Reflections

Evil has won…? (Celebrating Independence Day!)

An interesting discussion occurred in my life on the 4th of July which is still haunting me. Without rehashing the endless details, I began to accept (?) that perhaps “evil” has already won, and that whatever acts of “good” still occur in the world today only serve to delay and disguise the truth…

Certainly evil has shown itself to be more powerful and far reaching than good, if only in the way that good has to be actively and consciously propped up in our thoughts and lives, while evil endures and thrives there. Need some examples? I think I can come up with a few…

I believe that few people besides Trump really wanted Trump’s parade, but no one could stop it from happening. I believe that most Americans disagree with the policies and criminal activities of the right wing extremists in this country, yet they continue to shove their disastrous ideas down our throats in spite of being a minority. Mega wealthy people are stepping forward to say, “yes, we agree we should pay more taxes,” but tax cuts for those few continue at the expense of the many. Members of the auto industry who lobbied for deregulation are now asking Trump’s cronies to back off, and are being ignored as completely as the rest of us. Hate crimes are being celebrated as political statements, and lawmakers are supporting the haters rather than the victims; an approach so overt, cruel and disgusting that even formerly biased and out of control law enforcement people are beginning to object…

But you know all this, so let’s look at something more personal…

I get together with my daughter and grandchildren every weekend. Since her work schedule changed we can only do dinner and a movie (rather than a whole day of family time), but we do it consistently, every week. Including last week when I was suffering from a mild concussion. I made my daughter drive, but I was there, and happy to be there. And once a month my daughter brings them to my work for Coloring Club, a bonus couple of hours we all look forward to.

But yesterday, Coloring Club day, my daughter cancelled because the other grandmother had tickets for the whole family to go to an amusement park. No problem, right? Except that after driving for an hour to get there, and paying the $20 parking fee, the other grandmother did not show up. Nor would she answer her phone when they tried to contact her; actually, she would answer, then immediately hang up. After waiting almost two hours, trapped in their car by a massive thunderstorm, the family left with angry parents and heartbroken children.

Now… Which memory do you suppose will take precedence in those children’s minds: that grandma Lisa showed up with a concussion last week for dinner and a movie, or that the other grandma left them sitting in a miserably hot car on a rainy day for hours with parents fighting, and never showed up? And you can spare me “the long run” scenarios, please. Because evil doesn’t require special conditions, attitudes, or allowances to be memorable; it simply takes over one’s entire consciousness.

And which parent do you suppose will have the greatest impact on these young ones? The mother who sacrifices time, energy, principles and common sense to try and keep the promises she makes, or the father who repeatedly lets them down, by not being home when promised, or playing with them as promised, etc…? Be honest with yourself, here. What memories compel your adult behavior – the good ones or the traumatic ones? Even if the good ones were more common and routine than the evil ones?

We can, as adults, choose to focus on the positive, but the fact that we must actively do so is answer enough for me…

I learned something else of value on the 4th of July: that I am incapable of harming another with my thoughts, no matter how much I might wish to do so. I am not proud of the experiment I conducted that night, but being rigorously honest with myself is necessary to my journey, so I freely admit to doing it. And I admit it was a conscious choice to try it.

Having spent all day contemplating this question of whether evil has already won, and whether evil is naturally more powerful than good, I willingly engaged it. I have always been at least a little afraid of the “beast” which lurks within me. I am aware of its existence. I consciously seek to control its influence in my life and my actions, “fighting the good fight” almost every day of my misguided adulthood. So I have never truly tested its power to influence to world around me.

It’s true that there are times in my life when I tried to place myself first, often at the expense of others. That guilt and shame at my actions would eventually win out reversing my course. That I’ve had to accept that, at my core, I am basically “good,” and therefore destined to lose. But this night was different…

This night I fully embraced evil. Claimed it. Made it mine! This time I opened the floodgates and let the fiery acid of hatred flow freely through my veins. Had I been physically armed and mobile, I would have eagerly gone on a killing spree. But I was neither, so I sat, and rocked, and let the hatred consume my being, wishing with all I am for violent retribution against all who were near me! For hours I sat and sent my vicious thoughts out into the world, eagerly awaiting the bloodcurdling screams announcing my success…

Nothing happened.

