The Search For A Perfect Life

The Search For A Perfect Life

Of the many things that cause us pain, our expectation that life should be perfect, is one of the primary causes. The idea that there exists a perfect Shangri-La somewhere that we can somehow locate, is a form of magical thinking that sets us up for false expectations and disappointment..

It creates dissatisfaction with the life we have and pulls us out of the present moment into an unending search for perfection out there somewhere. It also leads to frustration when our efforts fail to create the perfect outcomes we think we need, deserve or desire.

If we truly desire inner peace, we need to trade this magical thinking for a more accurate version of truth.  Zen teaches that to find peace of mind, we need to “think of life as a series of imperfect facts.”

I have used this helpful reminder in countless ways in my personal practice.

This phrase reminds us that our reactions and outrage often stem from an unconscious belief that life should be perfect – or that our individual lives and outcomes ought to be perfect for us to have peace.

Because this limiting belief operates beneath the surface, we may be unaware of it. If I were to ask  you, “Do you expect your life to be perfect?” you would almost certainly say no.

And yet, we get upset when our lives do not match our idealized dreams! This process is known as cognitive dissonance – the conflict between what we want and what actually shows up.

It is worth checking how often you become angry or frustrated when something relatively minor goes wrong, or when events don’t turn out the way you wanted.  You may even feel outraged when life refuses to follow your commands!

With some mindfulness, we can turn such moments into Zen moments: we can think of life as a series of imperfect facts. And know, too, that sometimes those apparent imperfections are really blessings in disguise.

In the same way that we can become outraged when life “goes wrong,” we can sometimes react very harshly when people let us down, or when our expectations are shattered by some very human behavior.

Our relationships do best when we can accept that people sometimes will behave badly, inconsistently or thoughtlessly. Sometimes they will let us down.

As long as this doesn’t happen all the time and does not put us in danger, it is healthier for everyone when we can see these behaviors as part of the big picture and get over the smaller disappointments.

When we focus on let-downs and disappointments, our relationships weaken and may even disintegrate. By choosing instead to see others as flawed as we are, yet generally doing their best, our relationships with all of life become easier, more relaxed and far more rewarding.

Mother Teresa reminded us of that when she said:
 “People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

When we can see the perfect unfolding of life as a series of imperfect facts, our acceptance of what is, brings freedom and joy.

About the author:
©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

A Love Letter From Your Soul

A Love Letter From Your Soul

Dear one, there is something you need to know. This love letter comes to remind you of what really matters. And it is this: You are not a mistake. You are eternally, irrevocably loved.

Yes, you are dearly, utterly loved. You are deeply loved by good people in this world. Most of all, you are loved by the infinite Creator whose love is without beginning and without end.

You are worthy of being loved because of who you are. There is nobody else just like you, and every outrageous detail of your existence is a treasure that is yours to savor and to share.

You come from Love, you are love and therefore you can choose love.

On the days when you want to hide from the world and bury yourself in misery and self-pity, remember this: you are not broken. You may be discouraged, wounded, overwhelmed or afraid, but you are not broken.

Within you, your eternal soul burns bright as ever, and as you peel away the surrounding layers that you built for protection, that inner flame will light your path once more. It will burn through every obstacle on your way, for that is your purpose and your destiny in this life: to let your light shine!

You were not created to play small or to argue for your limitations. You were not born to be broken. Your life offers so much more!

Yes, you are not a mistake. You were given life by Divine decree, and you embarked on this journey with courage that left the angels in awe. You freely chose this wild, tumultuous journey to experience, and learn, and grow. You came here to embody the Presence of the Divine Source in a world shrouded in spiritual slumber.

And these things you can do at any time: you do not need a million dollars in the bank before you learn to lean into the stillness within; you do not have to attain any social status before learning to discern the voice of Spirit within; you do not need to strive for popularity to validate your soul’s worth. Your worth is intrinsic, eternal and unchangeable.

Perhaps you feel a bit dull and tarnished right now, like a diamond that had been dropped in mud. And yet, when the external dirt is washed away, your intrinsic beauty continues to radiate.

