May 29, 2017

(Philippe de Champaigne‘s Vanitas (c. 1671) is reduced to three essentials: Life, Death, and Time – MUSIC: “Great Day” by Senking)

Yesterday, as I ambled my way through the galleries of a Monet exhibit, I considered the life of this über-talented French painter who gave us the possibility to see the simple details of a scene in new ways that touch us emotionally, and evokes memories of experiences related to the images he chose to draw our attention to. He also, like us, contemplated the existential angst but believed in the immediacy of experiencing each moment without the expectation of some other form of reality other than the one he was experiencing. He lived his life from the perspective of authenticity, total presence, and clarity.

Later on, during a harp and pipe organ performance, at the same museum, I observed the faces and behaviors of all the other people gathered around in the same place while listening to the simple, but sweetly melodious compositions of Debussy, another French impressionist artist. On my left side, an Asian lady was solving a Sunday paper crossword puzzle on a clipboard, together with the musical program notes underneath, that was resting comfortably on her lap. Very rarely would she raise her head to look at the performers, but went on completely absorbed in the music and in her task the whole time.

As I  continued my observations, I couldn’t help noticing an older white lady, farther away, who was attentively watching the performance. Her face deeply carved with wrinkles, markedly displayed the passage of time in her physical form. Some other people would come in, listen for a moment, and leave. An elegant older man, properly dressed in a black suit sat in the row in front of mine. He was there for his friend, the harpist, who was playing there at the museum for the first time before leaving for Cleveland, Ohio. She was there at the invitation of her other friend, the organ player. The harpist, a woman probably in her late fifties, showed an impressive control of her instrument, which corroborates the fact that she has indeed built a solid academic career. She had saved a chair for her friend, who arrived early and lucked out a seat as soon as a middle-aged woman decided to get up and leave with her friend who arrived in the room. The spot the harpist had saved for him was strategically chosen near the area where she would be playing. If I were him, I would have got up and taken the seat she had saved. The seat would have given him a front row view to appreciate his friend’s hand skills while her fingers beautifully caressed the strings of that majestic musical instrument.

The organ player was this short, burly man, who not only had an impressive ability as a player but also as a speaker. He commanded the space and his words got everyone interested in the music pieces he was about to play. The page turners’ sexual connection with the players has always been a recurring fantasy of mine. The relationship between page turners and musicians always make me go off in thoughts of secret lovers and forbidden affairs.

Children were present as well, sitting on the floor and enjoying the experience. There were people of all kinds: couples holding hands, rich middle-aged women dressed in sparkly blouses, and those who wanted to capture the moment through pictures and videos, so later they would be able to share them on their social platforms of choice.

This all made me think of the passage of time and how soon we would all be replaced by another generation repeating similar social activities. I could not shake off the uneasy feeling that we are all equals, that we all suffer and have problems, but the simulacrum of our social identities put up a facade of normalcy and emotional detachment. I could see on the faces of each individual the presence of their stories. If you let yourself pay attention, you can actually see that. And it’s a beautiful thing. It is our vulnerabilities that bring authenticity on how we show up in the world. The truth is that soon we are all going to die, vanish, disappear. It is the acknowledgment of this fact in every moment and every experience that is giving me the possibility to reflect and be less afraid to live my life without imposing so many unnecessary limitations on myself. I look at all the people around me and I see them dying with me, I see their bodies changing, decaying and disappearing, just like my own physical body. This realization is giving me the courage to appreciate my life and be true to the changes passing through me that go on reshaping the way I think, the way I act, the way I live.

The moment I was conceived I began to be in a relationship with someone or something. I began a relationship with myself. Throughout my life, I go on a series of continuous relationships. Being in a relationship is no easy task for anyone. It requires the ability to stay present, mindful and accountable. Relationships are at the very center of our personal and spiritual growth.

We are social beings, and we live, for the most part, within a community whose basic purpose is to keep us safe and give us a sense of belonging. How can we experience differences if we tend to orbit around others who are similar to us? Isn’t by being exposed to what is different from us that will gradually open our views of who we are and facilitate the changes necessary to our growth? Why is so difficult to accept differences?

