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A journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step – Lao Tzu

Freedom

“[It is] a myth that [when I’m truly enlightened] I can rest in some assuredness that I will never again feel insecure , or feel fear, or feel doubt, or feel those emotions that we don’t want to feel.

Forget it.  That’s not it.  That’s the pipe dream.  That’s the opium that’s sold to the masses.  And they eat it up and they never get there, and they end up disillusioned.  That’s not how it works.

Freedom is never freedom “from.”  If it’s freedom “from” anything, it’s not freedom at all.  It’s freedom “to.”

Are you free enough to be afraid? Are you free enough to feel insecure? Are you free enough not to know? Are you free enough to know that you can’t know? Are you free enough to be totally comfortable knowing that you can’t know what’s around the next corner?

How will you feel about it?  How will you respond to it?  That you literally can’t know?

Are you free enough to be totally at ease and comfort with the way things actually are?

 

That’s freedom.  The other thing is the ego’s idea of freedom.”        -Adyashanti

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Celebrate the Journey by Danna Faulds

 

 

Who knows why life unfolds

the way it does; why we choose

one path or another, share the

way for a while or a day, then

say goodbye.  There is no

predictability here and less

control than we might wish.

But there is the quiet urging

of the heart, the knowing in

the soul, the wisdom that’s

beneath the mind, accessible

if we breathe and turn inside.

 

When the tide of change rolls

in we can resist or be at peace,

struggle or release.  The stuff

of life may not be ours to

understand.  It’s enough

to offer love, to receive the best

and worst, to embrace and

say farewell.  What matters

most is to celebrate each

moment of the journey.

By Danna Faulds

 

#AllbyMyselfie

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Accepting change by Sarah Blondin

wishes

May I be happy.

May I be well.

May I be safe.

May I be peaceful and at ease.

May you and I be happy

May you be happy.

May you be well.

May you be safe.

May you be peaceful and at ease.

The patience of ordinary things

The patience of ordinary things by Pat Schneider

It is a kind of love, is it not?

How the cup holds the tea,

How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,

How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes

Or toes.

How soles of feet know

Where they’re supposed to be.

I’ve been thinking about the patience

Of ordinary things, how clothes

Wait respectfully in closets

And soap dries quietly in the dish,

And towels drink the wet

From the skin of the back.

And the lovely repetition of stairs.

And what is more generous than a window?

window

Magic

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely of places.

Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.

-Roald Dahl, The Minpins

Substance

Substance

is revealed

by

silence

July 4th

photo by small circle big circle

I Ching 61

Inner joy

Outer Accord

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Collage by Small Circle Big Circle

Yes

“I don’t know who –or what–put the question, I don’t know when it was put.  I don’t even remember answering.  But at some moment I did answer “Yes” to Someone or something.  And from that hour I was certain that existence is meaningful and that, therefore, my life, in self-surrender, had a goal.”

by  Dag Hammarskjöld

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Collage by Small Circle Big Circle

Pigeons by Danusha Laméris

Because they crowd the corner

of every city street,

because they are the color of sullied steel,

because they scavenge,

eating every last crust,

we do not favor them.

 

They raise their young

huddled under awnings

above the liquor store

 

circle our feet, pecking at crumbs

pace the sidewalks

with that familiar strut.

 

None will ever attain greatness.

Though every once in a while

in a tourist’s blurry snapshot

of a grand cathedral

 

they rise into the pale gray sky

all at once.

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Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

Rock among the waves

To my daughters

“The ocean is scary.”

          “Yes, it is.”

“It is so big.”

          “I know.”

“It can hurt you.”

          “You are so right.”

“Sometimes,

just looking at the waves

and hearing the deep, low rumble

is

overwhelming.”

          “For me too.”

“When the tide is high,

the water rises and drowns

everything on the shore.”

          “Yes.”

“If the wind picks up,

the waves will slap

the rocks around

and crash

one on top of the other

and swallow

the soft, golden sand.”

          “I know.”

“They will leave bruises, marks,

and deep, deep wounds

on everything  they’ll touch.”

           “Yes, they will.

             But…

             But…

             If you can….

             Let the waves

             be

             waves.

             Let them roll in

             and  let them roll out.

             Let them come

             and let them go;

             they are just waves, you see?

             Following their own destiny,

             dictated

             by the push and pull of

             heaven and earth.

