Tag Archives: Transition

The Nowhere Between Two Somewheres

boat

The Roman Stoic Philosophers, Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger (4. BCE – 65 ACE), made this observation about human planning gone awry:

Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.

Not knowing what harbor you are making for is what transition feels like. It is that in-between place where you cannot go back to a season in your life where the door has closed, and the new door has yet to open.

We often get stuck in-between the chapters of our lives when one chapter ends and the new one hasn’t begun yet. We tend to look for immediate and quick fixes to alleviate the dis-ease of uncertainty we feel when we are in what William Bridges calls “the neutral zone, the nowhere between two somewheres” in his classic book “Transitions”. Know this, that dis-ease is a form of anxiety. Also realize that you have crossed a threshold, and the anxiety is the sign that you have. You can turn your anxiety into anticipation (because it’s the same chemical reaction in your brain), however the former is fear-based “what if” thinking, whereas if you can shift to thinking and acting “as if” your future is determining your present, you will find new motivation to move forward!

In the space of the neutral zone, the “nowhere” zone, you have to learn to be with your anxiety and not attempt to fight it. Fighting it only gives it power. Being with it allows you to embrace the uncertainty and release your creative energies by learning how to ask new questions that free you from the limitations of the former chapter that came to an end precisely because it took you as far as was possible. You outgrew it! Yet you still have a future, and it is waiting for you! Continue reading

Transformation Isn’t Something That Happens When You Find The Time

To all the unique people who want(ed) their transformation to begin on Jan 1 because everyone else is doing it, remember: if you go with the flow, you might miss the boat. 

Transformation isn’t something that you get around to doing. It isn’t something you can add to your calendar, begin my amazing transformation and then drag to a new day because there’s a scheduling conflict. Because the calendar says it is time, will not bring about a transformation, because time is not a factor that will change your life. Time is simply a measure of existence and events.

A transformation can only take place when you are ready and that means you must begin anew. What do I mean by “begin anew”? I mean you must deny yourself.

Denying yourself doesn’t imply that you sacrifice things that you like and those that give you pleasure: pizza, eating out, carbs… sex. Denying yourself means doing things you’ve never done and reacting in ways you never have. It is looking at a situation in another way. Seeing it… differently. Because if you do the same things you always do, you will always get the same things you always get; good or bad.

Bad things, just as good things are really only neutral things. How can this be? When something happens, we assign it a value of either “good” or “bad.” Most of us, maybe even all of us, want that value to always be “good.” But if you look at it, when something is assigned as “good” e.g.: a new job, a promotion, a proposal, a marriage — all events we generally assign as irrefutably good, hence we celebrate (and will reward with food) — is only good because of how it relates to our expectations; the value becomes the meaning. Afterall, a new job, a promotion, a proposal, a marriage is only “good” because of the expectations we have assigned to those events and what we think will happen to us because of those events.

On the flip side, when something presumably “bad” occurs e.g.: losing a job, getting divorce, bankruptcy and foreclosure, all things we assign as certainly “bad,” will be bad, unless we see them for what they are: acts of change. And change, by its nature, is simply something that becomes different.

The whole point of transformation is change. If you are happy, then by all means, and for heaven’s sake, continue doing what you are doing. This is your path; your bliss. If however, you are seeking a transformation, you are seeking something outside of yourself, something you cannot teach yourself and you certainly cannot teach yourself something you do not know. You must deny the satisfaction that comes with “don’t tell me, I know” and the reaction that is based on all the things you have come to know. And this will hurt.

To realize what we once thought was of value is no longer, is a difficult period. This is why it is called a rebirth. Just as a butterfly loses one form of life to gain a new one, you cannot become who you want to be, if you are unable to let go of who you’ve become.

When we are born, we are new — empty and ready to be filled, so to speak. With what you are filled determines how fulfilling your life becomes. To have a rebirth can only happen if you are ready to be “renewed” to be “refilled” And one cannot be refilled if there is no room for growth. How would a glass of wine taste if you were to pour new wine into the same glass that has old wine? 

Only when you deny the self you know, can you become the self you don’t know.

