Hello friends, creatives, journal keepers, artists and small business owners! It's great to be back to share more of my life behind the scenes as Artist, Illustrator and avid Journal Keeper.
If you have read my previous posts, My Visual View and Going Back and Going Deeper, you will already know that I've been doing a series of dress illustrations, drawing and creating renderings of ones that inspire me, sharing on Instagram, here on my blog and in The ART of JOY newsletter. (If you're not already subscribed, do click on the image above! Then you'll also receive The ART of Journaling ToolBox, filled with 7 Power Tools for your journaling practice to keep it relevant, revealing and renewing!)
After doing six illustrations in a row, including two that took 3 sessions to complete due to their complexity, I decided to Pause and take a rest for a time. Yes. Sometimes it's Perfectly Appropriate to Pause when you've put out and you need to replenish as a Creative and Artist. (You are the Artist of Your Life--just a JOY-filled reminder!)
Of course, I also have another project I've been working on, the first of my Lyric Line Design Series, based on Lyrics I've written in Connection with Spirit, and creating Art to inspire.
So, with both of those going at the same time, I really needed to take a breather.
I get so inspired, that sometimes, it's hard to stop, especially once I get a rhythm and momentum going!
But if we don't take a rest when we need it, if we're not mindful enough to know when we need a rest, we end up burning out. Of course, I wouldn't expect to burn out in less than 3 weeks time, but I must listen to my intuition, my body and my heart when it's time for a Pause. And not feel guilty that I'm not producing as much as I'd like.
If we don't Pause when it's Perfectly Appropriate, we may also find our enthusiasm waning for those things we were once thoroughly enJOYing.
It's time to Fill Up the Well! Pause and Make Space for inspiration and re-invigoration. Yes, that aligns perfectly with my Word for 2019, SPACE. It keeps coming back again and again, and I'm glad it does, since it resonates so deeply and is speaking to me in such a Relevant way. I know I picked the right word, that's for sure!
Are you in need of a Rest from your Creative Output? Don't hesitate to Pause if that's what your body, mind, heart and intuition are telling you. You may find it's the perfect way to keep a balance, to keep the creative energy from being depleted so when you get back, you're ready to roll and experience the JOY of being the Artist of Your Life. (Of course, everything you do reflects your creativity in some way; don't discount or forget that! Count everything as a part of Who You Are.)
What would a Pause look like to you? When you take one, detail how you feel about it, whether you feel relief or guilt. Reflect on why Pausing is essential to your creativity.
Art Journaling Prompt:
Show visually what a Pause looks like, or simply create words that express how you feel about what you are creating and what it means to replenish when you feel depleted. Use colors that revive you.
Either Draw the word Pause with separation between the letters or draw a button that means Pause. You may want to write associative words that reflect a Pause or what you need to pause in your life.
Copyright 2019 Dawn Herring
Copyright 2019 Images by Dawn Herring
Here at Refresh with Dawn Herring my goal is to give you as many ideas to initiate more JOY in your daily life, whether it's your personal or professional journey. In this video I share an encouraging word about Celebrating Your Wins in your personal or work life.
Record the last time you celebrated a win, whether personally or professionally. Has it been a while? If so, celebrate your last task fulfilled, no matter how small. How did you feel when you were finished? Relieved? Satisfied? Didn't pay attention? (Next time, do so, and feel more JOY.)
Art Journaling Prompt:
Create a spread to celebrate your latest win. Perhaps choose one that seems insignificant or small and make a Really Big Deal out of it.
Describe your latest win using your favorite font styles in your doodle practice. Really give it glory! Don't be shy. Bold colors galore!
If you'd like to also check out my new podcast, Refresh Daily, follow this link. This first episode is titled, Observation is a Key to JOY.
If you'd like to sign up for The JOY Finder, my email communication, you're welcome to follow this link, where you can read my offerings and watch my welcome message! Come be a JOY Finder today!
When we venture into a new project, it can help to have an encouraging word! I trust this short clip will lift your spirit as you work hard in your life and business.
If you like this clip, you're welcome to give it a thumbs up on my Dawn Herring Channel on YouTube and subscribe so you don't miss future clips.
I just love that word. It's something you feel on the inside that makes you want to do a happy dance, but only if you make space for it.
It's easy to allow the distractions of this life to fill up the space where joy can be felt and experienced.
What kind of distractions?
Well, let's see.
"Obligations" that aren't really the obligations that you think they are.
Conversations that are completely irrelevant to you.
Getting stuck in a rut that you've created for yourself.
Feeling boxed in by responsibility that you think you have to attend to at a certain time when you really don't have to. (This can feel heavy which is the opposite of JOY.)
Unnecessary activity that doesn't add to you or enhance your daily life experience.
