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The heart knows no boundaries.

Yet, I reach for some sort of content.

In love, The universe answers my questions, and my heart feels a pure and simple connection, like a great silver liquid flowing freely.  I can follow freely, not based on exclusivity, but simply following a knowingness.  Truth is, I can do little else.

Yet, I try to fill in details, to make a love story.  I correspond birthdays, or I look for commonalities.  This is why a book about the heart of magik lacks any sort of formulas.

In ethics, who is watching?  Who might I be justifying myself to?  What image of myself do I wish to believe?  What morality is there on an island alone?  Or in the darkness of sensory deprivation in my own apartment?  What about when I am alone on the street?  So which one am I holding internally RIGHT NOW and why?  Such fine, subtle deceptions, though they hint at morality, they masquerade as ethics…  However, with no reference point other than self-trust, the purest heart is born, the most innocent of intentions open up.

Free of ethics, they may seem unethical.

Free of morality, this may seem immoral.

But I haven’t glimpsed a purer light.

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What got me here, after all?  I was ready to go to law school, and decided that instead of doing something I knew damned well I’d be good at and could make money at, I wanted to make sure I was following my heart.  So I went back to Taiwan for two things really, time and space.  During most of this time I’ve been looking deeply to the question, “who am I?”

Last weekend I was looking through a book of Annie Liebowitz’s photography and saw her pics of Norman Swartzkoff and Colin Powell, the two great American generals of the 1990s.  I saw Swartzkoff’s blinders on either side of his face.  Easy to spot.  The guy is also damned sure he’s right but he keeps himself reasonably aware of what’s going on.  Colin Powell looks like a zombie with a big blind spot in front of his fucking face.

Well, first this helped me spot it in the woman I’ve been seeing, which gives some insight into something I could contribute to her life.  It is the right thing to do in this case anyways.

Then I noticed it in myself.  Terrifying, of course.  But I guess this had been building.  I don’t have much clarity in my intentions.  If I don’t have clear intent, then can I even bother to say I practice Kung Fu?  Maybe I’m a fan of it, but what the fuck is any Kung Fu when I don’t even have a clear intention?  Moreover, what is Wujifa without clear intention?  It’s absolutely our first question.

It may sound like I’m just grinding myself into the ground, but the point is, I’m not taking clear actions lately, and I am spinning my wheels a lot, and it is because I don’t have clarity of intention.  No clarity of intention > no clarity of thought > no clarity of action.  My intentions are pretty half-assed for the most part, and it’s sickening me.

I guess I also feel like I’m tarrying in some way.  Maybe it is the case that I should adapt and allow, however, there’s no excuse for wasting time.  Why am I choosing to tarry?

This is hard to express.  In some ways I am pretty clear about my intentions, and I know what I want to develop in myself, and far more than that, I know what I would like to let go of, but I feel as if I’m all too often unnecessarily wasting time and getting sidetracked due to a lack of surrender to my intentions, maybe lack of discipline.  But the lack of discipline stems from lack of surrender…  And surrender is not something you can “sort of” do.

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One thing I’ve been exploring lately is Myers-Briggs testing. In the past, I’ve found the tests assessment of my personality to be very accurate. I was looking at my profile and my weaknesses and I read through more of the profile types, etc.  I think I have a pretty good feel for the meaning of most of the types as well as a better feel for traits of my own.

What I found in reading through the strengths and weaknesses of each type was that having a personality type that is non-flexible is the root of much weakness (okay, duh). Moreover, I doubt the inherency of any personality trait. But, interestingly, I found a couple of the axis where I could easily go either way with a change that I knew how to make. For instance, in my functions for gathering information, I tend to trust symbols, personal meanings, and instinctual reactions a lot more than my five senses. That’s just been my natural “home base” for whatever reason.

So one simple thing to do is develop my ability to trust my five senses. And yes, in my experience, I’ve found grounding exercises like using Zhuan Zhang in Wujifa, or just being mindful have given me tremendous benefits.