So, a rebirth is sort of like being born again. Just as birth was both painful for the mother and for the child, your entire existence during a rebirth will become painful: your social circle just isn’t fulfilling (anymore), your career is a job that you do but isn’t one that gives you pleasure, you love your spouse but are not in love with your spouse. All presumably “bad” realizations that will shock, horrify and frighten you, but are really the seeds of transformation… only if you let it. Because a seed cannot remain a seed and become a plant at the same time.

Betsy Chasse: Embracing Change For 2012

Change. Such an easy to word to say. But often such a hard thing to do. We are creatures of habit aren’t we. Well at least I am anyway. With all the hustle and bustle I love to create in my life- all the chaos, I love sameness.  I especially love the traditions during the holidays.

It seems I’d rather suffer from the pinch in my back from the worn down stuffing in my old chair then get a new one. Why is that?  Even the suffering becomes a comfort. Until one day it finally breaks down completely, there is no way to salvage that which should have been thrown away a long time ago. So I grieve the loss of the sameness, the comfort I had in the sadness of it.

Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love finding that perfect gift, surprising the mail carrier and watching the joy in my children’s eyes as we inch closer and closer to Christmas. I love putting up my lights and decorating my tree. Baking cookies and making Christmas dinner.

This holiday season has not been easy. Sure I’ve put on the happy face for my kids and my family and even my friends. But with each holiday tradition I’ve had to recreate I’ve cried. It’s not that I’m not excited about creating new traditions, making adjustments to the old ones to fit my new life. I am excited for my “new” life. But I miss the old one. How is that possible?

Change is uncomfortable. I look outside my window and see a world that wants to change. I see a world screaming for something new- yet we wake up each day, put on the same old shoes and start the sameness all over again. We live in fear of what might happen if we change. Will I still be me (whoever that is!). Will I still be loved? Will I still have the same teller at my bank? Will I still have a bank? It does sound scary. But I know that the future is scary. It’s the unknown.  We can either choose to see it scary or with excitement. I often do both.

Sometimes change is forced on us. I actually think that makes it easier. Then I didn’t have to make the choice to change- it was forced on me dammit!  I can sit around and blame the change on someone else. But I still have to change.

But what am I really changing? I am changing the way I celebrate, I am changing the ornaments on my tree. Those are the external changes, the external physical habits that are connected to the internal emotional habits.

I am seeing new parts of my world I hadn’t seen before- but maybe they were there all along. I am making new connections, rewiring my brain. Throwing out the old ornamental beliefs and finding new ones. They aren’t better or worse- I don’t think – they’re just new and will take a little getting used to, that is if I keep them. The greatest gift I got this holiday was the gift that change can be good and if I don’t like what I got- I can always change it again.

Happy 2012 to all! Enjoy the change!

To find out more about Betsy Chasse visit www.betsychasee.net

Check out the new book by “Bleep” film maker Betsy Chasse “Meta-Noia – A transformational Change of Heart” You can purchase it from www.betsychasse.net or the kindle version at

http://www.betsychasse.net/kindle

 PHOTO (cc): Flickr / Kikasz

Transitions: Why is it So Tough to Get Through Them?

It is late September and hundreds of wide-eyed freshman girls, all dressed up and huddled in groups of 4 or 5, are lined up UCLA’s sorority row.  I take this road often and each fall I am reminded of when I was among those girls once. Nervous and excited, I found myself among thousands of people on a vast campus and I spent most of the first quarter figuring out what I was going to make of myself in this new place.

But last week, when I was driving past the sorority houses and the crowds, I asked myself, “How did time go by?”  How can it be that I can still feel so close to that person I was then and yet have a child that is literally the age of the girls that I see before me?”

It feels as if change—or life for that matter— sweeps over us whether we are prepared or not. Research indicates that every 7 years we go through some type of transformation. Moving out, getting a new job and marriage are big markers in our life.  At around age 30 we go through another major upheaval where we reassess our commitments.  Of course everyone has heard of the infamous mid-life crisis and its seismic changes. However the big misconception is that once we get over the mid-life years, our lives become an unbroken plain of constancy.  This is not so.

Transitions are simply the way in which our life unfolds, where we go through a series of expansions and contractions.  So if changes and transitions take place at every juncture of our lives, why is it so difficult to accept it?

