Archive | December, 2015

Living Fearless, Long and Fall Proof

Posted on 08 December 2015 by Jason

Staying independent, and living at home with a high quality of life, is the preferred way of “Aging in Place”. Many older adults know someone who has fallen and suffered a serious, life threatening injury and think “I hope this will not happen to me.” Hope is not a good plan for fall prevention.
Falls are the main reason seniors lose their independence. Annually, one in three older adults suffers a fall. To protect precious independence, seniors must reduce the risk factors of falling and be proactive to prevent falls. The aging process, disease, illness, medications and a more sedentary lifestyle gradually cause a decline in balance and mobility. Older adults should consult a physician, especially if suffering from a recent fall, and request a “Multifactorial Fall Risk Assessment” to determine their current functional fitness level.
Exercise is the key! A targeted exercise program can provide dramatic improvements in fitness and function even for seniors with multiple chronic medical issues. Intervention must be structured to systematically target one’s physical risk factors associated with falls; each program must be tailored to one’s level of fall risk; and exercise must be strenuous enough to significantly lower the risk of falling. Even seniors well past 90 can benefit from sensible balance, strength and resistance training to regain walking ability, fitness and function.
Fitness & Function has a qualified physical therapist specializing in geriatrics and their FallProof Balance and Mobility Specialist Instructors can help seniors protect their independence, restore their function and improve their health and fitness so they can resume an active lifestyle.
For more information, contact 503-267-1030 or visit

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Immersion Health Offers Glyphosate Testing

Posted on 08 December 2015 by Jason

Only a few environmental chemicals are so notorious that their names are commonly known to the public: DDT, dioxin and bisphenol A (BPA) are perhaps a few of the most obvious examples. We can now add glyphosate to this list of chemicals. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, and is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s genetically modified “Roundup Ready” soybeans, corn, cotton, alfalfa, sugar beets and canola.
Roundup is the most widely used herbicide in the world. Every year more than 1.4 billion pounds of it are applied to soils around the globe, with 300 million pounds of that applied in the United States alone.
The hazards of Roundup are no longer limited to those exposed by spraying it on their crops or applying it to lawns and gardens. Many studies have now shown that glyphosate is found in the urine of virtually everyone, even those eating predominantly organic food. Chronic exposure can lead to a wide range of symptoms and illnesses. These might include neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, chronic anemia and associated fatigue, deficiencies of important minerals, Crohn’s disease, and potentially even autism and cancer.
Anyone interested in glyphosate testing and a program for glyphosate detoxification can call Immersion Health at 503-719-4806 to learn more about their testing and treatment process.

Dr. Greg Nigh is a naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist at Immersion Health. For more information, visit

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Karuna Celebrates First Six Months

Posted on 08 December 2015 by Jason

Karuna Contemplative Living, located at 1725 SE Hawthorne Boulevard, in Portland, is dedicated to providing a wide variety of meditation cushions to meditators. Sitting in meditation can sometimes be challenging. It is so important to be comfortable. One could say that, having found a comfortable posture, meditation becomes effortless. Karuna’s mission is to supply the Portland area community with cushions that are designed for the very purpose of contemplation and meditation. Customers come to Karuna, take their shoes off, and begin trying out cushions and benches, seeing which one works best for their particular physical situation.
Karuna means compassion in Sanskrit. Specifically, it means to alleviate suffering. At Karuna, they believe that a contemplative life is about taking occasional breaks from doing, cultivating a sense of wonder and curiosity about ourselves and the environment around us through simple observation. When we do that, we understand the human condition, reducing our sense of separation and isolation. As Pema Chodron puts it, “Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
In addition to meditation cushions, Karuna sells eco-friendly yoga supplies, clothing, jewelry and a variety of products that support health and wellness, spiritual growth and stress reduction.
Karuna Contemplative Living is proud to announce its first six months and will mark the occasion with a Customer Appreciation Party on Wednesday, December 2 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Celebrate with them and enjoy art, refreshments, community and holiday shopping discounts!
For more, visit or

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Portland Nonprofit Launches Mindfulness Programs in High Schools

