Experiencing Fear and Its Affect On Our Ability to Connect

Experiencing Fear and Its Affect On Our Ability to Connect

Fear is something that we all experience. It’s such a visceral feeling, felt deeply. When we resist fear it festers and grows and then it has the potential to destroy something so important to our survival as human beings — connection.

It not only destroys our connection to other people but most importantly it kills the connection to our higher self.

When we resist fear, it causes us to get stuck in it because it takes us out of the present moment as we fear something that hasn’t happened yet. We get stuck in what COULD happen.

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There is nothing wrong with fear and feeling fear. The important part to realize is that it’s only information. Information which tells us what in our lives means the most to us, what we are passionate about, and what we hold dear.

Fear is the representation of potential loss. The potential loss of a loved one, loss of freedom, loss of love, loss of self, loss of community, loss of health and loss of identity. At the core of our fear we worry that we will lose something important, that we will lose love.

But we can never really lose love. Love is always with us. We need not find love in career, money, material things, in other people or anything outside of ourselves because we always have access to a never ending supply of love within. 

Connecting to our higher self means connecting to an unending abundance of love. It is pure love — with no conditions, no what ifs, no ending. It is just love. All that is needed is connection. To bring awareness within and recognize our divineness. We all have access to it if only we take the time to look. Love is the true opposite of fear. Love will conquer fear every single time. If we let it.

When we feel fear it’s a chance to open more to love. When fear is present we can ask – Where am I fearing loss? And then ask if anything can be truly lost? Love is always here. When we fear the loss of something in our lives, what we really miss is the feelings/emotions that the thing/person helped to bring up for us. Comfort, love, safety and/or care. But all of that can be found within ourselves.

Our realness and fullness can never be depended on another being or thing. They simply act as a transducer — loving someone else opens our heart granting us 24 hour access to the love that has always been there. When that outside love goes away and it feels as if that feeling of love has disappeared, what really has happened is that we have closed our hearts. We have shut down the heart chakra and our access to love and that energy. Its existence never goes away – only our choosing to stay open. Love cannot be lost, only our connection to it can.

Fear is one of our greatest gifts because it gives us a chance to really look at what we are afraid of to lose. It gives us a chance to allow ourselves to stay open to love – no matter our relationships, no matter where we work, no matter who loves us, no matter how easy our day is, no matter what mistakes or challenges we face. We can choose to be open to love – ALWAYS. And that is a beautiful gift.

That’s why I’ve created a meditation for when you are feeling stuck in fear. One to help you reconnect with your body and the present moment. Check out the meditation video below.

Well until next time my friends,

 

Remember …. It’s about loving yourself where you are so that you can get to where you want to go…one step at a time, one change at a time.

 

Gratitude & Hugs

 

Jenn Berkelmans

Jenn Berkelmans

Body Awareness & Wellness Coach

I help women with sensitive souls who struggle with overwhelm & emotional fatigue. I help them to reconnect to their inner wisdom and find the stillness within that will allow them to thrive in this chaotic and loud world while helping them to create their own map to health and wellness.

These Key Things May Have Been Keeping You From Meditating – And Why They Shouldn’t

Meditation is something that I believe truly benefits everyone. There are some common experiences that can come up in meditation, ones that I have personally experienced and also that are mentioned by people new to meditation. 

We may seek out meditation for different reasons, may it be for relaxation and stress reduction, overall health, mental health struggles, focus and clarity, or maybe even to connect to our intuitive nature. All reasons are valid. Meditation has many benefits. 

To the new practitioner, meditation can seem overwhelming and maybe even that it’s something that is unachievable. This cannot be farther from the truth. Meditation can and is accessible to all people. Meditation In my opinion is less about having a clear mind (which can be a benefit of regular practice and an eventual goal) and more to do with bringing our awareness within ourselves.

So much of our time is spent focusing on things outside of ourselves. Our jobs, relationships, home life, bills, and on and on. And when we seek answers the first place that we go is often outside of ourselves as well to books, videos, social media, courses, our friends, coworkers and family. 

We follow how to’s and what not to dos. We make unending to do lists. We run around consistently trying to do it all and yet we rarely stop to look within. To really slow down and sit with something and see what feels right for us. We rarely take the time to check in with our bodies, to see how we’re actually feeling, to see the connection between our thoughts, emotions and our bodies. 