So, what do you do with all this distraction?
I think the first step is recognizing what is a distraction in your life and how much space it's taking up. You may be surprised with how much room you can make in your life for the JOY you really want just by eliminating what isn't necessary and just focusing on what really matters to you.
You know what question I often ask myself when I want more JOY?
"What do you really want to do right now?"
You see, we often think we want things that we don't want when we really stop to think about it. If we're truly honest with ourselves, life can be much simpler and satisfying when we listen to our hearts.
And that makes sense since it's our heart that feels the JOY when we create it or when it happens spontaneously. Keeping our "ears" open for what is distracting us and taking action to remove or greatly reduce it can help us be more open to the JOY that awaits us with greater awareness and mindfulness of how we are spending our days.
I love it when I experience JOY in my heart when I choose to eliminate what is unnecessary and focus on what really matters. Then I know I'm truly aligned with Who I Am and I'm more able to leave my meaningful mark in the world.
List any and all distractions you currently have going on in your life. Determine the first one you will look to eliminate or greatly reduce to make more space for JOY. Take note of how you feel once that distraction has been dealt with and the space it makes for you to feel more JOY.
Art Journal Prompt:
Use the word JOY as an art journal prompt, showing and telling what brings you JOY. You can also create a spread expressing how you feel when you reduce the distractions in your life, honoring this positive change you have chosen for yourself.
I've been having some fun connecting with new people, with a special focus on artists and art related folks who have something engaging, inspiring and informative to offer artists who are looking for new opportunities. Periscope has been a great place to discover folks who are artistically focused and I have been following my creative curiosity!
In my perusing and watching scopes, I stumbled upon an art agent named Lilla Rogers. I watched a scope of hers recently, and she mentioned her book title while she asked questions and shared some encouraging words with artists.
Her book is titled, I Just Like to Make Things: Learn the Secret to Making Money While Staying Passionate About Your Art and Craft. It sounded like a fun and informative read so I decided to check it out.
I was delighted with the colorful page layouts full of artsy crafty focus along with a generous dose of artwork featured by many of Lilla's artists who she represents and what successes they have acquired.
One of the great features of I Just Like to Make Things is the purpose of helping artists discover what commercial markets they might want to investigate for possible career connections and work with commercial companies looking for new artists and art work. Lilla offers interviews throughout that reveal the ins and outs of what some art directors are looking for in their field of expertise and markets. Some markets she covers include bolt fabric, greeting cards, and home decor.
Lilla offers some fun, colorful creative exercises to help you access yourself as a artist to help you determine what markets might work for you. She includes many journal prompts as well to help you reflect more deeply on the result of the exercises. She also explains licensing in the art market and shares some valuable words of advice.
Lilla comes from a place of experience both as an artist herself and as an agent of many years and shares her inspiring, personal artistic career story.
I'm glad I followed my creative curiosity on Periscope and found Lilla and her book, I Just Like to Make Things. If you are an artist looking for career opportunities, I would recommend Lilla's book. She has the voice of experience and she shares an encouraging vibe to all artists who want to stay true to themselves and be successful at the same time.
Copyright 2016 by Dawn Herring
I read the book, Eat, Pray, Love, several years ago, and I've watched Elizabeth Gilbert speak several times. I find her sense of humor, her forthrightness and her honesty refreshing, so when I found out she came out with a new book, AND it was about CREATIVITY, which is one of my favorite subjects--well, you know I just had to get my hands on it and see what all the hubbub was about!
Her new title, BIG MAGIC: Creative Living Beyond Fear, is a BIG PERMISSION SLIP to have Fun, Follow Your Curiosity (which I talk about here in my video, Creative Curiosity), not to take yourself so seriously (martyr syndrome) but to go about pursuing creativity from the perspective of PLAY, taking it light, and why not dress up for the occasion to keep inspiration fresh? Showing up because you want to because you like it.
Elizabeth sprinkles stories, anecdotes, and relevant words of wisdom, sometimes on the humorous side, to prove her specific points on being brave (because being creative takes guts, folks!), on the amazing experience of when inspiration comes at you and even through you like a creative force, and the issue of not giving up and learning to trust yourself and the process of letting your creative expression flow.
I laughed aloud several times during this insightful and interesting read. I think one of my favorite parts is when she describes dressing up for a refreshed inspiration session. I also enjoyed her inside track on writing several of her other books (it helps to see what others experience in the writing process). And I appreciation her revelations about her parent's influence on her while growing up and how those values have stayed with her over time.
Inspiration, laughter, permission and going about your play with curiosity just because you like it.
That's BIG MAGIC.