Posted on 08 December 2015 by Jason

Peace in Schools, a Portland nonprofit, has the goal to make Portland Public Schools the first school district in the nation with mindfulness courses available to all its teens. In 2014, Peace in Schools, with the support of Wilson High principal Brian Chatard, launched the nation’s first for-credit mindfulness course in a U.S. public high school. The semester-long course is now also offered at Lincoln, Cleveland, Alliance at Meek, and Rosemary Anderson high schools.
The classes are intended to help young people develop self-awareness, compassion and emotional resilience. According to Sam Hendricks, program director at Peace in Schools, “Mindfulness provides significant psychological and social benefits to young people. For teens who struggle with feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety, the impact can be profound. At a time when acts of violence and self-harm among teens are a growing concern, our mindfulness courses offer a positive alternative.”
Peace in Schools’ vision is to make mindfulness an accepted and fully integrated discipline in secondary education. The program is expanding rapidly in response to demand from other high schools. Hendricks added, “We started with just one high school. Today, five high schools have asked to partner with us in offering our groundbreaking program to hundreds of students each day.”
Peace in Schools’ goal is to serve as a national resource and model for educators who wish to bring similar programs to their school districts. Read more about Peace in Schools mindfulness programs in schools at

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Enhance Life with Meditation

Posted on 08 December 2015 by Jason

“Practice meditation. You’ll find that you are carrying within your heart a portable paradise.” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
Be ready to fill the season with magic, relaxation and a connection to something bigger. Meditation and prayer are two of the most powerful tools available to help us cultivate more peace and joy in our lives.
New Renaissance Bookshop, located in Northwest Portland, offers countless resources to guide and encourage both beginning meditators and lifelong practitioners along whichever path they feel most drawn. Discover teachings to assist along the inner journey with book categories devoted to Mindfulness, Meditation, Contemplation and Finding Your Spiritual Path. One can receive guidance from their comprehensive selection of meditation CDs and assemble the perfect tools for personal practice with their wide range of meditation cushions, benches, prayer beads and rosaries. Find daily inspiration for amplifying the energy in the home or altar with their selection of statues, crystals, tapestries and incense.
Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m., New Renaissance offers a free weekly drop-in meditation for a supportive environment to enliven or enrich one’s personal practice.
New Renaissance also invites people to drop prayer requests, no matter how major or minor, in any of their healing prayer boxes located throughout the store. Each week members of the New Renaissance staff meditate together and send healing energy to all who have requested healing prayers.
For more information, call 503-224-4929 or visit

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New Professional Organic Salon Products Now at HairapyPdx

Posted on 08 December 2015 by Jason

From farm to salon chair, Organic Way (Oway) salon products take root on their family’s biodynamic farms in Bologna, Italy. There, they grow, pick and distill their pure organic extracts, essential oils and hydrolates with zero chemicals, in accordance with biodynamic farming standards—a holistic, ecological and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food and nutrition. This is the first professional haircare line based on zero mile biodynamic extracts, micronized plants, hydrolates and essential oils.
HairapyPdx, in southwest Portland, is now carrying Oway salon products—a complete, holistic hair system that contains color, perms, care and styling products. All of these products are free from parabens, silicones, petrochemicals, PEGs/PPGs/BGs, phthalates, animal cruelty, synthetic fragrance and GMOs—all things that are important to Hairapy’s philosophy.
Oway’s “organic way” of thinking not only includes biodynamic ingredients, green chemistry and fair trade networks but also sustainable development and holistic wellness. Certified by—known as one of the most restrictive, authoritative international certification bodies in the world—all Oway products consist of a minimum of 98.8 percent botanical extracts, essential oils and emollients derived from natural, organic, biodynamic and fair trade origins.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 503-360-1324 or visit

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Sweetly Vegan No-Bake Holiday Treats Worth Celebrating by Judith Fertig

Posted on 08 December 2015 by Jason

“Visions of sugar plums” have been part of holiday mindsets since Clement Moore’s classic 19th-century poem commonly known as ’Twas the Night Before Christmas.