This is what meditation affords us. Time with ourselves. Time to look within. Time to bring our focus and awareness back to within ourselves. Time to leave the outside world and all the often conflicting advice and to find the wisdom within.

To do something that we rarely do will bring up some reactions from the brain (which is used to getting 100% of our attention), call it ego if you choose. Either way it will put up a fight. And when you notice this happen, know that it is perfectly okay, simply bring your attention back to the meditation and practice. 

 

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Normal Experiences

Getting Sleepy or Falling Asleep

If you find yourself falling asleep or getting sleepy during meditation know that this is a very common reaction especially to new practitioners.  I have found that falling asleep during meditation is a sign that either I’m not getting enough sleep or in some cases it is the way of the body avoiding something uncomfortable from coming up. If you fall asleep, this isn’t a reason to stop or start over, simply give yourself some compassion and get back into the meditation and finish.

Some things that may help include: 

  • taking a short nap before meditation or doing your practice when you first wake up in the morning
  • do your meditation practice in an upright position; laying down will probably make you more likely to fall asleep
  • keep your eyes slightly open during your meditation practice

Irritation or Agitation

Irritation or agitation can be felt as a feeling of restlessness, restless legs, irritated skin, the inability to get comfortable. In my experience when this comes up I have difficulty staying still and I just want to run away from it. Often when I’ve had this experience come up in meditation, it’s when I am or am about to process very deep old energies.

Some things to consider and/or that may help:

  • the energy just wants to be seen; keep with it as long as you can; allow the discomfort to be there; it’s a part of your experience just as feeling calm or peaceful would be; you’re not doing anything wrong
  • bring some movement along with your practice such as yoga, qi gong, dancing or walking
  • know that it is only temporary and that this is when your body needs meditation the most

 

Impatience

I find this can come up with or without the irritation and agitation. I’ll just get this feeling and/or story in my mind that I just want to be done. The desire and/or story to keep checking my phone or wondering how much more is left on my timer. I also find that this one comes up when I’m processing or am on the edge of tapping into an old deep energy. 

Some things to consider and/or that may help:

  • the energy just wants to be seen; keep with it as long as you can; allow the discomfort to be there
  • recognize that you’re feeling impatient and that is perfectly okay; it’s a part of your experience just as feeling calm or peaceful would be; you’re not doing anything wrong
  • know that it is only temporary and that this is when your body needs meditation the most

Distracted Mind

This one is probably one of the most common. Like I said the ego will fight back and it often will do so by trying to distract your mind with all sorts of stories. You may find that anything and everything comes up during your meditation practice. Questions about what you will eat for lunch, what you should do on the weekend or how much flour you need to make that cake recipe. Thinking about your to do list, about that fight you just had with your partner, or how you’ve always wished you could dance. 

Even with regular practice there will still be days when you will have a more distracted mind and that is perfectly okay!

Some things to consider and/or that may help:

  • This is a very normal reaction; especially for new practitioners; the ego will put up a stink because it’s no longer getting all of your attention anymore
  • Simply notice that you are distracted; say “I’m feeling distracted,” let it go and move your attention back to your meditation 

Judgement

Everyone has an idea of what they think meditation SHOULD be like. Often it’s of clear minds and a perfectly zen experience. Unfortunately while that may be the goal for some types of meditation and for some people, it’s not likely going to be the experience all the time and especially NOT when you first start out. When our practice isn’t like we THINK it should be we will probably have judgmental thoughts come up. We may judge our practice for what it is or what it’s not, judge ourselves for not doing better, and maybe even judge ourselves for judging ourselves. How is that for a conundrum eh?

Some things to consider and/or that may help:

  • This is also very normal. Judgement is something we all experience and probably more than we even realize. 
  • Recognize that judgement is here; say “judgement is here”; let it go and move your attention back to the meditation.

 

Know that all of these experiences are normal. They do not mean that you are doing anything wrong; in fact it means that you’re doing it right. You are doing something new, you are challenging yourself, you are bringing awareness within and you are starting a journey to self-exploration which is a beautiful thing.