            But you, my love,

            you are a rock.

            You will stay where you belong,

             and find your strength

             in your own nature and being.

             Either out,

            in the open air

            or below,

            underneath the deep and rambunctious waters,

            you will gather life

           in and around you,

           and you will be there for those

           who will find in you

           their  refuge

            and

           home.”

 by CFP

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The journey inward

“One thing that comes out in myths is that at the bottom of the abyss comes the voice of salvation.  The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come.  At the darkest moment comes the light.”

  -Joseph Campbell

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Miracles

“Why, who makes much of a miracle?

As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,

Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,

Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,

Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,

Or stand under trees in the woods,

Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love,

Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,

Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,

Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,

Or animals feeding in the fields,

Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,

Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or the stars shining so quiet and bright,

Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;

These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,

The whole referring, yet each distinct and its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,

Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,

Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,

Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,

The fishes that swim-the rocks-the motion of the waves-the ships with men in them,

What stranger miracles are there?”

by Walt Whitman

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Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

 

 

To go into the dark…

To go into the dark with a light is to know the light.

To know the dark, go dark.  Go without sight,

And find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,

And is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

By Wendell Berry

Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

They might not need me

They might not need me – yet they might.

I’ll let my Heart be just in sight –

A smile so small as mine might be

Precisely their necessity –

                      -Emily Dickinson

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Love After Love

 

 

The time will come

when, with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

                                                                                              by Derek Walcott
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Collage by Small Circle Big Circle

The guest house

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
Empty of its furniture,
Still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out
For some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
Meet them at the door laughing,
And invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
Because each has been sent
As a guide from beyond.
-Rumi

by smallcircle bigcircle

Meditation

“Through meditation, we’re able to see clearly what’s going on with our thoughts and emotions, and we can also let them go.”

Excerpt From: Chödrön, Pema. “When Things Fall Apart.” Shambhala. iBooks.

May 8

Self-abandonment

“The biggest turning point in my life came the day I realized that adults cannot be abandoned, they can only abandon themselves.” – Susan Anderson

 

Middle life

Middle life is the moment of greatest unfolding, when a man still gives himself to his work with his whole strength and his whole will.  But in this very moment evening is born, and the second half of life begins.  Passion now changes her face and is called duty; “I want” becomes the inexorable “I must,” and the turnings of the pathway that once brought surprise and discovery become dulled by custom.  The wine has fermented and begins to settle and clear.  Conservative tendencies develop if all goes well; instead of looking forward one looks backward, most of the time involuntarily, and one begins to take stock, to see how one’s life has developed up to this point.  The real motivations are sought and the real discoveries are made. [..] But these insights do not come to him easily;  they are gained only through the severest shocks.”

from  Marriage as a Psychological Relationship by Carl Jung

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photo by Smallcircle Bigcircle

 

Lighten Up (and Do Something Different) by Pema Chödron

Being able to lighten up is the key to feeling at home with your body, mind, and emotions, to feeling worthy to live on this planet.  […]

When your aspiration is to lighten up, you begin to have a sense of humor.  Your serious state of mind keeps getting popped.  In additions to a sense of humor, a basic support for a joyful mind is curiosity, paying attention, taking an interest in the world around you.  Happiness is not required, but being curious without a heavy judgmental attitude helps.  If you are judgmental, you can even be curious about that.

Curiosity encourages cheering up.  So does simply remembering to do something different.  We are so locked into this sense of burden-Bid Deal Joy and Big Deal Unhappiness-that it’s sometimes helpful just to change the pattern.  Anything out of the ordinary will help.  You can go to the window and look at the sky, you can splash cold water on your face, you can sing in the shower, you can go jogging-anything that’s against your usual pattern.  That’s how things start to lighten up.”

from  Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chödron

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Photo by CFP

Fall in love with life by Betty Smith

 

“One rainy night, I went down to the drugstore to get a paperback to read myself to sleep on.  I picked up an Emile Zola book and stood there holding it, waiting to remember something I had read long ago.  Then it came to me: Zola had said: “To have a child, to plant a tree, to write a book.”  That, he said, was a full life!

A great stillness grew about me as I realized I’d had a child….I’d planted a tree… in fact, I’d even written a book, though when Zola said ‘book’ I am sure he meant it as a symbol for any constructive job, honestly done.

