Healing, Nurturing, and Health
Updated January 21, 2005
I’ve been on a long difficult path to healing, and likely others can benefit from my experience. I was lucky that I had some money saved up, and could afford to do research and experiment on myself with different healing practices. I was also lucky I had internet access, research skills, and some background in biology and medicine. Many people don’t have the kind of skills or time it takes to do this, and need some pointers so they can quickly get going on improving their health.
Life is many flowing movements in dynamic balance – Most of what I do these days keeps coming back to this again and again. The more I learn to work with this, the more progress I make in increasing my sense of well-being. Health is one result of my well-being and is also a significant part of the foundation of my well-being. Health and well-being have a classic circular relationship in that they cause each other. The concepts of flowing movements and dynamic balances are threads throughout all the practices I am using to recover and strengthen my health.
Probably what took me the longest to learn was the need to constantly maintain a reservoir of health and energy. The tricky part is learning how to maintain this reservoir while balancing my daily energy budget. I kept digging down deeper, past symptoms, to what many would consider causes. However until I changed my attitude and motivation, from one of finding ways to buy a few more hours at work, to one of fundamentally nurturing myself because I deeply wanted to care for myself, I was still on a slide towards illness.
Unfortunately by the time I realized this, my lifestyle was already much more healthy than most. I had nearly exhausted my internal systems, and had very few options left on what I could do, in addition to what I was already doing, to start regaining my health. Basically if there aren’t any warm coals left, blowing on the ashes won’t help much. By the time I made health my top priority, there was very little left to work with.
Part of problem had been was I was buried in work and family problems, and didn’t know how to reduce my load in an acceptable way, so I just plowed on forwards spending my health faster than I added to it with lifestyle improvements.
In retrospect, more health would have increased my clarity and ingenuity, and would have allowed me to find an acceptable solution so I could have avoided running my health and life into the ground.
This gets back to sharing my experience and the key resources that helped me so others can get their health practices, and life, on track before their health fails.
What is astounding is how poorly I was served by the medical profession. Some people believe that the services provided by Doctors are just another free market situation and each individual is responsible for doing all the research and analysis to determine what medical services they need, and determine if their needs are being adequately met.
This is a nice idea, but if there was ever a great case for an exception to this concept, it is for medical care. By the time a person is really sick, even if they had the skills and abilities to do their own research on their own health issues, they can’t do this because they’re sick. This is why they needed the doctors’ help in the first place.
However the reality is, for the time being, if you are too sick to do your own health research, you are in big trouble. This is a very good motivation for being very careful with your health.
In the same sense that you have to put on the safety harness before you fall off the building, you have to have a functioning health plan before you get really sick.
These were the signs that my health needs weren’t going to be adequately met. If you experience the same treatment, start being proactive before it’s too late.
When I learned these key points, I started making significant progress on recovering my health:
If you are being poisoned, until you prevent exposure to the poisons, you will make little real progress on health. Nutrition and energy work can help heal past damage, but can’t neutralize the effects of continued exposure to toxins. You owe it to yourself to be tested for heavy metal poisoning, and check the environments you spend time in for sources of toxins.
Adequate diagnostic testing is an essential complement to carefully listening to one’s own body. More information on this is in the Resources section below.
The GI tract is where nutrients are absorbed and wastes excreted. It is every bit as fragile and as critical to one’s health as the liver is, but for some reason people tend to neglect its health. All the body’s systems are essential for health and well-being. Since they are all interdependent, they are just like a chain which is only as strong as its weakest link.
A leaky gut will release many toxins into the body that would have been excreted, so it’s vitally important to check for this problem.
Health is a combination of physical health, emotional health, mental health, spiritual health, energy health, and language health. There can be symptoms in any one of these areas, but no area is healthy or ill on its own. The symptoms may primarily show in one area or the other, but any illness has roots in all of areas and so permanent true healing must address causes in all of these areas.
Health includes much more than can be easily measured, quantified, articulated and proved with the physical sciences.
Energy flows through many centers of intelligence in the body, and any one of these areas of intelligence can be strong and balanced, or weak and unbalanced. In addition the flow throughout the body can be smooth, strong and balanced, or intermittent, weak and unbalanced. It is very important to learn to feel and work with the internal energy flows.
