Archive for the 'emotions' Category

Dreams of Vampires, Walking Dead: Why We Need Them in Our Dreams

When a dream is frightening like a nightmare, it isn’t as bad as you may think.    We need vampires and zombies and monsters.  They give us valuable insight into our own process and help to head is in the right direction in our lives.    You are not a bad person or really messed up because you have a nightmare even though the fear can stay with you for sometime after.    A vampire has a message to give us just like any other symbol.   They are not unlike snakes or sharks or other frightening phenomena.   Why are they valuable?  Why should we not just try to instantly forget them?

Human beings have two natures.  We have a self-centered, materialistic, ego-driven animal aspect to our selves, and we have a higher nature that is full of positive qualities that we call our true self.    The goal of life is to develop all of the positive qualities we can and then put them into practice for the benefit of humankind so that when we cross over to the next domain, we will have much greater capacity.      The two natures always live side by side in us and actually cooperate together to wake us up so that we will transform into better people.     The ego is where the fear is.  It is also home to other negative aspects that have a temporary nature like jealousy, hurt, guilt, greed, and loneliness.

Fear is not bad.  It is just a message from the ego that it feels threatened and wants to protect you.  When you have a vampire in your dream,  it is a message that the ego is under threat from something or someone that wants to suck out all of your blood.   Since blood is the symbol for life,   a vampire is that force that wants to suck out all of your life energy.     Now if you want to change and become more effective and more beneficial to others,  it is very valuable to begin exploring questions around what is sucking out all of your life force.     The other day I was talking to some of my friends who happen to be doctors.  In Kuala Lumpur they often have to work 36 hour hospital shifts.     They are supposed to be helping people back to health, but whoever is determining their work loads is definitely a vampire and turning them into the zombies.

So if your life energy, your enthusiasm and joy, are under threat,  there is a likelihood that one day you could have a vampire dream.    The vampire tells you that your life energy is being drained.   When you understand where and how the draining is occurring, then you can begin to find higher levels of your true self in the form of more enthusiasm.   The vampire is not the enemy in the dream, nor is the real-life metaphoric vampire,  the enemy.  It is just the messenger.   It tells you where the issue is.   Then you have the freedom and responsibility to change it.

When certain shows with vampires and zombies  become very popular, it means that the fear is generalized in the culture.    It was very popular in 2012 for people to be fearful of an apocalypse because of certain misread Mayan prophecies.   Before that people were fearful of misread prophecies by Nostradamus.   Vampires and zombies are present now because we tend to idolize professions that over work people like lawyers and doctors.    And for that matter it is pretty rare when you meet up with happy engineers.    The “Walking Dead” is what we have become as a collective culture.   That is why the show is so popular.  It resonates with our collective ego experience.

It is important to understand that the true self and ego go walking together, not apart.  They are not at war with each other.    When you have the fear that your life energy is being sucked out,  it is just a message that now you can find a way toward higher levels of enthusiasm so that your life can get into balance.   Normally when you get the message,  your ego will have one of three responses.  It will try to run away from the vampire, freeze and hide away, or fight with it.    This is what the ego, animal side does when it is threatened in order to cope with the situation.   None of the coping strategies work.  There is only ever one recourse when you have  a fear-related situation in life, and that is changing to a higher level of a particular capacity or quality.

The “Walking Dead” is depression.   The answer is to be more up, more enthusiastic.

In the modern world we become zombies because we feel powerless against the forces that control most of the economic life around us.    This is because people, both men and women, define themselves primarily by their economic life.    You can stop being a zombie or being fearful of vampires when who you are and what you are aiming for in life is not defined by the work that earns money.

The most important thing to realize about this post is not so much about what to do when a vampire enters your dreams,  but how to deal with really fearful figures that cause nightmares.   I always use a mantra like, “that was a good one.”    I am actually excited about a nightmare because I know that I am going to get to the other end of it, the new positive energy.   I know that the positive energy is waiting for me and calling to me and that the nightmare is just a message along the way to help me find the energy.

Vampires are not bad.  They just are there in our dreams to give us a message.

Embracing Fear

Most of the dreams that people send me have a lot to do with fear.   When you get to the core of someone’s inner work, there is always a fear that that has to be faced.    It is part of the human condition.   I think that for most of us we just want the fear to go away because being in a state of fear is not very pleasant.   Why do we seem to have so much fear and what can we do about it?