And lest you assume my desire to harm others was not real, please understand that I had spent hours (from 10am until 3:30am the following morning) trying to rescue a traumatized animal, while these humans around me placed their own wants above this animal’s genuine needs. My motivation to harm them was both real and deeply sincere! I would gladly have destroyed all of humanity, including myself, if it could bring one moment of peace to this poor, suffering, innocent creature!

But I could not…

In attempting to process the results of that experiment over these last couple of days, I’ve had to own up to some other hard truths as well. If my thoughts are incapable of harming others, even when deeply motivated to do so, then it’s even likelier that my thoughts are unable to heal others, knowing now that evil is truly stronger than good. Perhaps better to say evil is more powerful, thriving as it does when given the least of expression, while good struggles to impact events even when full focus is brought to that intent. Any battle between good and evil is inherently imbalanced. And pointless…

Depressing? Oh yes, most definitely. Yet ultimately freeing as well. For if it’s true that evil has already won, and that it will naturally (and eventually) consume all that is good, then why continue to fight the inevitable? Why not simply accept, and surrender, and welcome in the newest dark age with a smile of understanding. Let us hasten to the finish line, where all good ceases to exist, so that suffering ends. For it is the struggle against the inevitable that causes “suffering,” rather than the inevitability itself…

Happy Independence Day my fellow Americans! A country founded upon evil can only end in corruption. There truly is no other way…

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Reflections

Movie Dreams…

Rough night last night with movie dreams. Dramatic scenes, like out takes, removed from context, but clear nonetheless…

With sound tracks playing in the background. Snippets of songs on endless repeat…

A happy scene living with my daughter, sitting on the couch with a couple of cats and the dog asleep at my feet. The kids are spiraling out of control, and with a quiet voice, I speak their names. “Can you feel those waves of irritation coming from your mom?,” I ask. They both nod. “That means she’s had enough. For real. Settle down now…” And little one comes to sit beside me.

…our house. It’s a very, very fine house…”

Suddenly my daughter explodes! Ranting about how I stole her animals, and now I’m stealing her kids away from her! And after all she does to take care of and protect them…

I don’t know what to say, knowing no words can heal that self-inflicted pain…

***

I’m at work, encouraging my replacement to look at boxes and paperwork to try and get a sense of what’s ahead of us. “You’re going to have to learn how to prioritize,” I tell her. But she is dawdling and slow to pick things up…

“We have to step this up!,” I snap. “I’m not going to be here to hold your hand much longer, you know!”

“…turning the inside out…”

***

And here, in the waking world, things are stranger still…

Standing outside in a misty rain, watching the streams of water fall in the light from the deck spotlight. All around me the world is wet. Except me and my cat. Holding my hand out in the stream, I feel no water, though I can still see it falling. But I am not even damp, nor is my cigarette…

***

Later, and all is quiet outside. Too quiet. It’s eerie. No traffic, no factory sounds, no slamming doors. Nothing. Not even the bats are flying tonight. What is going on?

And I realize that every time I come downstairs, nausea nearly overwhelms me. Along with that sense of everything being… just totally wrong

***

Co-workers are reporting strange dreams to me. Significant images they feel compelled to share. White horses rearing in the clouds… A tiny car with removable covers on the windows. And my friend who is driving must keep shifting perspective from inside to outside the car, changing window covers, seeking the best combination that will allow her to see properly…

…talk to me. I can’t seem to speak now… talk to me… the words won’t come out right… what are you thinking?… sometimes I wonder… what are you feeling?… where do we go from here?”

And another reporting anxiety. “You know, the kind that precedes a full on panic attack.” And I can feel it all around him like a dark cloud, but none of it infects me…

***

And every time I touch my phone, my remote, or any electronic device, I can feel the electricity coursing through me. Tingling. Numbing. Uncomfortable. I must put it down…

***

Rough energy going on with movie dreams and reality. Dramatic scenes, like out takes, removed from context, but clear nonetheless…

“the ringing of the division bell had begun…”

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Reflections, Visions

Off the Rails…

I close my eyes and chaos reigns. Objects, like thoughts, flying in all directions at once. Little spirals of change and corruption, like dust devils, spinning out of control, starting with me and sliding away.

