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Archive for the ‘Dr. Seuss’ Category

Everything I Need to Know I Learned From Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss Was a Major Force in My Earliest Forays into Literature

Thanks to my mom, I’ve been an avid reader since I was about 4. She took my sister and me on regular forays to Lewis for Books, a small, independent book store owned by a husband and wife who, to my young eyes, seemed as old as the dinosaurs. I suspect they were much younger than they seemed to me, but still, the store is long gone, which is sad for future readers. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis introduced me to books I added to my growing list of favorites, and later to those of my daughters.

I learned a lot from every book I read, whether it was horses, foreign countries, or, in the case of Dr. Seuss, how to be a good person.

The Man Behind the Moniker

https://twitter.com/drseuss20144783Theodore Seuss Geisel, known to the world as Dr. Seuss was a man of many talents. Author, poet, illustrator, cartoonist—he had all the bases covered. Though never a parent himself, he knew how to entertain children and give them a reason to want to read. His stories have a rhythm and tone that’s irresistible to children of all generations, and many have been turned into films and plays.

Though much of his work took him into the political arena, especially in the years which encompassed WWII, he had, in my opinion, a remarkable insight into social issues and a knack for simplifying them so they were both entertaining and enlightening for young readers.

Whether it was seeing the difference between right and wrong in the disobedient and often destructive Cat in the Hat, the inclusiveness and recognition that different doesn’t mean wrong in Horton Hears a Who, or our responsibility for the damage we do to our environment in The Lorax, it’s impossible not to consider the consequences of our behavior while reading the works of Dr. Seuss.

Inspired to Write Because of What I Read

Although the Dick and Jane books were still the staple when I was in elementary school (and prompted my infamous declaration: “This book is boring! I’m going to be a writer when I grow up!”) Dr. Seuss wrote in a way which not only used words at the right level for early readers (Cat in the Hat used only 236 common words), but injected lessons in a way which taught without pressure.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dogfog/5204935882/in/photolist-8VWE6Q-6FR4PG-DEEKw-bsF6i-cpi3Wd-dk9u1v-8BntLm-UGRZCH-fQcPnR-dhnn9s-fQcPgM-fQupxU-bKacYT-UGRZtV-iLNUA-kX4rWL-a3Sspv-61cUZi-AvxRBm-a3VVrF-i9PxxA-qHWpW2-AvxoHG-bz1N74-a3RRKM-fHdw26-BqLtuU-BqLFA7-B1WeW9-buhdFm-UGRZiK-UGRZpX-UQTX4N-EkYNF6-UQTX7U-UGRZsn-TC1PJN-fQuqyd-Unj5Bd-a3Spzc-rrT2hS-a3VxnA-BivGa1-UGRZma-UQTWLd-Bt5PfM-a3VvMo-61cUX8-z6xzb6-Avxt6EEven today, when I watch or read The Lorax I see how both collective and individual greed and lack of consideration for limited resources hurt us all, and think twice about making choices which exacerbate our already suffering Earth and society.

I’ve also learned a lot in recent years about how isolating ourselves in the mistaken belief we have every single resource we need to thrive and succeed within ourselves is hurtful and harmful, not only to ourselves but to everyone we deprive of our own gifts. Dr. Seuss was all about working together, even if, at first what you created was mischief.

He also taught me some things are worth the risk, whether that risk be physical, or emotional. Following the common school of thought may be safer, but there’s no room for growth, and what’s common isn’t always what’s right.

Above All, We Must Be True to Ourselves

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my 6 decades and counting. But I’ve also learned a lot of wonderful lessons. Some have been painful, usually because they were thrust upon me when I was most resistant. Others have been life-changing, like learning that my mother’s ability to express her vulnerability (willingly or not ) made her a stronger person than my dad who lived his entire life encased in an unyielding suit of armor.

In fact, it was by taking up the pen just as Dr. Seuss did that I learned the most about myself and the lessons which had created the person I looked at in the mirror every morning and night. My work may not waft through the brain with the flow of music; the point and counterpoint of poetry, but it reflects my own, true voice, just as his did. In fact, it’s because of Dr. Seuss that I do allow my own personal voice to shine brightly. He taught me I needn’t pretend to be or believe anything that isn’t genuine. He made me realize (though it took a number of years for it to truly sink in) that I am perfect the way I am.

But most of all, he taught me that being my unique, quirky, authentic self is exactly what I’m supposed to be, and that I needn’t make apologies to those who don’t understand. They have their path, and I have mine. Neither one is more right than the other. We’re all exactly where we’re supposed to be, and have our own set of lessons to learn. Just because I’m not as far ahead as some people with some courses of study doesn’t mean I can’t be further along in others, and in fact, in all likelihood, I am. As a result, we all have things we can teach others, and things we can (and should) learn from them too.

