Monday, January 30

The Benefits of Being Gentle Towards Our Real Self................. 1/30/12


“The six most important words: I admit I made a mistake.
 The five most important words: You did a good job. 
The four most important words: What is YOUR opinion?
 The three most important words: If you please. The two 
 most important words:Thank You. The one most important
 word: We.The least important word: I.”   Author Unknown
Image: The California coast: Point Reyes
The Benefits of Being Gentle Towards Ourselves

        I'm thankful for difficult times. They allow me to practice patience.  Especially towards myself.  My younger self was more driven than I am now,  I'm a strongly motivated person right now.  You can imagine how intense I was, back in the day.

        My drive as a young man was due to insecurities.  I needed approval.  Now, I'm less of a circus dog.  No longer do I jump through hoops.  No longer do I have the need to impress.

        I am at peace with myself.  I know I'm loved.   I am aware I am lovable.  This self-knowledge removes a big chunk of the edgy self that once defined me.  Hurray!

        When aware of areas needing improvement, acceptance is important.  We want to handle our weaknesses graciously.  They are not viewed with despair.  Considering options, what we can do is critical.  It is important being gentle towards ourselves.

        Kindness towards self helps.  "Condemning my imperfections has never enhanced my appreciation of life or helped me to love myself more."  Courage to Change, p. 9.  We want to review the past month, six months or year, appreciating the progress made.  Being patient towards areas where we need to grow, is a better option than kicking ourselves.

        We want to be kind towards our vulnerabilities.  Healing and transformation is more likely.  Harshness towards our warty selves, often makes these areas retreat and hide.  When that happens, there's no chance for improvement.

       Being gracious towards me has these benefits, too:

1. I'm happier.
2. Depression ceases; condemning self becomes less frequent.
"Condemning my imperfections has never enhanced my appreciation of life nor has it helped me to love myself more."  
               Courage to Change, page 19. 
3. I bask in the joy of having an Attitude of Gratitude.
4. As I've become gentler towards myself, I'm softer, kinder, towards others.  It's hard giving what we have not received.

        Please, let me hear your thoughts on this subject, 

                The Innkeeper

Saturday, January 28

Discernment Spares Me From Grief

My Gratitudes for Saturday: 
1. I had a lesson taught me today. I'll share more about it tomorrow.
2. I received wonderful support from two friends (named) Ann(e)
3. I exercised today. I'm glad I did so.
4. I'm continually grateful for character

Thursday, January 26

Thursday Gratitudes

My Gratitudes for Thursday

1. My health is restored---I'm no longer ill, ya ay!
2. I did research today, something I

Tuesday, January 24

I Need Dependability, Reliability In My Relationships With Others

“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.”
Lionel Hampton
       Hey, I just got in from watching a double feature this evening at a movie theater. It was a change from my normal routine. One of the movies was excellent. The other was pretty good, too. 
      Today, for a Bay Area newspaper, I interviewed a popular columnist. It was fun.
      I'll see a client tomorrow and later will meet with someone I mentor, we'll share lunch. I'm happy my normal schedule is resuming.  


Without Further Ado, Gratitudes for Today. 
1. An enjoyable conversation with a good friend this afternoon was a nice way of capping my workday. 
2. I'm feeling healthier. 
3. I reached out to a new friend and the person responded. Friendship is not a friendship if there isn't reciprocity. 
4. Watching movies on Tuesday is not something I do often. I appreciated the variety to my week. I liked the friend who went with me tonight. I'm glad he was flexible enough to do something spontaneous, going there was unplanned.
5. One of my sons told me he liked the fact we've been doing more things as a family. I appreciate being appreciated for my efforts. 
6. I'm sleeping better. When recently sick with congested lungs, nose and a sore throat, it was difficult sleeping well. My illness is 98% gone, am I glad.
7. I enjoy those who write comments here. I look forward to hearing from you.
8  I'm thankful for the courage I had to end a friendship recently. It shook up my friend. He's realizing there was a need for mutuality and reciprocity on his part.
9. Today, I worked on the A of G Alphabetical Inndex. I'm not done, but it's a start.  Many of the links in this inndex don't work.  The listed link address need to be changed to the address of this inn. I like seeing the progress I made. 
10. I value discernment. It allows me to understand more clearly the nature of my friendships with others. It helps me know which are healthy and which relationships I need to avoid.
11. I like people who keep their word. I enjoy having reliability, dependability, consistency and responsibility in my connections with others. 
       I've shared my gratitudes. I ask for at least three. May I ask you to share yours, would that be possible? Doing so contributes to the community, fellowship, and communication we share here.  
       Looking forward to hearing from you,