Of course, the strengths of a person normally come from dominant traits. I observed a few years ago that in many cases, anyone that appears to be a genius in an area is highly unbalanced towards a trait or function. So the places where we’re “eccentric,” are often the places where we blow everyone else away. Or, a specific trait that is extraordinary to most people is so ordinary to us that we hardly think about it — the two side effects of this being that a) we can appear extraordinary or “genius” in that regard to others and b) we miss the ability to naturally or easily do what’s ordinary or “normal” for most people to do without thinking about it.

So we don’t want to neutralize our strengths in this process. It’s okay to have a “home base” but if we notice that our own easiest path is, in a particular case, not getting us anywhere, it’s really useful to be able to shift to another way of doing it.

The MBTI is relatively easy to work with. I think I have a really good grasp of it after only spending a few hours here and there of the last few years, as well as recently spending an afternoon and an evening reading through it. But the most useful part was in comparing how each variable shifted the whole, and changed the personality archetype significantly.  I spent a lot of time reading about the personality types that were just one change of one axis away from mine.

Knowing these little bits, and seeing where my chief weaknesses are, I can also narrow down to a few shifts I can make sometimes. Just like in Kung Fu, when someone smacks your head, you go to the highest level of training you have encoded outside of rational thought. In other words, you’re only going to use your favorite couple of moves/strategies in a fight. So it’s good to make them very streamlined and versatile.

Just my own strategies:

INFP — Shifting to ISFP when I’m failing to achieve a goal. By paying more attention to facts, data, details and concrete experience instead of symbolic interpretations, hunches, new ideas and “the big picture.”
— Shifting to INTP when I’m taking things a bit too personally and need some detachment. By thinking about hard truth and logic more than tact, compassion, people, and harmony.

I can almost boil both of those down to just a detached assessment of grounded information.

Of course, the only difficulty here would be my general “comfort” with my current personality. I mean, I genuinely do prefer to do the things that an INFP would do. I feel the personality test pegs me very well and I truly and authentically have the personality tendencies that it consistently tests in me.

One thing that helped me, in that regard, was just reading all the other types and noticing the methods other people use to engage in behaviors and preferences that I would greatly dislike. Funny, those preferences can seem so “obviously true,” even MORALLY true in a gut sense to me… yet there are people who have preferences different than my own, who feel a different set of obvious tastes.

One thing that shows up for me, for instance, and other INFPs is a problem with conflict. The conflicts show up because we genuinely want to achieve harmony with other people, yet genuinely have a deep seated sense of internally created values (separate from almost any social-group values).

I saw HOW people who take in more external stimulus to make decisions can enjoy the moment more while also being good at accomplishing their objectives (due to calibrating activities to serve their intention). And I saw HOW people who just think about things, weighing the data, instead of feeling out everything can avoid taking things personally and thus consistently choose honesty regardless of what other people think or if they feel offended.

Taken on a small level, and analyzed as a shift on those axis, I find the shifts less repulsive. In looking at the little pieces of how the behaviors I have trouble making within myself are actually achieved, I was able to find acceptable ways to get to them… the “how” of what some people are doing more easily than myself. That’s a lot of leverage to be had in overcoming habits and weaknesses!

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It started okay, I was paying attention to my own strange motivations back in my last long term relationship, trying to find why I occasionally still feel irritation towards her despite having forgiven her and even becoming thankful for my time with her.  My irritation had a lot more to do with my own choices from early on in our relationship.

I’ve been dodging the orbiters in my life in order to hold onto my own energy and drive as I’m pouring a ton of time into developing new Synthesizers and prepping for law school.  Being very honest about my motives with my lover from Taiwan, paying attention to my choices, and accepting and forgiving myself, allowed me to see better ways to do things in the future.  I feel I can  be discriminating but not automatically blow everyone off or just try to keep them at arms length…  my positive thoughts put me into a nice deep calm sleep.

But then I woke up, after just a few hours.