Your light is shining through all the layers that obscure it, so open your heart and hands. Let the light within you expand in ever bigger circles to hold this entire world in its embrace. Let your love reach out to embrace all the forms of life around you: two-leggeds and four-leggeds, feathered and scaled ones; all of nature. It is by embracing the beauty of what already is, that your love will call forth the highest good in yourself and others.

You are magnificent and powerful; a co-creator endowed with the privilege of being the Creator’s hands and feet and voice in this world. This is your purpose and your calling.

Life is fleeting and fragile and sometimes utterly awful. At times such as these, the light within you is needed more than ever.

Never let the shadows around you discourage you. Instead, let your light shine so brightly that it dispels the shadows and illumines your path.

You came into this life to realize the Presence of the Creator in you and anchor that in physicality. As you do that, the Creator Presence radiates into the world around you to heal, transform and renew. That power is in you right now, right here!

You alone must discover the full potential of what is possible in this life. You already have the power of becoming within you, for you have the power of choice.

And as you nestle into the Presence of Spirit’s peace at the end of each day, may you feel the pleasure of the Creator resting on you, and the loving embrace of your heavenly support team.

You are never alone. You are Divinely loved and supported, now and always.

About The Author:

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

How to Stay Strong When Things Go Wrong

How to Stay Strong When Things Go Wrong

Do you wish you could stay strong when setbacks hit and things go wrong? If so, you’re not alone! Setbacks and disappointments are a part of life, but learning how to effectively deal with them, can help to strengthen us from within.

When faced with setbacks, disappointments and stagnation, the first thing to do is not to fight back harder, but to step back and regain perspective before proceeding. This may feel counterproductive at first, but it is vitally important.

When we get so focused that we see things as black and white, good or bad, we can get boxed into rigidity. Truth is, life consist of an entire spectrum of possibilities, rather than just two choices. Stepping back and refocusing opens our minds to more ways of seeing and acting in life.

It does not always require a major shift; even a small tweak can make a difference. Just step back and shift your perspective enough to include one more way of looking at that situation. Is it really true that you are the only actor responsible for creating a desired outcome? It may be more accurate to say you represent one of many conditions that need to come together for something to unfold.

Even when we put our best into something, the outcome might not be what we expected. There may be very strong messages from inside and around us telling us that the outcome is the most important thing, yet that is a limited perspective. The outcome is less important than cultivating our capacity to be with whatever is, even when it is not at all what we have wished for.

This means learning to be okay with not knowing, with not being able to control the outcome. We continue to practice and train our ability to at peace within, and we don’t take the outcome personally.

This is at the heart of authentic spiritual work: it includes both being and doing; awareness as well as the discipline of application. What keeps us pliable in this often challenging process, is the attitude of gratitude.

Gratitude is not dependent on external circumstances. We don’t feel gratitude just because everything is going great, although that’s important to acknowledge. We especially need to practice gratitude when things are not going the way we want them to. It’s when things go wrong, that we are faced with deeper attachments and desires that often masquerade as needs.

To stay flexible, we need to practice gratitude anyhow; similar to the concept of “hallelujah anyhow” that is often heard in black churches; giving thanks and finding gratitude not because of our circumstances, but despite them.

The challenge is to stay in a receptive, open place, not fighting against what’s happening, but digging deeper within to live from our core values, to be the difference we wish to see in the world, and to lead by example in making a difference despite the setbacks we may face. It requires us to dig deep and keep showing up, doing our best with the resources and gifts that we ourselves have been given to make this world a better place.

And when our best is not sufficient to change things around yet, we entrust the outcomes to a Higher hand and we stay the course with compassion for ourselves and others. Once conditions are appropriate, the outcomes will be sure. In the meantime, the work remains because living from our true core and purpose is the only meaningful way to live. Even when conditions are not yet appropriate for optimal outcomes to show up, we can say “hallelujah” anyhow, and stay the course.

Setbacks and delays are part of life’s reality, and they are fully workable. Our practice is to not pull away from the dissonance, not to withdraw from what we are faced with; and in that place where commitment and discipline meet the obstacles, our souls learn resilience and strength.