The problem we have as human beings is that we are hard-wired for positive growth.   There will never be a day of anyone’s life on the planet where there is not an internal impetus for developing a new positive part of ourselves.  Whatever our inner beings need in order to be more effective and more beneficial to others will be trying to go from a state of potential to a state of actualization.

If we could just accelerate the actualization when our true selves desire it,  then growth would just be a completely positive experience.   This would be ideal.   You probably have experienced a time when learning a new capacity was relatively easy such as learning a new skill.   However, when it comes to where your inner self wants to grow,  it always picks the most difficult area, the one with the most internal resistance.  That is the problem! And that is where fear comes into the picture.   Growth is most required where the superlative is.   What is my worst fear, the thing most hampering my life, the thing that is ruining my life in the biggest way?   This is always where your true self wants to grow because when you change there you get the most positive impact on your outer life.

When you are in the habit of doing dream work,  then you know that the fears always show up in your dreams, which is usually a better place for them to show up than in real life.    They will show up in real life as well, but the dream world likes to give you the information first so that you can make changes before they hit really hard in the outer world.

Because our inner beings go to our weakest and most vulnerable areas to try to stimulate our growth,  there tends to be a great deal of fear connected to the new energy.    It is as if you are where you are now and you are trying to get to a place that has an amazing new capacity or quality, but in between now  and the future state is fear.   Something has to be done about the fear if you are going to make it to the new ability.    Fortunately or unfortunately you don’t have a choice about facing the fear.   You can try to avoid it or make it go away with drugs or alcohol,  which may alleviate the pressure temporarily,   but the fear will be insistent and it will keep showing up forever until it is transformed.    The reason that it is so insistent is because your inner being has a desire to be extremely beneficial to the world, but it needs you to grow in order to be beneficial.

If fear is so insistent, then how do you make it go away?   The most important thing in the process of embracing a fear is knowing what new capability or quality your inner being wants.    You have your current state and you have the fear, but if you don’t have the future positive state, then the process will be to just try to get rid of the fear only so that you can go back to living how you were living now minus the fear.   Your inner self wants you to live in a new way.  The new state, when it is known, attracts you to the process of dealing with the fear.    In Asia one of the great fears that people have is that of making mistakes especially that are publicly known.   When it happens, people “lose face” meaning that they don’t feel as though they can show their face in public after the mistake.   You have whole populations of people living in the fear of making mistakes and then doing everything they possibly can to avoid them.    The quality that is calling to them is creativity or risk-taking,  but the fear of making a mistake and getting severely criticized, fired, or punished is in between their current state and the creativity.     If a person knew how wonderful creativity is and practiced it, then the organizations and families would advance very rapidly.

Normally what will happen when you have a fear like the fear of making mistakes is that you will tense up and get stressed and work really hard at avoiding mistakes.   With creativity the growth is in the mistakes themselves.  You look forward to mistakes because you know that the mistakes will make the outcome even better.   When you embrace the fear, it means that you are embracing the mistakes as a place to make things better rather than trying to avoid mistakes.

Another common fear is that of losing the position you are in.  In the dream world it is the fear of falling.  Many professional coaches lose their positions the moment they lose games.  CEOs fear it when the bottom line does not show profit.    The fear of losing your position happens because you don’t have enough  enthusiasm for where you are going.   Enthusiasm allows you to have a vision and to be in the middle of the action at the same time.   When you are fearful of losing, you tend to have a conservative vision and stay dissociated from the action.  It makes the fall inevitable.    Like mistakes the place where you need to embrace the fear is in the loss of position.    In order for growth to happen you have to willingly lose your position as it is now framed so that you can get in the midst of action more.    The growth is in the fear in the loss by making the loss a positive.

The growth happens when you  embrace the fear by changing it from a negative to a positive.   Here is one more fear that is common, the fear of being attacked by a stranger.     When you have this fear, you are reluctant to go out in your community.   There is often some reasonable things you can do when there is a safety issue,  but that is really not the issue.   The thing that needs to be embraced is the stranger.   Attacking the stranger in a positive way means seeing the stranger as a friend and then embracing friendship with them.