Using My Early Exposure to Dr. Seuss as a Compass for Life

Because he opened my mind to the possibilities, I continue to grow, even decades after I read his work on a regular basis. Because his messages were so powerful and applicable, I revisit them almost daily. But the one which resonates most strongly these days is one of social consciousness. I know it’s an area where I’m still lacking and put my daughter (a person half my age) up as an example of following a path towards a more conscious, aware, compassionate way of life.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ky_olsen/4860839266/in/photolist-n8CFnR-o5uD96-22RQjNp-eCZ3Kq-WYUGZj-DLmHDZ-KKjkM7-8px5ay

In fact, she has been motivated by her own early exposure to the good Doctor. She used one of his quotes in her wedding, engraving it on a piece of tree trunk for her ring bearer to carry in lieu of the standard satin cushion.Created in Canva

She had one of her favorites tattooed on her leg along with a truffula tree to remind her every day that success is simply putting one foot in front of the other.

So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.

If you ask me, that’s about the best life-lesson we can have, and pass on to our children and grandchildren.

Gratitude, Too, Is Seussical

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful to my mom and Mr. and Mrs. Lewis who introduced me, not only to Dr. Seuss, but to literature as a whole. I’ve taken many a journey around the world and back (and even to the stars) between the covers of a book.
  2. I’m grateful for Linda Clay who has inspired me to get on with my writing and stop wasting precious time.
  3. I’m grateful for Trello which helps me keep on track with my writing, just as MyFitnessPal helps me keep on track with my diet and exercise routines. Tools are good things, especially when memory isn’t enough.
  4. I’m grateful for balance in my life. I switch easily between creative and analytical, self-care and work, recognizing it’s all necessary to make me a well-rounded and contributing member of society.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; inspiration, motivation, challenges, my disappearing comfort zone, confidence, baby steps, successes both small and grand, friendship, joy, love, happiness, opportunities to help others, early mornings and late nights, peace, health, prosperity, and philanthropy.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward.

A Life Made Better By Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss Kept it Simple For A Reason

More than a couple of generations of children cut their literary teeth on the works of Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. I’m no exception. I couldn’t have been older than three when my mom introduced me to Dr. Seuss’s “The Cat in the Hat”.

Dr. Seuss had a unique way of not only engaging the young reader, but imparting moral lessons in an easy, undemanding way. Yet he cut to the heart of our world’s most basic and far-reaching issues in a timeless manner which is still relevant today.

So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.

So Many of Our Society’s Ills Could Be Cured By Following the Lessons in “The Lorax”

One of mine and my daughters’ favorite Dr. Seuss stories is “The Lorax”. In fact, my eldest has a Truffula tree and a series of Seuss-isms tattooed on her leg. I recently caught the last few moments of the movie, and as the credits started to roll, this timeless quote from the book filled the screen for a few seconds:

UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

As I sat staring at the screen, a shiver ran up my spine. How like Dr. Seuss to put what should be obvious to an adult into a simple phrase even a young child could understand. And how farsighted of him to realize how much the generations who’d grown up with his stories would need to be reminded.

Many of his stories have been made into movies, or re-enacted on stages. Who hasn’t seen “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, or “The Lorax” at least once? I admit I’ve yet to see the movie version of “Cat in the Hat”, but it’s on my ever-increasing To-Do list. But first, I have to re-read “The Lorax”.

A Lesson in the Repercussions of Greed and Environmental Insensitivity

If you’re unfamiliar, let me briefly summarize. In a town de-void of nature (flowers, trees, grass, etc.) a young boy goes in search of the truth. He learns a greedy, conscienceless man used up all the Truffula trees and fouled the environment to satisfy his own personal agenda. He disregarded the admonitions of the Lorax who spoke for the trees, until he’d hacked down all the trees, fouled air and water, and driven all of the wildlife away in search of greener pastures. Without a steady supply of Truffula trees, even his business died out and left him living alone in the decaying remnants of his factory and home. The neighboring town with its plastic “nature” was dependent on another greedy man for the very air they breathed.

Sound familiar? But then, Theodor Geisel was also known for his political cartoons. Small wonder they seeped into his children’s stories. Perhaps he hoped he could instill social and environmental conscience in our formative years. I like to think he was successful, at least with a few.