And so, according to the tenets of a great man, I had a full life.  My children had given me a quiet, never ending ecstasy all the years of their growing up.  A little thrown-away sapling that I’d planted twenty-five years ago is now a tree above my house and I have enjoyed its shade.  My children playing under it and, God willing, there will be great-grand children playing under it, too.  And I was even able to make a book out of all my hopes and fears and dreams.

No one of these things had been set down in the notebook, because they were part of me-things I took for granted.  For instance: When I was first aware that I would be a woman, I knew I’d have children.  When I wept childish tears as they cut down the only tree in our tenement yard, I knew I would plant a tree everywhere I lived.  And when at the age of eight, I got my first “A” on a school composition, I knew I would write a book some day.

I came to a clear conclusion, and it is a universal one: To live, to struggle, to be in love with life-in love with all life holds, joyful or sorrowful-is fulfillment.  The fullness of life is open to all of us.”            -Betty Smith

She survives by J. Raymond

She Survives

I love the way she survives.
Survival looked good on her.

There were no dark marks under her eyes.
Just deep inside,
but I liked the way she looked through them
and laughed at life.
She did it gracefully.
She walked over glass and through fire,
but still smiled.

And
Honestly
I’m not interested in people
Who haven’t lived and died a few times,
or known what it feels like to lose everything.

I trust the people who have
because they stand for something.
I knew what she’d been through.
I wanted to thank her for surviving
and wanted her to know
she now had someone willing to stand with her.

J. Raymond

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by smallcirclebigcircle

When we stop

“When we stop [on the spot that nails us right

to the point of time and space that we are in]

and we don’t act out, don’t repress,

don’t blame it on anyone else and also don’t blame it on ourselves,

then we meet with an open ended question

that has no constructed answer.

We also encounter our heart.”

from When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön

Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

The thing is by Ellen Bass

by Small Circle Big Circle

by Small Circle Big Circle

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.

wholeness

“As long as there is separateness, one sees another as separate from oneself, hears another as separate from oneself, smells another as separate from oneself, speaks to another as separate from oneself, thinks of another as separate from oneself, knows another as separate from oneself.

But when the Self is realized as the indivisible unity of life, who can be seen by whom, who can be heard by whom, who can be smelled by whom, who can be spoken to by whom, who can be thought by whom, who can be known by whom?”

from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

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Tree of life by Small Circle Big Circle

Trees

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”― Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum LP

Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

by Small Circle Big Circle

The Delight Song of Tsoai-talee by N. Scott Momaday

I am a feather on the bright sky
I am the blue horse that runs in the plain
I am the fish that rolls, shining, in the water
I am the shadow that follows a child
I am the evening light, the lustre of meadows
I am an eagle playing with the wind
I am a cluster of bright beads
I am the farthest star
I am the cold of dawn
I am the roaring of the rain
I am the glitter on the crust of the snow
I am the long track of the moon in a lake
I am a flame of four colors
I am a deer standing away in the dusk
I am a field of sumac and the pomme blanche
I am an angle of geese in the winter sky
I am the hunger of a young wolf
I am the whole dream of these things
You see, I am alive, I am alive
I stand in good relation to the earth
I stand in good relation to the gods
I stand in good relation to all that is beautiful
I stand in good relation to the daughter of Tsen-tainte
You see, I am alive, I am alive
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Collage by CFP

March 8 – 8 Marzo

.

“If you stop to curse

you are lost,

I said to her;

equally,

if you stop to laugh.

.

Hesitate

or

fumble

and you are done for.

.

Think only of the jump,

I implored her ….

.

And she went over it

like a bird.”

.

– from A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

.

.

“Se ti fermi a maledire

sei perduta,

le dicevo;

stessa cosa succederà

se ti fermi a ridere.

.

Esita

o

inciampa

e sei finita.

.

Pensa solo a saltare,

la imploravo….

.

E lei ci volò sopra

come un uccello”

.

da Una stanza tutta per sé di Virginia Woolf

I learned this….

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in the common hours.”

– Henry David Thoreau

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Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

The Art of Journeying / Journey of Life

Set a destination, but let the path unfold.

Let your feet follow your heart.

Regard detours and delays as opportunities
to experience something new.

Turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones.

Find balance not by standing still,
but by moving with integrity and regard
for yourself and others.

Know that you can always get to
the next step
from wherever you are.