Relationships are Tricky Things in Dreams: Be Careful

It seems to me, without actually having done the calculation, that most of our dream life (about 95%) deals with troubles with our relational lives.    I am sure that that is because 95% of our troubles in life are relational ones.

How to have a successful relationship seems to be one of the great mysteries of life?

I have received a lot of dreams from people who have been madly and passionately in love, and then suddenly something happens which results in  them breaking up.    Interestingly enough one of the common dream patterns is the person re-uniting in the dream world with the loved often in passionate embrace.    Why does this happen?  Inevitably the person having the dream really longs to get back together with the ex after the dream.   For some reason they write me to see what I think.   I say no.   This is why.   If you get this, you get the dream world.  If you don’t, the dream world will never fully reveal things to you.

Dreams are metaphors even when the people in the dream are real.

The problem is, and believe me this isn’t very easy,  that it can take a monumental amount of self-discipline to have passionate sex in a dream and then wake up and say that that was a metaphor.   When something seems so real in the dream world, you tend to believe it is real in the real world.  But they are two different worlds with two different agendas.   The prime motive of the dream world is to get you to wake up to who you truly are and where you are going in your life, i.e., sex is not sex in the dream world.  Sex is a metaphor.

Imagine that you are very happily married or not-so-happily married.  Then along comes an old girl friend in the dream wanting to have sex with you.   It is NOT an invitation to call her up and re-unite.  It is metaphor so that you will re-UNITE with your new self fully.   Here is what happens.

Most relationships are like going to school.   When you relate to someone, it is as if you go the school of their inner self and meet their  positive energy.   If you need gentleness in your life and they have that quality in them,  then when you are in relationship, you are on a journey to learn how to be gentle.  When you are in the learning process, which tends to be mutual because you have something they need to learn in your school, then there is a strong bond.   The bond keeps you connected so that you can be around each other and  learn.    When you have gotten the learning,  usually something happens and you break up.    The break up is actually pretty stupid, but it stems from the cultural idea that when you are in a relationship with someone else, you own them.    If you take the ownership out, set boundaries around sexual behavior (i.e. not having it), then the relationship can continue to exist positively.

In our modern world people get into a relationship as if it were a marriage, which it is not, so when they break up, it is full of pain despite the good stuff that went on.    When you have a re-uniting dream, it is because you have forgotten to integrate the lessons and qualities you learned when you were in the relationship.   The dream world wants you to re-unite so that you remember that who you are now is different than before the relationship.  It is much better.   Sex is the union of two positive sets of qualities.   Embrace the qualities and you embrace life to the fullest.

I have a tendency to believe that a relationship especially related to work is open and positive even when all of the outward signs says it is NOT.    I want the relationship to work so that the workplace can be more productive, but if the person with whom I am trying to have the relationship doesn’t have the inner qualities to do the work, even when they are the leader,  then the best thing for me is to drop the expectation and move in another direction.     I like to delude myself, but it is catastrophe for me.

If you have broken up with someone because of their negative qualities, the chances are that even when you remember the positive qualities about them that the dreams present, if you re-unite, you will end up in the same place.   This is because their negative qualities will not have changed and they will cause the same difficulties.

So when you dream about a person in an intimate way,  don’t try to get their number.   Get their positive quality.   It is what makes your life bliss.   A new door is about to open.

Lions and Boundaries in Dreams

I recently had these two dreams sent to me and thought about how important they are for so many people.

I had a very vivid dream.  I had no option but to pass through a path to get to the other side. There was a caged lioness and lion cant remember but the lioness I recall very well.  They were in like a cage protected by a cage and electric fence.  I was with a friend who teased the lion. one of the lions tried to attack us I was so afraid the lion went on top of us using the cage and vegetation it tried to attack us it would have killed us. Deep down in my heart walking through this path I knew there was nothing this lion could do but I have never been so petrified. It roared and did all scary stuff to no avail. The vegetation above, the fence and the cage kept us safe.

 The funny thing, I still went back on the same path and got the same fear again.   I woke up my heart pounding. It was so terribly vivid.

 2 weeks earlier, I dreamt I was flying on a broomstick.  It was an amazing dream I soared liked an eagle, it was such ecstasy I would want to relive that dream although broomsticks and witches are connected, I am no witch. It was also a terribly vivid dream I can once in a while drift into the feeling of being able to fly into the sky.