Monday, January 23

Played an Intense Game of Verbal Tennis 1/23/12


Playing a Verbal Tennis Game 
With an Attorney

      A fascinating conversation with someone early Sunday was had by yours truly.  His face reddened and he raised his voice when I questioned him.  I tried mentioning something that made me uncomfortable on Friday night. He was there.

      His first volley in our dialog was intimidating.  Sarcasm, and vehement arguing was his next ploy.  But, I held my ground on the tennis court of our conversation.  Healthy principles and boundaries prevented me from slipping on the verbal playing court.  I made sure we stayed on topic, not swayed by the intensity of his response.

      When this fellow leaned into my space and raised his voice, I asked, "Are you getting agitated?  If so, we can talk another time."  I've learned it doesn't make sense to talk with someone when they're drunk.  I would be as foolish as them. Waiting for when we can talk coherently is preferred.  The same is true when confronted by a person who is emotionally intoxicated. 

      The question calmed him down.  His next move was recruiting someone else to join the fray.  That was fine.  It was fun; exercising adherence to my values and exercising my right as an adult to disagree. We also made progress.

       With the other person joining the fray, our conversation had me returning rallying shots from one player who was defensive and the intense questioning of the other, who was not, a doubles game with me not having a partner.  I had presence of mind, not reacting, but responding.  Being mindful during the verbal contest allowed me to be courteous while maintaining my integrity. 

      When he stated I was trying to make him do something, which was not my intention, I asked, "Can you tell me what I said that made you conclude that?" 

      He couldn't answer.  Exactly my point.  I never asked him to do anything. That was his assumption. 

      I told him, "I've learned to express my concerns and leave it at that. What a person chooses to do afterwards is their option." I'm not invested in how others respond.  (Courage to Change, p. 310)

     There is only one God and I am not Him.  I kept the focus on me, expressing my needs, trusting God for the results. 

How About You?
What are strategies do you use, when someone tries engaging you in an argument?

Sunday, January 22

SF 49ers
      Hi everyone,
My team, the Forty-Niners, lost today. But, it was an exciting game, a hard-fought contest. I'm proud of what they accomplished, moving from a 6-10 record last year to a 14-4 performance this season, counting the playoffs. They finished the season one game shy of playing in the Super Bowl. 
    The afternoon was spent with my sons, a large screen TV at a sports bar and restaurant, food, over 180 other patrons in the pub and plenty of thrills. 
    My Gratitudes for Tonight
1. I hung out with my sons all day. 
2. We experienced the thrill of an intense game. We've been spending a lot of time as a family. Supporting our football team is one of our traditions.
Englanders. This place has about 50 screens, including  two mega large screens.
 3. We enjoyed community with several others. The roar of the crowd, at the Englander's Pub in San Leandro was fabulous and funny. Some of the other fans there were either dramatic or hilarious in their exclamations. Standing up and yelling at the ref or the opponent. The boisterous environment was good for my sons----they saw their Latin dad as a relatively calm guy, compared to men that surrounded them today.
4. It was fascinating to see the different dynamic of each of my sons, while watching the game with them. I learned more about my sons.

      Please let me know your gratitudes, 
             The Innkeeper

Saturday, January 21

To See and Be Seen; Feeling Good

“When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A
person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.”  Elie Wiesel  
Image: "Countryside: Spring Sky" by Tim Blessed.All rights reserved, used by permission.
        Good evening everyone, how was your day? 
I arose at 5:30 a.m. I studied, prayed, meditated, had alone time, on my way towards nurturing my soul. At 10:30 a.m. I met with friends.     
      There, my spirit was lifted, emboldened. Connecting with many encouraging people invigorated the innkeeper who has been subdued by a persistent, pesty illness. .
     Several of us had lunch after our get together. It was the rest of the day that became interesting. I'll share more about that tomorrow. I'm tired, so I'm hitting the hay. 
   My Gratitudes for This Fine Saturday Evening:
1.  I liked what I heard this morning, when with friends. 
2. I'm glad I joined the group. It could have been very easy to isolate. 
3. I had a terrific conversation with a friend today, later in the afternoon. 
4.  My need for community, connection, mutuality, friendship, being heard, to see and be seen, love intimacy and inclusion were met. 
5. I feel terrific and happy because of the time I spent with others today. Its as simple as that. 