And I am also moving, aboard my little animated train. Not afraid, not anxious at all. “Just hold on, Lisa,” I tell myself. “This, too, shall pass.”

So I focus in more deeply on the swirling thoughts and objects, seeking to identify as many as possible before they are gone. But they are fast as pixies and just as sly, layering over one another before any become clear.

Just glimpses of faces. And places. Of movement and stillness. Of joy and sorrow, anger and forgiveness. My train has become a roller coaster ride… But the images are relentless, flying around, now with the weight of cars behind them. Each significant enough to warrant recognition, but moving away more quickly than my conscious mind can grasp.

I withdraw my focus, pulling back, to better see the chaos from a distance. And there goes my train car, chugging along, but oddly having no track to follow. And all about, strewn in my wake, a litter of vehicles tossed and tumbled, as though a great wind just juggled them all…

I smile. No track means no one is directing this trip, controlling where it goes. I am free of normal time and space, at least for a little while. And the tumbled tokens in my wake are proof that all of it is real, even if I haven’t figured that part out yet…

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Reflections

Reaching Out…

… one mother to another

in love, respect and honor.

Whether you birthed life,

… nurture life,

… or simply revere life,

as a woman who loves,

you are mothering.

May we reach out to touch,

… hug

… and support one another,

until our love encompasses the whole of the Earth,

embracing the One who gives Life to us all…

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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Reflections

Laughing at myself today…

… but not out loud, I’m afraid.

Not sure why, really, unless it’s just that – I’m afraid. Afraid, but not fearful. Is there even a true distinction between the two? I don’t know, but my internal vocabulary coach seems to think there is. At least for today, anyway…

I’m laughing at myself today because I cannot name my own feelings. Me?! The person who frequently preaches the need to expand our emotional vocabulary? The person who believes that accurately identifying such feelings lead naturally to resolving the foundations of them? Me?! Seriously?!

Oh yeah… Dead serious. I’m playing the cop-out game today: tired, numb, depressed(?), apathetic, detached, unmotivated, peaceful, still, nonreactive… They all feel the same to me. L, but not OL…

Change is happening. Necessary. Wanted. Expected. Hoped for. But not happy making… L, but not OL…

I am exactly where I want to be. But I am restless in the extreme. So long as I don’t have to physically move, that is… L, but not OL…

I can feel the creative impetus stirring deep within, rising up as pure potential waiting to be formed and shaped into something shareable. A cauldron boiling, glimpses of possibilities in clouds of steam, liquid manifestation just reaching the lip, poised to spill upon the world. But it is nothing attempting to influence nothingness… L, but not OL…

I am complete. My true, authentic self. Yet I am completely empty inside… L, but not OL…

How is this even real?

How can it even be real?

But if it’s not real, then that laughter echoing in silence is nothing more than madness. Perhaps that is why I am afraid…?

Laughing at my self today. But not out loud, I’m afraid…

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Reflections

My Hypocrisy is Showing (More Like Glaring)…

My granddaughter is a sadist. I say this with a cheeky grin. (I know you can’t see me, but trust me, it’s there!)

Sundays are family day for us, and I always spend them with my daughter and her two children. My grandson, Xander, is almost 8. My granddaughter, Rory, will be turning 3 on May 1st. This past Sunday was no exception. An Easter egg hunt, a movie, dinner together, and lots of time to play and snuggle on the couch…

Which is precisely what we were doing when Rory started biting her mother. They were quick nips at first, designed to elicit a response, and every time my daughter yelped, my granddaughter laughed. Of course, we all did, especially Xander. Which then encouraged Rory to bite harder and longer, followed by more laughter…

My daughter turned to me and asked, “why does my daughter laugh every time I say ‘ow!’?”

To which I could only respond, “because she’s a sadist…?”

And we both grinned.

And the “playing” continued… Only now Xander wanted in on it, biting his mom, and encouraging his sister to bite him. Until mom had had enough, and told them to stop.

So my grandson asked for time to play on his tablet, which his mom agreed to. But Rory wasn’t done playing, so she started to harass her brother. Hitting him. Kicking him. Knocking his tablet out of his hands. Trying to get his attention. Until he got so annoyed, he moved to a different chair.