Though Millennials as a group are getting a bad rap from the Baby Boomers (and vice versa, I might add), they are, like every other generation, a group of individuals, each with their own perspective on the world and idea of where they themselves need to take responsibility. Despite the seeming oblivion and obsession with electronics attributed to their peers, many are working hard to make a difference. They are perhaps even more socially and environmentally conscious than we were in the 60’s and 70’s. I attribute part of that to their ready access to information courtesy of the internet.

Lessons In Social Consciousness From Early Childhood Make For Better Adults

I wonder if part of that consciousness comes from early exposure to the lessons embedded in Dr. Seuss’s books?

Quotes from one book or another pop up on Social Media too frequently to be mere happenstance. They’ve become as much a part of our vocabulary as the Instant Messaging and Text-driven shorthand we use today. Every single quote encourages us to be better people, or to appreciate our differences rather than trying to be carbon copies of each other. I’m sure I’m not alone in turning to the good Doctor when my spirits need lifting or my confidence is waning. Here are a few which are guaranteed to lift me up and get me moving.

Dr. Seuss had a unique way of reminding us each and every one of us is special and has a reason for being right here, right now. He didn’t believe in hanging back or fitting in or hiding your light under a bushel basket. Instead, he taught us to be our very best selves, and to respect others, nature, animals, and this planet we call home.

If you ask me, we could all benefit from re-reading some of his books a couple of times a year to remind us, not to be humble and silent, but proud, strong, and outspoken. But most of all, to be kind.

One Small Pebble Causes A Thousand Ripples

What we do and say has impact. It might not seem like it in our own small view of the world, but every pebble we drop in the water creates ripples. We don’t see where those ripples go, who they touch, or what they affect. Most of us would be surprised our tiniest actions have any impact at all, much less the snowball effect each one is capable of.

In the past month or so, an individual not only stopped speaking to me, but began acting like I wasn’t even there. Ordinarily, I might be hurt about it, but I know in some way, my own actions or words sparked his behavior. He feels justified in denying my existence, and I truly have no reason to disrespect his wishes. Though the venue where we used to interact isn’t all that large, we manage to stay out of each others’ way, interacting with the same people and both enjoying our time there.

I share this story because it’s a clear example how something we do or say, seemingly in a safe little bubble has implications we can’t possibly predict. I suspect I’ll never know what my word or action was, but it has reminded me to be more aware of the ripples I create, and to revisit #28:

Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s a great balancing act.

Gratitude is Always in Style

I think one of the many things I learned from Dr. Seuss was to appreciate what is all around me. My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the many lessons I’ve learned and continue to learn from Theodor Suess Geisel.
  2. I am grateful for the many times life reminds me to go back to the basics.
  3. I am grateful for a strong personality and the ability to be comfortable being different.
  4. I am grateful for like-minded friends who have eschewed society’s expectations of same-ness for delightful, inspiring, and unique one-ness.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, lessons, inspiration, joy, respect, acceptance, forgiveness, motivation, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She specializes in creating content that helps entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Your Exceptional Self

Letting Go of Limits on Being Exceptional

We are all exceptional. Yes, even you. You bring something to the world nobody else does. Sometimes it’s hard to find it, mired as we are in the business of living.

The trouble is, we’re encouraged, not always gently, to fit in from an early age. Being different made you a target for teasing, bullying and abuse in many flavors. You either toughened up or conformed if you could. Some of us simply built walls around our authentic and far more interesting selves and hid the light we were meant to shine.

Reality Today Was Once Someone’s Impossible

Where are the ones who bullied and teased now? Are they doing extraordinary things? Are they taking chances or leaps of faith? Are they daring to be different? Probably not. They’re probably a member of the cube jungle, going to a meaningless job every day, tapping a keyboard and pushing paper. They have their 2.5 kids and their mini van, or maybe their kids are grown and they babysit their grandkids so their kids can have a night out. They’re hooked on “Survivor” and “Real Housewives of Wherever”. In other words, they’re boring!

Last week, I heard a lot of people talk about being comfortable and how it is just another name for a rut. Whether it’s the 9-5 job that bores you silly, yet you stay because of the regular paycheck and 401(k), or the people you never meet because you go to the same places on the same days every week (yes, I am guilty of that one!), or the lessons you don’t learn because you reject anything that isn’t in your wheelhouse. They’re all ruts. Pleasant ones, maybe, but still ruts.

One of my favorite quotes from “Alice in Wonderland” is:

Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast!

Frankly, that’s not a bad idea. Her point, though, is that once you’ve believed those impossible things, they become possible. For example, I believe I am a New York Times best-selling author. Have you seen my books? Perhaps you’re just not looking hard enough!