Friday, January 20

No Is a Complete Sentence

Image: "Countryside: Buttercups and Daisies" by Tim Blessed. Copyrighted photograph, used by permission.
       How did you day go?  Today, the inn was busy. we had over 230 unique visitors and they took a look at 820 pages today. It was hard keeping

Thursday, January 19

Enslavement of the Emotional Kind .... 1/19/12

“You simply will not be the same person two months
 from now after consciously giving thanks each day for
 the abundance that exists in your life.   And you will
 have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the  more
you have and are grateful for, the more will be given
 you.” Sarah Ban Breathnach.  Image: "Ooh!" by Tim
Blessed, copyrighted photograph..
My Gratitudes:
1. Someone wanted me to be responsible for his feelings. No can do. I let him know.  I am responsive to, but not responsible for the feelings of others.
2. When we assume the responsibility for the feelings of others, we are trapped in a form of enslavement.
       We'll believe we need to walk around on egg shells, because we don't know what other possible negative feelings they may have, with whatever we say or do. We are accepting a fallacy.
       We are not creating problems, when we are being ourselves, expressing our views or differing with others.  There's no need for  placating people. If others are upset, we can empathize, but their feelings are their responsibility.  People will not always get what they want. They will have to work at getting their needs met.

       I'm thankful knowing that feeling responsible for the disappointment of others is a serious boundary crossing.
3. I'm thankful that no one can make any human happy, sad, or have any other feeling without that person giving them permission to do so.  Our feelings our our property. It reminds me of the saying:
"I block my well being every time I base my self-worth on what I do or what other people think of me.  Courage to Change, 118

4.  Life is good. I know a loving God, I have loving, caring friends and family. How could I not be happy? 
            Oh yeah, there's a word for the enslavement I talk about in gratitudes one and two:  codependency.

Tuesday, January 17

Staying in the Moment, Enjoying My Son's Special Day

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
Thornton Wilder
          Good evening,
How are you? My day went well. Recently, the inn has had technical challenges. I've contacted someone who can help me. Lately, due to these problems, I've felt like I was alone on an ice floe. I look forward to hearing from you who drop by.

My Gratitudes For This Wintry Day: 

1. I celebrated my son's birthday today with the family. It was

Monday, January 16

An Emotionally Expressive, But Good Day

     Good evening everyone,
A good day was had by your innkeeper. I cried perhaps six times today. But they were good tears. I am exhausted, but

A Birthday Letter to My Oldest Son .......................1/16/12

That's my son, when younger, tweaking my nose. (Kidding.)

      Well, no one screamed when I added to the scariness of the day by presenting

Sunday, January 15

Not Accepting Unacceptable Behavior........... 1/15/12

Image: "Inspiring!" by Tim Blessed. Copyrighted. Used by his kind permission.
     It had been twelve days since I had posted photos in the inn.  Did you

Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Contentment makes poor men rich. Discontentment makes rich men poor. (Photographer's caption.)
Image: "Wetlands: Autumn Sunshine" by Tim Blessed. Copyrighted photograph, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
        Have you missed the photographs I normally post on the walls of the inn?  I hope so. I want to believe

Saturday, January 14

       Wow. Double wow. A phenomenally excellent football game was the gift given to those of us in the Bay Area. My sons and I enjoyed the brutal slug-fest of a contest; my oldest son remained and decided to be late for work, in order to not miss the outcome.

   We hung out at Bowser's on Park Avenue in Alameda. The contest was decided until the last six seconds. 

