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welcome to nurture 101!

More About Unconditional Love

Home
what is nurture?
why is nurture important?
Bonding and Attachment
More About Empathy
More About Self-Awareness
Touch
Discipline
More About Unconditional Love
More About Honesty
More About Respect
More About Encouragement
More About Safety
Results of Lack of Nurture
Nurturing Your Children
Turning Nurture Inward
Nurturing Mother Earth
Re-parenting / Self Parenting & Nurturing Adult Children
Nurturing Spirituality
Nurture in Business

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nurture 101!
 
It's been too long in coming!

what's the definition of nurture?

 
 
What Unconditional Love Really Is And How To Give It
By Gregg Hall
 

It is important to understand the definition of unconditional love to be able to give it, it is the kind of love that expects nothing back, places no limits, and does not set any ideals or conditions on what it should be. When you love in this way you do it without expectation of reciprocity and with no preconceived notions of how or if they will express love back to you. This is the kind of love you see exhibited by parents and children, brothers and sisters, true friends, and the best of romantic relationships.

When you love someone unconditionally you do not set limits or boundaries on that love, not circumstances that would cause you to withdraw it, there is nothing that would cause you to not love the person. Even if the other person does something that you feel is intentional, it is overlooked if you are truly committed to unconditional love. You do not try to control the actions of the other person, nor do you tell them that you will not love them if they act a certain way or do a certain thing. When this kind of love is present both partners feel more secure and neither of them seeks to control the other.

Since there are no boundaries or conditions the people in a relationship of unconditional love do not have to worry about the other person leaving or not loving them over a particular situation or behavior. Siblings in most cases are a good example of this, even though they may have quarrels and disagreements throughout their lives the bond between them remains unbroken and their love continues through any and all conflicts.

If you love someone unconditionally you will want whatever is best for them and you will always give them the freedom to seek out the things that really give them happiness. You will let them learn things for themselves and explore situations and experiences that they feel will make them happy, even if you think that you know what is best for them. Although they may make bad choices and do things that are wrong you will always be there for them and never judge them if you truly love them unconditionally.

Can you see room for improvement in your relationship? Do you place restrictions and limitations on the one you love? When you truly love someone unconditionally, you place their needs and their happiness above everything else, including yourself. Remember, just because you love someone in this way it does not mean that they will return their love to you in the same way. Are you ready to love unconditionally?

Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Florida.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Gregg_Hall

Love is not a feeling. Love is an action, an activity... Genuine love implies commitment and the exercise of wisdom... love as the will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth... true love is an act of will that often transcends ephemeral feelings of love or cathexis, it is correct to say, 'Love is as love does'.

Scott Peck, The Road Less Travelled (Arrow New-Age)

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A Definition of Unconditional Love

written by Sandy Stevenson

I love as you are as you seek to find your own special way to relate to the world, or the way you feel that is right for you. It is important that you are the person you want to be and not someone that I or others think you should be.

I realize that I cannot know what is best for you although perhaps sometimes I think I do. I've not been where you have been, viewing life from that angle you have, I do not know what you have chosen to learn how you have chosen to learn it with whom or in what time period. I have not walked life looking through your eyes so how can I know what you need.
 
I allow you to be in the world without a thought or word of judgment from me about the deeds you undertake. I see no error in the things you say and do, in this place where I am. I see that there are many ways to perceive and experience the different facets of our world. I allow without reservation the choices you make in each moment.
 
I make no judgment of this for if I were to deny your right to evolution than I would deny that right to myself and all others. To those who would choose a way I cannot walk, while'st I may not choose to add my power and my energy to this way, I will never deny you the gift of love that God has bestowed within me for all creation, as I love you so I shall be loved, as I sow, so I shall reap.

I allow you the universal right of free will to walk your own path, creating steps or to sit a while if that is what is right for you. I will make no judgment of these steps, whether they are large or small, nor light or heavy or that they lead up or down, for this is just my viewpoint. I see you do nothing and judge it to be unworthy and yet it may be that you bring great healing as you stand blessed by the light of God.

