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Margot van Sluytman - April 2010
Margot van Sluytman - April 2010

Margot Van Sluytman is an Award Winning Writing and Healing Facilitator whose courses, workshops, and talks have been presented in Canada and the United States. She believes in, practices, and teaches writing, the use of words/palabras, poetry, as both art and healing voice.  She knows that every human being has at least one important and worthy story to tell that has shaped her or his life. Her writing has been published internationally in magazines, anthologies, and literary eZines. Margot teaches how to let energy flow from within, to liberating and inspired written word.  Her most recent books include: Contemplative Waiting~Write Into the Heart of Your Spiritual Journey; Sawbonna: I See You. Dialogue of Hope, with an endorsement from Sister Helen Prejean author of Dead Man Walking; Dance With Your Healing~tears let me begin to speak; Layers of Possibility~Healing Poetry from The National Association for Poetry Therapy, this book features the poetry of the poet-healers, and a Foreword by Robert Carroll, MD, of the Department of Psychiatry of UCLA.

The following work is copyright © 2010. All rights reserved. No distribution or reprinting in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Always a Mirror Speaks or Stalking Wolf

My last name is Dutch. My Mom's was Portuguese. I am fifth generation Guyanese. A white woman. Now Canadian. A single mother. Perpetrator and survivor of brutal crimes. A seeker in the dark nights of sheer void and emptiness. A voice of glee, gratefulness, contempt, and fear, ever-seeking community, courage, clarity, continuity in a paradigm that permits me roots and wings. Freedom along with my liberating constraints. Vomiting away binary manacles of enslavement.

Shame and pride. That I am. The Dutch, my Dutch, owned slaves. Raped and loved slaves. White Van Sluytmans. Black Van Sluytmans. Chinese and East Indian too. Tomorrow breezes in. Icy- cold Calgary. And the mountains always speak. Nose Hill pregnant with awaiting crocuses. And the deer play. As woman I shape internal wars with feminist theologians, matriarchs. With patriarchs. With a world within a world where all I want to know is kindness and love, knowing that I am an emblazoned bitch, ever seeking the kindred, yearning to be. Sometimes Merton. Sometimes phantom of my dead Auntie Vilma (two novels birthed for this. That is another story. For another time) Flying free always. Ever feeding at the vibrant trough of guilt and shame. Desire. Delight. The addiction to dancing with words. I acquiesce. When am I enough? Now? I am sure that is the right answer. Right answers frighten me. So permanent. 

I have forgiven a murderer. He and I have forgiven and honoured our families and ourselves. All that we do not know. All that we know of what it means to be a human being.  Broken. Bleeding. Brave. Each of us must talk more, much, much more about that “f” word: forgiveness.  Write more. It will come. Universe invites metaphor. Simplicity gladdens time. We are humans. No more no less.  Peeling layers of so much unknowing. "Your struggle is your aliveness," she said. I know. 

When Stalking Wolf told us to invite our ancestors to that ritual of hope, the name I gave to what Glen and I were participating in wherein we chose to acknowledge our relationship, our humanity, our savage aches: he the murderer of Theodore, my Dad, me the victim of all and nothing, I all but melted in the salty tears and dripping snot that would not abandon me. Glen's sobs, too, spilled into the air, beneath the ancient maple, where one giant boulder, and sweet sage, embraced us. Held us close. Ancient ritual of witness. 

"How," I thought, "can a Van Sluytman face the ancestors in this ritual of hope and healing? We the Dutch, the Portuguese, the strong ones, the ones who went into the fields with the slaves, the ones whose Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers would not tolerate the abuses those men waged on the women. So they made sure the Masters took care of the men. Put them in their places to save the women, who were still slaves. And my Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers, slaves too. To their parts. We know the parts." 

But I told the ancestors that it was their names I was honouring. Because if the bones did not learn to tell a new and ripe and revealing story of hope, then my Children and Grandchildren and Great-grandchildren would never partake of possibility. And I wanted, as I do now, possibility. I invited them to trust me. This woman. Woman. Woman. Woman. To trust us. They did. 

Transformation, that ever-unfolding dance of gravity's fodder, of life's will to survive, divine's Gaia's whispers, diminishes yesterday's, today's, tomorrow's frailties. Nightly I dream of Theodore, my Father, now a Great-grandfather. My last name is Dutch. My Mom's was Portuguese. I am fifth generation Guyanese. A white woman. Woman. Woman. Woman. Canadian. A single mother. Perpetrator and survivor of brutal crimes. Vomiting away binary manacles of enslavement. A word dancer. A raven.