30 July 2009

intrinsic value

this is a small statue that i remember seeing always at my norwegian grandmother's home... she died last year and so i share it with my mom... but it has recently got me to thinking...
afterall, it is obviously a miniature of 'the little mermaid' who resides in copenhagen bay, denmark... 'the little mermaid' is a tale written by hans christian andersen in 1836... it is nothing like the disney film... the mermaid makes great sacrifices to herself in order to get a prince to love her...
so, did my nana have this merely as a souvenir? i think not... she was in a marriage where her heritage was smothered, where she was not fully herself... i remember her as a very self-sufficient woman... a reader of anything she could get her hands on; though she had a soft-spot for henrik ibsen, a norwegian writer considered to be very progressive in his thinking... i think the little statue was a reminder, of the sacrifices that are made that can end up destructive to oneself... she eventually left my grandfather...
so where is the line drawn between sacrifice and self-sacrifice?
'the sacrifice which causes sorrow to the doer of the sacrifice
is no sacrifice.
real sacrifice lightens the mind of the doer
and gives him a sense of peace and joy.
the buddha gave up the pleasures of life
because they had become painful to him.'
- mahatma gandhi
i don't think that anyone wants to be in this boat, no one goes looking for it... but it happens... how do women (and definitely some men) end up in such horrible positions? why is their self-esteem so low? beautiful stories like 'the secret life of bees', 'hannah's daughters', 'the good earth' and even shel silverstein's 'the giving tree' explore this topic... i used to love 'the giving tree' until i got older - and i realized the boy/man only took... and that even though the tree wanted to give him anything he needed, he let her become nothing but a stump... that story pains me now... because there are so many people doing that same thing... and they are hard to help... self-sacrifice leaves you less than you were, sacrifice can make you more than you are...

when i saw the green girl studios mermaid, i made a connection to the keepsake, to the statue, to the story... you have an intrinsic value that should be untouchable... it is yours to share but yours alone... this beautifully created mermaid knows that... she is part of a bracelet made with vintage brass chain, findings and sea star... there is glass by mika at pinocean and stones reminiscent of the one she sits upon in copenhagen... and there is a vintaj 'believe' tag that hangs as well, it is just not pictured...

to be worn to remind you of all that you are - and how beautiful that is...


  1. You are right , a true sacrifice will not feel like one...it will bring joy. This reminds me to be more concious of this effort.....

    lovely bracelet...beautiful meaning!

  2. Beautiful bracelet and beautiful sentiment behind it. Your thoughts on sacrifice vs self-sacrifice are thought provoking and right on the mark in my mind :)

  3. great post, so true...the bracelet is lovely

  4. Love how you give special meaning to that bracelet and love your thoughts on this subject!

  5. OMG!! the hairs on my arms are standing on ends!! that was a great post, filled with deep truths and powerful insights. and the bracelet ... it is so gorgeous!!! what stuck me when i scrolled into the photo of the bracelet (already deeply engaged with what you wrote) was that chains! i saw it as the mermaid being "held unwillingly" in a situation, as your grandma had been ... but amidst that, beauty surrounds her and gives her the strength to be what she chooses to be ... oh man... i'm still having that tingling feeling!

  6. sharon, we have to be conscious of so much - i think the gut lets us know, but we have been trained to rationalize past it instead of listening...
    mellisa, thanks so much... it's a topic that is very relevant to me...
    sandra & renate, thank you...
    luthien, it means so much to me that you found all of that... i was fearing that my post was getting a bit lengthy and so left some things out... the chains, the beautifully created glass that reflects the sea and transparency to the soul... thank you for sharing that with me...

  7. You are such a deeply thoughtful person. That is evident in the care that you take to create your beautiful works of art, but also in the feelings you associate with them. That story illustrates that there is honor in sacrifice but that we need to make sure that we don't lose our-self in the process. I have a friend that has been ravaged by health issues and a less that ideal marriage marred by infidelity. She has self-sacrificed so much. And she is a shell of her former self from all of it. Thank you for your inspiring words today.
    Enjoy the day!

  8. erin, that is who i am speaking to and i am near tears in empathy... life can seem cruel, but hopefully with friends like you she can find the strength to find herself again... that is what creating jewelry/blogging/etsy have done for me...

  9. I really connected with this thought "you have an intrinsic value that should be untouchable." Many wishes for being in the presence of that belief and sharing it with the world.

    Of course, this connection with mermaids is just too darn cool! Did you take the Disney Princess test yet? I'm 50% Ariel, who is my all time fav. Maybe you're Ariel too, no?

  10. thank you beth - i have not taken the test, now i am curious! i always loved mulan and pocahontas ... but i need to see! (i HAVE lived by the ocean my whole life afterall)... ivillage can tell you all kinds of cool info about you - like your chinese element sign (i am wood)... and i am so glad that you connected...

  11. So full of thought, great post. I love the bracelet; it has so much meaning behind it.

  12. Very insightful post; having married young, I know full well how easy it is to self-sacrifice and how grievous the self-reparation and renewal process. The line is quite fine...wow you've given me so much on which to reflect.

    The bracelet is rich in design and history-I hope a special person makes it theirs.

  13. I too really connected with this post...great ideas to reflect upon...thank you!

  14. Beautiful post! I know exactly what you are talking about. And I love that mermaid, and bracelet! I collect mermaids and have a few from GG Studios as well. I love reading your posts! Thanks so much for sharing this! :)


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