Many movement practices just teach a physical form without teaching internal awareness and control of energy. Without this, there won’t be any way to manage the energy flow between one’s self and the rest of the world. Since we are constantly exposed to healthy and unhealthy energy, it is essential to understand how our internal energy is being affected by the external energy, and in turn how our energy affects the world around us.
Every food has its own kind of energy that will shift the energy of the person eating it. In addition each food has its own chemistry that interacts differently with different body chemistries. It is essential to consider these impacts when tuning a healing program.
Events from the past are carried in stored energy and images. Many of these weigh us down and trap us in the past. Until these are let go, it is difficult to be present in the now, to make good progress on healing, and enjoy the life that is available today.
Words are labels for symbols, and symbols are a constructed of groups of images. Images are the real roots of language. There is the language a person thinks in, and deeper is the language a person feels in. These languages, their symbols and images frame a person’s reality including their health. Any weakening, blocking, or counterproductive habitual framing of language will extend to all aspects of their health.
In a very literal sense, a person is what they carry with them from the past, and what they are currently eating, feeling, imagining, thinking, and doing in the present.
Any true permanents healing must involve a coordinated shift across all of these areas. Without this, there will be just temporary gains, the symptoms will just be shifted to other areas, or maybe no change in symptoms will happen at all.
People talk about positive energy and negative energy as if they were two different kinds of energy. More and more it looks to me like energy is just a tool and it can be used constructively or destructively.
This is why somebody who is really wound up can flip so quickly from positive energy to negative energy – the energy continued to flow, all that changed was the intent and how the energy was being used.
Frequently long before the symptoms of sickness show up in a person, the negative use of energy was starting to undermine their health. The sufferings caused by the symptoms of illness just add more negativity, and this in turn causes more symptoms as the health declines. Then as a person looses their capacity to function, life becomes more problematic, and the energy tends to become even more negative.
When a person is experiencing a major illness, or incapacitating nonspecific symptoms, it is vitally important to make sure that what energy they have left is being used in the most positive way possible.
I picked up pieces of understanding from many different books. There are many books that cover the basics of starting and building up to an effective program of walking for cardiovascular exercise.
There are several other aspects to walking as a practice that have great long-term impact on health. Part of what wears us down is being in a frenzied stop-and-go culture. Another problem is disconnection from our physical body, the land, and the natural world.
It isn’t just the walking; it is the time spent walking, and where people frequently go when walking. Walking takes more time than more intense sports to generate enough exercise for physical fitness. Usually people do their walking outside, and frequently its done near landscaped areas or green belts.
During this whole period there is a steady step, step, step – a consistent rhythm of gentle jiggling and vibration of our whole body. Stress that is locked in our muscles is gently loosened and flows away. Our physical and emotional rhythms become steadier and slow down. We literally become more grounded each time a foot steps on the ground. This helps us become more present with our bodies, with the world around us, and with the deeper truths inside ourselves that get drowned out by the noise of daily life.
Walking can help heal us from previous stress, and help make us more resistant to stress in the future. In addition to the physical healing from the exercise, there is an element of emotional and spiritual healing reported by many.
It is amazing how much better some difficult conversations can go when done when walking. If the subject matter is likely to cause you to get so tense you freeze up and then crack and explode, walking can help drain the tension as fast as it builds, and allow a much more constructive conversation to take place.
So much of the time we are isolated from the weather and seasons. There are all kinds of glorious weather happening throughout the year. Walking puts us in the middle of it, at a speed, where we can really feel and experience being in the midst of all that sensation and beauty.
With nothing more than a comfortable pair of walking shoes, all this is available to you, free of charge, everywhere, anytime.
Here is a book that is useful as a starting point for walking information:
“Walking Magazine The Complete Guide To Walking: for Health, Fitness, and Weight Loss”
By Mark Fenton, 2001
This book does a good job of helping people get started with all levels of walking programs, from the people who can barely walk to race walkers. There is a huge resources section with leads to almost anything you can imagine related to walking. There are worksheets that can be useful for people trying to squeeze a permanent walking program into an already squeezed lifestyle. Unfortunately Reader’s Digest stopped publication of “Walking” magazine the year after this book was published. Luckily we have the book to use. There are lots of other books available too. This is a good sign that lots of people are interested in walking as a healthy practice. I think the issue is that once somebody learns to walk as a practice, they don’t read about it much (or at all) and don’t spend much money on it (or at all). This makes it hard to finance a regular publication on walking. There are some organizations in the resources section of the book that can help connect you with organized activities, sports events, waking vacations, instructors, and current information on walking.