Change, in its essence, initiates a process of saying goodbye to a part of our lives. And that process triggers a host of responses, some good, and some that will delay or inhibit our growth.

It's useful to ask ourselves, "What were our experiences in endings before?" How we dealt with childhood transitions and changes may give us insight into how we deal with transitions today. When something in our life comes to an end,  old coping mechanisms  automatically reactivate and we are dealing with some of our residue feelings and responses from an earlier experience.

For some, change is met with resistance, it triggers old patterns of fear of the unknown, confusion, and insecurity. If we don't allow ourselves to process these feelings while making transitions,  our unfinished business will reappear later on. And we all have had our share of feeling like we are spinning our wheels over and over again.

This explains why then, it isn’t a coincidence that we tend to resist the transition itself, which has to do more sense of self, than the external change.  In order for this transition process to take place, we are forced to give up our old pattern of living, mindsets, and ways we respond to ourselves and others.  We find ourselves in an unknown territory that in the well known, best-selling book by William Bridges, "Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes" calls "the neutral zone."  

The neutral zone is a place to be embraced and worked through because its a time of emptiness,  inactivity, or restlessness. It is an important stage not to be skipped over because it prepares the ground for new growth and activities—a renewed source of energy and identity.  It is a place where we learn to see ourselves with new eyes, and become inspired to dream new dreams.

This can be the scariest place  for those who don’t deal with transitions easily for it is a place of risk and opportunity.  It changes relationships, it challenges the status quo, and leads you to uncharted territory. Our first instinct is to make this distress more comfortable for ourselves.  We may revert back to the safety of the way things used to be, or jump into some kind of project, activity or relationship to avoid this awkward in-between stage. But the famous saying is “You have to be lost enough to find yourself.”  And as much as we wished we could whizz through this awkward in-between period, we can’t. This period may take weeks or months or even years.

A Rabbi once said one of the wisest words to my son on the day of his Bar Mitzvah, which marks a child’s entry into adulthood.  He put a hand on his shoulder and looked in his eye and said, “Remember, my young man, life is about beginning. Yes beginnings. You will have many beginnings such as this in your life.” (To tell you the truth, I thought I needed to hear that message more than him!)

Yes, beginnings too are markers in our journey. It’s important to become aware of the ways in which we personally begin new stages in our lives —is it through relationships, new projects, or does a new attitude first emerge? For some there may be a flash of an “idea” or an “inspiration” or an “image” that tickles us or calls us from a deep place inside.

What works against us is that we often buy into the idea that we should keep the same dreams and aspirations that we had when we were younger. The natural developmental pattern is not for people to keep the same dreams but to relinquish old dreams and generate new ones throughout their lives. Many of us do not come into our own by the time we are well into our 40’s or 50’s. Consider Abraham Lincoln, Ghandi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Walt Whitman — there is a long list of names of famous people who began anew in the midst of adult life transition. So why not us?

I was once asked in an interview, if I had to start over, what would I do differently. I have started over many times; I went from teaching at the university to facilitating women’s groups, and then becoming a writer and speaker.  What would I do differently?  My answer was not about a change in activity but a change in attitude. I would have been kinder and more patient with myself. I would have given myself more completely to whatever I did, even if they were false starts. I have come to realize that the degree to which we give ourselves away to people, to life and its ensuing changes, the more fully we embrace our own unique journey.

Life Transitions: The Death And Rebirth Of Self

Sometimes a part of us must die before another part can come to life.

Sometimes a part of us must die before another part can come to life. Even though this is a natural and necessary part of our growth, it is often painful or, if we don’t realize what’s happening, confusing and disorienting. In fact, confusion and disorientation are often the messengers that tell us a shift is taking place within us. These shifts happen throughout the lives of all humans, as we move from infancy to childhood to adolescence and beyond. With each transition from one phase to another, we find ourselves saying good-bye to an old friend, the identity that we formed in order to move through that particular time.