I cannot always see the higher picture of divine order. For it is the inalienable right of all life to choose their own evolution and with great love I acknowledge your right to determine your future. In humility I bow to the realization that the way I see is best for me does not have to mean that it is also right for you. I know that you are led as I am following the inner excitement to know your own path.

I know that the many races, religions, customs, nationalities and beliefs within our world bring us great richness and allow us the benefit of teachings of such diverseness. I know we each learn in our own unique way in order to bring that love and wisdom back to the whole. I know that if there were only one way to do something, there would need to be only one person. I will not only love you if you behave in a way I think you should, or believe in those things I believe in, I understand you are truly my brother and sister though you may have been born in a different place and believe in another God than I.

The love I feel is for all of Gods world. I know that every living thing is part of God and I feel a love deep with every person, and all tree, and flower, every bird, river, ocean and for all the creatures in all the world. I live my life in loving service being the best me I can becoming wiser in the perfection of divine truth, becoming happier in the joy of unconditional love.

source site: click here 

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Spring & Nurturing

by Robert Burney M.A.

"By the way, the hardest part of unconditional Love is accepting wherever we are at in the moment no matter how uncomfortable. The hardest part of acceptance is not the difficulty of allowing others their process (although Lord knows that can be very hard); it is allowing ourselves our own process without shame and judgment.

I can do that now most of the time. I know now that when it feels like crap it is not punishment, it is not because I am bad or wrong or defective. . . What I know now is that when it feels like shit that means that I am being fertilized to help me grow." 

Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney

Spring is the time of birth and rebirth of new beginnings. And all new beginnings need nurturing.

This is true not only in nature but also for people who are involved in the very natural process that is healing and recovery. The Spiritual path is our natural path, is the reason we are here in these bodies on this planet. And in order to walk a Spiritual path, it is necessary to reprogram the mental perspectives of life that we learned growing up in a Spiritually hostile, shame-based society.

Perhaps the first, and certainly the most nurturing, thing we do when starting to walk a Spiritual path is to start seeing life in a growth context - that is to start realizing that life events are lessons, opportunities for growth, not punishment because we screwed up or are unworthy.

We are Spiritual beings having a human experience not weak, shameful creatures who are here being punished or tested for worthiness. We are part of/an extension of an ALL-Powerful, Unconditionally Loving God-Force/Goddess Energy/Great Spirit, and we are here on Earth going to boarding school not condemned to prison. The sooner that we can start awakening to that Truth, the sooner we can start treating ourselves in more nurturing, Loving ways.

The natural healing process like nature itself regularly serves up new beginnings. We do not reach a state of being that is "happily ever after." We are continuously changing and growing. We keep getting new lessons/opportunities for growth. Which is a real pain in the derriere sometimes but is still better than the alternative, which is to not grow and get stuck repeating the same lessons over and over again.

This human experience is a process that involves inherent conflict between the continuously changing nature of life and the human ego's need to survive. In order to insure survival (which is the ego's appointed task) the human ego needs to define things. What is food? What is friend or enemy? Who am I and how do I relate to them? What can hurt me and what brings me pleasure?

It also learned that it is healthy to have a fear of the unknown (it was important to check an unknown cave for saber toothed tigers before strolling into it.) As a result, the ego fears change and craves security and stability. But because life is constantly changing, security and stability can only be temporary.

The way it works is that the ego's definitions put us in a box - this is who I am and how I relate to them - and the life process keeps breaking up our box. Every time our box breaks we have to let go of some of our ego-definitions in order to grow. The time when we break out of the box is the time we are the most scared and confused because we have just had to surrender some of our old definitions and we do not know yet what is going to replace them - and the time we most need to nurture ourselves.

But because we were taught that if we are doing it "right" we shouldn't be confused or scared, that is the time when we beat ourselves up the most. We are the least nurturing to ourselves when we are growing the most, at the time of a new beginning.

Those times when we feel like we are "falling apart," "losing it," going to pieces," are the times when we are growing. In a little while (little is a relative term, how fast we recover depends on how much we are judging ourselves, the more we are shaming and abusing ourselves the longer it takes) we start to get a feel for our new expanded psychic environment.