I had been assuming I would start law school this coming fall.  But the cost of attendance is high enough that with the financial aid I’m being offered, I cannot buy books, pay rent (and I’ve found a room super cheap), get to school, and eat.  There’s no way to work and go to school during one’s first year of law school.  The workload is so high that would be impossible.  Law schools are very traditional and have had almost the same curriculum for the last 140 years.  And at the end of all this, potentially getting into situations where I cannot eat, and I can’t perform very well, I’d still be 20 thousand US Dollars in debt with a year of education from a school I’m not entirely sure about attending.  It would be different if it was one of my top choice schools and I knew I could work nationally, instead of only in Georgia, where I do not wish to continue living into the future…

There are a few other options, but the other thing that bares mention is that I’m working very passionately on designing synths again.  The creative juices have been flowing vigorously!  I have some designs now that blow away my previous patent applications for both utility and originality.  Not only this, my main concern, of bringing electronic music into the hands of more people, is way better served by the instruments I’m working on right now.  And I think they’ll be tons more fun and expressive too!  (And I note the fact that this all seems to be flowing from an open and honest place inside of me)

So I considered going to school part time.  Again, if it were Emory or another favorite choice school, where I missed the app deadline before due to personal problems, I would be so happily in.  I may do it at GSU, but I want to find out what the costs are to go part time.

Thus, I’m looking back at my contract offers to teach overseas.  I was working very diligently on designing things in my first six months in Taiwan (indeed, some of those designs have matured now), and that was the original reason I moved there — to build things.  If I can find a contract that would allow me enough extra to invest consistently in my designs, with the new business structure my friend showed me, that would be absolutely superb.  I don’t need a lot of money, but I do need lots of time, and some amount of surplus money, consistency being more important than one-shot quantity.


Profundity is bullshit in situations like these.  I’m still looking for clarity, and trying to find the best option.  I’m not even willing to say I am sure I love designing and building instruments, as I’m doing Self-Inquiry exercises, I’m discovering layers in myself where even synth designing may be superfluous.

Since I’m trying to discover the clearest direction I can, I’m willing to doubt even my love of invention and synthesizers, knowing that if its really truth for me, then it will come back — just like I said about my desire to study law in my post on inevitability.

If anything, the need for time to look inwards like this is also driving me towards taking another overseas job.

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For many years I have had the gift of being able to think possibilities out very realistically.  In Qi Kung, as an example, this has prompted my teacher to say, “you’re too smart” because I can often get the feel or the trick to doing a Kung Fu skill even before my body is strong enough to do it.  Not everyone can do this, so I call it a gift.

In seeking to follow my heart, I have discovered a lot of usefulness to doubting things, and setting things aside.  For one thing, as I mentioned several posts ago, forgiveness allows me to let go of the past.  Regarding the future, I am finding I can doubt my assumptions and set aside plans and potential plans.  For one thing this lets me pick up one thing at the time and see it all alone.  For another thing I can bring myself more completely into the present this way.

And setting aside the past and the future seems to help to place myself into a possibility, to really see and feel the wholeness of it.  My imagination is stronger without so many pieces of my energy spread around pasts and potentialities.  I can also think more clearly and I feel more energetic and happy this way.

So, with all these tools, I’m working to notice what is a real and authentic inspiration of my heart, a true choice to follow.  One example I have is my vow a month ago to follow my heart, my vow of allegiance to the peacefulness within.  I was clear in my intention, then I found my inspiration for the right way, and I have been absolutely convinced of the rightness of it every since.  There are many beautiful paths, but only some have that clarity of rightness.

And another.  I have succeeded in setting aside everything, and taking up the possibility of having a sex change.  I’ve always been good at intuiting experiences before having them, and I have been consistently right.  But adding the equanimity of the void and the deep sense of connection to everything has increased that.  Also, setting everything aside so deliberately to only pick the one thing up has made my skillfulness increase as well.  It is almost as if I can see and feel directly down that pathway of possibility pretty far into the future, with a kind of certainty I have never had (and as I said, I’ve been really good at that before).

The beauty of this is that now I can simply let the truth of that knowledge set.  Either I will set that path aside completely, or after a time I will feel certain that I want to do it and little will stop me.  However, the exact timing and conditions that would allow me to make that choice will not be before me for several months, so I don’t need to worry about it now.  This has the quality of rightness to it as well.  I like that it no longer feels like a quandry but more like a simple thing to relax about until certainty of choice is had in fullness of timing.

Again, I mean to write that more as an example, though I know its a very personal one to me.  My intention in this post is in gathering characteristics of seeing the way of my heart.  Because in reality there are so many beautiful or powerful choices and paths to take.