Believe in Yourself and You’ll Do the Impossible

The first step in being your extraordinary self is believing—not that you can, but that you already are! Who do you want to be? What do you want to accomplish? Where do you want to go? As Dr. Seuss said:

Oh, the thinks you can think!

As I write this, I did a Google search to make sure I’m quoting correctly, and on the first page of the search found not one, but two links to of my own previous articles. This concept is clearly not new to me. If you’d like to see where I was on this subject about 6 months ago, here’s the link:  “Oh, the Extraordinary Thinks You can Think!”

You see, I’m no stranger to leaps of faith, any more than I’m a stranger to hiding my extraordinary self under a bushel basket. Sometimes, you have to feel the pain of denying your authenticity before you’re willing to endure a little discomfort to be true to yourself. People won’t always support you or even be nice about the choices you make, but is what they think about you really your business?

Why Limit Yourself by What Others Believe About You?

You can’t control what people think of you or how they react to what you do or say, so why waste your time and effort trying. Living your life to please others is, in the first place a losing battle, and in the second, a guarantee that you’ll be everyone’s doormat, and make yourself miserable in the process.

I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t put on this planet to be miserable for 80 or 90 years (maybe even more). I was put here to learn lessons and do great things. At 62, I’m still learning lessons, and I don’t feel I’ve done anything great when compared to the likes of Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama or any of the world’s great humanitarians. But why would I compare myself to them? If you judge a fish on its ability to fly, the fish will be judged a failure. Go ahead and be the fish, but excel at what is within your own reality. You needn’t be brilliant like Stephen Hawking, or have Carrie Underwood’s musical talents. And don’t even try to say you’re not in their league!

You’re as good as they are at what you do best. It’s the only thing that matters. You have to believe in yourself, even if that means believing impossible things at first. Eventually, the impossible becomes not only possible, but your new reality.

And don’t stop with just one thing. Once you are what you believed impossible yesterday, believe something new. Being extraordinary doesn’t have limits, rules or guidelines. You’re only limited by your ability to believe!

For Heaven’s Sake, Find Things in Your Life That Make You Feel Grateful

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful I’m an extraordinary being.
  2. I am grateful for my imagination and ability to believe.
  3. I am grateful for writing prompts that get my creative juices flowing.
  4. I am grateful for the increase in attention my Facebook Author page has gotten the last few days. One less impossible thing for me to believe!
  5. I am grateful for abundance, the ultimate in believing; love, inspiration, success, motivation, friendship, joy, attraction, ideal clients, sustainability, exposure, peace, harmony, health, prosperity, and philanthropy.

Love and Light

Here’s another post using today’s prompt, courtesy of Serendipity, Encouraged

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

 

October 5, 2014 Keeping our focus on the positive.

Here I sit. The Late Night Blogger. Unlike Jimmy Fallon or Conan, I don’t have a guest star to share my stage. I don’t really claim to be an expert in anything New Age like Spiritual Awakening or Marianne Williamson’s “A Course in Miracles”.

Uh oh. There I go down that path again! How many times have I told people to focus on what they do have? To give their attention to what they have accomplished? Yet, here I am, droning on about what I don’t have. And there, my friends, is my topic for tonight. As is quite common, I sat down in front of my computer with no clue as to what I’d talk about tonight. The UBC prompt didn’t really get me excited, which left me to my own devices. (dangerous under the most controlled of circumstances!) Yet I had every confidence that by the time I’d either sat for a few minutes or typed with no real path or purpose in mind, something would come to me, and it did.

Always remember that you are a work in progress.

None of us are perfect, and if we ever reached perfection, we’d be done here. There’d be no more goals to set, nothing to strive for, heck, not even a reason to get up in the morning! That isn’t to say that you won’t have days when you don’t actually accomplish something. It just means that as humans, we always want to improve something.

I’m not talking about the way we look, per se. Even weight loss and body toning is about being healthier, in my opinion. It’s about being better at what we do. But in the process of improving ourselves, of learning new skills, of being a better person, because we are works in progress, we’ll fall back into old ways sometimes, like my failure-face focus, at the beginning of this post. When we do revert like that, it doesn’t mean we’ve failed. In fact, like what just happened to me, it’s an opportunity to remind ourselves, not of how far we have to go, but of how far we’ve come!

Look back at the person you were five or ten years ago. Are you really the same person now? Have you made no changes, grown no stronger or kinder or smarter in some way? Of course you have! Unless you’re one of those people who, like a pebble in the sea, just lets the world push you hither and yon without any real desire to have a say in the matter, you evolve…you change…but most of all, you improve!