  My Gratitudes for Today
1. I'm feeling better. 
2. I have a fantastic family and I'm thankful for my relationship with God. 
3. Many are frequenting this inn. I'm glad you find something that makes your stay enjoyable. Make sure to enjoy the various paths of posts that lead you to an Attitude of Gratitude.
4.  The online name for this inn has IMPROVED! You can now reach me by typing in The Attitude of Gratitude Inn. This address is less cumbersome than the previous: profilesgooglecomPaulNorthernCal.blogspot.com. 
5. I purchased two books. 
       One, a book about literary criticism of Shakespeare (I resisted the urge to buy one tome on his sonnets and poems.) The other buy was a classic book of poetry I once had. I lost it and love its contents dearly. 
       I'm in heaven to be reacquainted with this old friend that has spanned decades. It informed, shaped and created important parts in my worldview. 
6. I met a wonderful sales clerk at the Books Inc. store. With her help I ordered two other books that are useful for research. I'm excited seeing gaps in my library getting filled. God is restoring to me the years the locust have eaten. 
7. I'm meeting two special friends tomorrow. 
      First, time with a friend with whom I had the most special conversation of 2011.  I eagerly await our visit. Later, I may ride my bike with a friend who'll bring hers, weather and health permitting. We'll scout out the charming, quaint, safe, picturesque city known as Alameda. 
      Now, what might be your gratitudes? I've shared mine. Would it be possible for me to hear yours? Thanks!

Friday, January 13

Hope for the Past: Overcoming Negative Legacies ............1/13/12

Image: "Countryside: Wheat Flower" by Tim Blessed. Used by permission.
 All rights reserved. Copyrighted photo. Photo added to this post 3/4/12 
     If you have not read the post written earlier tonight, you might want to. I wrote the ten month anniversary post. In it are some surprises. 
Gratitudes for Friday the Thirteenth!
1. Writing, I love writing. 
     Even though it can be aggravating, when trying to express myself. It's also fun: like a Rubik's Cube. It can be

A Special Day 1/13/12

I'm Still Recovering 

         I was reclusive and considerate at the same time, this week. I would not wish anyone depleting the number of

Wednesday, January 11

The Innkeeper Has Returned, In a Fashion

 Victorians are common in Alameda
 
       Good evening friends, fellow visitors to this inn of encouragement,
I'm learning the ropes as to handling my week-long bout of illness. Maybe I should have eaten some limes.

Monday, January 9

   Good evening everyone,

Now a word with some of you who drop by and post:

Kelly, you must be happy with all the support your getting from your family.
Muse, thanks for your recent comments. How was your weekend? What do you look forward to, this week?
Paul S,  are you there? You've my prayers as you develop your business. Thanks for your support.
Phyllis, are you still dropping by?How are you doing with your walking regime?

***************************

         I'm still ill. My mind a bit addled. I'll be up and running soon. Right now I'm laying down and my nose is runny. You know what it means if a guy has a runny nose and smelling feet? (Check the answer at the bottom of this post.)

I'm Getting in My Gratitudes: 

1. I saw a sweet movie: "War Horse."  An old fashion film by Steven Speilberg. A  boy's love for his horse, sort of deal.
2. I saw another sweet movie: "I Bought a Zoo." It's was a welcome change seeing films that resorted to wholesome virtues and avoided the features found in many movies---sex and violence.

      I saw these two films, for free, early last week. I was well, then. Right now, I'm hunkering down at my place in Alameda, in my bedroom. I'm a generous guy but when it comes to germs, I'd rather keep them to myself, thank you.
3. I'm thankful for my new bed. I needed it, and how, now that I've been sick.

    What can you share, that might uplift your innkeeper? I'd love hearing from you.

   Tomorrow, if I feel better, I think I'll share with the visitors of this inn how I'm going to deal with someone who had been unreliable in my interactions with him.

        Have a terrific Tuesday; may it be great day and may it fill with plenty of gratitude.



Sunday, January 8

Where Has the Innkeeper Been?

 Good evening everyone,

I've been sick with a cold. Every remedy I've tried has not worked. I slept all day yesterday and slept in today. I have stories to share, but I'll wait until I'm feeling better. It's no

Friday, January 6

My Gratitudes for this fine evening. 