We love to give and receive special treats and our tastes are evolving. Instead of yesteryear’s sugary bonbons loaded with calories we’ve come to regret, today’s preferred confections focus more on naturally sweet dried fruits, best-quality chocolate, healthful coconut and crunchy nuts. Vegan, gluten-free delicacies from chefs and culinary experts the world over help us celebrate the season in a deliciously healthy way, including those we highlight this month.

“Christmas isn’t Christmas without a traditional pudding,” says Chef Teresa Cutter, author of Purely Delicious. Cutter is founder and director of The Healthy Chef company, in Sydney, Australia, which creates functional foods for taste and optimal health. Her no-bake desserts such as miniature Christmas puddings and carrot cake take only minutes to make.

Emily Holmes, a Queensland, Australia, wellness coach who blogs at, says her favorite is Holmes’ Chocolate Cherry Mini-Cupcakes. She serves them with a pot of peppermint tea.

Houston-based Joshua Weissman is the author of The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook and blogs at He shares his philosophy on holiday treats: “My first thought is that I don’t want to feel guilty after eating it. My second is that I still want it to taste and look good.” His Almond Butter Pumpkin Pie Truffles fit the festive bill.

In New York City, noted vegan cookbook author and Pastry Chef Fran Costigan is an expert in all things chocolate, including her Chocolate Orange Sesame Truffles. “When you make something really delicious with real ingredients, your mouth knows it, your brain knows it, your body knows it. You feel satisfied,” she says.

Judith Fertig blogs at from Overland Park, KS.

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Airplane Yoga Six Easy Stretches Ease the Journey by Cynthia Bowman

Posted on 08 December 2015 by Jason

The majority of the symptoms we can experience during flying—stiffness, poor circulation and swollen feet—are due to lack of movement rather than the altitude or pressurized cabin air. Knowing this can make healthy flying easier.

Drinking lots of water and moving about and stretching every two to three hours is key; trips to the bathroom naturally help fulfill this. We also can keep blood from collecting in our lower extremities by finding a way to elevate our legs and feet periodically. Wiggle all 10 toes, shift positions and go for these six discreet airplane yoga stretches.

Etiquette tip: Do the first two stretches at the back of the plane with adequate space and a wall to lean on. Don’t do these in the aisle; hanging on to someone’s seat back rocks it and can annoy the other passenger.

A quad stretch involves the shoulders, upper legs, calves and ankles, while elevating each foot and getting the blood moving. Hang on to a wall, grab an ankle and bring the heel as close to the butt as possible. Then rotate the ankle in a circular motion. Do this as long as it feels worth doing, and then switch arms and legs.

A calf stretch is a simple way to target calf and hamstring muscles, as well as ankles. Stand facing a wall, placing both hands at shoulder height on the wall for balance, elbows bent. Take one foot forward and rest it on its heel, with toes pointing up and resting on the wall. Lean forward to the point of feeling a good stretch in the calf. Stretch 30 seconds per foot, gradually going deeper into the pose after a few breaths.

Etiquette tip: The next four stretches can be done in an airplane seat or in the back of the plane.

The upper body stretch targets wrists, hands, arms, shoulders, back and upper body in general. Sit upright with feet firmly planted on the floor. Lift arms up and interlace fingers before turning palms to face the ceiling. Relax the shoulders and neck. The arms shouldn’t be covering the ears and can be adjusted by moving them a few inches forward or back. Tall individuals may need to bend their elbows, which still allows for stretching of the upper body.

Neck stretches release tension and stiffness by tilting the head from side-to-side. Don’t make circular motions, as they can cause neck and spine compression. If holding the head to assist a deeper stretch, be considerate of neighbors by pointing the raised elbow forward to cradle the neck instead of resting it on a seatmate.

Twisting the torso benefits both the spine and back muscles. Yogis believe that twisting motions also massage internal organs. While twisting, hang on to the armrest with both hands and sit as upright as possible, with legs together and feet firmly planted. Don’t bounce into the pose or shift or lift buttocks off the seat, but make slow, fluid movements.