Sometimes we form these identities in relationships or jobs, and when we shift those areas of our life become unsettled. Usually, if we take the time to look into the changing surface of things, we will find that a shift is taking place within us. For example, we may go through one whole chapter of our lives creating a protective shell around ourselves because we need it in order to heal from some early trauma. One day, though, we may find ourselves feeling confined and restless, wanting to move outside the shelter we needed for so long; the new part of ourselves cannot be born within the confines of the shell our old self needed to survive.

We may feel a strange mixture of exhilaration and sadness as we say good-bye to a part of ourselves that is dying and make way for a whole new identity to emerge in its place. We may find inspiration in working with the image of an animal who molts or sheds in order to make way for new skin, fur, or feathers to emerge. For example, keeping a duck feather, or some other symbol of transformation, can remind us that death and rebirth are simply nature’s way of evolving. We can surrender to this process, letting go of our past self with great love and gratitude, and welcoming the new with an open mind and heart, ready for our next phase of life.

Step Out of Your Box

One of our greatest sources of authentic power in life comes from our willingness and ability to act – especially in the face of obstacles and fear.  To be truly successful and fulfilled, we must challenge ourselves to take bold and courageous actions and to go for what we want.  Legendary author Ray Bradbury said, "First you jump off the cliff and then you build your wings on the way down."

In the summer of 1998 I was in the midst of a major life transition.  I’d blown out my pitching arm a little over a year earlier and had gotten released by the Kansas City Royals that March.  I was home in Oakland, CA collecting workers comp insurance (and not working), recovering from simultaneous elbow and shoulder surgery that I’d had at the start of that summer, reeling from what was sure to be the end of my dream of becoming a Major League baseball player (even after my arm rehab was completed), and trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.

Throughout that spring and summer, I read numerous self help books that inspired me – both by what I learned from them personally and also by the idea of being able to write books like that and help people myself.  I would wander into bookstores and find myself drawn to the personal development section – both to look for new books for me to read and also because I had a deep yearning to be involved in that world myself.

Given my age at the time, twenty-four, my lack of experience, and the fact that I had no idea how one would even begin a career as a self-help author and motivational speaker, I felt discouraged, scared, and confused.  Being an author and a speaker one day seemed like a pipe-dream.  And, in the weeks and months ahead I knew I’d need to make some important decisions about what to do and what specific steps to take as I ventured out into the "real world" for the very first time.

On July 11th, 1998 I had a conversation on the phone with my Uncle Steve that as I look back on it now, was a pivotal moment in the course of my life and my work.  That day on the phone, I shared with him some of my deepest fears, dreams, confusion, and desires for my life and my future.  I told him that I thought I wanted to be an author and speaker who could help and inspire people, but that I didn’t know how to do that, where to start, or what I could do in my life right away that would lead me in that direction.

Steve challenged me and said, "For you to do this Mike, you’re going to have to ‘step out’ and be bold in your life.  It’s not a one-time thing; it’s a day-by-day process.  The question to ask yourself today and every day is, ‘What am I willing to do today to step out in life’?"

This question that Steve asked me, while simple to understand, challenged me to my core – both inspiring me and scaring me at the same time.  I wasn’t sure how to answer that question at the time, but thought about it quite a bit.

I got a job that fall working for a dot-com, but my dream of writing, speaking, leading workshops, and coaching people stayed with me.  Over those next few years, Steve would send me notes and post cards from time to time with just the words "Step Out" on them.  It became a mantra for me.

Even though I knew the job I had selling internet advertising was not my "calling," I chose to be grateful for what I was learning and the money I was making.  At the same time I began to look outside of my current job for places where I could "step out" towards my deeper passion and dream of helping people.  I did this in as many ways as I could – taking workshops, volunteering, reaching out to established authors, speakers, and coaches, talking to people about my goals and dreams, reading books, and much more.

When I got laid off from my dot-com in the middle of 2000 – Steve’s question reverberated within me deeply.  I knew that the bold thing for me to do at that point, even though I still didn’t have a clue about how to go about it, was to "step out" of my "box," take a huge leap, and do what I could to become a speaker, coach, and author.

It wasn’t easy and there were many times I wanted to quit – but I kept challenging myself to be bold and to go for it, even when I didn’t think I could.  It took me six months from the time I got laid off to launch my speaking and coaching business, another two or three years before I was able to establish myself in any significant way, and seven years before I published my first book.

