The Power in the way we Think

Posts tagged ‘gratitude’

Finding the Time

Natalie is a mum of 3 from Melbourne and spends most of her time taking care of her family. In her spare time she shares her experiences of discovering the benefits of slowing down the busy-ness that is life and learning more about the things that are most important. You might like to read more about her experiences on her blog and you can find the link below her article.

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Somebody said to me the other day that they wished they could be 20 years younger but know what they knew today.

I, on the other hand, love being the age that I am but wish that I could have the same energy, confidence and self-esteem that I had when I was 15. Sure, I was naïve, idealistic and a bit more self-obsessed than I am nowadays, but the dreams, ideas and passion that I once had before the “real world” took over is what I long for today.

As a society, we are more consumed with living life at full speed and meeting unrealistic expectations of what our lives should look like that we forget who we really are, and we forget the dreams and ambitions we once held during the prime of our youth.

Our busyness means we don’t have the time to look within ourselves to find the love and gratitude that we already have that’s now hiding behind a veil of stress, anxiety and low self-esteem perpetuated by the external world. Those everyday distractions, routines, to-do lists, schedules, appointments, calendars and obligations are blockages that prevent us from attracting a life that we so desire.

What would our lives look like if we stripped away all the busyness, the distractions and comparisons we cling onto?

Prior to becoming “unbusy” over a year ago, I was living up to society’s expectations of what a mother and a wife should be that I lost the confidence, passion and determination I once had. What was important to me was hosting the most fun and coolest kids birthday parties, ticking off all the tasks on my daily to-do lists, going to gym classes and watching my diet and keeping up with what everyone else was doing.

I was looking to the external world to help boost my happiness, my self-esteem, my self-worth.

But over time, something about my life did not feel right. I had everything to be grateful for but why was I still unhappy? Why did I feel like crawling into a hole? Why did I feel like a shadow of my former self?

Because I was too busy to realise that all I had ever wanted was already within me, I just had to take the time to find it.

So I decided to unbusy myself!

busy life Natalie

I began my unbusy journey by decluttering my home over a 6 month period, room by room, and in doing so created more time that I previously wasted on household chores. My kids also started to learn to appreciate having fewer toys and clothes, and learnt about the importance of donating to charities and trying to reduce the environmental impact of having too much stuff.

My focus then moved onto analysing where I was spending and wasting time, so I did a “time stocktake”; I spent a week keeping a diary of all the activities and tasks I spent my time on. This allowed me to see exactly what was creating my busyness: spending too much time on social media, wasting time engaging in gossip and meaningless conversations with others, thinking and planning too far ahead into the future and not focusing on the present moment.

Here are some key things I have discovered about myself during my unbusy journey:

  1. By removing stuff and people from my life that did not serve me well, I was able to move the focus from the external world into my internal world, and I discovered that my confidence and self-worth is dictated by ME.
  2. I have more time to enjoy new pursuits in life, including things I have never tried before- this gives me a sense of satisfaction and pride.
  3. I have more time to serve others who need help, and by doing so I feel a sense of gratitude and humbleness.

We have the ability to control the way we feel about ourselves and how we live our lives by focusing on what’s most important and removing the blocks to our happiness. To be able to do this, we need to live at a slower pace, which will give us the time to look within ourselves to find the confidence and strength we need to create the best versions of our lives.

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Natalie Alleblas created Unbusy Me to offer a different perspective on living, and to give inspiration and tips to those who want to become unbusy but don’t know where to begin, or are unsure how it will help them live a more meaningful and satisfying life. She writes tips and inspirational ideas, and shares stories about how she lives an unbusy life along with her husband and 3 kids in suburban Melbourne, Australia. You can find her blog at www.unbusyme.com and her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/unbusyme.

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Finding your Passion

I found this video on my Facebook wall. Looking at the title, I was a little nervous about watching it at first. But my anxiety eased as I realised what it was. Rather than being about pushing your body to the limits as I thought, it was more about finding your passion and persisting in working toward making it a reality, even through the routine of day-to-day drudgery. Especially through the routine of day-to-day drudgery.

Take a look. When I watched and really listened to the audio track, I heard about how to achieve your dreams and follow your passions.