His sister wasn’t about to be ignored, though, so she followed him, continuing to annoy him, and giggling all the while. He started yelling at her to stop, to leave him alone, to go play with her own toys… So she went and grabbed her baby broom that I had given her (because every young witch deserves her own broom 😉), and lifted it high over her brother to hit him.

And I snapped! “Enough!!,” I yelled, grabbing that broom in mid swing. “This is NOT a weapon, and you will NOT hit anyone with it!”

… fast forward a few moments, and imagine…

Screaming baby, held by mom, telling her she needs to apologize to her grandmother…?

Baby screaming, “I don’t wanna!”

Brother patting screaming child, hugging her, telling her “it’s ok, Rory. Grandma Lisa is just trying to tell you not to hit people… we don’t hit people…”

Baby and grandmother locked in eye contact, a battle of will fought over everyone else’s head. Neither budging from their position, neither trying to comfort the other, neither giving in…

Until grandma says to mom, “I apologize to you if I overstepped here, but she had to be stopped. And, at the risk of further tromping on your parental boundaries, I really don’t want an apology from her; I just want her to recognize my authority.”

To which my daughter responded, “no, you’re fine, mom.” And turning to her daughter, she mumbled something I couldn’t quite hear about “pissing off grandma.”

At which point baby broke eye contact with grandma, tears dried up, and everything went back to normal…

… skip ahead now and join me in my head…

It’s been bothering me, this incident, lurking on the edge of my consciousness. Why? Because we (her loving family) are helping to create this monster. I am helping to create this sadist in training. I laughed at her antics! I encouraged her! I waited until a weapon was drawn and in use before I responded negatively!

And I present myself to the world as a loving pacifist! Talk about hypocrisy! I am ashamed…

But I am not alone in such hypocrisy; this much I know. There are so many of us who believe ourselves to be truly loving, compassionate, empathic beings, who cannot (in good conscience) support the suffering of others. Yet each of us, if honest, could no doubt tell a similar tale. We’ve all had moments in which we knowingly (even guiltily) relished someone else’s suffering, stranger or friend. We slow down to witness car wrecks, gather ’round at medical emergencies, watch in fascination as cameras pan over disaster areas and war zones. We secretly high five the Universe when someone who “did us wrong, gets what’s coming to them.” We preach the value of forgiveness, and teach the inevitability of karma. We don’t just believe that “what goes around, comes around”; we count on it!

And nothing draws a larger crowd than public humiliation. Except, perhaps, a public execution…

What is wrong with us?!!!

Now, mind you, I do not encourage such callous indifference to any other form of life. I do not giggle when someone kicks a dog. I have no secret laughter in my soul when someone chops down a tree to make room for their new shed. I don’t applaud anyone who leaves an animal out in the cold for 12 hours, just to prove a point to the pet or its owner. I do not watch well shared videos of people shooting bee bees (spelling?) at squirrels. Nor do I watch documentaries about poachers shooting endangered species. I choose not to lend my attention to such tragedies. And if such violence occurs within my reach, I will attempt to stop it.

But I will (and did) laugh at my granddaughter biting her mother! I did encourage that, granting her the attention she was craving. And I’ve done it before. More than once. I am deeply disturbed by that…

… … … …

As I was leaving Sunday night, Rory ran to me, threw her arms around my legs, and cried, “don’t go! Don’t go!”

I hugged her and told her I needed to go home, but I would come back.

As I was walking to the door, she ran to me, showing me her baby broom. “I clean,” she said. “Rory clean.” And she smiled her cutest smile…

I didn’t cry until I got home. But I didn’t know why I cried until now…

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Reflections

Charlie Lucky…

Many years ago (back in the mid-90’s) I lived in an apartment with my husband and daughter. It was located in a small village set neatly in the middle of farm country. I loved the pastoral setting, the slow, diligent pace of country folk, and the peace of rural living. It was a time of great creativity for me, during which most of my current belief systems were discovered and explored, as well as the time when all of the full length books I’ve written (published or not) were authored. It was, in essence, the time that I evolved into me…