We find some new definitions and built ourselves a bigger box. We start to feel safe and secure again. We have grown and broadened our horizons and it feels like we are finally "getting it together." We get comfortable with the new dimension of consciousness we have entered. That is when it is time to break out of the box again - to fall apart, let go, process some more issues. 

The more we understand that this is the way the process works; the easier it becomes to not judge and shame ourselves; the more capacity we have to Love and nurture ourselves. Life is constantly changing. There are always going to be endings and new beginnings. There is always going to be grief and pain and anger about what we have to let go of, and fear of what is to come. It is not because we are bad or wrong or shameful. It is just the way the game works.

So there is good news and bad news. The good news is that a New Age has dawned in human consciousness and that we now have tools, knowledge, and access to healing energy and Spiritual guidance that has never before been available. We are discovering the rules of the game that we have been playing for thousands of years by rules that don't work. 

The bad news is that it's a stupid game - or at least it feels like it some of the time. The more we understand that it is a game, that this is just boarding school, the easier it becomes to nurture ourselves by not shaming and judging ourselves. We are going to get to go home. We don't have to earn it - that's what Unconditional Love means.

sources site: click here

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Is it possible to unconditionally love an adopted child?
 
by Carol Gioia
 

Adopted children have one thing in common with children born to their parents. In both cases, the parents cannot be sure what type of child they will be parenting. Children come in all sizes, shapes, personalities and capabilities.  

In whatever manner the child comes into the family, there is no way to predict certain attributes. While it is true, one can request a particular sex when choosing to adopt, all other particulars are a toss of the dice, just as with birth children.

Heredity only plays one part in the makeup of a child. Environment is also a huge factor in molding the child's personality and attitudes, and a nurturing environment is the variable parents bring to the table.

I have sixteen grandchildren. Three of them are adopted, although for the life of me, I cannot always remember which three. All sixteen have distinctly different personalities and talents. Some of them have traits similar to their own parents as children. Others are so uniquely their own person, I am constantly amazed they are part of our family.

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The one thing they all have in common, adopted or not, is their high moral standards and values. It is easy to project, even in the younger ones, that one day they will all be productive and contributing members of society. They are the products of long term doses of unconditional love by doting and conscientious parents. Nature and nurture combined has resulted in a group of happy, loving individuals and some rightfully proud parents and grandparents.

I vividly remember the day and the circumstance surrounding each of their entries into our family. Some I set eyes on for the first time in the maternity ward of a hospital; others came to us through adoption courts. The birth children took nine months to arrive, the adopted ones sometimes even longer. Eager anticipation was a component in all cases. There is a tendency to fall in love with a child during the waiting period, so I was already smitten with each of my grandchildren the first time I held them in my arms.

Our family loves children. You can imagine our dismay when our daughter and her husband learned, after having a premature daughter and losing a premature son, there would be no more children. Determined their little girl would not be an only child, this formidable couple set out on their journey to increase their family through adoption.

Acquiring a family through the adoption process is not for the faint of heart. Undaunted by the red tape of invasive interviews, psychological testing, home investigations, prohibitive cost and interminable waiting, they eventually were the delighted parents of another daughter and two sons.

These two remarkable individuals have poured consistent and unwavering love and attention on all four of their children to the edification of all observers of this close knit family. Their children bloom and thrive, basking in the glow of perpetual, unconditional love and acceptance. At least three other families we know have been inspired to adopt after witnessing the all encompassing love and enthusiasm for life of this remarkable family and the close bond among the four children and their parents.

Is it possible to unconditionally love an adopted child? It is the only way to love any child. All children need total acceptance and unconditional love. Being adopted is a minor detail.

I know, for I have three adopted grandchildren, but, for the life of me, I cannot always remember which three.

source site: Helium - click on the link and read more opinions concerning this matter.

Nurturing Others

Nurturing requires:

“In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”   Albert Schweitzer

Nurturing is fundamental to the human experience. Propelled by love for another, nurture is both a set of behaviors as well as an emotional and spiritual environment. The literature on nurturing comes primarily from child development research regarding parents and children, which emphasizes the importance of raising children in a warm, trusting, caring and structured home.