Here are a couple of walking web sites to get you started:
American Volkssport Association www.ava.org
About Walking http://walking.about.com
Walking isn’t just something that you do until you get well; its best value is received when you go out walking each week, and continuing doing it every week for your whole life.
These are the key sources that supported my learning how to be healthy.
Live Right for Your Type: The Individualized Prescription for Maximizing Health, Well-Being and Vitality in Every Stage of Your Life
By Peter J. D'Adamo, 2001 www.dadamo.com
This book is about matching your diet to you blood type, which is very simple to do once you know your blood type because the book has chapters for each blood type listing the foods that are beneficial for that type, and the ones that aren’t. It is based on the issue that different blood chemistries react differently to foods. Different foods conflict with each specific blood chemistry, and different foods provide useful support for it. By avoiding some foods and focusing on the ones beneficial for your blood type, significant increases in health and vitality can be gained.
Dr. Abravanel's Body Type Diet and Lifetime Nutrition Plan
By Elliot D. Abravanel, revised 1999 www.bodytypes.com
“The unique body-typing program that teaches you how to: lose weight, achieve your ideal body shape, target your trouble spots, boost your energy, eliminate food cravings forever, feel better than you ever thought possible.”
This program works by adjusting your diet to counter balance the dominate gland so the load is more evenly spread across all the glands. I consider it a supplement to the books by Peter J. D'Adamo. Under stress, frequently a person’s instinctive response is to eat foods that will stimulate their dominate gland. Over time, this strategy can exhaust it. By eating to carefully nurture all the major glands, eventually they will all be strong, and provide much more vitality than is possible when one gland is acting as the dominate gland.
Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition
By Paul Pitchford, Third Edition, 2002 www.heartwoodinstitute.com/content/wellness/
The author works with increasing balance, healing, and energy through nutrition, supplements, and practices. I didn’t understand how sick I was until after I started a supplement program based on this book. After I re-experienced some sense of well-being and clarity, I could look back and see how sick I had been, and look forwards to see how much work was left to do. This was pretty scary, but this feeling was mitigated by the fact that I was getting better, and had the broad balanced approach in this book to guide me. This book is essentially a textbook on wellness, and most people will find it most useful as a kind of encyclopedia for understanding and working with different health issues they have. Ideally a person will study the whole book and learn and integrate all the underlying concepts; however this would be best viewed as a long-term effort.
Note on Body Weight Issues: Not being near your optimum weight is just one of many possible symptoms of imbalances or illness. Dieting is usually just another way of addressing symptoms without addressing underlying issues, which is why dieting to maintain a desired weight so often fails. Being near your optimum weight does have significant health benefits, and the books above can be very helpful in achieving and maintaining your optimum weight while generating increased vitality at the same time.
Eastern Body, Western Mind: psychology and the chakra system as a path to the self
By Anodea Judith, 1996 www.sacredcenters.com
This book incorporates elements of Jungian psychology, spirituality, metaphysics, and somatic therapy as Anodea explains how to use her model of the chakra system for diagnosis and healing.
She sees each chakra as a separate center of intelligence that can be strong and balanced, or weak and unbalanced. When balanced energy is flowing within and between all chakras, then this energy flow is healthy. What is most interesting is how energy moves up through each chakra center, gaining intelligence as it moves through each center, until this energy reaches the top of a person and understanding is gained. Then the energy moves down through each chakra center again, gaining additional intelligence until the energy reaches the bottom of a person, and manifestation is gained. When all the chakras are strong and balanced, this flow of energy can be very powerful and productive.
One of Anodea Judith’s models related to chakras is they develop in sequence, starting with the first one. If you are doing poorly during the period that chakra is forming, then the chakra itself doesn’t fully develop into a strong balanced chakra. For each chakra, she provides suggested resources to further develop, strengthen, and heal that chakra and the skills associated its functions. This is very useful in understanding what went wrong, and what you can do about it now.