I think many of us travel through our day focused on just getting to the end of it. And the following day we do the same thing. And we do it the day after that too. And the day after that. And even the day after that. When we get to the end of all those days, what do we have to show for it? How do we feel?

Tired? Bored? Empty? Like a mouse running around on an endless treadmill? Maybe like a robot on autopilot?

How do you feel about what you’re doing with your life and about yourself as a human being?

Is there any variety and excitement in your life? Chances are if you’re just going through the motions of your day, there probably isn’t much variety at all.

However, if you could wake up and know that you were heading into a day filled with meaning, passion and excitement, how differently would you feel? And if you could finish the day with a sense of achievement knowing that you have made a difference to the world in some way, would you want to recreate that the following day? I’m betting the answer is a resounding yes!

If you had a reason to jump out of bed to get a head start on your day, would it make a difference to how you approached the sunrise?

I’m guessing that if you absolutely loved what you do, were passionate about it, and wanted to create changes in the world that really made a difference, your life would feel completely different.

So how can you make that happen?

By doing what you love. By following your passions and living your purpose.

Do you know what that is?

If not, consider these …

  • Think back to when you were a kid. What did you love to do? What were you really good at?
  • If money weren’t an issue in your life, what would you do each day?
  • What’s the first thing you think about doing when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you think about before you go to bed?
  • If you were to write a creative story (or novel), what would the primary story-line be?
  • Try out a few different things that appeal. Join some clubs, talk to some people and see what they like, then try a few of those things too. Give these new activities a chance to see whether you really like them. Remember that for every activity you dislike, you’re one activity closer to finding what you love.
  • Get really clear on your values. What are the things in your life that you couldn’t live without? What are the things that make your heart sing? What makes you feel grateful and blessed?

When you follow your heart and your passion, your life starts to flow. Everything feels easier, you feel better about yourself and your self-esteem sky-rockets. Which way of life would you rather live?find your purpose

Why I write …

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post and I feel bad for not posting more often. That said, there is a reason for it and I know that ultimately for my long-term vision, the delays now will translate to the freedom of expression that I yearn for later. I am hoping that this post will help clarify what is going on for me and where I am heading with my destiny.

I have been invited to participate in a blog hop by a lovely lady named Leanda. She writes over at Write to Heal. To find out more about her work please visit her site and check out the incredible work she does. I guess the easiest way to explain a blog hop is to say that it is a tool to assist bloggers and writers to link and network with each other. Readers are also given a chance to learn more about the blogger/writer and what makes them tick. The topic I have been challenged with is “why I write” …

What am I working on?

I work as a counsellor and have been doing so for 10 years. My current job has provided me with the opportunity to transform from a new counsellor with raw talent to a professional clinician. Part of my job is to write and develop group workshops. I have recently launched a range of half-day workshops to help people with a variety of issues that are relevant for our client base. The response to these has been nothing short of amazing and the outcomes have been powerful.

I am also studying a Master’s degree in Applied Psychology. I’ve been performing practicum requirements in a placement workplace whilst simultaneously attending classes on campus, learning about neuroscience (what happens inside the brain when it is impacted by issues such as trauma, addictions and mental health) and how this translates into the day-to-day practice of psychology. This has given me invaluable information in how to utilise my skills with clients.

In the little spare time I have, I am also working on my first book; a small how-to, easy to understand guide on how people can prevent others’ issues impacting on them.

When I look at how much I have been doing at work and what I’ve been doing at university, and when I consider that the university campus is a 4 hour round trip each week, I wonder how I have remained sane. But, both work and study are providing me with some exceptional skills that I can use in my professional life after graduation. I have a clear vision of where I want to be and as much as I want to make it happen now, I have discovered that for the moment, I need to prioritise self-care above the vision, because ultimately to reach the vision I need to get through the qualifications.

How does my writing differ from others in its genre?

I try to impart knowledge of psychology and the mind. Much of the information out there in this niche seems to be quite technical and can be difficult to understand for people who have no experience with it. I pride myself on my ability to write for people who have no understanding in how the mind works and how changing small things can help them transform their lives in big ways.

Why do I write what I do?