Forward bending while seated gives the back, neck and legs a good, deep stretch.

All of these movements work while we’re in the air and are equally useful on road trips, in the office or whenever we need a break.

Cynthia Bowman is a freelance writer in Los Angeles, California, who specializes in travel, culture and lifestyle topics (

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Awakening to Spirit Prayer and Meditation Heal and Free Us by Richard Davenport

Posted on 08 December 2015 by Jason

By its intimate connection with divine love, Spirit infuses human experience with qualities of amazing grace—unexpected clarity, vision, wisdom, peace, compassion, emotional release, inspirational epiphanies, deep understanding and comprehensive healing of mind, body and soul.

While society abounds with scientific research, products and practices that promise to enhance our mind or body and the mind-body connection, without Spirit in the mix, neither rises to its full potential. A heart open to a higher power exponentially multiplies the effects of this crucial connection.

“Just as a candle spreads light in a darkened room, people who are living in-Spirit give off a higher energy that can bring light to our hearts and minds. In other words, we can be inspired just by being in their presence,” according to renowned bestselling author Wayne Dyer, Ph.D.

Experiential, non-verbal and life-changing encounters with the unbounded power and presence of Spirit in prayer and meditation are difficult to analyze in the same way as mind-body science. However, Dyer points to the works and outcomes of Spirit as visible evidence of how it lifts us up.

We see individuals with rapturous hearts sending out signals that they love the world and everyone in it. Those that live in Spirit tend to see the world as a friendly place, are at peace with themselves, appear to be open and accepting rather than judgmental and harsh, and often report being healed of all sorts of diseases, relationship challenges, career fluctuations and questions of purpose and direction. They attest to how Spirit shines a triumphant light in the midst of dark nights of the soul, redefining the essence of life itself and declaring us worthy in our innermost reaches.

Personal Healing

When a 19-year-old woman entered basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, in San Antonio, Texas, and was undergoing initial medical and psychological screening, she was identified as having body and mind issues that would require her to be separated from the service. These problems included organ failures and spinal misalignment, as well as severe consequences of an emotionally abusive upbringing. It was determined that she could not handle the physical and mental demands of military life. Because the policy was to not treat such problems if identified upon entering the service, authorities allowed her to remain in training until her separation from the Air Force could be processed.

The woman was impressed and also distressed by the finality of the verdict and assessment tools used by mind and body experts among the medical staff. In talking with a chaplain on the base, she came to understand that she could choose to appeal her case to another jurisdiction, a “higher” court of Spirit. Focusing on the voice of divine love, she grew to see Spirit as more than a higher power. She saw Spirit as a higher authority. She surrendered to divine love’s authority as ultimate law, supremely qualified to reorder her whole being. She trusted that aligning with spiritual power could change her view of her identity and the seemingly inescapable consequences of genetics, environment and human history denying her desire to serve her country in this way.

Listening to a higher witness testifying on her behalf and identifying her authentic being as the magnificent expression of the magnificent Creator, she felt encouraged to the point that her mind and body stopped arresting her progress and became more effective servants, responding with greater freedom and joy. One limitation after another fell away, and the military and medical authorities seemed pleased with her progress as she neared completion of training. Finally, performing a mile-and-a-half run within a required time remained the only obstacle to graduation, and she was still 45 seconds too slow.

This helpful passage from the Hebrew prophet Isaiah became central to her prayer and meditation as she approached her last running attempt:

Young people will get tired;
strapping young men will stumble and fall.
But those who trust in the Eternal One will regain their strength.
They will soar on wings as eagles.
They will run—never winded, never weary.
They will walk—never tired, never faint.
~Isaiah 40: 30-31 (The Voice)

She passed her final attempt with 18 seconds to spare, running on eagles’ wings.

So, how can we all discern such a divine witness to our original authentic being amidst loud testimony of all the voices and labels shouting in our head and body, including those imposed by others?

Prayer and Meditation

There are two approaches to listening to the voice within, whether we name it God, higher power, spirit or Spirit, grace, Eternal One or divine love or Love. Complementary, rather than mutually exclusive, both approaches require a capacity, gained through patient practice, of quieting the inner and outer chatter and learning to hear that which calls us to be more than what human experience suggests is possible. It’s who we are in the eyes of grace.