I have always accepted the fact that my beliefs are constantly changing, and therefore are as insubstantial as the air I breathe. The most difficult part of growing is to acknowledge those parts of my personality that are identified with the useless pursuit of the inaccessible attempt to keep life and everything else static, stationary and predictable: the insane ability to live in denial.

I feel I am losing my mind every time I seem to find myself closer to the madness present in me. As I watch myself journey through time, I see the exhilarating awareness of my expanding consciousness in direct opposition to my ever-decaying body. As my physical body dwindles away, loses its luster and contemplates its own extinction, my sense of who I am opens up and gradually expands to an impossible extension that goes beyond any limits I had ever thought imaginable. Between a blessing and a curse, I don’t have the option to disagree.

Knowing I am going to die puts in perspective the attachment I might have to things and conditions I dared to think were unquestionably mine and under my control. All of a sudden, everything I do is overwhelmingly scrutinized under the lens of my befuddled, scared mind. Like a defenseless child, my mind tries to cope with the sensations of abandonment, existential loneliness, and universal despair. As  I dive deep into the Mariana Trench of my existence, fearing the Challenger Deep lying in wait, I have no option other than complete surrender to this insane mystery in the depths of the ocean within me.

Why is it so hard to live completely without meaning or delusions of grandeur? It seems I have always reached an impasse at every phase of my life. At every corner lies a question unanswered and the dread of making choices, only to regret a second later. Holding on to the belief and the behavior that I can control things insanely contradicts with the life I try to live. The pain becomes immeasurable, and the agony of delayed actions perpetuate a state of stale conformity to a familiar kind of suffering.

My body speaks to me like a volcano about to explode. How many opportunities have I missed? How many crossroads have I stood too long staring at the paths in front of me without taking the first step to continue the journey? I, from all people, who continuously help other redefine and recalibrate their own sails so that they can follow the natural course of their lives, resemble a sullen stalled horse that voluntarily isolated itself under externally inflicted psychological pressure.

I go about looking for temporary relief underwater, but the underlining cause of an overarching anxiety lies on the surface of the ocean. How can we know if we are making progress and being authentic if the unrelenting uneasiness grabs hold of us and keeps us muzzled and unable to have our voices heard? I look around and I see others struggling the same way, a ghostly, hazed look hides their light from shining through. If I let myself get stuck in this process, I will always hold others captive, lest their actions might destabilize the illusory harmony of my foibles.

In the spirit of Memorial Day, this time,  I would like to pay respect to all the ones who have passed on, veterans and civilians alike. They give us the gift of their deaths as a way to celebrate life in all forms, all experiences, and ways to be. It is the evolution of life on this planet that we are writing with our stories when we allow ourselves to be who we essentially are.

It is with this perception and acknowledgment that I am becoming a man beholden to all the other ones I meet, indebted to all, and forever grateful for the way I can make myself graciously accepted, quirks and all.


n. pl. memento mori

1. A reminder of death or mortality, especially a death’s-head.
2. A reminder of human failures or errors.

[New Latin mementō morī, be mindful of dying : Latin mementō, sing. imperative of meminisse, to remember + Latinmorī, to die.]

Memento mori literally means “Remember you must die”. The early Puritan settlers were particularly aware of death and fearful of what it might mean, so a Puritan tombstone will often display a memento mori intended for the living. These death’s-heads or skulls may strike us as ghoulish, but they helped keep the living on the straight and narrow for fear of eternal punishment. In earlier centuries, an educated European might place an actual skull on his desk to keep the idea of death always present in his mind.


*American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

*And also from Merriam-Webster


May 5, 2017

There is always some madness in love.

But there is also always some reason in madness.
(Friedrich Nietzsche)


I have been losing myself over and over again every time I wake up. I won’t even try and explain my absence and lack of motivation to write. I cannot write a single line if I cannot look at myself in the mirror and be honest with the story I am proposing to tell. That no longer applies to this moment.

The nakedness of my thoughts shall be as revealing as it will be unabashedly confusing and contradictory even as I attempt to put it into words. No more canvas to paint a nice picture. There will not be, however, spaces for the convalescence of the mind; the mental healing process unfolds unadulterated without granting room for self-pity, guilt, regret or revenge.