Understanding Who We Are and How Others Are Different
It’s always tricky to objectively and clearly see yourself. Both of these books are very handy in providing lots of useful insights into your particular nature. You can much more successfully create an effective role for yourself in life when you are clear as to how you fit into it.
Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery
By Don Richard Riso with Russ Hudson
Please Understand Me II: Temperament Character Intelligence
By David Keirsey
We tend to assume others react to life in the same ways we do – most of time this is an incorrect assumption. These books describe some of the fundamental kinds of characteristics people can have, and how these characteristics impact their life and people they interact with.
The better we understand our nature, and the nature of others, the easier it is to find a path of positive energy for all involved, and maintain a dynamic of synergy even though people are coming from very different directions with very different needs and values.
“Personality Types” and “Please Understand Me II” are complementary. They approach the concept of describing types of people in very different ways. There is a good chance that between the two books, in any specific situation, for a specific individual, you will find some insight on how to interact with them in a way that is constructive for both of you.
Getting Real: The Ten Truth Skills You Need to Live an Authentic Life
Susan M. Campbell, Foreword by Brad Blanton; 2001 www.susancampbell.com
It’s wonderful how when you communicate about troublesome subjects in an objective, nonjudgmental, non-threatening, empathetic, and problem solving way, how many times there suddenly doesn’t seem to be a problem at all. Part of what this book is about is learning how to constructively be upfront with your self, and with other people, about what is going on with you and what is essential for you. Part of it is about how to avoid sacrificing yourself just to keep other people happy.
Sometimes things don’t work out, but at least the discussion can be defused to a great degree, and everybody can find out about this sooner than later. This allows both parties to stop wasting time in plans that aren’t going to work out, and start investing time and energy in better plans sooner than would have happened if the differences were concealed. Part of it is how to frame all of this in a way that will frequently work out well for both people.
The more magical part is how being more open and honest frequently triggers a similar response in the other person in a way that generates an unusually deep level of cooperation and understanding that causes you and them to shift positions. Then things really do work out, and help build foundations for improved relationships and more satisfying lives.
This book is part of my health plan because you can’t be healthy without healthy relationships. Unhealthy relationships will drag you down, and when you are isolated from other people you are missing out on the synergy created by healthy relationships that helps empower your health.
Guided Imagery for Self-Healing: An Essential Resource for Anyone Seeking Wellness
By Martin L. Rossman, Second Edition, 2000 www.academyforguidedimagery.com
The foundation for this approach is learning to relax. This in itself is healing, but it also helps provide access to internal tools and knowledge that can be used to direct healing work. There is information buried in our minds and bodies that is very useful in understanding what caused our symptoms, and what can help cure them. In turn, we can directly communicate to parts of our bodies and beings with images in a way that words can’t. By shifting the images we are working with in more positive directions, and by focusing these positive images in areas that need healing, we can increase the overall level of healthy energy in our bodies, and help heal wounded parts of ourselves. These techniques have amazing potential. Recordings from the label immediately below are useful in increasing the relaxing and healing energy in your life.
Music for Relaxation and Healing – The label Soundings of the Planet www.soundings.com believes in promoting Peace and Health Through Music.
Peace means different things to different people, and they have created a wide range of music with different artists revolving around the theme of inspiring a state of peace through music. They have also created recordings that focus on assisting relaxation and healing. These are the most relaxing and peaceful recordings I have ever listened to.
Two of my favorite recordings are “Healing Waters” and “Peaceful Pond” that use music and nature recordings to carry me to the kind of safe and nurturing beautiful place described by Martin Rossman in his Guided Imagery sessions. When I am in need of an extended period of rest and healing, I find it useful to start of with a recording of Martin Rossman guiding me though a Guided Imagery session, and put a couple CDs from Soundings after it in the CD player. This soothing music can be especially useful when there is unavoidable background noise that would distract the attention when relaxing.
Qigong or Chi Gung – This has been an important part of improving and balancing the energy flow within my being and between me and the rest of the world. It is difficult to learn from books. Besides it being much easier to learn by to watching an experienced person demonstrate the moves than it is to look at diagrams in a book, there is a sense of understanding that can be transmitted directly from a teacher to a student. It is much more than an exercise form, and to gain the most benefit, one must learn to feel and work with the energy, the Chi, that is within them. This is essential for effectively dealing with blockages to flow, balancing the flow, and directing the flow to areas urgently in the need of healing. I first learned it through a series of coincidences from a Chinese man who didn’t really speak English. This worked because while there are lots of ideas that are part of the practice, the core is movement, shape, flow, and feeling.