There are 5 overarching principles that define nurturing. These principles extend to all human relationships across the life span:

Unconditional love, attachment and connectedness - Attachment is key to the parent-child bond. Children who fail to attach develop insecurities that can undermine their social and emotional development. Connectedness, like attachment, is also a bonding between 2 people based on trust and empathy and can develop at any time in the life span.

The cornerstone for attachment and connectedness is unconditional love. Knowing we are loved and cared about in spite of our flaws and failures is the foundation for healthy relationships. When we experience unconditional love, communication, trust and respect follow.

Loving touch - Touch is one of the most powerful interactions between parents and children. Children who are kissed and held frequently develop strong physical health and strong bonds with their parents. For a child, touch is the manifestation of unconditional love. For teens and adults, loving touch is less frequent but is still necessary to affirm the love we need from others.

Discipline, accountability and mentoring - Setting age -appropriate limits, teaching morality and right-from-wrong actions, and teaching respect for others is the other side of nurturing. As we grow into adults, discipline turns to “accountability” to others such as family, friends and other commitments throughout the life span.

Mentoring is a common form of nurturing others in work, sports, education and religious communities. Mentoring is a combination of encouragement, training and accountability. Most successful people attest to the impact of a special mentor in their life.

Empathy and feelings - Empathy is the ability to put yourself in the place of others. Empathy involves feeling what the other person is feeling and thinking, and communicating that understanding back to him. When we are hurting, empathy from a loved one is often the best medicine.

Affirmation and praise - Children need and crave praise and affirmation from their parents. Being told how special they are and receiving praise for their accomplishments sets the groundwork for healthy self-esteem. As we grow and engage the world, being recognized for our success, perseverance and struggles affirms our worth by reminding us of the love and praise we received as small children.

The ability to nurture children is innate for parents. When love and bonding occur, a child becomes emotionally wired to give and receive love and develop mutually rewarding relationships in adulthood. In other words, those who are properly nurtured have the ability to nurture others.

It is the nurture we receive from others that sustains life and makes it worth living. Mother Theresa said it best: “We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair and hopelessness is love.”

By Drew Edwards, EdD, MS
 
source site: click here

Unconditional Love
 
People who did not receive unconditional love as children can learn to give it to themselves and others.

For individuals of any age, one of the most valuable concepts to work on is that of love with no limits or conditions, love which separates the person from the person's behaviors.

The infant who is fully accepted in every way has received the gift of unconditional love. There are no reservations, criticisms, or conditions about familial characteristics or other attributes that are basically unchangeable.

Unconditional love is simple, yet it is one of the most difficult concepts to teach people who have never experienced it.

Conditional love has roadblocks and barriers to love. For example, "I will love you if you will do something for me." Unconditional love, on the other hand, has no roadblocks or barriers to love, and would state, "I will love you, separate from your behaviors."

People need to be loved for who they are, not for what they have done. It is essential that each one of us love, protect, and nurture the human being that we are. The precious, unique child we were remains within us for life, our inner child.

Many people have felt the sting of destructive criticism and rejection. Frequently, they come from families from chemical abuse or other addictions.

Addictions, in any form, whether alcoholism, other drug addiction or obsessive-compulsive behaviors, often rule the family with their pervasive overlay of negativity, rejection, abuse and need for control.

Dysfunctional family patterns of learned, destructive behaviours may go back many generations. Until a family member declares, "Enough!" and seeks spiritual help to ease the pain, change usually does not take place.

With a good support system, motivation and hard work, a person of any age can learn give, and to receive, unconditional love. Support systems may include clergy, oneself, family, friends, recovery programs, professional and other people who foster growth and self- acceptance.

How can you take a concept such as unconditional love and learn to give it to yourself and to those you love? Some of the basic components of unconditional love which help to make it functional include:

  1. Developing a good balance of discipline and praise as a way to approach self-love as well as love of others.
  2. Internalizing your relationship with God, beginning to nurture your inner child.
  3. Internalizing the idea that, next to God, you are your closest friend, and begin to communicate with these two best friends.
  4. Realizing that underneath anger are fear and dependence.
  5. Allowing yourself to do grief work on a daily basis as personal losses occur, regardless of their size.
Discipline and Praise

It is important to develop a good balance of discipline and praise, both toward you and from you. The discipline part of love is constructive, objective, forthright, educational and meant to help. Discipline is often confused with punishment, which is destructive, negative and is meant to hurt. Praise is expression of admiration and appreciation, whether genuine or not.