My mind has been a vortex of conflicting thoughts that pull me towards opposing directions in a constant flow of a sculptured  synergy that creates and destroys itself at every second. It is like being on the edge of an abyss and facing the impending moment when your body is being pulled by forces beyond your control.

People from my past materializes in cyberspace (I know, it sounds so 90’s) as reintegrated ghosts that carry little resemblance to what they have once been; and I do not know how to respond. I carry inside of me the very seed that will cause my demise – like a self-replicating system that recreates its own version completely different from the ones that came before. I feel like sound bytes assembling and disassembling the essence and the identities of who I am not and who I will never be.  I need a new language to communicate the state of entropy that manifests differently in the organism that seems to be who I really am.


‘Images of wartime’, The Menin Road by Paul Nash

Everything and everyone folds and unfolds and reshapes in multiple forms before my eyes. I have no identity to speak for. everything is revisited, reshaped, replaced, upgraded and put to rest as soon as a new cycle begins.

I had a vivid vision of bodies interlocked after electromagnetic sexual impulses prompted them to look for a connection impossible to be reached. All of them in search of a seemingly misleading sense of belonging and validation. It is pure dead madness! Like Paolo and Francesca (in Dante’s second circle of hell) forever doomed to be swept away in the air in their eternal lustful embrace.

I read once this quote by Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez that said: “sex is the consolation you have when you can’t have love”. As much as I feel perplexed contemplating this thought, I cant shake off the disturbing fact that there is indeed some truth to it. Real love goes beyond our own self-created needs and selfish impulses. Sex, on the other hand, is a basic instinct for self-preservation, dominance and power – an intrinsic part of our own evolution as a species – even though we seem to be stuck in the illusion fabricated in our world to keep us all hooked as junkies in need of a never-ending and immediate fix. ‘Sex, Drugs and Rock-and-roll‘ never seemed so ghastly.

“I searched for God and found only myself.

I searched for myself and found only God”. (Sufi Proverb)

We are all searching for answers. There are no formulas, or miracle pills. The truth is facing right back at us. We see it, but like in  a hall of mirrors, we get lost with the illusion of the projections we make. At any moment in time, we can find the way out.


“Be kind to your sleeping heart. Take it out into the vast fields of light…

And let it breathe.  

I wish I could show you the astonishing light of your own being.” 





November 9, 2015


It is our choice to see the good in the world and in people. It is our choice to let the world see the good in us.

Every day we wake up, we are faced with many challenges. From simple pleasures like indulging a few more minutes in your bed on a rainy Monday, when you know you can’t because you need to get up for work, to the more complex challenges that we will encounter throughout the day.  We will deal with complaints, bad mood from the people around you, or the inescapable reality of the social problems that the world presents us at every corner.

No matter where we live, or where we are in life, we will deal with negativity. It is my belief, however, that we actually have the power to control how any experience will affect us. When we are aware of our feelings and emotions we can choose the positive elements that make us feel better in order to fight the negativity that tries to creep into our lives when we are not fully present in the moment. We are made of energy, and as such, we operate under similar conditions as far as external stimuli trigger thoughts that generate emotions flowing in different directions, much like an Alternative Current (AC) does with a stream of charges that reverses direction. It is a perfect system. As we become mindful of our breathing, and we get in touch with our Higher Selves, we are able to navigate the polarity between negative and positive responses with clarity and balance. It is this complex electrical structure that makes us part of the universe.

Any conflict we experience in life derives from our resistance to accept what is. When we accept we are flowing in harmony with creation itself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with who we are.

We are naturally predisposed to seek joy and fulfillment, and sometimes the way to happiness goes through some degree of pain. When we change, a part of ourselves that longer serves us dies and we no longer have the need to hide or suppress our true selves. The moment we need to suppress who we are, we are saying no to the life force within us. It requires the courage of a hero to stand our ground and walk our path. It is a long journey, but one that needs to be undertaken if we ever want to live a happy, fulfilled life.