This is true especially when you feel outnumbered and alone. Don’t get locked into the duality of blame and shame! You cannot be successful by feeding what you are fighting, so when you reach this point, step back and regroup!

Do something good instead. Recognize that we need the shadow to show us the light, and navigate by forgiving the limitations of the shadow and finding a way to shine the light.

One of the biggest pitfalls in our society is the way in which personal preferences are mislabeled as needs. People often attempt to manipulate others by presenting their emotional preferences as needs, and then demanding these “needs” be met. Listen to individuals for a day and you’ll notice how often this is used to manipulate: “I need you to be quiet now,” “I need you to listen to me,” “I need you to do this right now,” and the list goes on.

In reality, these statements confuse emotional preferences with needs. They are indicative of misappropriate use of the limbic brain, where needs and preferences are often confused in early childhood. Adults who get stuck in this dysfunctional behavior, create a lot of chaos for themselves and others.

An emotional “need” is not the same as the biological need for oxygen, food and shelter; it is simply a preference. In fact, psychologist Steven Stosny identifies only one valid emotional need for adults, and that is to act consistently on deeper values.

When we consistently act from our deeper values, all the emotional preferences that parade as important needs, will either be satisfied as a byproduct of meaningful living, or they will drop away as unimportant in the bigger lens of living a purposeful life.

The best way to attain the life you want to have, is to approach it from the perspective of living it in alignment with your deeper values and meaning, not from emotional preferences masquerading as “needs.”

When you do that, you will find your roots digging deeper so you can stay strong when things go wrong.

About The Author:

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

How to Restore Passion For Your Life

How to Restore Passion For Your Life

When was the last time you felt truly passionate about something? Felt good, right? And so it should! Good thing is, you can learn how to restore passion for your life.

Passion is most evident when body, mind and spirit work together to create, articulate or manifest feelings, ideas and values. Passion is ignited when all of you work together. It is the presence of your soul combined with the totality of all you’ve experienced, and it empowers to live at optimal levels.

Passion your natural state. When what you do is in alignment with who you are, it increases your energy. Passion is like water flowing along its natural riverbed, gaining momentum from its course – unlike many work environments, where it feels more like trying to force water up and over a mountain!

Passion creates resilience. It enables you to overcome obstacles and to look beyond current setbacks to the infinite potential that’s yours to claim. The passionate soul discovers nuggets of potential in every situation.

Passion transfers vibrant energy to every person or situation it touches. You can’t fake it. Anyone can spot a phony by sensing lack of authenticity and depth in their actions.

And yet, many people run from passion because they’re afraid of being burned. They hang on to the pain of betrayed trust and misplaced confidences as a reminder to dampen their own passion, lest they be hurt again. Perhaps they held the bucket for soulless greed and overzealous egos disguised as passion. Consequently, they’re afraid of taking the risk to live life fully, openly and passionately. They may have even vowed to never go there again.

Instead, they opt for a more predictable, monochromatic existence. Rather than taking exploring the endless possibilities of life, they insist on hiding inside a safety bubble; giving up on adventure to exist in a sanitary, colorless world where nothing new happens.

What they really need is a return to passion!

If you want a juicy life, you need to open your heart and mind to the multidimensional experience of passionate living every day.

Can you imagine how much more meaningful our roles as parents, lovers, business owners, employees, teachers and leaders would be if all our actions were predicated on our true passion? There is no limit to how far your influence can reach! To tap into your potential, you must engage life with passion. By bringing passion to what you do, you express every aspect of your creative being.

Here’s the secret to living a passionate life: Never try to throttle down your passion for fear of what might show up! You cannot selectively suppress some part of your being without also suppressing the rest of your energy. When you suppress your passion, you also suppress your Life Force.

Truth is, every activity you engage in expresses the whole of you – much like one part of a hologram reflects the whole in its entirety. Even if you pick a narrow skill like running a marathon or cooking, your whole sense of self is expressed through that activity when doing it with passion.