Embrace the Moon www.embracethemoon.com “practices of peace for mind, body and spirit”
This web site, for a studio in Seattle Washington, provides background and links to Qigong resources.
Chi Gung: Chinese Healing, Energy, and Natural Magick
By L. V. Carnie 1997 www.serv.net/~lily/site.html
This book teaches you to teach yourself, and is more a starting point than a definitive reference. Since this is what Chi Gung is all about, it’s a great book, and provides a better overview and understanding of the basics than anything else I’ve read.
The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing
By Kenneth Cohen, 1999 www.qigonghealing.com
Kenneth has made a life work of learning and teaching healing traditions from several different cultures. If you are somewhat housebound, or live in an area without local teachers, his material is very useful because he has produced a book, video, and audio cassettes that can be used for a self-taught learning program for Qigong. It is difficult to learn Qigong without some direct transmition from a teacher to the student, and some feedback on how the student is doing. However, the combination of all three media goes much further to enabling this than is usual, and Kenneth intends it to be used this way for people without access to a teacher.
Walking – See the walking section above.
Dance – See this web page www.skilledwright.com/ecstaticdance.htm
Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia & Lyme Disease
Second Edition, 2004
By Burton Goldberg www.alternativemedicine.com
And Larry Trivieri JR www.1healthyworld.com
This book was very useful in learning how the systems within my body help support my health, and how factors common in the lifestyles of many, myself included, can wear them down to the point they start loosing their ability to support health. In particular, it helped me see how chronic fatigue can be a group of problems, rather than a specific disease, where each problem enhances the other problem’s detrimental effects on health. When a critical mass of these issues forms, the body spirals downwards towards total collapse. Ideally these issues are identified while the body’s systems are just under-functioning, and before any system becomes nonfunctional or permanently damaged.
Note: I have some doubts about the specific protocols described in the book. It was very useful in broadening my knowledge about subtle causes of illness, the interrelationship of the different systems in the body, types of tests that can be used to identify underlying issues and the extent of damage, and types of healing strategies to consider. It is very useful as a quick reference encyclopedia when coming up to speed on new issues, and understanding the implications of lab reports.
Who Needs Headaches? Why suffer – if you don’t have to?
By Dr. Cass Igram, 1991
(I couldn’t find a web site for his work; also “Ingram” might be an alternative spelling for his name)
This wasn’t really a part of the healing program, but it did help reduce my headaches and migraines enough that I could make progress in learning about the root problems, and ways to rebuild my health. The book describes the mechanisms that cause the different kinds of headaches and treatment strategies to reduce them so you have more capacity to address the underlying issues.
Besides being very entertaining, these books have done a lot to increase my perspective on life through increasing my tendency to question illusions we are taught to take for granted as basic truths. Terry Pratchett is considered to be England’s greatest living satirist. He was written stories for children, youth, and adults, however most adults read all of his books. Most of his stories take place on a “flat pizza shaped world that could only exist because the gods enjoy a good joke as much as anybody”. Under the guise of fantasy writing he writes about issues we all face everyday with a rare sense of empathy and humor. He makes the truth more palatable and enjoyable than any author I’ve ever read.
Okay, so you’re asking “what does this have to do with health?” Without perspective, and an ability to objectively see yourself for what you are, and your life for what it is, it’s very likely you will be continuing to make mistakes that are undermining your health. If you want to get to the very roots of this, the most useful books are the ones with Granny Weatherwax in them. She is a witch who has devoted her life to realness and avoiding the use of magic if at all possible.
Laughter is a very healing activity in itself, and anybody with health problems needs an extra dose of it as an attitude tonic. These books have a potent laughter generating energy, and so should be prescribed when seriousness results in pain or depression.
The chronological order of her stories is: Juniper, Wise Child, and Colman.
However she wrote them in this order: Wise Child, Juniper, and Colman.