The key is to keep with your practice, know that the benefits outweigh the challenges that may come up. As you build your practice your presence will grow making it easier to face these challenges.

It’s just like learning to run. At first your lungs burn and it’s hard to run for more than a few minutes. Your muscles tire easily and you hurt after your workouts. But these are all signs that you haven’t built endurance and your body hasn’t built up the strength to maintain running for long amounts of time yet.

With meditation it takes regular practice and working through these challenges in order to built up self-awareness and connection to your inner self (presence). As your practice continues your presence will making it easier to face what comes up.

You have to feel the discomfort and continue in spite of it in order to get to the deeper awareness, to the deeper feelings of groundedness and calm. 

To help get you started I’ve created a ten minute meditation that will help you to get started with your meditation practice. The meditation focuses on helping you relax and connect with your body. Click the image below to download your free meditation!

 

Well until next time my friends,

 

Remember …. It’s about loving yourself where you are so that you can get to where you want to go…one step at a time, one change at a time.

 

Gratitude & Hugs

 

Jenn Berkelmans

Jenn Berkelmans

Body Awareness & Wellness Coach

I help women with sensitive souls who struggle with overwhelm & emotional fatigue. I help them to reconnect to their inner wisdom and find the stillness within that will allow them to thrive in this chaotic and loud world while helping them to create their own map to health and wellness.

Breakfast Quinoa

Breakfast Quinoa

Servings

1

Ready In:

20 min

Calories:

610

Good For:

Breakfast

Inroduction

About this Recipe

By: Jenn Berkelmans

You: Breakfast Quinoa?

Me: Yes breakfest quinoa!

You: So that’s quinoa for breakfast!?

Me: (laughs) Yes quinoa for breakfast! Trust me you will love it!

So now that we got all the confusion out of the way we can get to business. Quinoa is an up and coming grain that has gained popularity over recent years. Yes quinoa is considered a grain which may come as a surprise to some.

What Is A Grain?

When most people think of grains they think of wheat, rye or barley. However the grain category is much more extensive than that. In fact grains are multi-purpose and are used for many different things such as making alcohol, used for fuel (corn), and of course food.

Grains are considered a complex carbohydrate which is a great source of energy. Complex carbohydrates in comparison to simple carbohydrates (eg. fruit and sugar) take longer to digest and as a result will give you an even and sustained energy vs. simple carbohydrates which will give you a burst of energy followed by a low.

Grains (glutenous grains) have gained a bad rap in the media over the last few years. It is the glutenous grains (wheat) specifically that people tend to be sensitive to or be allergic to. Part of this is due to over consumption. While I do think that some grains are a great addition to a healthy diet, make sure to rotate and get a good variety to what you eat. There are some theories that consuming the same foods all the time are one of the reasons for food sensitivities. In addition pay attention to how you feel after you eat if you notice that you feel congested or have lots of mucous in your throat, are tired or feel brain fog you may have food sensitivities.

Grains in the absence of sensitivities can be a great source of nutrients, minerals and of course our good old friend fiber.

List of Grains:

Glutenous Grains

  • wheat
  • barley
  • oats

Other Grains:

  • corn
  • millet
  • rice
  • rye

Not a true grain:

  • buckwheat
  • quinoa

What do I mean by not a true grain? Well I am so glad that you asked 🙂 So Both buckwheat and quinoa are in the grain categories but they have some different properties that set them apart from the other grains. Neither buckwheat or quinoa contain the bran or germ that the traditional grains do. 

Buckwheat:

Buckwheat is actually a fruit with a shell that blooms from a type of thistle. However it closely resembles grains in both texture and nutritional make up. (Another one of my favorites!)

Quinoa:

Quinoa has a great balance of all essential amino acids and has a good amount of the amino acid lysine which is usually deficient in most grains. It also has a composition closer resembling some vegetables such as beets and chard.

Benefits of Quinoa

Quinoa is a nutrition powerhouse full of protein and fiber. It is one of the few plant foods (non-animal product) with a complete balance of all amino acids which makes it a great meat replacement for people trying to decrease or cut out meat products. [bctt tweet=”It is one of the few plant foods (non-animal product) with a complete balance of all amino acids “]Some of the other nutrients found in quinoa include iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, folic acid, and beta carotene (the stuff in carrots that’s good for your eyes.)

