Blog > Peter Pula

Peter Pula in contemplation at a recent gathering he hosted. Photo Credit: Axiom News


Curator's Note: Peter shared these reflections as a warm-up talk during the Hosting Arts training he is facilitating this week.

I've been thinking about what is it I believe is the essence of hosting. Intention and Ownership — that makes all the difference.

And by intention I mean deep intention, why you, you in particular were put on this Earth, find yourself in this place, with these people, at this moment.

And by ownership I mean not a sense of buy-in to a consensus plan or a mission, but an act of working with a small group of people, right now, with the people in your midst and with the materials at hand.

I actually believe abundance and Angels, the Kingdom of Heaven, is right here. The future we want is already in the room.

And despite the fact that it is right here, shimmering all around us, we have amnesia. We don't remember. Our minds are so full of distractions and noise we can't think our way home. We can't think our way home.

The journey begins with knowing our intention, then by being seen, then with this we start to remember. And then we can see the Other, and layer by layer we peel back the scales and the curtains until we see the stars among us and the abundance that gave birth to us. Imagine you stand not looking up at the stars but that you stand up there, among them. Now stand here and with that vision look around. Do you see the stars now sparkling in the eyes of the souls in your immediate constellation?

With that we can give the formless form and shape what only those of us who are together now, in this constellation, in this moment, are called together to create.

And that's what we are as hosts. We are to re-enchant the world. We call clusters of stars together and create the conditions for them to position themselves in new constellations. Then we get to watch them light up and illuminate our universe.

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Peter Pula's picture

Peter is the Founder of Axiom News. He has also founded and led a community newspaper and a corporate communications agency. He has served as a member and chairperson on the boards and committees of children's services, schools, municipal grants, arts, and local exchange organizations.

Peter led the discovery, founding, and practice of Generative Journalism as a healing and community art.

He has been invited to host workshops in Canada, Europe, and the United States on the practice of Generative Journalism, an open communications approach for emergent and constructive change in organizations, networks, and communities.

To bring dialogic and narrative arts together Peter and Axiom News initiated the Peterborough Dialogues in 2015. Over 150 deep dialogues, circles of trust, working circles, and summits have been held in Peterborough, Ontario to cultivate citizen-led community co-creation with beautiful results. The Peterborough Dialogues continues to be a rich practice field delivering up daily insights into the power of community convening.

Peter continues to integrate convening, journalism, and narrative arts practices to hold space for community to heal and for citizens to take the lead in creating the community of their dreams.

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“The future of journalism is to play a fundamental and important role in an ecology of community development works and capacities and professions,” says Peter Pula, founder of Axiom News and pioneer of Generative Journalism.

Peter is now co-leading a local initiative to bring citizen-led dialogue and community development in direct partnership with the media.

Awakening to healing and becoming whole In community

In 2015, the year Axiom News gave birth to the Peterborough Dialogues, over 100 gatherings were hosted. I was asked by an astounded colleague in Europe, why would anyone do that? Well, to know and to serve. That’s why.

We have become so remarkably accustomed to a form of leadership that comes from the top. Why? Well, because it is easier for everybody. It is easier for the leader because they can indulge in their narcissism. And, well, we want them to. You see, if they are shaping things according to their filters and persona then we can move in a direction that is embodied by the leader.

'We have very few better places to look for a new narrative than community'

One has to wonder if the results of the Brexit referendum are an answer to a question other than the one on the ballot. Being in inquiry most of my life I’ve had many, many experiences where the question asked isn’t quite the one answered.

Deep democracy, as we refer to it, comes down to the basic idea that each one of us is inescapably responsible for creating, or trying to create, the workplace, community, society, economy, and political climate in which we live. That responsibility does not lie ‘elsewhere’ or with ‘them’ — it lies with us and how we interact and co-create.

As we create third spaces we also create spaces between spaces. Which seem to hold the most potential for life to thrive. Working within institutions and silos to create change seems, by contrast to working in the spaces in between, to be very, very limiting and difficult. Some of the same processes we have been using in institutions might be far better put to work, liberated even, by using them between institutions.

We’ve been at the centre of the story sharing and the interviews we do are each a gift. Maybe it’s time to share that gift.

Culture will eat strategy for lunch – and stories shape culture. This article, Building a Storytelling Culture, by Julie Dixon points out that most of us agree our organizations and communities should develop a storytelling culture but that knowing what to do about it is a bit dicier.