Read the post A tribute to an extraordinary lady to get the context for this post.
The below speech was distributed to the guests at Sandra’s memorial “after party”.
The message of self love and being one’s authentic self as a woman seems all the more poignant here…
Thank you Sandra for your loving wisdom and inspiration!
Text of Sandra’s proposed talk to the YWCA, December 2012:
“I am Sandra d’Auriol, 52 years old, married to a successful business man, have 3 children, one of whom passed away a few years ago in a swimming pool accident, and run a jewelry business of which the proceeds go to charity. I have lived in Hong Kong for almost 30 years.
None of that would really tell you who I am. Just build on a picture of what you think you see. When I think of talking to a group of women, especially women, it is to say how much I love my life and primarily because it gives me the chance of sharing. I find so much love, depth and generosity in women. I believe that we are all deeply good, that we all struggle with our insecurities and those are the things that hold us back.
For me I feel that women come from the heart. We have been brought up to share, to take care of others, to allow our feminine sides to blossom and yet most of us suffer so much in arriving at a place where we truly accept ourselves or can even say we love ourselves – yet we expect others to love and respect us, and that simple mismatch brings a lot of pain and suffering to our lives.
Life today is a rush, a rush from the moment we get out of bed, lists, promises, the things we feel we should do, all this mostly for other people. Where are we on that list? One simple thought. If we are struggling to keep up with ourselves how can we really give to others? You can plant a beautiful garden with wonderful seeds but if the earth is not good, things may still grow but never to their full potential and a lot will die along the way which brings yet more disappointments leading to more insecurity
First and foremost you must treasure your own souls. If you take even a quarter of the time each day that we spend thinking about outward appearances on our inward being, everything else will fall into place more peacefully – you need to put yourself first on your to do list !!
Secondly, don’t take things personally. Ahh this is a difficult one. We are all so sensitive to other’s judgment. If you think about the things that have upset you in the past, it is normally our own defensive insecurity that we are reacting to or someone else’s. If you find yourself feeling angry or upset about something, try to look at it with some distance and understanding. Each of us is imperfect and why not, we are all here to experience and grow through that experience. Learning patience, compassion and ultimately love in the real sense of the word.
Eight years ago, our own Teo, who was 12 at the time, passed in a swimming pool accident during a half term holiday. I know when I say this a lot of you will feel a contraction of pain. It is a Mother’s, our, worst fear to lose a child and the truth is it does kill some parents and siblings. A slow death, where life slowly drains of any sense. In my case it has given me a far greater sense of life, of the beauty and depth of life. When I look at my life it is one of abundance, not because I am materially comfortable but because it is so rich in the connections and sharing that I have with others. My life feels beautiful, I used to be afraid of saying that, thinking perhaps that I was courting the gods and my luck would change. I know now that if I had nothing and nobody I would still find life beautiful because my happiness does not come to me through stuff and working on myself, it is the happiness that I have when I share a connection with a human heart, when I feel that a butterfly has come to say hello, when I see people opening to their inner potential.
You may think ‘all well she can say that because she seems to have everything,’ but I can tell you that when you are praying for a child not to die you will give it all, you see then that there is nothing more important than that soul to you. The pain strips you down to your core and I believe it was in that moment that I opened my whole being to calling for help and I did receive it. I was showered in white light, I saw that my son had left this plane with no pain or fear, that we had agreed on another level to experience this together.
I saw most importantly my choice, either to take a path down into a pit of such pain and sadness that I would drown my whole family in it, or a path towards light. Luckily I was not in my brain at that moment or I might have questioned the light but I didn’t. I had what you call a leap of faith, because on some level I had seen the constant human temptation to become a victim and somewhere in me I remembered I had taken that path.
I knew what that choice meant – it does not mean I did not experience pain, as I would say to you that every second was heart wrenching pain, of my brain and my body saying ‘I can’t do this, I can’t take it’, but the tiny view of those images had given me another way to see things and every time I felt myself falling into that pit, I just said ‘no’ and visualised the light. I felt like I was drowning a lot of the time, and visualising the light always brought me to a place of air where I could breathe again.
It took months but I found that when I wrote, the words came pouring out. In letters to friends I would say there is no death, it was his time. In my heart I am at peace, even if I suffer the pain of the physical loss, the dreams of whom he might have been. I had a knowing in me that everything was as it should be, I was given the way to acceptance, of seeing that this life we live here is just a blink in eternity, and that love, unconditional love for another is unbreakable through all space and time, like a golden thread that connects us.
Imagine if you could say, accept that whatever happens to me is what I have agreed to experience to grow in this life as a teaching towards reaching the goal of becoming a part of God’s or source love.’ Then there is no punishment, no guilt. The suffering has reason; it brings us to a place of greater wisdom to love more truly. We would lose so much of the fear that holds us back from being who we are. That is really what I want to share with you today; the minute you give away the responsibility for yourselves to your husbands, to friends, you give away your power to be yourself.
No two souls are the same, just like snow crystals, ever changing ever evolving, nothing can be captured in time. We try so hard to hold on to things forgetting to actually enjoy the moment ourselves. This life passes so quickly, and we spend so much of it creating pictures of what we think life should look like. The only thing that really stays after we are gone is the kindness. We are often very good about doing kindnesses for others but today I want to you to ask yourself are you kind to yourself, are you loving to yourself? That is what you might want to put on your New Year’s resolutions this year — yourself and from yourself you will be able to give much more naturally and freely to others. Don’t be afraid to be yourselves, and if you don’t know where to start take some time to learn meditation, to go within. All the great teachers agree on one thing; ‘Everything is found within.’ And try and do at least one unexpected kindness for a stranger each day, it will bring you the most joy!”