Cooking Quinoa

I always suggest soaking grains before consuming. Soaking grains helps to break down difficult to digest components phytates or phytic acid. Phytates naturally occur in some foods such as nuts, seeds, grains and legumes.  They are the part of the plant that help supply the seed with the energy to sprout. When phytates are consumed they attach to minerals making it hard to digest and absorb the nutrients from the food. When you soak these foods it helps to remove the majority of phytic acid making it much easier to digest and more nutritionally available.

Quinoa is also easy to cook only taking about 20 mins on the stove plus soaking time. Another added bonus is that once cooked quinoa will be 2-3 times it’s original size. Quinoa is extremely versatile as you can see with this recipe, you can use it in place of other grains and use it for all meals. It can be incorporated into soups, salads, replace rice or pasta, or as this post will show – breakfast.

The ratio for quinoa to water is 1:2, so for 1 cup quinoa use 2 cups of water.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup. quinoa
  • 2 cup. water
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1.5 tbsp. liquid sweetener (I used maple syrup)

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Measure out quinoa and put in a medium sized bowl. Cover the quinoa with water leaving about 2 inches of water above and place in the fridge for 8 hours of overnight.

Step 2

Take quinoa and rinse under cold water, you can stop when you no longer see little bubbles. Then place quinoa in the pot and add water.  Set the pot on the stove on high until it boils. Once it comes to a boil, cover with a lid and reduce to simmer (low). Cook for 20 minutes until light, fluffy and all water is absorbed.

Step 3

Once the quinoa is finished cooking add it to a medium sized bowl. Mix with cinnamon, vanilla and sweetener of choice. Use less or more of these ingredients to taste.

Step 4

Now the fun part! My favorite breakfast container for on the go is wide mouthed mason jars. So take a mason jar and add some of the quinoa, next add some toppings, then more quinoa and more toppings.

Step 5

Bon Appetit!

Topping Ideas
  • nut butters
  • shredded coconut
  • sliced fruit
  • coconut yogurt (make a parfait!)
  • chocolate chips
  • cocao nibs
  • coconut butter (yum)

Resources

Green, Patricia, Elaine Jones, and Carolyn Hemming. Quinoa 365. North Vancouver, BC: Whitecap, 2010. Print.

Haas, Elson M, and Buck Levin. Staying Healthy With Nutrition. Berkeley: Celestial Arts, 2006. Print.

Precision Nutrition,. ‘Phytates And Phytic Acid. Here’s What You Need To Know. | Precision Nutrition’. N.p., 2013. Web. 5 Dec. 2015.  

Well until next time my friends,

 

Remember …. It’s about loving yourself where you are so that you can get to where you want to go…one step at a time, one change at a time.

 

Gratitude & Hugs

 

The Ability to Establish Boundaries Comes to Your Self Worth

The Ability to Establish Boundaries Comes to Your Self Worth

Do you struggle to ask for what you need and say no to people without feeling guilty? Then tune into this episode to learn how your ability to say no directly relates to your self-worth.

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Your Ability to Maintain Boundaries is Tied to Self-Worth and Self-Love

  • If you don’t feel that you deserve time to yourself it can be hard to say no
  • If you don’t fear that the only way to get love is by doing things for people it’s hard to say no
  • Really people who don’t like when boundaries are put up is because they were getting something out of you not having boundaries — people with healthy boundaries will understand and encourage you to do the same

Finding Out What Thoughts Are Underneath When You Have Trouble Saying No

  • Question
    • Do you feel like it will change the relationship?
    • What do you fear will happen? — that they will be angry or not talk to you?
    • What do you feel it means about you if they react negatively? — that you’re a bad person?

You Were Born Worthy — We All Aere

  • Go through each of your answers and really question them — is this really true? 
  • If someone will only love you because you do something for them is that really love?
Well until next time my friends,

 

Remember …. It’s about loving yourself where you are so that you can get to where you want to go…one step at a time, one change at a time.

