitamins and minerals (topically and internally), and 3) don’t put unnatural substances on the skin because while they might provide a quick solution, they ultimately disrupt the body’s natural healing and regenerating process. Contrary to what you are being told, nature absolutely provides all of the things necessary to feed and nurture the skin.

Once you are topically treating the skin in a healthy way, if there are still skin issues present then you can look a layer deeper—your diet. Pay attention to what in your diet may be aggravating your skin. Then look at stress. Lastly, if you are still having issues take a deep look at health imbalances. It’s a journey, but one that anyone can travel. Take it layer upon layer, from the outside in and figure out the root, treat it, and low and behold, your outer appearance will come back into alignment and you will radiate more and more your natural beauty.

I know what it feels like to not feel or look beautiful. Fortunately, my own journey has armed me with a lot of information and solutions to restore our beauty. I will partner with you in figuring it out and together we’ll change your face, Beauty.

© Emily Tavis 2015. All rights reserved.
Photo © Emily Tavis

 

What Is Beauty?

April 27, 2015

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I could talk about beauty, what it is in reality versus what the media and society say it is. I or anyone else could tell you a thousand times you are beautiful and you may come to believe this, know this, and understand it, but the truth is that unless you know your value, you will never truly inhabit and embrace your beauty, your real beauty.

We are human beings who generally call beautiful that which we find pleasing to the eye. There is nothing wrong with this. There is nothing wrong with preferring one aesthetic over another. There is nothing wrong with identifying what we are uncomfortable with and wanting to improve upon it. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be desired. The problem arises when we believe that apart from these things we have a lesser or no value at all.

I was raped as a small child. I can remember being 8 or 9 years old and saying to myself, “I could be a prostitute and thoroughly enjoy it. I could do that easily.” I thought about it for a moment and replied to myself, “No. That’s not who I want to be. There is more for me than simply enjoying sex and using it to be powerful.”

There is a common misunderstanding that all people who have been taken advantage of sexually, at whatever age, are afraid of sex, have low self-esteem, become men/women haters, avoid intimate relationships, turn promiscuous, or are forever scarred by the abuse. Don’t get me wrong, such gross mistreatment does have its effects, but each person processes it in their own way.

For me, being thrust into an adult world at way too young of an age made me very aware of the pleasure my body was able to give me. I did not fear it. I actually fully embraced it, which is why I even contemplated how I could enjoy being a prostitute. However, my saving grace was that I somehow knew the “more for me” that there was involved being treasured, respected, and valued apart from and in spite of any physical characteristic or lack thereof.

Any form of abuse lacks being treasured, respected, and valued, and I knew I needed to know, and I mean deep to my core know, my value. My young self decided that very same day that before I willingly entered into sexual relationships that I had to find my value in who I was or else many things would have the power to be my ruin. Being robbed of my inherent right to being valued was simply not an option. I was made for more than that.

So while my peers ventured into and out of relationships and experimented sexually I went in search of my true self. This led me into a deep spiritual relationship with my Creator and in that I came to truly understand that I am enough–apart from anyone or anything.

I was shown how I was fashioned with not one mistake, and that that is what makes me valuable. There is great intention to every part of me. This makes me want to live to the fullest every part of myself. It makes me want to work hard at working out or overcoming the kinks that threaten to get in the way of this. It makes me want to take care of myself-mentally, physically, and emotionally. This is hard work. It requires constant self-evaluation, hard life choices to keep my space clear of things or people who eat away at my value, and a dedication to taking care of myself physically, whatever that means for me.

So what is my point in sharing that very personal detail of my life and how does it relate to my opening question of what beauty is?

Natural beauty, powerful beauty, doesn’t originate in having a certain form or feature. It comes from knowing who you are, who you were made to be, and that there is absolutely no mistake in the way you were crafted. You are enough. You are highly valued. You are beautiful.

© Emily Tavis 2015. All rights reserved.
Photo © Emily Tavis