There is so much beauty in this world that we should not have to look harder in order to choose a positive stance. It is our choice to be happy and kind. It is our choice to be compassionate and understanding. It is our choice to be brave. We have to become our own wizards or love warlocks, and like an alchemist of love, transform every seemingly negative experience into the possibility of a life-changing opportunity. As a love warlock, or the legendary Merlin of our own lives, we make magic through the alchemy of our emotions. It is through the transmutation of our fears into love that we can see the world with clear eyes. What separates us from each other is fear. What separates us from an experience is fear. Fear is the reason behind all negativity and disorder.

When we are operating from the perspective of love we can notice the smile of a child when we are waiting in line somewhere. We can see the pain and suffering in someone’s eyes, when they are responding with anger. We can see the wet leaves on a tree, glistening on a rainy day. We can look around, smile and see that we are all one and the same. And we can breathe and be grateful that we are part of it all, and that our actions make a difference if only we take the first step and choose love instead of fear.

I get my life lessons from everyone and everything. We are mirrors reflecting each other. We receive from each other to the proportion that we give back. The challenge is when what we receive is not positive. Then we have to summon our love warlock powers from within so we can transmute the energy. When we do that, we strengthen ourselves and we change. The dynamic of every situation also changes in the process because we are no longer resisting and reacting with fear. We now made a conscious choice to act with love. We are acting instead of reacting.

On an epic night in my life, an alchemist of love touched my soul. The sun set in one part of the world when the other was already dark. The mysteries of the universe were revealed and we whirled away past billions of galaxies where we met in the interstices of time and space, where nobody had gone before, and we became one with each other in a blissful dance of true love. Never will I be the same. Never will he be the same. We reside within each other’s hearts where we found our home. We tasted the absolute nectar of infinity’s bliss, and we arrived home.

There is a love that transcends barriers. There is a love that overrides words. It is a love so calm and so pure that only the heart can understand. It is the kind of love that sets free and still loves even more. It renews the cells in our bodies like a potent collagen, transforming us, healing us. It is the kind of love that makes us give the best part of ourselves no matter what. We become a better version of ourselves, our true selves.

We can go outside in the world and see that it’s huge and complex but we can also choose to see it as a global city where we all live together as part of creation. We feel so isolated sometimes, so distant and preoccupied with our lives that we forget that we are not alone here. We do have each other. We are no longer countries, and cities and provinces and neighborhoods, but one large community. We belong to the earth, and this planet connects us like a mother brings their children together with acts of love and kindness. Somehow, somewhere we meet, and magic happens.

It is our choice to choose to be happy. It is our choice to choose to respond with love. It is our choice to make this world a better place, and see glimpses of Spring even in the Fall. This is love.

❦ ❦ ❦


It is the name of love

That calls me to infinity;

It is the name of love

That makes me surrender.

I listen.

I dance.

I smile.

And I am completely free.

And so is the wizard beside me.

❦ ❦ ❦


October 15, 2015

IMG_1273 (1)

Whenever we are engaged in any activity, it is really all there is to it. We hold on to the moments we enjoy and are afraid of letting go lest we don’t experience them the same way. In our attempt to hold on to our cherished moments we take photographs, make videos, write journals etc, in an attempt to freeze a moment in time. Later, we look at those documented moments with a smile in our faces and our hearts filled with joy longing for those moments we once had.

I notice that a lot of times we are more preoccupied in capturing those amazing moments with our cameras than actually being present to actually live that moment thoroughly. There is a constant peer pressure to capture every moment we have and share with the world through social media. Every person becomes a self-proclaimed celebrity competing for the most number of likes or comments.

The noise and confusion of social media prompted me to cancel my account with Facebook a few years ago. I got tired. Yes, there are a lot of positive aspects in being part of an online community like that, but I realized that the time I was spending was far exceeding the few benefits I was acquiring for myself. Too much social noise and clutter was disturbing my life. Have I achieved anything with this decision? Perhaps not, but at least I am reading more books.