1. My business is growing. 
2. I met with three clients yesterday---I enjoyed the sessions we had. 
3. I had dinner with my oldest son.  
4. I bought a new mattress---can't wait to try it out after this post. 
5. I'm sick. I'm not thankful for that, but I am grateful for the opportunity it provides me to slow down.
6. I worked on putting up new shelving in my kitchen. I can always use more shelf space there. 
7. I'm going for a walk around Lake Merritt with a friend tomorrow. Can't wait; the distance is 3.1 miles
8. Several of you posted comments this week. Thanks for doing so. 
9. We had new visitors from Saudi Arabia, welcome!
10. I saw a sweet movie yesterday. "I Bought a Zoo, " a true story. 
11. On this day, more than 30 years ago, I surrendered my life to God. It was the best decision I've ever made. I am grateful for knowing His Presence, Love and Strength. 

Wednesday, January 4

  Boy, did I have an interesting and startling day.  I'm tired so I'll work on this blog again, tomorrow. But this is what I have for this late evening.


      This evening, I faced fears and went back to an unpleasant environment. The results were much better than I expected. Three clients of mine showed up, they came to see me, they knew I'd be there.  We haven't connected in awhile, due to the holidays and they wanted to get ahold of me.
     At tonight's event, I spoke up. As you know, I enjoy speaking publicly, I've been doing it for several decades, since I was 10 years old, when I ran for office in school. 
     I mentioned no one can make us happy, sad, angry or any other feeling, without us giving them permission to do so.  Saying, "You get me mad, or you hurt me" is not a true statement. It is our choice to let others affect us. 
    This fact allowed me to not be distraught when someone yelled at me, at this same event, last week. I'm human, tonight, before walking through the door of this meeting, I said a prayer. I released my feelings to God. I asked for His grace, love and acceptance to be with me while attending this gathering, and for his message to flow through me, if I spoke.  I was apprehensive before entering the room, though----who likes someone correcting them, in front of fourteen others, especially when it was based on speculation, not fact?
     While sharing with this group, I mentioned that when we try controlling others, we take away that person's dignity. One basic right of any adult is the ability to make a decision.  Control by someone else does not grant them that right. Everyone was quiet after I spoke.
      I saw a friend at the event, we planned on going for a walk around Lake Merritt this Saturday.

1. I'm thankful for facing my fears tonight. 
2. I look forward to Saturday's stroll
3. I met with John S. this evening, after everything else was over. I enjoyed our conversation at Juanita's on Park St. The same place I had dinner with another friend, last week.
4. This afternoon, I met with someone I mentor. We processed the issue of resentment. It was a rigorous but good time. 
     Unwanted Drama in the Afternoon
       Shelves in a room of mine crashed down while I was studying in that room----normally I would sit in chair placed under these elevated shelves. I'm glad they didn't fall on me. The shelves are very heavy and would have hurt me, badly. For some unknown reason I changed my routine today.
     Today, I choose to use my desk, the first time since I put the shelves up, two weeks ago.  I'm thankful for the angels watching over me, I prefer not getting any more lumps and bruises than I do. 
      The crash of books and boxes from two shelves, while studying, startled me and upset me for more than an hour, which is unusual. I think the fact I was concentrating and didn't see it coming was what disturbed me. I was preparing a presentation at the time. Having to pick up all the junk on the floor and not being able to study, or work out, which I planned to do afterwards, was frustrating. 
5.  I'm glad that I'm allowing my feelings to be felt when this catastrophe occurred. For the longest time I used to turn off my feelings, only being cognitive about life. I'm glad I feel more, and more myself and as result I don't experience the depression I once felt when I was younger. 
6. I wrote a letter to a friend from the Ukraine, not long ago. I heard from her. I'm thankful for the connection we share.
7. I scribed another letter to another friend today. I grateful for what I wrote, even though I wrote something that might of been hard for him to hear.

Tuesday, January 3

Must Have's and Can't Stands: Necessary for Healthy Relationships .........................1/3/12

“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and 
not in the mind.”  Lionel Hampton.  ImageCumbria: 
Great Gable by Tim Blessed.  Copyrighted, all rights
 reserved. Used by his kind permission.
        I'm thankful for a terrific weekend,  connecting with friends. Their accepting and positive nature only validates living diligently, consciously, with strong relational boundaries, holding on to relationships that are good for me and avoiding those that aren't.  Boundaries strengthen.  They filter out unacceptable behavior. 