When living from your passion, you bring your entire identity to the party, not just an isolated part. This may sound daunting, but actually it’s the most natural way to approach anything.

When you hold some part of yourself back, you deny it exposure to life; you repress its energy and keep it from learning what it needs to know. Imagine a baby who wants to learn how to walk but has these reservations:

  • I don’t want to look bad.
  • I don’t want to fall down.
  • I don’t want to fail.
  • I don’t want to expend all my energy.
  • I don’t want any pain.
  • I don’t want to suffer.

It would seem absurd! If these thoughts prevail, the chance for mastery could never present itself. Yet as adults we resort to such reservations all the time – and deny ourselves mastery as a result.

The minute a situation arises, all the negatives around that situation will arise in the mind along with all the possibilities. The key is that you have a choice about which to focus on!

When you choose to focus on negatives, you yield to subconscious fear to shut out understanding. Do that often enough and you become a victim, subject to bewildering fears that can threaten to overwhelm you. These fears aren’t coming from blind fate or misfortune; they simply represent holes in your awareness, the places where you haven’t dared to look yet.

To break free from such self-limiting behavior, try looking at an issue that has kept you from totally engaging in life. For instance, if you are worried about what others may think of your effort, then that is the issue you need to challenge!

When I launched out into a solo practice, well-intended friends questioned whether I would make it in a highly demanding field. I chose not to listen to the voices of apprehension; instead, I redoubled my efforts because my passion is to help people.

At the time, it was the scariest, riskiest, most challenging thing I could think of doing with my life. It was also the one thing that kept me dreaming and working against all odds. Today, I can look back at decades of amazing outcomes and success.

Choosing to follow my passion took me to the edge of my comfort zone and stretched me in every way possible. It also brought growth, joy and fulfillment into every area of my life. I wouldn’t trade what I’m doing for the world, because I get to use my innate gifts daily. I love living in alignment with my purpose and my passion!

What is that one, wild dream you have buried deep within? Is it time to let it emerge into the light where you can nourish it into a passionate path to fulfillment? How will you know unless you try?

You can restore passion for your life!

Start voicing your inner dreams and passions. Face down your fears, and treat your dreams like tender threads of gold, for they are every bit as precious. They form the fabric that fabulous lives are woven from!

About The Author:

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

How To Recover From Setbacks In Ten Proven Steps

How To Recover From Setbacks In Ten Proven Steps

Disasters and upheaval happen in every life. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to recover from setbacks faster?

You may have been spared the trauma of earthquakes, random violence or war… only to face work layoffs, escalating debt, or a devastating medical diagnosis. Perhaps you feel stuck working at a job you hate but can’t leave because of current market conditions, or you don’t know how to change a seriously dysfunctional relationship.

When setbacks hit, it is common to feel overwhelmed, helpless and scared. In fact, others may tell you that you are overreacting; things are not all that bad.

If that is true, why do you feel so bad? The current setback in your life may have triggered an avalanche of past trauma memories or flashbacks, evoking deep emotional trauma for you.

Your ability to bounce back from setbacks depends on many factors, including your natural resilience or ability to cope with stress, the severity of the trauma, and what types of support you have access to.

When setbacks leave you feeling disempowered and vulnerable, it may be tempting to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. These substances may temporarily soothe you, but they make things worse in the long run. Substance abuse worsens many symptoms of trauma. It also leads to emotional numbing, social isolation, anger and depression. Ultimately, such forms of self-medication interfere with treatment and can add to problems at home and in relationships.

As news of disturbing events continue to unfold worldwide, it is more important than ever to sharpen your coping skills at physical, emotional and spiritual levels. It is up to you to put together your own disaster-preparation kit, so that you can be resilient in navigating the winds of change! Here are some positive coping strategies to help you get through times of stress and upheaval:

1. Recognize that you may be grieving. Grief is a natural part of the life cycle that follows loss. You may find yourself cycling back and forth through the five major stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Cycling through the stages of grief is normal – you are not losing your grip on reality. Allow yourself to grieve for the parts of life that you have lost, and take comfort in knowing that this process will come to completion in due time.