 

Gratitude & Hugs

 

Jenn Berkelmans

Jenn Berkelmans

Body Awareness & Wellness Coach

I help women with sensitive souls who struggle with overwhelm & emotional fatigue. I help them to reconnect to their inner wisdom and find the stillness within that will allow them to thrive in this chaotic and loud world while helping them to create their own map to health and wellness.

Why HSPs Become Overwhelmed So Easily

Why HSPs Become Overwhelmed So Easily

Are you an HSP? Have you noticed that you seem to be stressed and overwhelmed more than the non-HSPs in your life? In this video I go over why that is and what you can do about it.

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We Notice Details That Other People Tend to Miss

  • Our senses in general are more sensitive
    • Smells – perfumes, smelly environments
    • Noises – busy environments, concerts, malls, busy places
    • Eyes – lights/signs
  • It’s the subtlties that other people tend to miss
    • People & emotions — non-verbal cues and mood
    • Books & movies — subtle themes and connections
    • Our brains take in more information than other peoples
  • Subtleties + added stimulus means we reach overwhelm quicker than other people
  • If we are already stressed — we are more prone to being overwhelmed by simulus

We Process Things Deeply

  • The insula — the part of the brain that integrates moment to moment knowledge of our inner experience and emotions, body position and external experiences — is more activated in HSPs
  • All of the details that we take in — our brain processes them to a deeper degree and makes connections 
  • We relate information that we take in and compare it to past experience and similar things — it helps us to remember things easier because of the connections we can make

What Does This All Mean?

  • Having the awareness and understanding of how our brain works in comparison to non-HSPs is importat because it means that in certain circumstances and during certain parts of our life we may be prone to more overwhelm
  • Planning self-care and white space during busy times
  • Having self-care tools in place for busy events and knowing your limits
  • Daily self-care practices in place to help reduce the noise that we experience everywhere else 
    • Calm home environment
    • Meditation
    • Sleep
    • nature/quiet time
Well until next time my friends,

 

Remember …. It’s about loving yourself where you are so that you can get to where you want to go…one step at a time, one change at a time.

 

Gratitude & Hugs

 

Jenn Berkelmans

Jenn Berkelmans

Body Awareness & Wellness Coach

I help women with sensitive souls who struggle with overwhelm & emotional fatigue. I help them to reconnect to their inner wisdom and find the stillness within that will allow them to thrive in this chaotic and loud world while helping them to create their own map to health and wellness.

The Positivity Movement Is Harmful To Connection

The Positivity Movement Is Harmful To Connection

With the self-development and personal growth niche has come a positivity movement. While there is importance and merit to changing our thoughts and raising our vibration. I believe the positivity movement ends up being another band aid solution to a bigger problem. Press play to hear more….

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I think that positivity can be harmful to connection, to ourselves, and to others. Let me explain…..

We are a nation of that suffers from extreme avoidance of uncomfortable feelings and emotions and to the detriment of our health, our connection to other humans and our ability to simply enjoy life. We avoid feeling our uncomfortable and “negative” emotions at any cost. We’d much rather ignore it, push it away or numb it with food, sex, alcohol, drugs or tv. 

So how does the positivity movement play into that?

Well when someone is feeling anger or sadness and then are told or believe that they should just change their thoughts, meaning spin what they are thinking into a positive they are bypassing feeling that emotion. 

An Example

An example… A friend of mine was talking to me on the phone and explaining what was going on in her life. She was feeling burnt out, exhausted and hanging on by a thread and for good reason. She has gone through a lot of shit. She explained what was going on and apologized for not being more “positive.” 

I asked her “why do you say that? It’s perfectly reasonable to be feeling the way that you are feeling. It’s important to talk about how you’re feeling and to talk when you feel that you’re struggling with someone who can understand. And I don’t expect you to be positive and uplifting all the time.”

She then went on to explain how she had tried to talk to another friend. This friend while well meaning had tried to tell her to “just be positive and find the good out of it all.”

I explained that when we are going through something challenging it is very important to give ourselves the space to feel what we are feeling. It’s okay to be angry, or sad, or frustrated, or annoyed, or apathetic. All of it is okay. Talking can help with that. Now if we keep staying in that space and repeating the same story over and over — we can get stuck. But even that is okay. 