Sanford C. Wilder, of Grafton, Illinois, author of Listening to Grace, offers personal growth and development programs through that encourage prayer and meditation that emphasize listening. He practices both approaches and makes distinctions between them.

“When I pray, I am directing my thoughts toward God, listening and often affirming what I know to be divinely true. I am yearning to surrender my will and affections in conscious connection with the divine such that I or another receives a blessing,” shares Wilder. In such prayerful listening, he hopes to gain something, often a new insight and corresponding manifestation.

“When I meditate, my intention is to sacrifice every thought, concept, image and feeling to God, the only consciousness. I trust that listening and observing with nonattachment helps me release conscious and unconscious conditioned thought patterns permeated by a human sense of self.” Through meditative listening, he hopes to release everything rather than receive anything, accepting that everyone is equipped and able to be open to, witness and experience nonstop blessings.

Helen Mathis has been an educator in the Philippines and Swaziland as well as the U.S., including an instructor of religion at Principia College, near St. Louis; she is now part of a Centering Prayer Circle in Stockton, California. She explains that centering prayer may be seen as a hybrid that embraces both prayer and meditation, nourishing what’s beneath the preoccupied self to awaken a deeper and vastly more authentic self.

Mathis appreciates what Cynthia Bourgeault explores in her book Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, that, “This confusion between small self and the larger Self… [the] ‘True Self,’ ‘Essential Self’ or ‘Real I’—is the core illusion of the human condition, and penetrating this illusion is what awakening is all about.”

Like Bourgeault, Mathis believes that it’s not about the absence of thoughts so much as detaching from our thoughts, trusting that we can let go and be safe, consent to surrender human will and forgo personal agendas. Only then can spiritual sense come into play.

“The goal is to awaken to, open to and get in touch with our innermost being and Spirit,” Mathis affirms. “Clearly, centering prayer assumes we each have a spiritual awareness of the divine within us that acts, as Bourgeault puts it, as ‘a kind of interior compass whose magnetic north is always fixed on God.’”

Core Shift

We often approach a Spirit dimension with the attitude of “what it can do for me.” The higher practice that mystics and other deep thinkers of various faith traditions ultimately arrive at instead centers on transforming our whole self to align with Spirit’s purpose for us, which changes everything.
Reverend Dr. Michael Beckwith, founder of the New Thought Agape Spiritual Center, in Los Angeles, and a spiritual mentor to Oprah Winfrey, believes, “The relationship we have with the infinite is more about how we are to serve it than it is to serve us.”
Beckwith describes three primary stages of realizing the power and purpose of divine Spirit expressed as our spirit. The first is that of a victim (feeling powerless, unable to effect change). The second is when an individual learns the existence of universal law that responds to our thinking, emotions and attitude; we learn how to use it to stabilize life structures and demonstrate health and well-being.
“Ultimately, in stage three, we become a vehicle of life in service to life. Instead of using the law, the law uses us. Life fulfills its own nature through us,” he says. “All of life is conspiring for our freedom, liberation, wholeness and health.”
He urges us not to stop and stagnate at stage two, using divine laws to manifest personal conveniences, stuff and even people for personal use; this can hijack views of abundance into materialism and consumerism. He quips, “We are not here to go shopping.”

Dwelling in Spirit

Grace and Spirit work in us, through us and between us, yet we can’t simply summon them up or outline their outcomes. To feel Spirit’s presence, we must surrender our own sense of how it will work, its timeline and the impact on our ego or status quo. As with anything worthwhile, conscientious practice is essential.

Life, defined by Spirit, gives fresh strength and impetus to mind and body. All three are vital elements of the dance of life.

Richard Davenport is a spiritual life educator ( and the founding executive director of an inclusive nationwide Bible and spiritual life community ( Now based in St. Louis, he is a retired Air Force chaplain, having served at Lackland and other U.S. Air Force bases on three continents.