2. Honor your losses. Loss can show up in many ways. You may have lost your job, a relationship, a loved one, friends, pets, your home, possessions, your dreams, health, or your quality of life. Try writing about your loss or create a ritual to express your sense of loss. Rather than expecting to just “get over it” and move on with your life, take time to honor and affirm your losses – it is a valuable part of the healing process.

3. Talk to someone for support. During setbacks, it is important not to isolate yourself. Instead, make an effort to be with supportive people that you have carefully identified as safe. Face the challenges in your life and identify the most important problems. Then get help from safe friends, family members or professionals to help you address these so you can move past them.

4. Find your new normal. When life as you knew it ends, you may feel as if your entire infrastructure has collapsed, and previous guidelines lose meaning. You may find your emotions swinging from one extreme to another, temporarily losing your sense of what’s normal. When your personal world falls apart, it is important to remember that you are not alone, weak, or crazy. It helps to know your problems are shared by many others who have experienced – and survived – similar setbacks.

5. Break things into manageable chunks. When feeling too scattered to focus, recognize that your mind is trying to cope with your situation the best it can. Instead of berating yourself, take positive steps to regroup. Slow down. Give yourself time to focus on what you need to learn or do. Write things down and make “To Do” lists. Break tasks down into smaller, manageable chunks. Set just one realistic goal or task for each day. And get help if you need it.

6. Take time out when angry. The stress that accompanies major setbacks can create irritability and anger. This can affect your self-control, health and relationships. Anger can increase your heart rate so much that you cannot think clearly. Remember that staying angry doesn’t work. It actually increases stress and can cause health problems. Burn your anger off in the gym or get professional help to learn how to manage it more effectively.

7. Reconnect to positive emotions. After a major setback, many people have trouble feeling or expressing positive emotions. They may even feel guilty for surviving. This is a common reaction to trauma. It is not helpful to feel guilty for something you did not want to happen and cannot control. Instead, shift your focus to gratitude for surviving and resolve to make your life count!

8. Exercise positive thinking. Monitor your thoughts. If they cause you to feel stuck or helpless, switch to more helpful thoughts. For example, if you find yourself thinking, “I can’t do it,” challenge yourself with questions such as: “Is it really true that I can’t do it?” “Is it always true?” “Under what circumstances could I do it?” “What could help me do it?” Then select a more helpful train of thought that builds confidence. In this case, you might say to yourself, “With the right help, I can get through this.”

9. Take time to relax. Consciously choose to focus on something positive to help you relax. Some helpful activities include mental calming with progressive relaxation, mindfulness meditation, or conscious breathing; physical exercise such as swimming, walking or yoga; spiritual activities such as prayer, chanting or singing; and other healing activities such as listening to quiet music, spending time with pets or being in nature.

10. Reach out to help others. Helping others in need or volunteering in your community can be powerful ways for you to heal. It relieves stress by taking your mind off your own problems for awhile, and helps you see them in a different light. Providing support for others can also make you feel more connected and empowered.

Together, these guidelines can help you bounce back from life’s setbacks stronger and wiser!

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

How To Apply The Four Noble Truths For A Better Life

How To Apply The Four Noble Truths For A Better Life

What are the Four Noble Truths? In short, they represent the Buddha’s fundamental teaching that liberates humans from suffering. These four truths can be summarized as follows:

  1. Life Inherently Contains Suffering And Struggle

Life involves struggle, frustration and suffering in both obvious and subtle forms. Even when things appear peaceful externally, we do not experience permanent satisfaction in anything but may feel an undercurrent of internal anxiety and uncertainty. This is the inherent problem of existence.

  1. Craving Is The Cause Of Suffering

The cause of suffering is craving that stems from ignorance. We suffer because we tend to blame our difficulties on things outside ourselves. We resist the truth that life is impermanent and change is constant – instead, we grow frustrated when the world doesn’t behave the way we think it should and life doesn’t conform to our expectations. We try to push away some things while grasping for others. This process of attachment and resistance stems from our desire for life to be different than it is and causes suffering.