Besides being enjoyable and inspiring stories, these books provide the best modeling for nurturing I’ve read. As an adult, your primary care giver is yourself. Few people ever experienced truly unconditional love and nurturing free of physical and emotional abuse. Because of this our images and models for care giving that we absorbed were tainted with the roots of negative uses of energy.
Merely by reading and rereading these stories you can gradually re-pattern your sense of care giving so it will be more supportive of well-being.
As part of the cycle of illness, we tend to disconnect from ourselves and nature. A core theme of these stories is the interconnectedness of all life, and the importance of a constant active connection to the natural world. Reading these stores helps gently steer one back to this sense of connection.
iHerb.Com www.iherb.com – Not only is it one of the most conscientious online supplement stores, it is also one of the least expensive. On top of this it has online medical and herbal information that includes many articles, an encyclopedia, and several complete books, all online, all for free.
NutriBiotic Rice Protein www.nutribiotic.com – Many people with health problems today have allergy and sensitivity issues. It can be very difficult to find a source of high quality protein you don’t react to. Since adequate protein is essential to health, this was a huge issue for me until I discovered rice protein because I reacted to all legumes and all animal products except for a few fish high in mercury. The plain version of the product is just rice protein, and nothing else. It is available from www.iherb.com at a very low cost when bought in case lots.
Organic Food – Organic food isn’t a guarantee, but as a rule has less toxins and more nutrients than food that wasn’t raised organically. These farming practices help reduce the total amount of toxins released into the general environment. Eating organic animal products avoids the intakes of drugs and hormones contained in animal products not raised organically.
Oregon Tilth www.tilth.org – This organization is a good place to start for learning more about organic food issues.
Seattle Tilth www.seattletilth.org has a great section of links related to healthy food for producers and consumers.
Food Nutrients www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/index.html – It’s not easy to find out exactly what nutrients are in the food you eat. For example, they will tell you how much carbohydrate, but not how much of the carbohydrate is sugar. If you have blood sugar problems, you must know this. The USDA food nutrient database lists thousands of food and detailed analysis of their nutrients. For some foods it even lists the amounts of different sugars and total sugar in the food. It’s very easy to use because they have an online form where you select which food you want information on.
Medline Plus http://medlineplus.gov “A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health” – This is a great place to learn what medical terms mean, descriptions of illnesses, what the traditional medical establishment recommends for different conditions, and what is involved with different treatment protocols. Due to the political issues around mercury poisoning from chronic exposure, they avoid addressing this issue. It was very useful in helping me understand test results.
A Healthy Home With Healthy Air – Since most of us at least sleep at home, and many spend a significant amount of awake time at home, our health is greatly affected by the health of the home. This is one of the few places where we have a lot of direct control of the quality of the environment, so the greatest immediate gains for the least effort invested can be had in the home environment. If you have allergies or chemical sensitivities, it can make a huge difference to give your body a long clean air break at home before you go back out again.
The Healthy House Institute www.hhinst.com
“We're here to help you improve your home's interior environment, especially its indoor air quality.”
Debra Lynn Dadd www.dld123.com – Debra has written a number of books and many articles about increasing your health by reducing the toxic chemicals in your home. There are many simple and inexpensive ways to make significant differences. It is amazing how toxic some of the cleaning and other household products are, and how the consumer is mislead about this. Just by making more educated choices at the grocery store you can significantly increase the health of your home. I’ve been using her books for over 20 years now. If you need practical solutions for multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), this is the place to start.
Mercury poisoning www.skilledwright.com/mercurypoisoning.htm – This is a good start for anybody wanting to learn about or deal with mercury poisoning, particularly poisoning from dental fillings or fish.
Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides www.pesticide.org – This site has lots of information on alternatives to using pesticides, and information about the hazards of different pesticides. There are many toxins we are exposed to in modern life, and it can be overwhelming to learn and deal with all of them. One of the most critical staring points is pesticides. They are one of the most toxic and persistent toxins most people are exposed to. A huge amount is used in residential applications, and due to improper application, many people are more at risk for pesticide complications at home than farm workers are where pesticides are used regularly. So there is a huge potential for decreasing your exposure to toxins by just reducing your exposure at home.
Tools and Opportunities for All of Us from the Skilledwright www.skilledwright.com – the home page title says it all.
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