These two dreams show us what happens to a great many people who have extraordinary abilities and why they are so blocked.    Being able to fly in a dream means you are able to free yourself from the day to day experiences of the world, see new possibilities, and then freely get to them.    When a person is soaring in their life, this is what they are doing.

The previous dreams show us how we remain in fear.    There are certain types of individuals that are like uncontrolled beasts like a ravenous lion.    Even when a boundary has been erected to separate you from their viciousness, they still strike terror in the dreamer.    When this dreamer lives in the fear of the lion,  then she cannot do the second dream which is to soar to new heights in her life.

When you are dealing with this kind of person, the most important thing to realize is that you becoming a positive lion with courage is your best defense.   Normally it is the society’s responsibility to protect us from this type of lion,  but it often does not do a good job of it.   We don’t think that we have the right to cut this type of person out of our lives because we believe that it is not a caring and compassionate thing to do.   At that moment we drop the boundary (the fence in the dream) and then we let the lion prey on the innocent.    What is important is to have extremely strong boundaries and protective measures.  A ravenous lion needs prey (innocent people) in order to build its ego power.   When it doesn’t have it, it starves and becomes nothing.   The double or triple fence that is electric or something like it means that while you believe that all human beings have an essential goodness about them, some have been so perverted as to completely cover that good part up.    Compassion does not work in this case.   What is needed is detachment from them by assertively setting boundaries to not relate to them.   This is what it means to be a positive lion.  You are courageously setting boundaries.    This is what the lion needs the most, to be completely isolated and starved so that its ravenous nature can be transformed into a positive one.     Relating the lion in a positive manner only strengthens its resolve to use its power in negative ways.

Once the boundary is set and you feel protected then soaring is possible.  It will be even like having a magical broomstick.   The boundary always comes first.

Bear Dreams: Getting to Your Empowerment

I dreamed I was in a house which was being invaded by bears the size of Sasquatch. Someone told me to not worry they know what they are doing, and they had some sort of trick to get them out, but it seemed to me the bears were going to attack. I felt so small. The presenting feeling was being over-powered – standing close to the bear and it looking down on me. But when I saw it that close it looked like a person in a bear costume who stood about 7 feet tall.

Empowerment is the ability to be able to finish what you set out to achieve by doing what it takes to get where you are going.   It means that you are using your power, your strength, your skills to get to the positive end.   You need strength and skills because any goal worth achieving puts up a lot of obstacles that makes it challenging to get to.    Bears, especially in northern climates, represent empowerment because they are big, powerful creatures who go unchallenged.

Normally bears come into the dream process when you need to be able to have the process of finishing what you begin.   The dream above represents the problem most people have with bears or bear-like energy.    If you are not the bear in the dream,  you are most often small in comparison to it and threatened by its presence.   When you are fearful of being attacked by a bear, it indicates that you are fearful of being attacked by a power that is bigger than yourself, usually abusive in nature.   You will only get a dream like the one above when you have experienced some kind of abuse by the more negatively powerful.     If you have not been abused by an larger power, then the type of bear dream you might get, if you need finishing energy, is much more neutral.   The bear might be curious about you, but not threatening.

The goal in a dream about a bear, as in any animal dream, is to be the bear, itself, as if you are inside its skin because what you need to be able to have is strength.     The first obstacle in the above dreamers process is to overcome the fear of being attacked.   If it were the first time that the dreamer had dealt with the abuse situation,  then she probably would have run out of the house.  This is what most of us do.  We run away from ourselves and try to get away from the abuse to protect ourselves.    She has already dealt with abuse to a degree because, while she has some trepidation that the bears might attack, she goes up to them and sees that it is a person in a bear costume.  This is a much more advanced level because at that level you realize that an abusive person really isn’t being themselves.  They are pretending to be a bear.   The understanding allows you to let go of the fear and then become a positive bear.

The bear’s power resides in the positive memories of the past and its ability to bring them to the fore in the present.    The more access you have to positive memories the more strength you have.   The logic is this.  If you have a skill like being able to cook well, you can only use it to create great dishes when you remember that you have the skill.    The empowerment comes from practicing many types of cooking dishes over a considerable period of time and then remembering all of it.
The key to empowerment is the ability to do an activity, remember it in a positive manner, and then repeat it at a higher level.   This is how strength is developed.