To clarify the image of love as a good balance of discipline and praise, think about your shoulders. When your shoulders are fairly level, with good posture, your sense of physical balance is enhanced. Visualize one shoulder representing discipline, and the other shoulder representing praise.

If the weights of both discipline and praise are not evenly distributed, one shoulder will drop from the weight and your inner sence of balance will be threatened. With each self-discipline administered, be sure to administer an equal dose of praise, so that your inner balance is maintained.
 
This praise needs to be both a praise to yourself for being capable of performing the necessary task at hand, but an equal amount of praise to God, giving Him equal praise for allowing or causing you to be capable of performing the task.

Self-Parenting & God-Parenting

By internalizing your ideal parents as spiritual inspiration given by an internal relationship with God, as well as a healthy relationship with your inner-self, you can nurture your inner child and begin to recover from not receiving unconditional love from the most primary persons in your infancy and childhood. Primaries include oneself, mother, father, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles; in short, any blood relative or caretaker in descending order of primacy in human life.

Keep foremost in your mind that God and yourself are the foremost primaries for yourself. Your inner child, self-parent, self-friend, and God-Parent and God-Friend are necessary components of your primary self.

Listen to what you say to yourself, being careful not to listen to imitations brought on by negative influence, working to change the negative messages to positive ones. To a large degree, we are what we think. Be SURE to include what the God, your primary ideal parent, has to say. Learn to differentiate between negative influences and the voice of your positive inner-self and/or God.

Allow your self-parent and/or God-Parent to correct your negative behavior while simultaneously nurturing your vulnerable inner child. Tell your inner child, "God Loves you, and I love you." Reassure yourself that you will do better next time, as you strive to achieve growth and serenity, ESPECIALLY since you have the help of the God-Parent to guide and strengthen your Self-Parent.

Be gentle with yourself when you try to change. Tell yourself that failure means not trying to change negative behavior; success means that you did try. When you slip back into old negative messages, allow your self-parent to praise you for your efforts to make positive changes, and ask the God-Parent within to give you strength to succeed next time you face a similar situation.

It is difficult to change old messages, but through your self-parent, and with help from your God-Parent, your vulnerable inner child can begin to see change. If you behave in a way that you regret, such as being late for work because you stayed in bed too long, tell yourself, "I was wrong to be late for work but that doesn't make me a bad person." You can judge your behavior without judging yourself. God is like that... He can, and WILL, judge your behavior without judging you.

The ideal, nurturing self-parent becomes instilled behaviorally. Sit in a rocking chair and rock your inner child in a gentle, soothing way. Reassure your inner child when you are afraid. Feel the protection of you internalized self-parent who unconditionally loves your inner child. Speak to the God-Parent inside. Listen for His response. Guiding yourself by the things you learn HERE will soon become second nature, indeed, become habits.

Monitoring your behavior and administering equal doses of discipline and praise supports healthy changes. Although many individuals are quite uncomfortable with parenting their inner child, self-love begins to feel natural with practice, and is strengthened by the God-Parent's continual presence and interaction.

Your Closest Friend

Internalizing yourself as your second-best friend and beginning to communicate with yourself as one of your your closest, dearest friends may happen, once you realize your self-parent and inner child deepening their relationship.

Inherent in a friendship is the knowledge that a friend never knowingly hurts a friend. A friend cares, often giving advice, but lets you try to fix whatever needs to be changed, helping when asked. A friend listens in a sensitive, uncritical way and does not judge, valuing you as a human being even if he or she does not approve of certain behaviors.

A friend supports friends through the belief that their problems can be resolved, once defined, when given sufficient uncritical, loving support. I have often witnessed rage when an adult trying to define a problem is cut off by someone who offers unwelcome or inappropriate advice rather than simply being supportive. Even many children are fully capable of defining their problems and verbalizing ways to solve them.

