AWOL. Most people recognise the term AWOL as being a military term for some one who is absent without leave. In other words, they are not where they are supposed be. Going AWOL is a serious military offence that is punishable as a crime. If you go AWOL from the military, they will not come after you. What they do is essentially strip you of your citizenship. They put a mark on ‘your file,’ which makes it illegal for any employer to hire you. You become a wanted person, and if found, are meant to be turned over to the ‘authorities.’

AWOL as it relates to the ‘establishment,’ means that someone is not playing by the rules, they are not conforming to what is considered to be a normalised way of acting within the collective society. For example, when the Rock and Roll made its entrance on to the scene, the early rockers, the youth, were considered to have gone AWOL from the establishment and needed to be reined back into the fold. For those who didn’t re-conform, they were labelled as dangerous and degenerate and to be avoided.

AWOL has taken on a new definition and has become the rallying cry for people who want to do their own thing, who want to be non-conformist. AWOL is now A Way of Life. It means to purposely choose who you want to be and have that be consistent with what you do. Your way of being becomes your way of life. Even if that way of life is outside the parameters of what is socially acceptable as normal.

I have had a nice gentle morning. I broke from the usual routine and sat had a coffee, and surfed the Net. I was particularly looking at photographic sites. I am feeling inspired to get out and take pictures and tell stories. I haven’t felt this relaxed at the start of a day for a long time.

There is a feeling I have been trying to recapture. I felt it once when I was a second lieutenant and then again in 2003 just after returning from Sabah. The feeling is a sense of being at one with myself and the world – not peace exactly, but a strong sense of self and my place in the world. It is a feeling of tranquillity in the midst of a raging storm.

Albert Ellis, renowned psychotherapist, had this to say about people: “All human beings are out of their fucking minds. Screwballs. Every single one of them.” Which, I guess, accounts for the billion dollar growth in the therapy industry over the last four decades. In Britain there 250,000 therapist of some sort or another, in industry that is worth £15 billion. One in five people have gone or are in therapy.

I’ve always been mad. I’ve been mad for fucking years, absolutely mad. – Pink Floyd

I thought I would start off my first post with my personal philosophy for the New Year.

My Creed

My preferred way to live is to never stop exploring. William Blake wrote that in the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors. It is these doors that I seek to find. I believe that knowledge is a worthy enough goal to pursue for its own sake. I believe that peace is found through letting go, leaving the mind free to wander and to wonder and to accept life as a gift.

Peace to me does not mean tranquility. It means freedom, a freedom to live in accord with one’s own understanding. To be set free from those who would attempt to control my mind with rules and regulations that are designed to keep me in slavery, to make me conform, to destroy my soul and become one of the walking dead. I refuse to accept this. My fate is my own.

I believe that God is the life force that surrounds us, that flows through us and through everything on this planet. This life force goes beyond space and time and connects us one to another forever.

I am the champion of freedom and wisdom and the pursuit of a life that is free from inner conflict.

It is my intent to take care of my mind, body, and soul, and enjoy today for today without forgetting the important things in life like love, and the pursuit of happiness.

**

We brought in the New Year with a quiet whisper. Nothing special, just a few minutes of watching the countdown on the telly and a bottle of Asti.

So here’s to 2006 and all the adventures waiting to be had.