Finding the positivity of our experience is very important, BUT and this is a huge BUT, it comes after we’ve had time to process and feel our emotions around an experience. 

To tell someone when they are in struggle…..

At least you’re not experiencing ….

At least you have this…..

At least you can say this……

At least you get time for….

Is often not helpful because in doing so you are bypassing their emotional struggle and trying to change how they are feeling. When someone comes to us and they are in struggle — more often than not they do not want you to “fix” them or to “change” things for them or even to “make it all better.” 

This applies to how we approach emotion in ourselves too. If we are experiencing something challenging and we automatically say “at least you have a house and your not dead,” while it might be true, we aren’t validating our own struggle. Instead, we’re pushing it aside and our emotions down with it. 

I’m guilty of this too. But the reasons why I think it’s important to draw our attention to it is because it’s not a true empathetic response. Not for other people and not for ourselves. 

Empathetic Communication

What most people need is someone to fully listen to them, for you to give them their full attention, to receive it with non-judgement, and to be empathetic.

Now people often misunderstand or don’t understand what being empathetic means and how to communicate empathetically rather than with sympathy. The two are very different. 

Brene Brown has a wonderful video around this subject that really helps to highlight the difference between the two and how one, empathy can fuel connection and the other, sympathy creates disconnection. 

She goes on to explain 4 key pieces to empathetic communication. 

  1. Being able to have perspective and being open to putting yourself in another persons shoes.
  2. Leave the judgement behind. Listen fully and give someone your full attention.
  3. Notice the emotion(s) that are coming up for the other person and times when you’ve felt that for yourself
  4. Communicating that you recognize the emotion and understand what that feels like

In empathy, we say “hey, I see you and I understand what you’re going through, it sucks, and I’m here for you.” 

In sympathy, we say “oh man yeah that situation really sucks. Poor you.” 

In order to be empathetic with someone you need to allow yourself to be uncomfortable too, to remember what that feeling feels like. It’s a choice and one that takes courage and vulnerability. 

Vulnerability creates connection and intimacy. When we try to twist someone’s experience into a positive we are not being empathetic. It takes no effort, Vulnerability or compassion in order to “be positive.” Instead its a quick way to disconnect and really just make ourselves feel better, like we’ve done something to “help” them. 

Is this easy. No. But if we want to establish true connection and deep intimacy in our relationships it’s necessary. And really it takes a very grounded individual to put their ego away for a moment and their need to help aside in order to really listen to someone and give them their full attention. To open their heart, and ears and to give this person their attention, understanding and support. Through holding the space not through trying to fix things. 

Because I know personally, I don’t need my friends to fix me but I sure as hell need an understanding and non-judgemental ear, a person who can allow themselves to be open enough to empathize when I’m in the trenches working through difficult emotions and for them to go down with me and say “I’m here with you friend.”

For Myself

This is also how I’ve approached my own “positivity spin band-aid”, I too used to try to spin everything into a positive thing and you know what, it didn’t work. There is a difference between trying to cover discomfort with a fake smile and positive affirmation and allowing myself the space and love to feel everything and raising my vibration and letting go of old patterns. 

Now I let myself feel what I’m feeling, everything from the anger, judgement, frustration, jealousy, resentment, blame, etc. I let it all come into my experience and be there. I know that just because I feel it DOESN’T mean that I HAVE to act on it. 

I let myself feel knowing that it doesn’t change who I am as a human being. I deserve empathy from others and most importantly from myself. I know that every experience has merit and has a potential lesson for me to learn. But that lesson is NOT punitive, and often the clarity of that may not come until well AFTER I let myself feel and process.  I don’t deserve to have to push my emotions, feelings or experience aside because each and every thing that I feel is valid and the same goes for you.

Well until next time my friends,

 

Remember …. It’s about loving yourself where you are so that you can get to where you want to go…one step at a time, one change at a time.

 

Gratitude & Hugs

 

Jenn Berkelmans

Jenn Berkelmans

Body Awareness & Wellness Coach

I help women with sensitive souls who struggle with overwhelm & emotional fatigue. I help them to reconnect to their inner wisdom and find the stillness within that will allow them to thrive in this chaotic and loud world while helping them to create their own map to health and wellness.

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