The desire to consent to God’s presence within us does not come from our initiative, but from the grace of God. It is rather a question of consenting to an action that is already going on in us.
~ Thomas Keating, Open Mind, Open Heart

Through conscious listening we discover that our true nature—as witnessed by Spirit—though sometimes obscured from view, is never altered from its original beauty and wholeness.
~ Helen Mathis

Divinity: A north star of sorts, a mode of living, talking and directing our energies; an active, dynamic, surprising, humbling, inspiring, invigorating way of understanding life. Less worry, anxiety, judgment and fear; more love, compassion, courage and generosity.
~ Rob Bell

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Little Helping Hands How to Teach Generosity at an Early Age by Jennifer Jacobson

Posted on 08 December 2015 by Jason

Among parents’ greatest rewards is seeing their children grow up to be productive, contributing members of society, including knowing how to give back and enrich the communities in which they live. Children can start participating in the giving process as toddlers. Having them observe regular charitable acts can make a strong impression and catalyze later independent initiatives.

Learning how to give and developing the associated skill set is a lifelong journey. Giving becomes a way of life—of looking at the world and determining how to help the causes they feel passionate about. Here’s how to take those crucial first steps.

Ask kids how they’d like to help. If giving to a cause is new to the household, explain that the family has many opportunities. Then engage children in a conversation about the general areas they may feel strongly about supporting—perhaps individuals or families in need, animals or wildlife habitat—and start a list of those that the family is interested in.

Next, start researching related local organizations, facilities and institutions, and matching them to the topics on the list. Ideas may include food kitchens, pet shelters and animal rescues, nature parks, senior citizens’ residences, camps for low-income or physically or mentally challenged children, zoos, museums, aquariums and local libraries.

Make a game plan. Get creative about how to actually help the selected causes. Talk it through together, map out activities—like visiting, donating funds or materials or participating in fundraising efforts—and post the results somewhere at home that is highly visible. “Gamify” it to some degree with tasks that turn into goals that turn into accomplishments that result in chits.

Quick tasks can make a big difference. Clear the clutter. Every six to 12 months, launch an all-family household closet cleaning day that includes the toy chest and maybe the garage. Add nonperishable healthy food items they’ve picked out while grocery shopping. Make a donate box positioned where kids can add to it and deliver the donations often, even if it’s small.

Find ways to raise money for donations. Organize a family or neighborhood yard sale or organic bake sale that involves kids at all stages of the project, and give all or a portion of the proceeds to a selected charity.

Associate getting with giving. For birthdays and holidays, include a handwritten “certificate of giving” that specifies the amount of money available for them to gift to their favorite charity. Take the child to the charity site to make the monetary donation in person, if possible. For non-local organizations, write a check and have the child include a letter with their thoughts and mail it.

Volunteer to do community service. Public gardens need weeding, historic buildings need painting and food banks need hands. Find goodwill tasks that are age-appropriate and engaging.

Grow the mindset. Tell real-life stories about kids or groups of kids that have found creative ways to give back. Encourage empathy by sharing appropriate stories of struggle. Ask kids, “How would you want people to help you in this situation?” Explain the action the family is taking and the resulting benefit to the recipient.

The conversation might be, “We don’t need to store all this stuff when someone else could really use it.” Or, “I bet there is a kid out there who would really enjoy playing with this toy. I know you used to love it, but how about if you pass it along to someone else so they can enjoy it as much as you have?” Keep the focus on the people in need and your child’s ability to share an experience through an item. Establishing an impermanent connection to material things can help kids understand the importance of nurturing relationships over acquiring goods.

Develop a language of giving in the household by creating opportunities to incorporate it into regular conversation. Appropriate comments could share concepts such as seeing ourselves as stewards of the planet and the things we think we own; it’s our duty to help those in need when we have abundance; and if there is ever a time when we are without, we hope that others will think of us and help us.

Teaching children how their thoughts, words and actions impact those around them is a lesson that bears repeating.

Jennifer Jacobson lives in Seattle and has served on the boards of several influential nonprofits and organizations focused on conservation, education and community.

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