When you have been abused, you run away from the bear which means that you run away from doing the things that will make you strong.    The fear of getting crushed keeps you from staying in a process to its completion.    Empowerment is based upon two primary internal mental processes.  The first is a visual memory of success and the second is an auditory voice that talks about how great the picture is.   When those two are in place, then you start believing that you can be big in relation to the task.  You are the bear in size and the task isn’t so big.

When you are on the other size where the negative bear is big, then the task seems impossible so you do the logical thing, quit.   Being the bear makes the task manageable.   Having positive memories allows you to keep getting attracted back to the task.

When you work with children or young people or someone new to a task, the goal is to create a bank of positive memories of success so that they will keep going back to the activity over and over.  Much of our practices do exactly the opposite.   We build a bank of negative memories of mistakes and then have to force young people to go back to the task.   The golden rule is to give a great deal of positive feedback and then instructional feedback to improve technique.   The ratio is about 5 to 1.    These are the teachers you go back to and love.

The general rule of developing strength in yourself if you have been in an abusive situation and now you are an adult is to find a person who can help you through the process so that you won’t go running.


Finally Getting Out of Blame and Into Responsibility

The big difficulty with getting out of blame and taking responsibility for moving your life forward is that there are a lot of people out there that are truly worthy of an immense amount of blame.   When you have been a victim of injustice, the condition that most of the world lives in,  then it is not so easy to move out of the blame state.   There are people that do bad stuff.   You could lose your job,  have things stolen,  or be assaulted in any number of ways.   The list could go on and on.

What I am about the write I sincerely wish I had known a couple of decades prior.   And since I have only really been able to apply it to the dream work and change work recently, I am just beginning to see just how powerful it is.   My blame started when I first got fired in the late 90s.  Then it intensified  when I was fired again a number of years after.  And then it got me into a stage of complete coldness to leaders after the third firing a few years later.

To do the work of getting out of blame is not to be in denial about the injustice.   I don’t believe I was treated fairly any of times they let me go, but I also don’t want to live in the state of perpetual blame and bitterness toward those leaders.   They were just living a different script than mine.    Responsibility for moving on and getting to unexpected growth can be accomplished when you do the change work in two stages.   The first stage of the transformation is in the outer real world and how to deal with that reality.   The second stage is how to deal with the inner world.  This is where the great treasure lies.

It is helpful when doing this work to have a very strong differentiation between the outer world, which is basically the world we live in during our daily lives and the inner world, where time and space no longer exist, where only your inner self exists.   When you deal with how you are feeling and your blaming ways in the outer world, you learn what is open and what is closed in the outer world.  You accept the outer reality and take steps to deal with it.    When you deal with the inner world, the same need for precautions do not exist.  It is just you, the ego, and you the true self, and that is it.

Whatever happens in the outer world is also happening in the inner world.   This is the huge step of acceptance and humility that made a huge difference for me.    If you were stolen from by a thief on a motorcycle grabbing your purse as he drove by,  then that is what happened.   In the outer world you need to make some changes to prevent it from happening again.   Maybe you have to not carry a purse.   When you accept that happened and that injustice exists and that the other person lives in a different moral reality than you,  then you can deal with the outer world and live fully in it.

The big change happens, however, when you realize that you are also being a thief to yourself in the inner world.   You may be fearful of going out and interacting with the world because of having been assaulted in your current living situation,  but the inner robbery happened much earlier.   This is where the really strong fear exists.

In my case with having been fired the outer firings keep from fully participating in change discussions in the organization.   It is not safe to say the truth as I see it because the negative truth is a threat to the way the organization is currently being run.   When I accepted that reality, then in the outer world I can keep my job which is the best thing for family at this stage in our lives.   The problem is how to deal with the inner firings.   When you have a bad outer enemy, it is so tempting to stay in the world of blame and be justified for it.   It is not so easy to get to a place of humility where you have to admit and ask yourself how your fire yourself.   OUCH!!!!

When you take the step of going to the inner world, it is only you and you.   You can only blame yourself or yourself.   The very exact moment when you accept that you have fired yourself or stolen from yourself or assaulted yourself is when you move from blame to taking responsibility.   Even if that is as far as you can get,  it puts you so much more in control of your life than the other culprit in the outer world.   My first step in the process of responsibility is to go inside and ask myself how I fire myself.   How do I fire myself?