I want to educate, inform, inspire and lead people to live their best lives. I want people to love who they are, to accept and embrace themselves fully and unconditionally. And if I am to support others in their journey, I need to be able to practice what I preach. So I also use my writing as a way to process the stuff in my head and get clarity in my own mind of the direction I am heading and the future awaiting me.

How does my writing process work?

I began writing originally as a way to vent and process the turmoil in my head. I used it as an act of self-care. It has undergone a transformation over the past twelve months or so; from a personal method of self-care to a professional means of communication to impart knowledge and education.

The process is much the same whichever goal I have (personal or professional). An idea will spark in my mind. I’ll often let it simmer for a while, formulating a vision for the final product. When I sit down to write I simply allow my fingers to do what they do. I find that if I just go with the flow and allow my instinct to lead; my writing is strong and powerful. When the words naturally taper off I go back to edit for spelling, grammar and sentence structure, sometimes leaving it a while before doing so to get a fresh perspective.

 

The final part of this blog hop is to introduce you all to three people who will be hopping right behind me and taking their turn in sharing why they write.

 

Glenda Bishop Healthy StoriesGlenda Bishop helps people to live a healthier life by inspiring them to eat better, become stronger, and live a calmer and more content life. She is a Registered Nutritionist, neuroscientist, and personal trainer, who is particularly interested in how your physical health strengthens your mental wellbeing. After becoming frustrated by the mixed health messages that abound across the internet, Glenda founded Healthy Stories to create a place where the science of health meets real life. At Healthy Stories you will find tips for healthy eating and living, delicious healthy recipes, and practical ways to improve your wellbeing.

 

 

Kate MooreKate Moore is passionate about life. She coaches others in work, life and health to master and love what they do, live intentionally, design the life they want, build a healthy lifestyle and feel at their best. You can find Kate over at Lift Coaching where she blogs about all things life, love, health, work, motivation, mastery, passion, values, gratitude and inspiration related. Kate takes a very practical and action-driven approach to … well, everything and loves helping others get ‘unstuck’ by identifying their personal strengths and using real life skills and tools to change habits and behaviour, and get people where they want to go. You can also find Kate on Facebook where she shares daily quotes, interesting reads, recipes, workouts and lots of other bits of pieces to brighten your day.

 

Emma Fahy Davis is a journo who turned to blogging as a way of exorcising the words in her head while taking a break from the media to raise her five daughters. She blogs at Five Degrees of Chaos about the chaos that comes with having a big family, her experiences with mental illness and living with the legacy of addiction, and about the challenges of parenting a chronically ill child. In between refereeing sibling squabbles and moonlighting as a taxi driver to a relentless army of small people, she can be found hanging out on Facebook and Twitter.

Take Care of You!

You are worthy. Simply because you exist.

By definition, the fact that you are alive, that you breathe the air, that you walk this earth, is enough reason to justify your worthiness.

There are no conditions on this.

No “I can only be worthy if everyone likes me”

No “I can only be worthy if I please everyone in my life”

No “I can only be worthy if I work myself to the bone”

No “I can only be worthy if I take care of as many people as I can”

No “I can only be worthy if I do favours for other people”

No “I can only be worthy if …..” (insert any other idea your brain gives you)

When we put conditions on the way we love ourselves, we restrict so many things in our lives. You end up doing everything you can to please other people or working so many hours you never get time to yourself. Or taking care of everyone except yourself. Or doing things for other people to the extent that you never get time to do the things you enjoy. (Insert any other condition your brain conveniently provides).

Those conditions come about for a variety of reasons. Most of the time we receive certain messages and our beliefs about ourselves are formed by listening to them. They can be subtle or they can be said outright. We hear and interpret the words and we learn to say them to ourselves. We believe them.

Here are a couple of facts:

Those messages are always untrue. The words we use sound true. The emotions attached to the words feel true. However, they always lie. Always.

There is no justification.

The truth is indisputable.

You are worthy of being taken care of.

Simply because you are alive. Simply because you were born.

take care of you mindseteffect

30 Things to do to Yourself

The other day I came across an article that listed 30 things that people needed to stop doing to themselves in order to feel happy and fulfilled. It proclaimed, “when you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you”. You can see the full article here if you’re interested.

