Another View on 11/11/11

Today has an unusual date, one that many feel is numerologically important and profound. There are folks all around the world who are heralding it as the beginning of the end of the Mayan calendar, and perhaps the end of our time on this planet. Others see it as a time for new beginnings, the only time in history when we can write the date with only this most primary of numbers.  And for some, it’s just a chance to be silly by renaming it Nigel Tufnel day after the character in the movie This Is Spinal Tap, because ‘the very dimwitted Tufnel shows off his amps and their dials that are numbered up to 11, a notch higher than typical 1-to-10 amps. They’re superior because, after all, “11 is one louder than 10,” Tufnel said.’

All that is enough reason to take note and call the day auspicious. But when I tried to go to the bank to make a deposit I found it closed because today is also Veteran’s Day, and that got me to thinking. I am one of those total peace, love and tie-dye folk who really wants to believe that no one should ever have to go to war, and that the world would be a better place without guns (or at least with much more limited access to them, like for people who need to hunt to provide food for or defend their families against bears and other large creatures).

At the same time, I am totally awed and amazed that people willingly risk life,  limb and sanity to go off and fight for other people’s freedom. I am delighted that the front runner in this season of Dancing With The Stars is J. R. Martinez, a wounded veteran whose true beauty lights up the room despite the burn scars that cover half his face and totally destroyed one of his ears (and who has become an absolutely gorgeous dancer).

In doing a little research on the Web, I found the following on The Huffington Post:

“Believe it or not, November 11th was not made a holiday in order to celebrate war, support troops, or cheer the 11th year of occupying Afghanistan. This day was made a holiday in order to celebrate an armistice that ended what was up until that point, in 1918, one of the worst things our species had thus far done to itself, namely World War I.”

Writer Kurt Vonnegut, a WWII POW later wrote:

“…November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy all the people of all nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind. Armistice Day has become Veteran’s Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veteran’s Day is not… Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.”

Whatever 11/11/11 actually does or does not mean in the grand history of our planet, those are words worth remembering and fighting for — even for a peacenik like me.

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Fun with words

 

I just played around on a site called “Wordle” to create this word cloud on mindfulness. A fun visual map of the endless journey of meditative practice…

Wordle: mindfulness word cloud