I can’t simply choose the way that looks best based on how much of a “charge” I feel unless I want to keep living a topsy turvy life of hit and miss.  Case in point, I chose my last girlfriend simply because we both felt a lot of “charge” and it seemed right.  I would have sworn that she was the one my heart truly wanted.  Of course, now I wouldn’t make that claim.

In retrospect I see that she could have been any number of men or women I would have experienced the same kinds of problems and heartbreak with.  I was just in a position to fall for someone like that.  Likewise, making choices based entirely on rationality is obviously dry and unbalanced.

So for now, I continue with the heart breathing meditation and I continue setting everything aside, I continue paying attention to the characteristics of something true.  I believe I can find the way to make the best choices, to follow my heart.

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This is an odd post for me to make.  I will try, though.

I have never tried to hide the fact that I’ve been living my life to satisfy my desires, urges, and passions.  However, I am also aware of a sense of peacefulness beyond all that, always with me.  I find it easiest if I’m looking deep deep within, but I also notice it amidst some of the most extreme emotions, always calm, always observing.  The more extreme my feelings, often, the more easily I notice the underlying calm (sometimes I use it to accuse myself, as it very often removes any doubt that my emotional turmoil is senseless, even as I’m in the throws of it).

Yet last night my friend asked me, why wouldn’t I pledge myself to that sense of peacefulness?  It will always be there, will always be loving and accepting, and will endure and empower far beyond the pleasures and desires I tend to follow.  In other words, it’s my best friend.

A simple question.  My immediate feeling was only that to do so would be right, of course, like acknowledging that I love to help people, or show kindness, or any other virtue and the pleasures that brings.  In fact, even from a purely selfish and hedonistic perspective, it makes sense.  Faced with the reality of the question, and knowing that peacefulness as something I truly love, I could feel the rightness in the commitment.  Seriously, it was as if the entire room was in white light, and I felt the feeling of it within me.

Yet the commitment eludes me.  I’ve thought about it all day.  I think I lack the spirit to make a decision now to stick to later.  Even though I know that making decisions based on my desires or feeling at a particular time often is not very wise.  But I wouldn’t make a commitment, to myself, or to anyone, lightly.  The more I thought about all this, the less faith I had in myself and the more I felt as if I couldn’t really make any commitment beyond continuing as I always have.

However, I discovered something as I thought, “well, what if I could make the commitment, to always return to that sense of calm and peacefulness?  What if I could trust it and increase my knowing and dwelling in it?”  In thinking this way I saw that I could build up my own sense of being inspirited and committed, my own feeling of inner strength.  I felt more faith in myself and I felt that same sense of being surrounded by light and peace.

Yet I don’t have a lot of faith in myself to do that consistently.  Truly, alone I think I could, but I am very permeable to others, and I look for support externally.  I feel as if my spirit is crushed somehow, and I don’t know if I want to trade the riches of life for more ideals, even if their rightness is like a light of truth.  I don’t really know if I ever want to make that trade again.  I think I would do it nine times out of ten, anyways, regardless of any commitment I make now, but I feel weak enough that I don’t know if I could stick to my values on any of the tenth times around, any of the times where I felt as if I was giving up following my passions.  Yet somehow I feel sure that I could stick to following desire in a very committed way.  I have seen myself stick to that in good times and bad.

Another friend said to me, “just talk to yourself like you’re your most beloved friend, what would you say?”  That’s an easy question this time.

“Jeannine, I think it’s obvious to you and everyone else what you love and want to pursue.  You don’t have to be perfect, but I think you’re making the decision already.  Maybe you’ll find enough faith in yourself to trust that you’ll return to what you value most in a pinch.  How would you feel about just doing your best for now?”

Does anyone see the pulsation?  Somewhere I developed a habit of self-denial and a belief that my decisions and feelings are irrelevant.  Back to my first paragraph here, I’ve been feeling this sense of peacefulness reveal to me the senselessness of a lot of my most self-hating states, yet I’ve made a practice of just ignoring it.  As if the purpose of the peacefulness was nihilism — and I built a philosophy of that nihilism (you can read several months of this, in joyful times and bad times, at phdinfunk.livejournal.com).