The thing is, the language used in this post is worded in the negative. Don’t do this, don’t do that. When I read things phrased in this way I often end up wondering what I CAN do if not the things listed. The brain cannot tell the difference between them. If I told you to NOT, under any circumstances, think about a red car, I’m willing to bet that the first thing that comes to mind is a red car.

So, when we tell ourselves NOT to do something, our brains literally block out the “NOT”. Have you ever tried to tell a child not to run on wet concrete? I bet they run faster! Have you tried telling a child not to eat the chocolate bar in the fridge? I bed the next time you walk by, the chocolate bar will have disappeared and you can see smears across his or her mouth. If you want a child to follow your instructions, you need to tell him/her what TO do, rather than what NOT to do. Walk along the concrete. Eat the grapes (and put the chocolate bar out of sight).

So, I decided to rewrite it. And rephrase it. Let me know what you think:

  1. Spend time with happy people who support you – spending time with people who drain you is tiring! Find some silent presencepeople will stand by you when you’re at your worst.
  2. Face your problems – Yes, it’s hard work. Every person on the planet finds it challenging to face difficult situations. We are built to flounder. To feel emotions such as sadness or hurt. To stumble. Learning and adapting helps mold us into the person we are meant to be.
  3. Be truthful with yourself – it really does help you make those adjustments and to step up when you face difficulties.
  4. Put your own needs first – you are special too, and you deserve to be taken care of. Allow yourself to follow your passion and do something that matters to you.
  5. Be your true self – allow yourself to be who you really are and you will naturally attract the right people who love you.
  6. Allow yourself to move forward and take new opportunities.
  7. Make friends with failure – you learn so much more from getting things wrong than getting them right. Every success has a series of failures behind it. Every time you fail, you get closer to success.
  8. Let go of past mistakes – mistakes help us find the things and the people who are right for us. Every error teaches you something and prepares you for the things that are right for you. Right here, right now, you have the power to shape your future.
  9. Allow happiness to find you – the things that satisfy us are totally free. Take note of the little things and allow them to fill your heart with joy.
  10. Look for happiness within yourself – looking to others for your happiness is fraught with danger and opens you up to being controlled by the other person’s moods. Create your own stability and own your own power for happiness. It starts with what is on the inside.
  11. Be prepared to go after what you want – you can’t make it to your goal unless you take the first step. Take some risks. Make decisions and take decisive action on what you want.
  12. Allow yourself to grab opportunities outside your comfort zone – it’s common to feel uncomfortable when
    found on art.com

    found on art.com

    opportunities present themselves. You may not feel ready, but you don’t have to be. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

  13. Fall in love for the right reasons – there is no need to rush. Allow it to happen when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.
  14. Be open to new relationships – even when old ones didn’t work. There is a purpose for everyone you meet. Some are to teach you what you don’t need in your life.
  15. Run your own race – when you compete with others you do yourself a disservice. Competing takes you away from being your true self.
  16. Count your blessings – you always have something that is worth feeling blessed for. Why would you bother keeping track of someone else’s blessings when you have your own?
  17. Be prepared to get back up when you fall down – life is full of challenges and falling down is inevitable. When you reflect back on those moments you’ll often find they led you to a better place or situation.
  18. Let go of grudges – allow love to fill your heart and let the hate go. When you hold onto grudges you end up hurting yourself more than the person it’s directed toward.
  19. Raise your standards – if you keep your standards above those of the people around you, your heart will always be full.
  20. Give yourself permission to make your own decisions – if you listen to your heart you will always know what to do. There is no need to justify or explain yourself to others.
  21. restTake a break – especially when you feel like you don’t have time for one. The perfect time to take some breaths is when you feel the most stressed.
  22. Find the beauty in the small moments – the best parts of your days will be the small moments. Enjoy them.
  23. Enjoy the imperfections – nothing is ever perfect. It doesn’t exist.
  24. Embrace challenges – some things are not easy. Especially the things that mean the most to you. Embrace the challenge and work for what you want.
  25. Allow yourself to cry – it’s ok to fall apart sometimes, you don’t have to suck it up all the time. You don’t need to have things going well all the time. Crying is cathartic and healing. It gets rid of toxins in your system and cleanses your emotions.
  26. Take responsibility for your life – and your decisions. When you blame others you allow them to control you. Own your power by owning your decisions and actions.
  27. Choose what you do wisely – trying to be everything to everyone will very quickly drain you of your energy and burn you out. Make your choices based on the things that are most important to you.
  28. Let go of your worries – at least some of them. Ask yourself if this situation will matter in one year. What about in three years? Or five? If the answer is no, let it go.
  29. Focus on what you want to happen – rather than on what you don’t want to happen. By doing this you train your brain to look for the opportunities and the blessings.
  30. Be grateful – find 5 things each day that you are grateful for. You’ll soon find yourself inundated with the beautiful blessings in life rather than the missing links.

