When I say Moleskin, what comes to mind? “Culture, imagination, memory, travel, personal identity?” So reads the brand imaging of the maker of nomadic objects: notebooks, diaries, tools for writing and reading, designed for modern people who are really going somewhere, as in inward. Considering several lifetimes of mine are inscribed in the plain brown paper bag covered three pack journals of their Cahiers Collection, I was especially inspired to share some thoughts on this maker of objects that help reflect the creativity and imagination of the world, when, on a recent visit to Cambridge, Massachusetts, I discovered an actual Moleskin store. They sold those old notebooks I adore - the ones bound together by a green paper band with a ruler and sun dial printed inside (genius) - but also offered some punked out, super esoteric side pieces, like the Jean-Michel Basquiat ruled notebook pictured above, with the primitive codes, texts, and collage imagery, dense with writing and symbols, that mark the artist’s work.
Jean-Michel Basquait was one of the best known artists of his generation and one of the most wildly creative of the 20th century. His career spanned the late 1970’s through the 1980’s, until his death in 1988, at the age of 27. Edgy and raw with a bold sense of color and composition, he maintains the fine balance between seemingly contradictory forces such as control and spontaneity, menace and wit, urban imagery and primitivism. He often incorporated words into his paintings, as his career sprang from his political-poetical graffiti under the his street name SAMO, his pieces covered in symbols and codes of various kinds. The fact that the Basquait brand embodies the values and aspirations of young, international, urban culture is cool, however, is actually NOT why I think The Higher Haven shares a similar world-class vibe. Why I like Basquait and cited him here is for his statement (printed on the inside cover of the little black notebook above) that embodies the spirit of the Heyoka or contrarian wisdom: “It’s not who you are that holds you back. It’s who you think you’re not.”
If you’re confused, Good. That makes three of us. The Buffalo Nation being the heart of Traditional Ceremonial living, Heyokas are its weirdly calm, wildly comedic, otherworldly mind. Alas, we digress, but for those with an interest, you’ll learn more about it, or maybe you won’t, when you join our monthly Ceremonial weekend overnight, coming up weekends through the Fall - October 19-20, November 9-10, and December 14-15.
Back to Basquait, the neo-expressionist painter died tragically of a heroin overdose on Great Jones Street in New York City, August 12th, 1988. Although maybe not directly related, his dark demise reminded me of the reservation tenet that the Heyoka might heal you, but he might kill you, too. All that considered, both personal creative self expression and a compassionate, non-judgmental approach to relating to oneself and others are held here in the highest regard. And Our special version of Contrary Magic actually helps people turn things around when it comes to addictions and paralyzing, negative emotional attachments. That’s why I loved (and endured) learning about Heyoka Healing — because of its unparalleled Power in allowing a formerly disempowered people to take possession of their own lives in A New Way.
Of course, how each of us chooses to do so is our own decision, a truth of the wonderful world of free will we live in. That said, I appreciate recent visitor and returning student Mindy as she explains her own way:
"This past weekend retreat at Higher Haven was one of true peace and healing. Pulling up the drive, I felt a great sense of relief upon returning to such an exceptional place. Paul has a warm presence and made me immediately feel welcomed. The opportunity to explore the landscape and nearby running water made for a perfect afternoon. I relished my time in the garden, taking in the wide array of pollinators that were attracted to the blossoms. An overall feeling of serenity set in as the evening Ceremony took place. Our little community supported one another through the healing process and enjoyed the most wonderful meal after. I am incredibly grateful for the entire experience. Higher Haven holds a special place in my heart and I cannot wait for my next visit." Consider your next visit, especially for our upcoming Comprehensive Spiritual Development Retreat the weekend of October 12-14th, and discover what the heart of nature holds for you.