  1. Suffering Stops When Craving Ends

Since we are ultimately the ones that cause our own suffering by perpetuating the cycle of craving and resistance, we also have the power to end our suffering. Even when life is unpredictable and impermanent, we can change the way we respond to it. By awakening to the true nature of our timeless souls, we can end the chase after external satisfaction and permanence, and so end the suffering. In the awakened mind, it is not the suffering that ceases, but the craving.

  1. There’s A Path Out Of Suffering

By embracing the path of right living, we can awaken to our Higher nature. This path involves ethical living, developing wisdom and discernment, and adhering to a personal practice that supports our emerging consciousness. This personal journey of awakening frees us from suffering and ultimately leads to enlightenment.

Most of us struggle with the practical application of these Four Noble Truths. Our human tendency is to avoid all pain and suffering, which only perpetuates our struggle.

Instead, I suggest that we look at the Four Noble Truths as recommendations for right living; guidelines to help us navigate life’s challenges more effectively. By presenting the Four Noble Truths as practical guidelines for living, they become powerful tools to guide our responses to life.

I propose using the acronym AREA to remember the structure of the Four Noble Truths in practical ways: Accept Life As Is, Release Reactivity, End Grasping, and Act Appropriately.

When we respond to these Four Noble Truths in appropriate ways, they will indeed expand our inner area of spaciousness and peace, and ultimately expand the area or scope of our True nature.

  1. Accept Life As Is

When we allow conscious awareness to infuse everything we do, we become more tolerant. We no longer interpret everything that does not go our way as a personalized attack on our ego selves; instead, we recognize it for simply being a part of life. When we experience a setback, we can see it as an opportunity for learning and growth; not as something unfair to be judged or avoided.

The Course in Miracles teaches that it is the meaning or interpretation we give to things, that makes them appear as good or bad; in truth, it simply is a part of life. Embracing the very impermanence of life can foster in us a deeper appreciation for the fleeting and precious nature of each moment.

  1. Release Reactivity

Human neurobiology makes it virtually impossible for us to constantly maintain a state of inner equilibrium without spiritual awareness. Our senses are continuously providing feedback through physical symptoms, emotions, thoughts and feelings. Equilibrium requires us to be with reactivity in a different way: learning how to respond instead of to react. We stop the cycle of reactivity by understanding that sensory feedback loops are valuable messages to respond to; not interference to react to, judge, resist or avoid.

When we experience physical symptoms or pain, our innate reactivity may prompt us to either resist the symptoms with medication or to grasp for some miracle cure outside of ourselves. Instead, perhaps it would be more meaningful to first dialogue with the symptoms for a deepened understanding of what they’re trying to tell us; and once we understand the deeper message, we’ll be able to respond appropriately so the messenger can be released. This process of responding instead of reacting allows us to create more inner space for growth in consciousness.

  1. End Grasping

It is essential to learn how to respond to life’s difficulties with an open mind, free from the conditioned behaviors of judgment, fear or craving. This inner attitude of non-attachment frees us from the endless cycles of attachment and aversion to offer us genuine freedom and inner peace instead. The Sedona Method puts it this way: “Embrace that which you resist, and surrender that to which you cling.”

Relinquishing our positionalities rewards us with freedom from craving. Positionalities are in truth nothing other than learned behaviors and limiting beliefs, so relinquishing them truly opens up space for us to thrive.

  1. Act Appropriately

In shamanic traditions, appropriate action is referred to as “right living.” Appropriate action requires conscious awareness of our inner motives, beliefs and reactions. It nurtures the development of the observer/witness, or our Soul self. It is in aligning with this Higher aspect of being, that we are transformed to live from our full potential.

The more we fine-tune our responses to life appropriately reflect our Higher nature, the more inner freedom, peace and joy we experience. This is the core of all personal growth. Creating a path of appropriate action nourishes us at all levels and honors our true purpose in life – the embodiment of our Higher nature.

Using AREA can serve as a practical reminder to keep us aligned with the Four Noble Truths. The result is more inner peace, harmony and joy.

About the author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

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