gratitude breathe it in

My Journey with Anxiety

As promised, here is Sam’s journey with anxiety. She has one cute cat that clearly loves cleaning!

Thanks neanderthal man!

Thanks Neanderthal man!

Well thank you Neanderthal man, for the very unhelpful ‘fight-or-flight’ response that triggers my anxiety constantly!  The split-second response you developed to help you either fight or flee from some man-eating predator, by pumping your body full of adrenalin, is often not a very helpful  response to the challenges of modern life (although if a sabre-tooth tiger sneaks up on me, I’ll probably be very grateful for it!).

My earliest memory of feeling anxiety is when I was about three and not wanting to be separated from my mum.  My mum was my nurturer, she kept me alive and safe.  Did I feel okay about being dropped off at kindy or with dodgy relatives … umm … NO!!  Cue separation anxiety!!

As a child I began to develop the traits of perfectionism … I tried very hard to do my best and make people happy.  Conflict within my family made me very nervous … my heart would race, whilst my mind searched for a solution as to what I should do to ‘fix’ things.  Often I would feel so ill-equipped and overwhelmed I did and said nothing.

In primary school, as we lined up to take our turn at high jump, I began to seriously freak out, based on the fact my anxiety constantly reminded me that I was hopeless at most things, especially sport and that everyone would probably laugh at me.  “I can’t do this!!”  I thought.  I asked to go to the toilet, where I stayed for a good 10 minutes hatching a plan.  I went back to the teacher and told her that I’d just been sick.  The school called my mum who came and picked me up.  Crisis averted!  Anxiety: one, conquering my fears: zero

what makes you worryIn high school, I worried excessively.  I worried about how I looked, how I walked, how I dressed, how I did academically, what people thought of me.  By the end of high school I had developed a secret eating disorder that I told no one about.  The relationship between my anxiety and self-esteem, my mind and body, my desire for perfection and my overwhelming fear of stepping outside my comfort zone was rock-solid.  My anxiety led me to give away my power to those who seemed more self-assured and this often left me vulnerable to being hurt or treated badly.

In my twenties I suffered several, debilitating panic attacks as well as a few unique phobias (please do not mention the word ‘button’ to me, it makes me feel sick and I had trouble just typing it!!).  I put myself under an enormous amount of pressure and was extremely judgemental of myself: how I looked, how I performed at school, work, university.  I can add in social phobia too – not a big fan of parties and meeting new people.  Of course I married someone who is extremely social and extroverted, I think deep down I knew he would be someone who could gently challenge me out of my comfort zone.

In my thirties I began to learn more about the link between mental and physical health.  I saw counsellors and indeed trained as a counsellor, as I was very motivated to help other people.  It turns out there are some underlying medical reasons that contribute to my anxious state, so taking appropriate supplements and undergoing regular medical assessment is one way of managing my anxiety.

worry box

Place your worries in here

Worry stones. They will hold all your worries for you.

These worry stones will hold all your worries for you.

Just as important are the emotional and psychological strategies I use.  I have learnt from experience how to identify my increasing anxiety.  I experience tightness in my chest, start feeling a bit hyper and confused and my mind starts racing with problems, solutions and a lot of negative self-talk.  In these moments I have learned that I can calm myself down by:

  1. Recognising that my anxiety is starting to increase
  2. Taking a time out to focus on what I need right now in the present moment
  3. Slowing down my breathing (pretend I am deeply inhaling the scent of a flower and then blowing out a candle on a birthday cake, repeat this at least 3 times)
  4. Analysing my thinking & challenging my irrational thoughts:  how likely is it really that the plane will crash or my pants will fall down mid speech?