Stepping out of our own "box" is essential to living an authentic and fulfilled life. We often don’t think we’re "ready," we may not know exactly what we’re supposed to do, and we almost never have a guarantee that things will work out.

Will we get scared?  Of course.  Will we fail?  Most likely, especially at first.  As the cliche says, "no risk, no reward."  When we’re willing to put ourselves at risk and go for what we truly want in a bold way, amazing things can happen.

Stepping out of our box in life doesn’t always involve something big like changing careers, moving to a new place, starting a business, ending a relationship, or traveling around the world (although it could). It simply means we’re willing to do, say, or act in a way that is new, different, and/or vulnerable. When we choose to push past our perceived limits and go for it in life – we always grow and learn, regardless of the outcome.

As you do this, make sure to get support, have compassion, and be gentle with yourself in the process.  While it can be scary and often counter-intuitive – we’re here to grow, expand, and evolve and one of the most important things we can do in this regard to is to step out of our box in a conscious and bold way!

What are you willing to do today to step out of your box and go for what you really want in your life?  Share your thoughts, ideas, insights, actions, and more on my bloghere.

To listen to this week’s audio podcast, including additional thoughts, ideas, and tips, click here.

 

 

The Miracle of Change: Boredom

The feeling of boredom is often misunderstood and can actually mean we need to look under the layers for change.

Sometimes we feel that things aren’t moving along fast enough for us and that the world is passing us by. It may be that time seems to stand still and that we are simply bystanders in our own lives. Other times it might appear that there is nothing new left for us to experience and that we are locked into a never-ending cycle of stasis. If we take the time to listen to these feelings we will notice that there is probably more going on beneath the surface, like our apprehension to venture out into the unknown. By taking a new look at how we live our lives, however, it will be easier to break through our sense of boredom and enter into a more positive state of being.

When life seems monotonous, it is usually an indication that there is something we need to change. Boredom can easily lead us down the path to despondency. Acknowledging our feelings and then setting the intention to alter just one small thing in our life can give us a much more affirmative outlook. This act of change allows us to step outside of ourselves and discover new and exciting things that are often already present in our everyday lives. Simple things such as eating a healthier diet, taking a new class, or joining a club are all ways in which we can go beyond our comfort zone and explore the wonders that exist all around us. Keep in mind that the moment we do something different from our usual routine, the more fresh energy, hope, and blessings we will manifest in our life. What this means is that we’ll no longer see things as being tedious but will instead realize the preciousness of everything.

Being able to integrate these subtle changes on a daily basis allows us to recognize the miracles that are our lives. Even though we may think of change as doing something life-altering or drastic, gentle transitions from our habitual ways of doing things and an appreciation of all life offers us will truly bring about positive and lasting transformation.

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / uomoeletricco

Why Do We Get Stuck in a Rut?

Have you ever said, "I’m stuck in a rut lately" or "I’m getting tired of the same old routine" or "Isn’t there more to life than what I’ve been doing?"

What causes that uncomfortable feeling of being stuck? Creating a routine or schedule doesn’t seem to be the problem because nature prefers routine. The sun rises and sets. The moon rises and falls. Spring is followed by summer, fall, winter, and spring again. The earth travels all the way around the sun and then embarks on yet another journey around the sun, as the moon continues to travel around the earth. So having a regular schedule or routine is fully in alignment with the natural cyclical energy that flows through us and around us all the time. Having a routine doesn’t naturally produce discomfort.

So when we feel stuck, the problem is either the routine we created or our perception of the routine. In other words, feeling stuck could be the result of creating a routine that now seems unnatural to us – inconsistent with our core values, beliefs, and personal mission statement about why we’re on this planet. We might feel as if we’re in the wrong job, the wrong relationship, or the wrong community.

