Psychological Landmines

Ever noticed how certain situations bring out the worst in you?

It may be a place, a set of circumstances or simply something someone says or does. Without any warning you find yourself irrationally attacking or shutting down.

You feel completely out of control and out of character.

The people around you are confused and shocked and most of all, you have no idea what is happening. Afterwards you may look at your behaviour and describe it as a meltdown, or having “lost it”.

Chances are, you are in the grip of a Psychological Complex, being blown up by the landmines of the psychological realm.

This video explores these moments and offers a map of management.

Behavioural Change?-You need a Protractor, Aircraft and Earthworms.

Recidivism means literally “a falling back” and usually implies “into bad habits.” It comes from the Latin word recidivus, which means “recurring.”

Recidivism is the reason only about 5% of diet programs are successful, and also why New Year’s resolutions fail to make it into February.

In this video Peter contemplates how Protractors, Aircraft and Earthworms speak to the challenge of behavioural change.

The Five Gates of Grief – Gate 5

This week as we consider Ancestral Grief, we conclude our study of the Five gates of Grief outlined by Francis Weller .
Looking at our family trees or our clan origins, we realise that along with their DNA we may have inherited our ancestors’ grief. One of the realities of diverse South Africa is unless your heritage is Khoisan, most of us descend from ancestors who arrived from somewhere else. They were either displaced by the expansion of other tribes who squeezed people further and further south, or by colonial forces that promised struggling Dutch, British and German peasants a better life in a foreign land. Some of us may have servitude and slavery in our heritage, our families brought here simply as units of labour.
And despite the hopes and dreams they brought, they must have carried a deep grief at their loss of land and roots which they had to leave behind.
We are the descendants of aliens and immigrants, those people who arrived here on unfamiliar soil, and whose grief and sadness has found its way into our beings.
These ancient unknown characters also had a part in shaping the world we inherited.
Most people believe there is some form of afterlife where those who have gone before find themselves “in a better place”. This Valhalla, Xanadu or Heaven is imagined as a place where the ancestors share perfect knowledge and insight they never had while alive.
In my Gates of Grief workshops, I encourage participants to imagine their ancestors in this place of full insight, writing a letter of apology to us living now.
We owe it to ourselves and them to recognise the many untruths which we drank in with our mother’s milk and made our own.
Our task in this generation is to examine those beliefs and decide which of them are no longer true nor valid. Then for the sake of our own health we must let them go.
Consider for example the prejudices, suspicion and bigotry they passed on to us. Their violence, sexism, racism, exploitation of women and children and of the earth in general. Their promotion of tobacco smoking, slavery, child labour, and corporal punishment. These misconceptions, errors or deliberate strategies have scarred us and are part of the deep sorrow we carry in our collective unconscious.
Along with the ancient grief in our bones, there may also be our experiences of the grief and loss of our immediate parents and grandparents which we are required to mourn. The Swiss Psychiatrist, Carl Jung wrote, “The greatest burden a child can bear is the unlived life of its parents.” Perhaps our own lives were stunted because our parents projected onto us their unfulfilled agendas and could not allow us to become who we were born to be.
These deep ancestral memories invite us to create rituals of mourning from a past that is asking to be redeemed. To mourn these ancient griefs is sacred work.

You can schedule one on one Skype or Zoom sessions with Peter by emailing peterwoods.pe@gmail.com

The Five Gates of Grief – Gate 4

When we arrive into our lives we bring in our bodies the DNA and unconscious memories of tribal people. Humans are tribal and therefore social – constantly longing for connection. Yet despite our media and connectivity we are more isolated from each other than ever.

This video explores grieving the primal and yet unmet needs we carry.

You can schedule one on one Skype or Zoom sessions with Peter by emailing peterwoods.pe@gmail.com

The Five Gates of Grief – Gate 3

Episode 3 in the Five Gates of grief series.

St Paul wrote,”We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now..” Romans 8:22
What he didn’t know was how much additional pain we humans would cause to this planet since he penned that line!

In this video we explore our grieving, “The Sorrow of the World” and how this grief can become a resurrection for us and the planet.

The Five Gates of Grief – Gate 2

Following the outline of Francis Weller’s “Five Gates of Grief” this video invites us to locate and mourn the parts of our lives that never knew love.

This is sacred and soulful work. As we examine the deficits and voids in our selves, as we see where our lives were Bonzai-ed by circumstances or the unskilful acts of others.

Now we can begin to allow the light to enter us through those very cracks and fissures.

The video also introduces the Japanese art of Kintsugi as a metaphor for the integration of our loss.

The Five Gates of Grief – Gate 1

Using the headings of Francis Weller as an outline, Peter explores the first of what Weller describes as the “Gates of Grief“.

Gate 1:Everything you love you will lose.
Gate 2:The places that have not known love
Gate 3:The Sorrows of the World
Gate 4:What we expected but didn’t receive
Gate 5:Integrating our Ancestral Grief

Knowing the impermanence of everything is not as depressing as it sounds.

If skillfully integrated into our understanding, knowing that
“Everything we love, we will lose“, is a liberation to love and live in the moment that is with us now.

You can schedule one on one Skype or Zoom sessions with Peter by emailing peterwoods.pe@gmail.com

Winning isn’t everything… or is it?

Being a South African on the weekend that the Springboks win the Rugby World Cup makes the other challenges of living on the southern tip of Africa a lot more bearable!

You don’t have to be South African or even to follow Rugby to know that winning is a great human experience.
We love to win, to be the best, to come first.
It seems that winners win and enjoy the euphoric experience.
Isn’t that what evolution calls the survival of the fittest?

Or is there another perspective?

In this video I explore how competitiveness may not be helpful in certain scenarios and offer a simple conflict transformation tool to alter your adversarial relationships.

Lost Soul?

I sometimes fear we have lost our souls. I look around and see the departure of soul from so many sectors of life.


The same soul flight seems to have affected our religious traditions.
Is it possible to still encounter soul in the superficiality of modern life?


If soul is that which animates us, it seems to currently live in interesting places. Many pilgrims witness that they are enlivened by travel and wilderness experiences. There is a new spirituality that doesn’t need to conform to dogma. In caring for plants, animals and people who are suffering. In stewarding ecology and once again finding divinity in nature, soil and sea.

On closer investigation it seems we haven’t lost our souls, they are very much with us, but need a different diet to cope with the challenges of our hyper-driven world.

Food for the soul is still abundant and this video explores how to find and nurture soul.

The Masked Persona or Facebook Self

In this episode I explore the role of the inner “persona” or mask in our relationship to the world.
The word persona comes from Latin and is the term Romans used for the Greek theatrical mask (prosopon) which allowed actors to play more than one role. Because there were no big screens or optics to improve the audience’s view, the masks were larger than the actors’ heads and set in expressions that portrayed the nature of each character.
We all have a public Facebook self-mask that we have curated for the world.
Sometimes our professions seduce us into stereotypical ways of being in those roles.
The mental-healthy trick is not to become over identified with the masks of our professional or social roles, but to be as authentic when facing the public as when facing ourselves.

You can schedule one on one Skype or Zoom sessions with Peter by emailing peterwoods.pe@gmail.com