Monday, January 27, 2014


The English word infinity derives from Latin infinitas, which can be translated as "unboundedness", itself calqued from the Greek word apeiros, meaning "endless." (

Earlier in my career, I was an FAO consultant conducting participatory research to evaluate the impact of the Land Reform Proclamation of 1975 in remote villages of Ethiopia. We were in the southern Zone of Gamo Gofa in what was then known as Gofa Woreda (a tiny district) as remote as one could imagine without any kind of modern amenities. At the district we found a guide who spoke the native language as my team and I moved deeper into the hinterland to study the culture and production system of the natives. Based on the 2007 Census conducted by the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (CSA), this Zone is an area of 18,010.99 sq. kms.  Gamo Gofa has a population density of 144.68. The largest ethnic groups include the Gamo (64.61%), the Gofa (22.08%), and other minorities. Gamo is spoken as a first language by 63.75% of the inhabitants, and Gofa by 22.01%. Photo above shows young men from the Hamer tribe. 
It was still dark when we set out from our base on mule backs in the wee hours of the morning. After a few hours of a slow and agonizing journey through the thick tropical forest and mountainous range, we reached a tiny village whose name now escapes me. There was an eerie silence, the few households were all shut; not even a single person could we find to ask where everyone else had gone. No children outside, not even stray dogs on the dirt road. One of our team members said that our guide suspected there may be some kind of epidemic. Apparently he had heard rumors at the district there was a cholera epidemic in some villages. While our guide went knocking door to door, I took refuge near an old tree. As I leaned against the tree searching for a place to sit, something truly awesome caught my eye.
In a space of less than three feet there were countless variety of ants. Prior to this time, my experience of the ant variety was limited to two. The big black ants that came into the house or we found on a wet path during the rainy season; often people threw hot coal or put eucalyptus leaves on their path to get rid of them. The other variety I knew were called “Tinkusht,” tiny little brown ants whose bite would burn and sting for a very long time. I was introduced to what seemed like an infinite variety as I saw ants in red, brown, green, orange colors, some had very big heads, some had stripes and long bodies; their varieties was unimaginable. They worked in harmony moving up and down in lines; some carried pebbles, others dirt or straw, some worked in groups, some alone. Ants thrive in most ecosystems and may form 15–25% of the terrestrial animal biomass.[6] Their success in so many environments has been attributed to their social organization and their ability to modify habitats, tap resources, and defend themselves. Their long co-evolution with other species has led to  mimetic,  commensal,  parasitic, and  mutualistic  relationships.[7](
That moment of discovery was one of the clues that Spirit gave me and it has served me as a lighthouse whenever I lost my way in the sea of weariness from thinking of my limitations. As for the village, cholera epidemic had indeed wiped out the entire village, only one survivor, an old man gaunt and fragile looking came out of his home to tell us that only a few are left, they too were dying and he urged us to flee. We could not report the epidemic to the government as we were beyond the range of telephone or radio communication so we moved on. There was a reason I was at that spot at that time.The lesson was not about our helplessness and our limitations and inability to save that village. On the contrary, that experience was for me to bear witness to the limitless abundance of a life force. It was an experience that enabled me to internalize the idea of infinity in a span of few minutes.
So here area few questions for you to ponder; should you choose to engage me in the conversation, you could post a comment within the blogspot or write on my FB wall or send me email
  1. Do you believe infinity applies to you and daily life?
  2. Do you focus on limitations (I don't have time, money, energy, patience, wisdom, courage, strength, opportunities, luck, so on and so on)? If you answer yes, you might be blocking the abundant flow of opportunities, resources, and power of a Universal life force.
  3. Have you connected to your Spirit’s invitation to the infinite possibilities within you and for you? Please share your story, it may give us a different perspective.
Knowledge is internalized when we have an organic experience and understand what it means not with our intellect alone but with our whole being. I believe this is what Deepak Chopra refers to when he speaks of “Knowingness.”