But it could also be the result of failing to fully appreciate the routine (and the life!) that we have now. Chad Brock sang “Ordinary Life,” in which a man leaves his wife because he’s sick of the same routine every day. It’s the exact same routine for which his wife is thankful every day, and the same routine that eventually draws him back home again. (Click here to access the video “Ordinary Life.”) When we open our eyes and deepen our awareness, we can experience awe in day-to-day simplicity:

  • “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.” – Buddha
     
  • “The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” – Henry Miller
     
  • “Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Before giving into any unhealthy, short-term tactics for breaking out of a rut (e.g., buying a pricy new sports car, having an affair, or booking an expensive overseas vacation that you can’t really afford), consider whether healthy, long-term changes to your routine might be useful to bring it more in alignment with your personal truth, or whether you are losing your awareness of the personal truth that you are already living every day!

DrDebBrown.com 

PHOTO: Flickr / villamon

This Week On Intent: Avoiding Life Ruts Or Getting Out of One

We’ve all been in a rut before. And usually, it is not a very fun feeling.

This week’s theme is ruts: avoiding them, coping with them, getting over them. Whether it’s a career rut, creative rut, relationship rut, social rut, exercise rut or an all-encompassing life rut–what’s the best way to deal? What are some inspiring strategies to dig yourself out of your mental inertia and start getting back into a good life momentum that makes you feel productive, happy and excited to find out what happens next? 

In some ways, a rut is a blessing in disguise. Once you recognize you are in one and you want to get out of it, this can be the best opportunity for an exciting new transition. Being stuck in a career rut may inspire you to go back to school and try a completely new career path you’ve always secretly dreamed about. Being stuck in a relationship rut may goad you and your romantic partner to make more exciting travel plans and do new activities together.

Sometimes being stuck means we are pushed to do unfamiliar and new things out of our comfort z
one in order to grow out of our life inertia. Here are some quick, rut-busting tips that just might be the shake-up you need to start feeling inspired again! 

– Talk to a friend–on the phone or in person–you haven’t talked to in a while. Sometimes you need a pep talk from a good friend to remind you just how awesome you are.

– Schedule a mini-adventure to do something new. Exploring new places and experiencing new things–even if it’s just a new coffee house in your neighborhood–is a great way to break out of your usual rhythm and possibly inspire some new ideas to get your own life flow going.

– Get rid of the clutter in your living space. A cleaner space  will help you think with more clarity what you need to do next.

– Take up an activity that normally scares you or makes you nervous. Doing things out of our comfort zones is one of the best ways to feel like you are on the top of the world! 

Are you experiencing a rut right now? Or have you just gotten out of one? What tips and advice do you have for getting out of a rut? What keeps you feeling inspired, productive and rut-free?

Join Intent’s mission this week to inspire others with ideas that will help us avoid ruts or get out of them. We will be featuring the best weekly content at the end of the week. If you simply want to share a quick idea in the comments below, we want to hear that as well. We can’t wait to read your contributions!

** Want more inspiration to get out of a life rut? How about getting out of stress? This week on Intent, we are doing a free give-away of Intent Voice Debbie Mandel’s book Addicted to Stress: A Woman’s 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. For a chance to win the book, sync your Intent and Twitter account, and post an Intent on how you plan on getting out of a life rut or keeping your life rut-free!

3 random winners will be selected by the end of the week to receive a free copy of the book. Winners must be living in the U.S. ** 

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / pensiero

 

How to Listen Within During Times of Change

For my book, “LISTEN: Trusting Your Inner Voice In Times of Crisis.” I interviewed many people and asked for their best advice about how to get through a tough time.

Here are four answers:

1. When you’re in the grip of fear, try to let your awareness soften. Stop and listen. What do you hear? A bird singing? A car honking? A newspaper rustling? Taking your mind off your mind and putting it into the larger reality around you can often shift you away from your fear and into an oasis of peace.

2. Turn big decisions into small decisions. When you’re in a crisis, everything tends to feel overwhelming. Put your focus on what’s important. What small decision can you make right now?

3. Try turning your worries over to God. Accept that your worrying about every little thing isn’t helping. Write your worries down and then put them in a box or write “surrendered to the Divine” across the note. It’s a tangible way to “let go and let God.”

4. Choose to feel calm. What if this crisis you are currently experiencing is really meant to bring you to a better place? Embrace the change and know that you’ll come out the other side feeling more hopeful, strong, and optimistic. Real life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

What tips, suggestions, or advice can you offer other folks going through a difficult time?

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