I also regularly practise gratitude.  I have a very loving family and a roof over my head.  My health is quite good.  Being grateful for what I have helps me feel calmer and less critical of myself.  Anxiety is sometimes seen as the difference between who you are and who you think you should be.  I am just me and I am very lucky to be here.  All of us are perfectly imperfect and we need to take back our power by acknowledging that we have just as much right to be here and be happy as the next person.

I realise now that anxiety is a normal part of being human.  That it is often driven by the human desire for survival which is, in other words, the fear of dying, especially before one has led a long, rich and fulfilling life.  It is the fear of pain and of those who you love suffering in any way.  However, fearing mortality doesn’t keep us alive any longer; it merely prevents us from fully enjoying life while we are here.

So I accept and appreciate my anxiety for helping me to be aware and alert and to stay safe, for warning me when there might be a sabre-tooth tiger lurking outside the cave.  But I am also thankful that with time I have learnt to take a breath and not jump to conclusions and that when I start panicking I can pause before choosing how to react.  Take some calming breaths and assess the situation – that sabre-tooth tiger shadow might be cast by a little kitten that just needs a cuddle.

Sams cat

Cleanliness loving cat or lonely saber-toothed tiger?

Bio

My name is Sam and I am a 39-year-old mum of two and a counsellor.  I support carers who care for a loved one with a mental illness or developmental disorder.  I have a special interest in supporting parents and carers of children with autism and Aspergers.  I am also experienced in counselling and supporting clients who have suffered sexual assault, complex trauma, PTSD, grief, depression and anxiety.

10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out

This blog post was shared on facebook today and I wanted to share it. Wellness is all these things and more 🙂

 

10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out.

via 10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out.

Emotional words and substitutions

I found a blog post on another site that I thought might be useful for some people. If you have ever found yourself caught up in the cycle of negative thinking, this article may help.

“I can never do anything right”. “I feel so lonely”. I can’t do this, it’s too hard”.

All of these and more.

This article gives you a few choices to change some of the words you use. If you can change just one or two words whenever you catch yourself voicing the negative words, over time you could change your perspective and be living a life with less negative emotions and more of the ones that help you. The full link can be found here. http://www.misterpma.com/1/post/2013/11/the-negative-to-positive-emotion-transformation.html

Also take a look at one of my previous posts here that will give you a little information about how these thought processes work. https://themindseteffect.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/they-made-me/

I’d love some feedback on how helpful you find both articles, so feel free to comment below 🙂

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We are emotional beings, this is what we are. Everything that happens in our life makes us feel some sort of emotion. Whether it’s the satisfaction from eating our morning breakfast, the anger from our daily commute to work, the challenge from working out at the gym, the joy from spending time with loved ones, the calmness from relaxing in a quiet place alone, or the sadness from dealing with some sort of loss, we feel emotion in everything we do and we will continue to do so for the rest of our life. Therefore if we are bound to feel emotions for the remainder of our life, why should we be stuck feeling negative emotions?

Well for some reason, over the years that the English language has been developing, we have decided to create almost two times as many words describing negative emotions over positive ones . It is estimated that there are over 2000 words describing negative emotion, while at the same time just over 1000 words describing the opposite. Luckily we as humans were given one amazing gift, which is the ability to choose.

This ability to choose allows us to do something pretty amazing, it allows us to change the words we use to describe the emotions we feel. As such we can simple turn a words like depressed to on the road to a turn around, frustrated to challenged, or I hate to I prefer. By simply choosing to use a not so negative word to describe your emotion you will slowly, but surely start to feel more and more positive one word at a time.

Let’s take a quick look at some negative words and a more positive twist on them:

emotions alternatives

As you can see, your emotional state can quickly be altered just by simply changing the words used to describe such feelings. Although you will still be describing the emotions you’re feeling from the situation, you now will be feeling it in more of a positive light.

I now challenge you to choose five of the words above you think you will use today and try to use the positive transformation version instead. I promise if you do this long enough the emotions you feel will become more positive.

 

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