“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man, has closed himself up till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.” 
William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Monday, January 20, 2014


My journey so far has been amazingly remarkable at times, and even cataclysmic and filled with wonderful challenges, but I always felt restless and longed for something more.  I found myself on a quest to find that one thing that felt perfect for me. You might say I was on a single-minded search of my Divine purpose, my raison d’ĂȘtre, my ultimate Destiny.
It dawned on me that while I’d thought of myself as STRUGGLING because I was constantly reshaping myself, morphing from one professional role to another in pursuit of financial stability and a life of meaning and fulfillment – I had actually been living my life on my own terms. Who knew? What a revelation and a simple notion but it made all the difference to how I perceived myself and how I valued my lifelong pursuits. Apparently, I had bought into a social prescription that insists “we must have stable jobs, we must have a single defined vocation and excel in it and we must acquire monuments of all sorts as testaments to our success.” Whether these monuments come in the form of spreadable wealth, partaking of an affluent lifestyle or leaving a legacy that bears our individual identity, we all aspire to be inducted into a hall of fame, the Guinness Book of World Records or to join and graduate from a Master Class. This prescription like many on the market had a negative side effect for me, I call it the self harassment syndrome (SHS).  Here I was a freelance international consultant  – technical writer – facilitator – writing coach – artist and entrepreneur and yet I thought something was profoundly wrong with me, because I had not found a clear mandate from above. As one of my cousins so aptly put it, “we’re not even asking for a burning bush  just a tiny hint would do.”
I so wanted a one word answer to that proverbial question people ask me at gatherings of any kind “so what do you do?”  After I went through many ups and downs and nearly drove myself to the brink of burnout from my quest, I finally gave myself permission to just relax and find out where God would lead me. I was determined to stare my fear in the face and step into the unknown having removed everything except one single focus, Love.
Over time, with prayer and mediation and a bit of humble pie, I had more clarity and with the stress of getting to the conclusion removed, I had even more insight. My Eureka moment came when I heard myself saying if I am so conscientious as to not waste anything how would God? I realized that my Creator and Heavenly Father would certainly do something to make sure that I’d get to use all of what He gave me. As one blessed with a privileged upbringing, a loving family, good genes, common sense, lots of talent, imagination and curiosity, I felt responsible to make a difference in this world. Previously I had reached a deep low point and felt lost but here is the hint I’d been waiting for a long time. It led me to recognize that I can choose to make all of my life’s circumstances – even the painful ones  count for something. That’s where the meaning to my journey lies. The purpose for my life’s detours and downfalls suddenly became crystal clear.  I felt the burden dissolve and my spirit got lifted up.
The conversation in my head changed – life is not meant to be an indefinite struggle. Life is a STRADDLE between cultural paradigms and a state of mind that keeps us vacillating from I’m doing great to I‘m drowning.
So here are some tips for when you think you’re struggling:
  1. Good things happen when we relax; remember to exhale, slow down, look about and take in the Majesty of the Divine around you.
  2. Deadlines imposed by external forces do not write the chapters in our lives; we have time to find whatever we set our minds to. Time does not make us – it’s the other way around. Consider rearranging your priorities: that’ll help you to make the time for what fulfills and brings you joy.
  3. Give yourself permission to go against the grain or to choose to opt out.
  4. Be humble: we are not really in charge; it’s a less bumpy ride when we let God drive. Otherwise fear leads the way to dead ends.
  5. Check in frequently to see if you are listening to yourself and not just reacting to people or external forces.
  6. Change the conversation in your head and with those around you to an optimistic one filled with lofty ideas, truth, and a healthy respect and compassion for all. Avoid negative and toxic thoughts/conversations that sap your energy and flag desperation.
  7. Find balance between work and family, play and duty, self and community, faith and facts so you can endure through times of not knowing. Be poised to discover.
  8. Don’t fight yourself or anything that comes your way – be flexible and receive everything with continually loving energy. Love conquers all!
  9. Trust the invisible and indomitable spirit of abundance and infinite love that always reigns  within; it will guide you moment to moment.
  10. Connect the dots at all times because you are given clues and support every step of the way.
  11. Accept the generosity that God sends your way and give thanks.
  12. You may be broke but you are never poor because you always have love to give and when you recognize your Divine gifts and embrace your inner wealth, abundance will flow towards you.
So when life gets you down and you feel that things are not going your way, just remember you are not struggling only straddling.

Happy Straddling!

Hanna Kebbede
Writing Coach
Multimedia Art and Craft