And I’m hesitant to trust that deep inner knowing that a thing could actually be right.  Even when I wish to know how to have such a trustingness.  So I am watching my words.  I expressed things as I did in this post to record the back and forth a little, but I wish to increase the motion towards truth to a tipping point, to build enough of a sense of being inspirited to actually take a plunge and make a decision, a commitment, at least to myself to, as my friend said, “Swear allegiance to that sense of peacefulness!”  Because I know it to be true and right.

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I was doing a meditation, looking into the core of myself.  I practiced this meditation for about three years.  I was starting to have a lot of insight into myself (and other people).

So one night I stood in an old shrine on Kite Mountain, in Sansia.  I loved going up there to do Qi Kung or the meditation to find the center.  The shrine had some Buddhas, some Taras and several different deities I didn’t know.  There were always candles burning inside.  If it was warm weather, I liked to do my Qi Kung standing up on the rock outcropping by the shrine, overlooking the city lights of YingHe.  If it was cold, I’d stand inside the shrine.  I always felt warm enough in there.

On this particular night, I wanted to sit down, so I was inside the shrine on one of the stools.  I was doing the meditation to find the central point inside myself.  I was enjoying my internal feeling of space and peacefulness.

In the months previous, I had been working to shape a form of masculinity I was happy with, and that I enjoyed embodying.  But as I was doing this meditation, I realized that I simply prefer being feminine, and I think there’s something inside of me that is close to my heart that is fundamentally, deeply feminine.

Further, I realized it was okay, even that I would like to be a woman.  I even understood that, while this might not be a perfectly free and enlightened thought, in accepting it and doing what felt natural and good to me, I might really help and inspire others.

I remembered a close friend of mine saying that some of the most pure and intimate relationships he’d had were with prostitutes.  While his enjoyment of hookers might not be the greatest thing in the world, I had learned a lot about love, and intention in relationships, by listening to him talk about them.  I think a lot of people who know him have learned the same things.

So I felt very strongly that just accepting this part of myself and integrating it might even benefit people around me in ways I couldn’t predict.  Then, maybe half a week later, I was walking up the same mountain and I understood deeply that my desire to embody femininity in whatever way I chose wasn’t wrong, morally.  That was something I had struggled with for so many years.  I found the freedom from guilt uplifting!

Then I went back into the world, back to my girlfriend, back to Taiwanese culture and my friends, back to the internet, where I started talking to other people who were differently gendered.

I discovered that I wasn’t trans-enough to really fit into the psychiatric model, or to hang out with other trans-folk.  I mean, I wasn’t thinking of having surgery at that point.  I really didn’t even want to take hormones.  Hell, at the outset I didn’t even want to change my name!

And speaking with my lover, I told her how I felt.  I only knew the framework of “transgendered” to be able to talk about it.  In retrospect, I was trying to learn of my own femininity, and I wanted a friend to help me see it better and give me some support as I found a sense of confidence in it.  However, I did not communicate this well (indeed, I wasn’t so cognizant that’s what I wanted).

And when I did feel like I was in the middle of an opportunity to discover and learn and grow and was looking for some external support, I often felt ignored…  or that I was making her uncomfortable.  I remember as she was preparing for a trip to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand I kept thinking that by my supporting her and focusing on her.  I believed that my turn would come as I needed support in this journey of discovery I was on.

I greeted her at the airport with a new pair of glasses, fresh waxed brows, a really cute skirt, and looking great.  She seemed happy to see me and was very complimentary and comfortable, and I was hoping to continue learning about myself as time went on.  But I continually felt little subtle hints that I should stop doing even the more conservative things I was doing, that somehow I was making her uncomfortable.  Additionally, my time for the spotlight and extra support never came.  So mostly I just felt ignored.

I know that I looked really good, and I was very tasteful with everything.  I seldom wore skirts but when I did I was careful that everything looked right on me or I wouldn’t leave the house.  One guy commented that my new style, the outfits I wore, were quite becoming of me.  And he was from combat arms in the military, and was open about the fact the he disagreed religiously with my entire project of being gender queer.  I took his compliments, and his wife’s, without too much skepticism since I know they were shooting straight with me.

