Blog > Peter Pula

Photo by Yvonne Hollandy.

Hosting a Space for Life

For over 15 years the Axiom News space has been hosting a Space for Life. This is a phrase brought to us by Michelle Holliday and was the midwife of wonderful clarity.

By our conversations with thousands of people over the years we’ve grown into many beautiful friendships and connections. We have met mentors, supporters, fans, and like-hearted people from many parts of the world.

Workplace democracy, employee ownership, cooperative movement, social enterprise, freedom-centred schools, generative education, social finance, appreciative inquiry, business as agent of world benefit, local-living economy, biomimicry, community development, art of hosting, to name a few.

  The communities who are unfolding these patterns of life are alive and growing. Their stories are still very much left untold. This is cause for hope.

While these might be considered stories, all of them are the stories of communities working towards a life-giving future.

We sensed these communities were the ones who were weaving a new narrative one creative step at a time. Together they were surfacing a new story to live into, a generative and regenerative story of stories. The stories wove together a tapestry of rootedness, listening, community, giftedness, creativity, and abundance.

Ever present was an element of respect for the diversity and locality of agency. Every community is different. Every person has something unique to offer. By being a communion of subjects, each uniquely and fully expressed, rather than a collection of objects, connectivity and thriving could become our pervasive experience of life on earth.

What people were doing was not so much solving problems as creating a new social architecture, new ways of being that honoured life as well as the increased complexity of our time.

Much harm is done to our mental health and our relationships when the stories we tell ourselves, or come to accept as ours, do not align with our lived experience. Worse yet, if the story we are living into isn’t life giving … if it doesn’t align with the way Life works, then the progressive dissociation from self, others, and life becomes visible in the symptoms of widespread loneliness, isolation, and self-abnegation.

How then do we design our interactions in such a way as to cultivate life?

This was, for a very long time, an unspoken quest underlying our inquires at Axiom News. And this shaped our stories. The questions we ask shape our stories. Our stories shape our culture and so the lives we live.

In retrospect, I was always in a hurry to crack the nut, to play a part in creating the new world in a burst of story, social architecture, and gusto.

All we learned about localised, democratized workplaces and other paths to right livelihood are still pressingly relevant. All we learned about community development remain the source of deep wisdom of possibility and how to cultivate its manifestation have yet to reach the ears, eyes, and hearts of most. The communities who are unfolding these patterns of life are alive and growing. Their stories are still very much left untold. This is cause for hope. What might become of us if those stories were to supplant the current dominant narrative?

Returning home now, I do not feel so much in a hurry.

I do not feel that life shall be ‘saved’ by any human act, much less by this human in particular. Such misguided self-aggrandizement! Life is Life and will persist without this man, or mankind itself. So then, what would life ask of us? What does life offer us? For now, I am drawn to a sense of communion: To be in the good company of life itself. To bend a listening and sensing ear. To sense intrinsically how best to fold into life and its entirely ineffable way of being.

Next: Conversatio Morum
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Peter Pula's picture

Peter Pula has been exploring the pathways to social evolution since founding the Grassroots Review in his hometown of Peterborough in 1992. Since then he has served on the boards of civil society and arts organizations and served as board president on two of them.

He has been actively involved in federal politics and led a corporate communications firm. Axiom News was incorporated under his leadership in 2009 and went on to establish the practice of Generative Journalism in an international arena.
In 2015, Axiom News founded and funded the Peterborough Dialogues in its hometown. The Peterborough Dialogues hosted over 350 deep community dialogues, established and refined hosting arts, and has had lasting impact in the Peterborough community. For this work in community, Peter was awarded the 2017 Brian L. Desbiens Community Service Award by Fleming College after being nominated by his peers and members of the community.

In 2018, also in Peterborough, Electric City Magazine was acquired to marry local media capacity with citizen-led dialogue. Peter is now gently cultivating a local dialogue and media making collaborative, Common Work for the Common Good.

Peter works with persistence in support of deep democracy. He continues to innovate what he calls passionately but lightly-held infrastructure for citizen-led community development. He believes that artfully hosted dialogue and generative media making are together a necessary social innovation best suited to cultivating local-living abundance.

Peter’s experience has made him a suberb dialogue host, newsroom director, team leader, mentor, trainer, and consultant. He can be a supportive force in the cultivation of initiatives in your community, network, or organization.

He has been invited to host dialogues, summits, workshops, and learning circles in Canada, the United States, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and most recently in France.

If you would like to enjoy an exploratory conversation about engaging Peter in appropriate ways to enliven or enlighten your initiatives, you can reach him directly by writing to

Latest Blog

Last summer I wrote and published a story about a former convent, in which I kept a studio, that was fast becoming a community commons. With 131,000 square feet of space on a 10-acre parcel of land near the heart of the city this place had been purchased by way of a community bond and continues to become a community space.

Imagine a warm, welcoming cottage, one that is beloved by its stewards and long-awaiting their return. It is a place lovingly imbued with the many memories and friendships held and hosted there over the years. Some time ago, the occupants of this wonderful place received a call to a work some distance away. As the call increased in its energy the occupants ventured off in answer. The home lay in wait for their return, still holding and serving as sanctuary to the intentions, care, and potential of all that was began and is still alive within its rooms, gardens, and pathways.

After 15 years of producing stories that contributed to change after change for the better, people still come to us with the concern that all we do in Generative Journalism is publish positive stories at the expense of facing reality.

The stories we tell shape our culture. Journalism as a civic art, to be of real assistance to democracy, has a few things to overcome.

I have come to see capitalism as the ideology or worship of capital, of money. Absentee investment is the root of so much in the way of dissociation. Money for money’s sake, and not for what it can do. Instead, we should look at intimate and engaged investment, that puts the power of money to good use.

One of the challenges we face in realizing a reimagined democracy is the force of narrative. The dominant narrative, the one purveyed by mainstream media, corporate communications, and political campaigns, is for the most part an institutional narrative. It isn’t really for or by the grassroots at all.

During election time, we can easily get lost in the notion that voting and politicians are at the centre of democracy. And yet, democracy is so much more.

Today, democracy’s detractors point to the US experiment to denigrate the idea. In Canada, our politics have to a degree followed suit.