Here is the divine irony for me.  When I go back to trace when I fired myself, it was when I first began school when I was five years old.   All I can remember is being totally overwhelmed, that it was all very dark, and that I just retreated inside fearful to speak out and fully participate.   My inner voice of ego protection just told me to stay inside and not come out.   I went into a shell-like experience.    I was my own worst enemy.    At 5 there was no strong positive voice inside telling me things were safe when they really were in the outer world.  So when I created the positive voice inside to replace the negative one,  it just has made every bit of difference.   The divine irony is that I spend most of my waking hours working with 5 years teaching them how to be more courageous.   As I get more courageous in the outer world so do they.    When I started doing this work,  all of a sudden they started achieving in a few days the things that normally take several months or a couple of years to get to.  It is pretty incredible.  Not surprisingly the type of leader who normally doesn’t allow truth telling also left my work environment.   It is pretty miraculous.

Dreamwork in the Body

Every year when I go to Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, my son-in-laws and I do some kind of boys day out where we hike or mountain bike.   This year we climbed the Chief in Squamish which is just north of Vancouver.  Shane runs a company called Dare to Evolve 

He asked me if I would begin writing a few posts that connect the Dreamwork that I do with what he is trying to help people do with their bodies.   This is because when you are involved in any type of intense physical activity, the line between what is physical and what is spiritual begin to merge until the two begin to reinforce each other.   This post is my first attempt to really connect to the two.   Besides doing Dreamwork I am also a physical educator of children so the connection is fairly natural for me.


The connection between the body and dreamwork begins at the moment that you realize that everything that exists in creation including your body is in a kind of benevolent conspiracy to push you into growth in every way.    We all know, in the words of the popular culture, that no one gets out of this earth alive.   As amazing as we can be with nutrition and exercise and healing sooner or later our bodies go back to the earth.    What is left?    What is left is our character which is made up of all the great virtues that we have like self-discipline, courage, honesty, determination, fortitude, and love.

Whenever you seek to improve in an area like yoga or martial arts or tennis or running,  there are two aspects to the development.  One is strictly physical as in increasing your flexibility to do progressively more difficult positions in yoga or improving coordination with tennis.    The other is non-physical or spiritual which has a character element to it.    In Shane’s programs he asks you to find the virtue that will help you the most in your life as you are doing the exercise because his program recognizes that when develop perseverance, as an example, in your physical exercise that it also easily transfers or generalizes to all parts of your life.   Many of us have learned the teamwork that helps us in our work by playing in team sports.  It is never just about the physical abilities that makes a team great, but also in the spiritual ability of being able to cooperate together.

You can say that you have both physical deficiencies as well as character deficiencies that keep you from making substantial performance improvements.  Given a set of virtues most people intuitively know where they are weak.  For instance, if you have the habit of starting a lot of programs but then quitting after a couple of weeks, you are probably strong in enthusiasm, but weak in perseverance or steadiness.   What we tend to not be so good at is changing the character weakness and then repeating the same physical patterns even when they have stopped getting results.  Because of it we usually run into the same physical problems over and over showing up in our bodies.

How does it work?   When you have a weakness in your character, it shows up in yourself by way of a negative emotion, for the most part fear.    You know you have the fear because you feel it in your body somewhere.  This lets your whole being know that this is an area of weakness that needs to be improved.  It is felt as some kind of stress or tension in your body.   At that point there is both a character solution and a physical one.   For instance,  you could be fearful of failing so you won’t ever try new things.    You stick with a safe routine.   When you do the analysis, you realize that the character trait you need is more courage.    As soon as you have more courage, then you can start added new things to your life and to your training, and then you improve.   Since the lack of courage is sustained by the tension or stress in the body,  a lot of the work to get to more courage is the letting go of the fear.

What about dreams?   When you dream at night, it shows you exactly where you need to develop your character for that moment in your life.   It leaves out any guesswork at all.  For instance,  if you were being chased by a lion in a dream, if means that you are fearful of being attacked by a really fierce person.   It means that you need to be ferocious when you go after goals if you want to make progress.    When you are ferocious,  it lets you really attack new projects or things you have to do.





Richard Hastings

richard Richard Hastings is an educator and author of Dreams for Peace. He is a Baha'i and currently lives in Malaysia. Read more...

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