"Must Haves" and "Can't Stands"

        One source of boundaries are my "Must Haves" and "Can't Stands."  They help winnow relationships.  Applying this list, helped me create an amazing group of loving, supportive people.  I do not connect with those who drain me of joy, energy or hope.  This list acts like a garland of garlic I wear around my neck, keeping me from emotional vampires. 

       What does your list of "Must Haves" and "Can't Stands" look like?   Whoa, if you don't have one.  If we aim at nothing, that's exactly what we get.  How will you know if someone violates your boundaries, if you don't know what they are?

        Some "Must Haves" that make my friendships less frustrating: 

    1. I require mutuality and equality.  The relationship needs to be a two-way street.  If it isn't, that's a deal breaker; reciprocity has to b e there. 
    2.  In our conversations, I look for mutuality. When I'm putting myself "out there," it's great knowing their thoughts, needs and feelings, too. 
    3. I relate with positive people, who stay in the solution. We'll mention the problem once.  After that, we talk about what we can do to counteract the troubling issue. 
 "We get what we tolerate."
         I need relationships that energize me, not enervate me. Complaining doesn't provide growth.  I relate with people who know their values and take healthy steps towards the life they envision. 

        Every time I use healthy principles to tackle challenges, I create a better today.  I look at my options.  I consider what I need to do to maintain my serenity. It's hard being strong, characterologically, if we are morose, have a defeated spirit, surrendering to demon of depression. 

4. I avoid emotional vampires.
"If we feel like a doormat we need to get off the floor."                  Courage to Change, p. 361
      Yes, it's fine, feeling negative feelings. It's true, grieving is important. But we need to go beyond our consternation and look at the healthy steps we can take. 

      We have choices, we have options, we discover more, when we use bond with God and our community of safe people, our Balcony People. Which leads me to........

 5. I relate with people who live in community, not those who isolate.

      Getting the most out of life, happens when we live in community with vibrant others. We don't get our healing in isolation. We need the emotional and psychological distance that allows us to address our problems. Discerning friends offer that.

       I'm fortunate, I have them.  However, growing a community takes time. Mine is the result of cultivating my relationships for twenty years.  Good friendships require time and grace and discernment and commitment.  Excellent friends need to be tended to. 

      One of my few gripes---and you know I'm a positive guy---is how cyber communities, Facebook in particular, cheapen the word "friend."  Mine would die for me.  Would those on our Facebook list do that?

      No, they wouldn't and shouldn't. What are termed as such, there, don't have that depth of love.
A man that has friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.                               Proverbs 18:24
In other words, if we want to have in-depth friendships, we need to be one, modeling what we would like to see in our companions. 

How About You? 
What are some "must haves" and "can't stands" that you want to apply in your life?  

Monday, January 2

Monday Gratitudes

1. I got rest. Mondays are usually my Sabbath.  I need it as I plan on getting several practical matters settled tomorrow. I'm happy seeing that I'm using persistence and consistency to tackle unpleasant issues. It feels good being effective.
2. I'm thankful for the closeness I feel belonging to a great group of people.I'm thankful for discernment that allows me to know which people are safe for me and who are not.
3. I had wonderful time with a friend this evening.  I value companionship and the compassion that is mine when I remain in touch with those who are dear to me, who are part of my Balcony People team.


Okay, so what are your gratitudes?

*********************************

Quotes from the Posts

"I'm mindful that our thoughts affect the words we use, our words influence our actions, our actions shape our character and our character determines our destiny."

From "My Character Determines My Destiny." To read it, please click here.

"Progress not perfection, is better than no progress at all, especially when we're trying to rid ourselves from unwelcome dragons that dwell within the closets of our soul."

From, "Still Learning" which, within four days, became the most popular post
written. To read it, please click here.

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its trouble, but it does empty today of its strength"
From the post: "Life Is Not a Correspondence Program." Click here to read it.

"Even though we cannot control our circumstances, we can control how we choose to respond to them."

From, "Handling Stress and Dealing With an Emotional Bully."Click here to read this post.

"Nope, being busy isn't exciting. Boring is good. Because boring is not boring; boring is being healthy, living a balanced life that has serenity"

From: "Do You Know What It Means If You Are Too Busy?" For more, please click here.

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