I also cherished the way that I could be around other women and we related to each other in a more open and friendly way.  It was with the army officer’s wife that I started getting my early tastes of this.  At first I thought it was silly that everyone responds to visual cues so much, but then I just accepted that’s the way it is.  I found with her that I could dress femme and she’d relax and share and talk with me and I had more fun with her.  It was great.  I was getting a lovely social feedback that put me into a role I felt really comfortable and easy with.

However, in the greater world, I still felt alienated.  Really though, a lot of it was probably in my own mind.  The thing I was looking for so desperately was some support.  I posted this on my blog at the time:

Now I think I understand why people change their name. I also understand why many transgendered people adopt a very specific set of mannerisms, even change the way they talk, dress, etc. I think that this part of my sense of identity often feels disconnected and overly internal, then without adequate social or personal feedback to reinforce it, I often feel at odds with external input… then I start feeling detachment, dissonance, then a myriad of hellish things.

However, I really like my name and do not intend to change it. Actually, I do not wish to marginalize myself as an obviously transgendered woman and thus I have no intention of following the pattern of plenty of others who share my plight. I am not a hundred percent certain what I’ll do outwardly, though recently I’ve managed to put myself in positions where I felt a strong sense of socially supportive feedback for this aspect of who I am. Actually, my lover and roommate is supportive to the point that it often becomes the afterthought I always wished it to be, up to a point.

So I get why someone would change their name (auditory social feedback loop), or their voice (somewhat more kineasthetic, mostly auditory social and personal feedback loop), or alter how they look (visual social and personal feedback loops). I’ve started the ball rolling to have a truly world class surgeon provide me with the restorative operation. There’s been some cool advances, in all the relevant surgeries, that I think bring treatment up to a really high standard. Here’s where most people that do it say they feel “whole” for the first time ever (pretty important kineasthetic highly personal feedback loops).

My request to all my friends: From this point forward, please refer to me using female pronouns. Please accept me and think of me as a woman. Thanks. You’ll be thinking of me in a way that’s congruent with how I’ve wanted to be since my earliest earliest memories in life. My sincere hope is that this involves only the tiniest shift and that in the 98% of any interaction you’ll have with me where it’s not an issue, it will not be an issue. In the small percentage of the time where it does matter, I appreciate your understanding and acceptance.

But I was rapidly getting caught in traps!  As I said above, I felt gradually marginalized by my girlfriend, and I couldn’t find a way to consistently fit in as a really feminine person (if not a woman) in a way that I and everyone else knew how to relate with.  The other transgendered people I met online were about as rigid in their gender role as any traditional roles ever made me feel.

And no one around me really offered me anything in terms of feedback to help me perceive and understand and accept this sense of femininity that is so important to me.  (And, as I said, I had not clearly articulated my need for this either)

So I went down the road of altering my intentions.  I changed my name.  I started changing my voice.  I started studying mannerisms and such and practicing all kinds of things to try and elicit the social feedback I wanted.  In other words, I abandoned my initial free and open feeling and tried to adopt myself to all the contingencies and difficulties and practicalities of living in the social world.

Only recently have I taken a step back from all of this.  A new friend of mine is helping me to see and understand my inner womanhood, and feel confident in being feminine.  She’s also shared some very personal experiences of hers that have helped me see that I can carry out my intentions, perhaps, without being so dependent on altering my body with technology that, in this day and age, is far from great.

I also had to realize that I cannot put any pressure on other people that i don’t want them to put on me.  I mean, really, if I can’t be cool with other people calling me he/she/whatever then how can I expect other people to be cool with my own preferences?

The other step that made my life a lot easier was the thought that my experience is just different from “normal” men’s or women’s experiences.  The cool thing about the Native Americans is that they had a space for trannys (called us “two-spirits) where it was acknowledged that we have something different from what is usual, and that’s okay.

From that step of acceptance, I can also see that maybe I’m not all that different from other people, fundamentally.  When I cut to the chase, I just want to express myself spontaneously, authentically, and honestly.  On a simple level, I believe lots of people are dying to step out of their rigidly defined roles.

And maybe, as I thought on that night in the shrine on Kite Mountain, my own journey can give some clues to other people about how they can be freer.

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