We are, by nature, addicted to pleasure in all forms. We crave the most delicious types of tastes, the most mellifluous sounds, outstanding images and incredible experiences and sensations. It’s all understandable; who wants to seek out pain and suffering? However, it seems that we sometimes go to far in order to prolong moments of joy in our lives instead of slowly settling into the new landscapes that the winds of change blow towards us. Why? Maybe fear? Fear of becoming static and dying altogether. After all, life is pure energy in movement, in motion. Sometimes, because of that paralyzing fear we repeat mistakes that have taken us nowhere close to what we visualized for ourselves in order to fulfill our potential, or become who we truly are while standing our ground with confidence and joy. As we get busy with the social noise surrounding our lives, our heads become filled with that clutter and we fail to follow our hearts and our passions. We start to pay too much attention to the noise outside and the repercussions in our minds and we repeat the model dictated by others. We forget about our own lives. We become what others expect us to be because they, too, are afraid to express who they are, after all, being different is the best thing that anyone can offer to the the world at large. But it takes balls.

Being fully happy is a work in progress; it’s a soul-searching journey that requires the courage to break free from those  social and ideological shackles that try to impose ideas of who we can be. We are already that what we seek; we only need to actualize that potential and bring it to the fore. It’s no easy task to be comfortable in our skin, but it is the only way to happiness. We need to be able to face our contradictions and look at ourselves honestly from our own perspective and not the one that is looking at us from outside. We can’t please everyone, but in order to please ourselves we need to be grounded in our truth. Honesty, respect and compassion should be the core tenets of any spiritual practice.

I have seen many people fall prey to promises of happiness and peace of mind, and I’ve seen those same people suffering and unhappy because they cannot love themselves for who they truly are. They always seem to live up to the expectations of other people or some ideological construct that obstruct their lives and make them feel inadequate. It’s time we learned something from history. It’s time we looked for guidance within ourselves instead. After all, who can know us better than ourselves? We need to celebrate our differences instead of being afraid of them.

By celebrating our differences we break this divide among people, we end the separation. It is no longer “I am right, you are wrong”, but it’s an all inclusive truth of the amazing experience of being human in all its glorious manifestations. This way we can actually learn from each other as we share our stories on this beautiful planet, our home, regardless of race, beliefs, lifestyle, sexual orientation, social class or personal views.

There were times that I felt discouraged and felt a bit negative that we as a species would never evolve to the point that we can accept each other for who we are. However, I started to accept that it is all part of this great mystery that created everything, it is all part of a process and we evolve by taking baby steps, even though sometimes big leaps take place and all changes very quickly. We can only do our part in building a society that is maintained by mutual support, respect and acceptance.

As I investigate my experiences, I come to the realization that it all boils down to overcoming our fears and challenges without feeling like victims or sinners, but as one of the infinite number of threads that make up this colorful fabric of life.

So I look at myself on the mirror of life and I see that it all comes to this. Every experience in life takes us closer to the opportunity we have to become who we are. All led me to this moment, this life, this particular story. It all comes to how intrinsically brave we are to accept ourselves and others without judgement or fear, but with dignity and compassion. The best gift we can offer each other is ourselves as we truly are. That’s when the magic happens and connections are made, and the stars shine brightly in the sky and we feel the sense of belonging with all that is out there. There is a pragmatic reason why it all led us to where we are at every moment in our lives individually and as a whole. We are no longer separated, we are no longer alone. It all comes to this moment.  It’s all come to now. It’s all come to this.


August 12, 2015

28bIn a way or another we are constantly dealing with the experience of death in some form. Life is made up by a succession of experiences that are moving through us all the time. In one moment we are delighting ourselves while eating a delicious dessert and the next moment we might be working at our desks on an important project. We rarely pay attention to the changes at every second of our lives unless something major makes us stop and notice that something is indeed taking place – or not.

Chances are that the only times we indeed take notice of the changes in our lives are in those moments when those changes are bringing some sort of negative experience or discomfort. However, every moment is flowing into another moment in an incessant flow of minuscule changes. One moment is never the same as the one which preceded it, while at the same time every moment is always a repetition of a previous model already set in motion before.

All we really have is the present moment, and even the concept of the present moment is an abstraction that ceases to be valid the moment we think of it because it is no longer there. Whether time is an illusion or not, fundamental or not, is all part of a debate that is yet to find a conclusion due to the limitations of our understanding of time-space as being relative or something fundamental from a total quantum mechanics perspective.

Are we predetermined to repeat models in eternal succession, or are we able to act as agents of our own stories co-creating our futures and manipulating realities at will? All in all, one can unquestionably argue that human perception is subjective and the physical reality we experience is relative  to the individuality of one’s understanding and interpretation of any given event.

