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

Essence

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
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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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There are two recurring complaints addressed in this letter:

  • Generative journalism just publishes “nice” and “positive” stories and doesn’t face reality
  • The phrase, “emerging narrative of gifts” is a string of buzzwords that are ultimately meaningless.

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.

“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.