Honesty, encouragement and caring can be given to yourself as love in the form of a good balance of self-discipline and self- praise. This inner experience of friendship and love is the beginning of healing.

People can carry within themselves their closest, dearest friends. They will never be alone or abandoned.

Self-Communication

Communicating well with both God and yourself is imperative, so that thoughts and feelings are clarified. Reading your bible, and keeping a journal are excellent ways to do this. There is something about the written word that provides credibility. When writing a journal, begin with the date and time. Write about positive and negative events and thoughts and feelings, including your relationship with God.

By being open and honest with yourself, over a period of time you will discover patterns in your life to reinforce or work on changing.

A journal can also record insights from God. These insights provide a form of problem solving that directly or symbolically helps us to understand what we experience or repress. When you do not fully understand these insights, talk to someone skilled in these types of insights, such as a pastor, or elder within your church.

Another viable way to self-communicate is to talk out loud. Hearing your own voice can make an idea or decision seem real, and ALWAYS serves to strengthen the thoughts associated with it. This is why expressing your negative feelings to another individual or even a professional often does more harm than good. Leave the negative expressions out deliberately, to serve the purpose of letting them take a back seat to more important thoughts and ideas, and, in time, they will become just a blur of the past.

As humans, we communicate with words. It is essential that we talk to ourselves, out loud if privacy permits, so that we will realize and strengthen what we are thinking and feeling, so long as it is is positive in nature.

Anger

When you experience anger it is helpful to understand that it is an effect, not a cause. The possible causes underlying anger are multiple, but certainly includes fear and dependence. Whenever you are angry, ask yourself two questions:
  1. What is it that I fear?
  2. What is my dependence?
Grief Work

Anger is also part of grief work; it is the second stage of the grieving process. Grief work is the uncomfortable and often painful work of truly experiencing and putting behind us the small to large losses that occur in our lives. Putting something behind us does not mean that we forget, but rather that we acknowledge reality and forgive ourselves or others for losses.

Allowing yourself to do grief work on a daily basis as losses occur is central to self-love and good self-parenting. Avoid the urge to delay grief work and pack the losses inside. Do not verbalize the grief, which would only strengthen it, but allow yourself to feel and physically express the emotions of grief.

Four of the possible forms of grief work, as defined by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, are:
  1. Denial. I am just imagining the whole thing.
  2. Anger, and thus fear and/or dependence, when we begin to emerge from denial.
  3. Self-Pity. Why did this have to happen to ME?
  4. Acceptance. Work to accept reality.
One method of dealing with grief is through honest, assertive self-communication. Realize that denial, the first stage of grief work, is a form of passivity. Passive behavior can be exceedingly damaging when losses are packed inside, yet dwelt on, causing them to fester. Find positive replacement activities to allow you to begin to feel self-worth.

People who grow up in dysfunctional families with chemical abuse often follow the rule, "Don't talk. Everything is O.K. There are no losses." Allow your self-parent to help you overcome denial and grieve your losses.

Remind yourself that underneath your anger in grief work there is probably fear and dependence. Your self-parent, and God-Parent can help you through the anger stage of grief work by loving and protecting your inner child.

Allow your self-parent and self-friend and/or God-Parent to help you through self-pity, the third stage of grief work. Comfort yourself and allow others, including your God-Parent, to support you lovingly so that you can move on to the final stage of grief work, reality acceptance.

Accepting as a fact that your losses occurred, no matter how painful, is facing reality. As you and/or your God Parent lovingly parent your inner child, you are better able to face reality and to trust the future.

Unconditional love, with NO limits or conditions attached, is is love that separates us from our behaviors. Unconditional love is administered through a good balance of discipline and praise, by internalizing our ideal self-parent for our inner child, by internalizing our ideal self-friend, by recognizing our ideal God-Parent and God-Friend, by realizing that fear and dependence are causes of anger and by giving ourself permission to do grief work on a daily basis for the small to large losses that occur in our lives.

With sufficient readiness, support, hard work, and a firm grip on our relationships with our inner God-Parent and God-Friend, unconditional love can be a reality.
 
source site: click here

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