I have since refined that sense of self, of course, expanding my understanding and scope, while simultaneously letting go of all that does not fit anymore. But it was during that crucial time in my life that I learned to re-label my delusions (hallucinations?) as visions, that I gave myself permission to speak my “truth” rather than hide it, that I first started wrestling with Time and time magic. That I dedicated all of my resources toward understanding the “true” nature of reality…

And it was then that I first met Charlie Lucky. He was both teacher and test for me. He brought both unbelievable joy and unfathomable sorrow. He was every contradiction I’ve ever encountered, and yet he was as stable a presence as I’ve ever met. He opened my eyes to so many possibilities I might not have had the courage to consider on my own. And he shattered my heart when he left me. I learned what real heartache felt like. I learned I could survive it. But I could never close my heart to love again. No matter how much it hurt, I would never again be able to close off that secret inner place, to protect myself by hiding behind walls and masks, to block what might not feel right…

Without my realizing it, Charlie Lucky had cracked open my inner core and left it exposed to the world. Shielding techniques would no longer serve me. And so, the empath that I am today was forged, and would only progress from there…

Charlie Lucky was a cat…

To be fair, he was a very special cat, but he was still a cat. When I first met Charlie Lucky he was a ghost cat, a blurry white shape that crossed my peripheral vision from time to time. I wasn’t the only one to “see” him, thank goodness, which is one of the reasons I started to suspect that not all my delusions were false. His presence visited our apartment quite often, seen by both family members and guests who would often remark, “I didn’t know you had a white cat!”

To which we could only respond, “we don’t.”

Then one day I opened the back door to get something, and there he was. Mostly white with gray around both ears, and a fluffy gray tail stuck on his butt that appeared to be stolen from some other cat, for he was neither fluffy nor gray as a rule. But what really stood out was the large gray diamond on either side which marked him as both recognizable and unique.

When I opened the door that day, he was just laying there in that enclosed space (we never knew how he got in), looking sleepy eyed and comfortable, as though he’d always been. He rose when he saw me, stretched lazily, walked the few steps to the door, then sat and meowed softly, greeting me. I was instantly in love! I asked him, “are you waiting for an invitation, or do you need something else?”

He just stared at me, willing me to do something.

I stepped aside, spread my arm in welcome, and said, “come on in if you like. Of course you are welcome here.”

He blinked slowly at me, then pranced into the apartment as if he owned it…

Charlie was unique in many ways that we would discover in the short time we knew him. For example, he never required proper transitioning or introduction to our other cats; they accepted him without rancor, jealousy, or need to test him for his rank in the hierarchy. Charlie Lucky was in his own world mostly, and the other cats greeted him as a long lost friend, instantly cuddling with and grooming him. It was odd. But then, everything about Charlie was odd… Wonderfully, memorably, heartwarmingly (and wrenchingly) odd…

We soon discovered that Charlie had been born with a congenital heart defect, and a very poor prognosis. The vet warned us he wouldn’t stay with us long. And while it might of been wise to withhold a bit in preparation for the inevitable, it turned out to be impossible. He was too lovable, and too loving and wise to ignore. In the end we had about three years together. Three years that would change my life. Three years during which ghost kitty was not to be seen. Three years when every flash of white seen from the corner of my eye transformed into warm, furry, purring joy…

And then he was gone…

And ghost kitty returned… Only this time we knew his name.

When I left my husband in 2000, I found leaving my cats behind the hardest. But they were a family unit, and I knew my husband would care for them. Leaving Charlie’s ghost behind was a whole different level of heartache for me. But I packed up my courage and set out to begin the next phase of my life, leaving behind the peace and pace of country living to embrace a whole new set of unknowns in an unforgiving city. It was necessary, but terrifying and exhilarating all at once. And when I would think back on those transformative years in the country, I would remember them fondly.