Don’t be afraid to make an occasional
leap of faith — and if you have short legs,
borrow some wings!

Know that in the sky of your heart,
all destinations are reachable.

While you’re busy getting wherever
you’re going, turn around every so often
to give whoever’s behind you a hand.

Expect nothing, be ready for anything,
and everything will be possible!

— Terah Cox ©2001

Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

The Feather Journey by Terah Cox

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Like a feather that goes lightly
into the unknown
trusting the winds of time
to carry it home
May you too have moments
in your glorious flight
when you abandon control
over day and night
And as you float on the currents
of love and grace
letting fears give way
to a buoyant faith
Trust that you will happen
on a course that is true
and land in the place
that is waiting for you.

— Terah Cox ©2002

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver


 
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

by Mary Oliver

Life VIII

“Where there is love, there is life.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

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Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

With That Moon Language

Admit something:

Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”

Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise someone would call the cops.

Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.

Why not become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye

that is always saying,

with that sweet moon language,

what every other eye in this world is dying to hear?

by Hafiz

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Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

Compassion

Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it.

What appears bad manners, and ill temper or cynicism

is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen.

You do not know what wars are going on

down there where the spirit meets the bone.

 by Miller Williams

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Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

write your play

“If you don’t like the scene you’re in, if you’re unhappy, if you’re lonely, if you don’t feel that things are happening, change your scene.  Paint a new backdrop.  Surround yourself with new actors.  Write a new play.  And if it’s not a good play, get the hell off the stage and write another one.”

– from Love by Leo Buscaglia

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Life VII

“Arrange whatever pieces come your way.”

– Virginia Woolf

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Collage by CFP

Life VI

“Take sips of this pure wine being poured.

Don’t mind that you’ve been given a dirty cup.”

                                                                    –Rumi

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Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

Love this face

This is one of the most moving poems I have come across.

It is by Megan, author of the blog  meganhasocd.com

Love this Face

It’s taken a lifetime to love this face,
To stand before a mirror & see more than flaws,
Someone I hated staring back.
That big, crooked nose,
Downward turning eyes,
Not quite blue, green, gray perhaps.
Skin once pale,
Now fair,
Sun-kissed,
Unique.

Pain of the past diminishes with the warmth of long love.
Boys, children, now grown & gone,
Have lost the temptation to show disdain for that awkward girl-child,
Now a woman,
All curves & structure,
Maturity incarnate.

Bad-hair days a thing of the past,
I now embrace the off-blonde locks of my ancestors,
No longer crying out of shame for lack of perfection,
Something no one has or ever will.
Forgetting those awkward stages,
Moving on to love & life & now.

We are all humans,
Hair & smells & chromosomes,
Poor posture slumping about the earth,
Making the trivial important.
Beauty is a social construct,
Built by the limited, limitless minds of men,

And Women.

This face is mine and it is beautiful because I say so.

-Megan

Collage by CFP

Collage by CFP

Trust your heaviness …

Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

How surely gravity’s law,
strong as an ocean current,
takes hold of even the smallest thing
and pulls it toward the heart of the world.

Each thing—
each stone, blossom, child—
is held in place.
only we, in our arrogance,
push out beyond what we each belong to
for some empty freedom.

If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.

Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.

So, like children, we begin again
to learn from the things,
because they are in God’s heart;
they have never left him.

This is what the things can teach us;
to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

Write

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

Benjamin Franklin

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Bags by Yves Andrieux and Vincent Jalbert.           Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

BFFs

Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

“When a woman becomes her own best friend life is easier.”

Diane Von Furstenberg

Life V

“For the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: the salvation of man is through love and in love.”   — Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

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Life IV

small circle big circle

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.

If I can stop one Heart from breaking

I shall not live in vain

If I can ease one Life the Aching

Or cool one Pain

Or help one fainting Robin

Unto his Nest again

I shall not live in vain.

.

Poem by Emily Dickinson

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Life III

“What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life.  We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.  We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life-daily and hourly.  Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct.  Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.”

              —  from Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

Life II

Collage by Carolina Flaminia Perrone

Collage by Carolina Flaminia Perrone

.

“In many ways my life is about glue.

I like to take things apart and put them back together

(but, if the intention is for things to stay together,

then it is very important that they stick and stay).”

 Nancy Egol Nikkal, Collage Artist

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