Sadly, most of us, at one time or another, do ourselves a serious disservice by comparing ourselves to someone else. I’m reminded of the years my daughters ran track. I always told them that it wasn’t about how they did against the other kids. It was about doing better than they had the last time; in short, making improvements to themselves based on their own performance, not someone else’s. How can we use someone else’s yardstick when we are not them? We have a different history, different goals, different challenges to overcome. Which brings me to my favorite Dr. Seuss quote:

“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

We all need to remember that “You” is someone pretty amazing, and should never be the one we treat with the least amount of kindness. (Admit it. You’re guilty of exactly that at least some of the time! I know I certainly am!). We need to look at ourselves in the mirror, and I mean, really look at ourselves. Just stop for a minute while you’re washing your hands or putting on makeup (I’d recommend against doing so while brushing your teeth. There’s something rather off-putting about a reflection that’s foaming at the mouth!). Look at the person in the mirror and say something like:

“I really love you!” or
You are looking particularly gorgeous today! or my personal favorite
You are beautiful, sexy, sassy and delicious!”

Because if you can’t make yourself smile and feel good about you, nobody else can either. Tell yourself the truth now. Don’t you deserve to feel beautiful (or handsome), special, talented and worthy? Is there not some quality about yourself of which you are particularly fond…proud, even?

I just got an amusing visual of walking into a restaurant while in the throes of self pity and self trash talking, and since it’s bouncing around in my head, I have to share.

WAITER: “May I help you, Miss?”
ME: (standing in front of the podium, chin resting on my chest, mouth turned down at the corners to merge unattractively with my chin)”Um, yeah. Just one.”
WAITER: “Oh, yes, I see. Pity party for one. I’ll just put you over here in the corner so your sniveling and whining don’t annoy my other customers. Unless you’d rather just take it to go so you can wallow in the privacy of your own home?” (he gets a very hopeful expression on his face with his last words.)

My point is, self-pity doesn’t look good on anyone, and I haven’t met too many people who want to listen to someone speaking unkindly of themselves. Even if you’re feeling lower than a possum’s belly, why not pretend yourself into a better mood? What’s that, you say? I’m taking a hint from a song in “The King and I”. I’ve always loved the part when
Anna sings:

Whenever I feel afraid
I hold my head erect
And whistle a happy tune
So no one will suspect, I’m afraid

While shivering in my shoes
I strike a careless pose
And whistle a happy tune
And no one ever knows I’m afraid

The result of this deception
Is very strange to tell
For when I fool the people I fear
I fool myself as well

I whistle a happy tune
And every single time
The happiness in the tune
Convinces me that I’m not afraid

Make believe you’re brave
And the trick will take you far
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are

You may be as brave
As you make believe you are
I think it is a very good idea, mother, a very good idea

Yes, it is a good idea, isn’t it
I do think I shall never be afraid again
Good

The result of this deception
Is very strange to tell
For when I fool the people I fear
I fool myself as well

I whistle a happy tune
And every single time
The happiness in the tune
Convinces me that I’m not afraid

Make believe you’re brave
And the trick will take you far
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are

Although the song talks about bravery, couldn’t finding our happy, positive self be approached in the same manner? I know a lot of people who put themselves together and show up with a smile on their face no matter how rotten they feel, or how rough a day or week they might have had. One friend was in a lot of pain for the better part of this year, yet, if you didn’t look too closely at her eyes, you’d never know anything was wrong. Even in the hospital after surgery, her makeup was on, her hair was fixed and there was a smile on her face. She’s the selfie queen and took a lot of pictures. I now use her as a role model. Not so much that I have my makeup and hair perfectly done, and all of the jewelery and such she feels incomplete without, but the fact that she does put on a happy face, no matter what.

In fact, now that I think about it, she and a couple of other friends who are equally classy and put together have had either health or personal issues this year, but to see them or talk to them, you’d never know it. Because they don’t act like their world is turned upside down, they seem to recover a lot faster too.

Before this post becomes a novel, I’ll leave you with a final thought. Positive attracts positive and negative attracts negative. You can choose what you want to attract.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that my life is filled with positive people.
2. I am grateful that I’ve learned to treat myself with as much kindness as I would anyone else.
3. I am grateful that I can now recognize when I’m heading down a path which will only drag me down, and turn it before it goes too far.
4. I am grateful for my friends who set such impressive examples.
5. I am grateful for abundance: friendship, positivity, happiness, joy, love, motivation, inspiration, health and prosperity.

Namaste

You can also fine me at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel  Stop by and “like” my author page.  It will be where I chronicle my journey from mere writer to published author.

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