More recently I would view them with a sense of wonder and awe, as so many of the things I “discovered” back then began revealing themselves in real time and space; not only had I evolved my self in that country haven, but much had been revealed to me that only needed a proper context in time to become relevant. That time has come. The threads that caught my eye in the tapestry of reality are only just now becoming visible again to my naked eye. And it is both welcomed and resisted, all at the same time…

I have grown more stable in my sense of self over the intervening years, and less vulnerable to the influence of others’ points of view. I have also become more capable of embracing others more completely as they are, without unduly trying to influence them. I have learned to love more, to hate less, to hurt more and blame less. I have more compassion and less expectation for others. I own my space, real and imagined, and grant it all the same level of authority to change my point of view. I genuinely like me today, in spite of flaws, shortcomings, mistakes, failures and lost hopes. I accept me. And so I am in a much better frame of mind to accept you…

So why this long eulogy for a cat two decades dead? Good question…

I’ve had other cats since Charlie Lucky, cats I’ve raised from near-birth to death. And while my relationships with each were unique and special, none have ever had the same impact on me, save one perhaps. That would be Shilo, my all black current partner with whom I share much of the “connectedness” I felt with Charlie. It was also love at first sight when I met Shilo, and though it would be a year or so before we could be together (he belonged to someone else at the time), our relationship has shared much of the same magic. We are empathically bonded, responding to each others’ needs without speaking, sharing dreams, and growing old together.

Shilo often comes outside with me when I smoke, exploring the back yard, checking for scent markers to see who’s been by to visit, hanging out with me like a loyal hound. But he is a cat, so more accurate perhaps to think of him as a peer, a companion, a friend. Last night, late, I went out back, and he joined me as is our routine. He explored, while I looked around, both of us seeking first around the area of our shed, where many visitors appear. There was no one there last night, so he came up to sit calmly beside me, waiting as only cats can do.

Suddenly he panicked and raced for the back door! As is our way, I was reaching for the door to let him in before my conscious mind could even grasp the change. Once he was safe inside I caught my breath, and started looking around for what might have startled him. It was then I noticed the pool of white by the shed. I stared, knowing it hadn’t been there before, and trying to identify it. It was too big to be my possum friend, and too white to be our skunk. It wasn’t the all grey tabby or the orange and white tom cat that often visit. As I stared, the animal turned to look me squarely in the eyes.

Sleepy eyed and comfortable, there sat a mostly white cat, with grey around his ears, and a fluffy grey tail wrapped around his loaf-like body. Watching him, I would have sworn that he was home, perfectly content, like he had always lived in that exact spot. My mind immediately ran through a picture list of all the neighborhood cats I’ve seen over the 4+ years I’ve lived here, but I couldn’t recall ever encountering this cat before. Then I thought of Charlie Lucky…

I called out his name softly. “Charlie, is that you?”

Two slow blinks and nothing else…

I thought of approaching him, but I was afraid I’d scare him off. So I stared. And remembered. And felt. A familiar mixture of joy and sorrow washed through me. And then I left…

When I got upstairs, I instantly fell asleep with Shilo in my lap. And I dreamed…

I dreamed of traveling with a group of co-workers, all around the world. I don’t remember now what we were doing, but it was a purposeful tour. I remember packing for it and thinking I should grab one or two more things; nothing I strictly needed for the trip, but rather sentimental and irreplaceable. I chastised myself, not wanting to over pack, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wouldn’t be coming back. In the end I left them behind, focusing on the more immediate needs of what lay ahead rather than behind.

Months later, we returned to this house, our tour completed successfully. But I soon discovered it was infested with ants and other insects, and completely unlivable. I knew we could probably bring out what we’d brought back with us, but nothing else, and I was angry at myself for not having grabbed those two small things I’d wanted to bring. But it was too late… I left, single suitcase in hand, wondering where I should hole up while planning out the next phase of my existence…

Upon waking, my first thought was of Charlie Lucky. And as I write these words today I am sobbing as though my grief is new and raw still…

Was that Charlie who came to visit me last night? Why? And why now? For one who seems so comfortable in crossing that Rainbow Bridge, in both directions apparently, he could have come to me at any time since leaving that apartment in the country behind. But he never did. Until last night…

And to show up now, when my life seems to be transitioning into something I do not fully recognize, seems significant somehow. On the surface I expect change; I am, in fact, looking forward to it. However, there is within me an almost certainty that, in spite of appearances, that change is not what I anticipated. Something is off. Not wrong, just off. Different. Unexpected. Unknown…

And I am motivated to record it here. And so I have…

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