The flow of time is an illusion and it takes place in our understanding of events from the perspective of an objective and temporal phenomenon applied to the atemporal manifestation of the universe. The truth of the matter is that it is a puzzle that have entertained scientists, philosophers and laymen alike for centuries.

In relativity, reality is all part of a compact mass where past, present and future already exist in a static structure that seems doomed to repeat itself in a deterministic fashion. In quantum mechanics the probabilities are varied and the angle of perception of the observer and the implications result in parallel universes being combined, recreated and experienced all the time. It is within this field that we may question reality according through the perceptions experienced by each individual.

Each person experiences reality differently. This fact alone brings us to the concept of moral relativism and the resulting discussion that nobody is objectively right or wrong and therefore all perceptions or perspectives need to be taken into account when we try to understand any phenomenon we are conscious of.

Can we really tell we are experiencing anything at all while we are in the process of living through an event of some sort? Scientists agree that time actually exists; what does not exist is the flow of time as an active entity permeating the universe. In a four dimensional universe, time is only another component that intersects with, let’s say, length, height or breadth, thus generating a continuum that meshes them together and creates multiple and malleable realities within any given energetic field.

In order for us to consider the concept of time we need the presence of an observer and an object in relation to the velocity one passes from the other. So, the perception and duration of time is relative in relation to the other three dimensions active during the phenomenon observed. as we contemplate this, we cannot fail to realize that all understanding and interpretation of reality is relative to the one observing and therefore never objective. It is interesting to note how cosmology and mathematical laws are pointing to similar conclusions found in spiritual traditions. If my interpretation and understanding is always relative to my own experience of reality through my senses, how can I be completely right if someone else is also interpreting the same reality according through their own subjective perceptions of that same reality? We are both right in our interpretations because the probabilities are manifold and only together they can be whole.

In a way, from a simplistic viewpoint, we are constantly saying goodbye to things, situations, people, places etc, at every moment. Because time is never linear but cyclical, the concept of the “eternal recurrence” proposes that there is a strong probability that life can repeat itself ad infinitum. Since every configuration of atoms and events are also possible to occur, the probability of life occurring differently in its repetition of combinations is also suggested here.

In this sense, the acceptance proposed in Buddhist philosophy agrees with Nietzsche’s concept of “amor fati” – or “love of one’s fate”. It is the premise that reality cannot be argued, disputed or refused, but instead it is what it is and one can only accept without judgement. It does not mean we should not strive to change circumstances, but it says that being in opposition with reality will not change the components that brought the facts together as an intrinsic and necessary aspect of that reality.

As we meet time and space in a manifold conceptualization of the universe, we may come to realize that all events are combined into past, present and future altogether. Through this perspective, today, August 12th – exactly 2045 years ago -Cleaopatra commits suicide. We might as well meet at the point where that event took place and observe, through our perspective, that day in history, and wonder how many Cleopatras are repeating the same historical act today.

This post was originally intended to be the last one on a series of koan-like expanded pieces of my experiences while revisiting my native city, making peace with my past and tapping into the lucid reality of its present. I might not be able to accomplish this task exactly the way I had planned, but …

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There are days that we feel that we can conquer the world. There are days we feel motivated and energetic, filled with inspiration and absolute determination and joy. However, there are those many days that everything we wish for ourselves seem but a distant dim light at he end of a long tunnel. Every day …

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Everyone looks carefree from the outside. Other people’s lives often seem more exciting than our own. Our problems and woes feel heavier on our shoulders. If only everyone knew how each other feels. If only… The way our social landscape is structured, it gives us the impression of some perfect model of living that is …

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One of the most difficult concepts in Buddhism or any spiritual practice for that matter is that of acceptance. Notwithstanding the challenge, it is by all means,  one of the most important concepts to practice and, hopefully, master. Every element in nature attests the truth of the experience involving acceptance. We all want to be …

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“Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”  – That’s one of the most famous lines in Tennessee Williams play “A Streetcar Named Desire”. Blanche DuBois, the main character in the play, at the point of no return in her hopeless, deranged mental state, turns to the doctor, and accepting to be …

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