Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar.

Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar. 

One of my favorite poets is Antonio Machado.

I think this poem captures my first and most important learning of the conference sessions.

There is no road.  You make the road by travelling it.  I came hoping for a clear path and left realizing we are already on the path.  We have already begun building the CPA.  Build the business plan yes, use it as a guide and to show people that you know what you are doing.  But don’t wait for every detail, every piece of information.  Take the first step.  And then the second.  And keep walking.  Sometimes the road will be blocked, and we will have to find another way.  But keep walking.

Felipe and Kate and so many others demonstrated this.  Find what people need, make some phone calls, build a relationship or two and it will happen.

The second takeaway was the amazing power that exists in this network.  I had already learned this in our small cohort, but hearing from so many other voices showed the wealth that is out there, handed to us, if we only ask.  So asking is a key part of this process.  Ask the churches what they need;  ask the vendors what they can do and what they need to survive, ask others for their wisdom on HVAC and electricity and composting.  Ask.  It felt like many of the right people were gathered.  We the seekers.  The vendors.  Those who are already building wealth within the African American community.  The investors and capital movers.  The ones who are grounded in prayer.

Inclusivity and transparency.  There must be no hidden contracts.  No side deals.  No missing costs.   It is all right there.  Reminds me of what I was taught by my father…the code of the west…all you have is your integrity and your handshake is a vow of truth and a promise to do what is right.

People in the coop are proud to be in the coop.  Everyone I spoke with had a story of how this made a difference for them and their company or organization.  Of how this empowered them and gave them confidence.  Of how they felt part of something bigger that was having an impact.

And hope. Together, we can transform markets and communities and the way economic power is wielded.

6 thoughts on “Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar.”

  1. Paul: This is a beautiful synthesis. Succinct, deep, powerful. As you wrote this and now reflect on it a couple days later, what of this is really new for you?
    My hunch is that these are nuggets you’ve learned along the way and are re-discovering in this context. What is it about the culture(s) you’re in and part of (work, church, university, business, other…) that makes it hard to remember and live from these nuggets of wisdom / these insights about life?

    Thanks for showing up and sharing this line from Machado (which I love), and the “code of the west”. Brilliant. I think you are right. Our work is simple: Make promises and keep them. -Felipe


  2. Paul, thank you sharing those beautiful words from the poem by Machado! Yes, we make the path by walking it. So succint and so true. How will you let it guide your work with CPA? Where do you get to share this good news in your community today? Who gets to hear this from you that needs to hear it in your community? Again, much gratitude!


  3. Hi Paul! The way you wove poetry into your post this week was beautiful and impactful. I sensed so much depth in the brevity of your words, thank you for sharing them. I was especially captivated by how simple the process can appear from your description. As a person who tends to get lost in complexity, what is your advice for effective process simplification? How do you address those blocks you mention without getting mired in the potential delays they could present?


  4. Paul – Thank you for joining us in DC. More importantly, thank you for walking alongside us as we make this road. I am incredibly grateful to partner with you to define our path as we build a strong foundation supported by our values.

    What’s the next step to define our path? How do we capitalize on the skills, knowledge, and wisdom that surrounds us?
    How will you balance the need to continue to build our capacity and knowledge with the idea that we continue to move forward?

    I truly appreciate your contributions!


  5. Reflective Script Week 3

    I so love reading the comments.
    I think what I take from these is the need to find ways to remember the wisdom we have been taught. What is it that keeps us from remembering? How do you walk in simplicity and not get mired in the complexity? What are the blocks in our way of being and the culture we are in?
    Part, I know, is just time. One gets so wrapped up in the doing that I forget to stop and listen and reflect. And I think the culture of immediate results forces us to not see the path that is right before us. I think for me there is also the lack of trust. I feel like I need to be more in control at times. I need to map out every step to ensure we get to the end goal. Forgetting that the road itself is the goal.


  6. Hi Paul!

    Thanks for sharing that quote. My grandfather used to say it. I haven’t heard it in a long time but I think I’ve understood it at a new level recently.

    I’m very glad and am aligned with you on the fact that you see transparency at the e center of this work.

    My question to you is: how do YOU, Paul, inspire transparency in your space? How can you take that to a new level given that you have a deeper understanding of its practice in this context?


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