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring
Copyright 2015 Header image by Dawn Herring
9/22/2015 4 Comments
I am so excited to share with you an interview, or what I like to call, a Creative Conversation, with one of my favorite people, Jill Winski, dear friend and fellow journal keeper, previous Special Guest of #JournalChat Live a few times over, and active member of our #JournalChat Live Facebook Group. She is a Certified Martha Beck Life Coach and Creativity Coach and founder of The Artist's Nest; and I had such a fabulous time talking with Jill about journal keeping, creativity, and positive change that leads to personal empowerment. Jill shares an insightful and profound journal keeping journey. I trust you will enjoy what follows with the juiciness of what it means to be At Home in our Journals and Aligned with Who We Are.
Without further ado...the creative conversation with Jill Winski:
Dawn: I just re-read your post from our #JournalChat Live OPEN HOUSE in June, 2015, Hearing My Voice In a Noisy World, and it still touches my heart about how your journal is Home and a Safe Place for you. When was the very first time you wrote in a journal? How old were you? And how was that different from the time you were 12 at school? What kind of a foundation did it help you create in your childhood?
Jill: I think the very first time I wrote in a journal was when I was about five! It was a "diary" with a lock and a key. I believe I was just learning to write and I wrote things like "what I did today" or "my favorite foods." A little later, when I was maybe 8 or 9, my mom bought me some blank books and I used those to write stories that were based on my own life. So you could say they started out as journal entries but as I wrote they became fiction! Looking back, I do think these blank books created a foundation of writing things down as a way of expressing myself very early in my life.
I don't think the "true" journaling took hold until I was 12 and began to write in depth about what I was feeling and started to use the journal to process and understand my inner world, as I described in that blog post.
Dawn: LOVED your journaling start, Jill. The details of the beginnings of a diary/journaling practice can be so inspiring, especially when you can see clearly what benefited you in that very early time...which led to more writing for you, even fiction.
From the time you were 12 and began a deeper, more introspective journaling, were there other activities that you engaged in that really inspired you and refreshed you as a young person? And was the journaling a part of those activities, such as describing those experiences in your journal, or were they entirely separate?
Jill: One thing I did a lot as a child was organize my classmates and neighborhood kids into putting on plays and other sorts of productions. I remember a lot of running around barefoot in the summer telling people what roles they were going to play. (I think I was considered rather bossy!) I also loved reading -- particularly Judy Blume and Madeleine L'Engle at that age -- and being with animals (still do!). And rollerskating and collecting Breyer model horses. :)
Now, here's the interesting thing -- at around 12, I began to become pretty critical of myself. I think I became very aware of and concerned about what other kids thought of me, and, interestingly, this is when the journaling began to overlap with those other activities. So, the journaling came to my aid at that time -- it was a way of sorting out this self-consciousness and judgment I'd begun to feel toward myself. As I remember it, the journaling was very much integrated with other activities and I'd reflect on how things went. Actually, when I was packing to move just a couple weeks ago, I found a comic book I'd written at age 12 about a superhero rabbit. That was the kind of thing I'd do at that time, and it's likely I brainstormed that idea in my journal and then probably journaled about whether I was happy with the result or not!
Dawn: What delight to learn of your "directing" role with your friends in the neighborhood, putting drama as center stage! Love it.
So, when you became more conscious of other's opinions of you, that's when journaling took on a more vital role, helping you gain clarity on what was working and how you felt about each life experience. Brainstorming ideas was a great way to see what you wanted to experiment with.
Do you think that your journaling played a role in determining your identity as a person? Did it help you discover on a deeper level Who You Were and Who You Were Becoming? Did you stay motivated to keep a journal as you entered your youth?
Jill: Oh, most definitely journaling played a big role in my identity -- and the journal has been a sort of "witness" as my identity has changed over the years. I think the deep processing I've done in my journal over the years has been key to my understanding myself, and integrating what I'm going through and discovering about myself into the whole of who I am and my life.
As I got into young adulthood, that's when journaling began to take on an even bigger role for me. Around my early 20s was when I started to do a deeper kind of journaling, where I was really using it to understand myself. I think it became a form of meditation for me -- like other practices that can help you connect with the self, but then also something greater than the self.
So yes, I stayed with journaling quite naturally as I got into my teens and on into my 20s. It's always been something I feel compelled to do -- there's no "motivation" involved. I do it compulsively! :)
Dawn: What you said about being compelled to journal feels so resonating to me, since I'm the same way with my journaling practice. I don't need motivation either; it's just part of Who I Am.
Speaking of that, for you, Jill, seeing that journaling is such a powerful and essential tool in your life in developing your identity, have you been able to recognize, through your journaling practice, when you have not been aligned with Who You Are and how has journaling promoted positive change to help you Stay Aligned?
Jill: Yes, one of fundamental values of journaling for me is that I am able to see more clearly what I'm thinking and feeling, on the page. And that has the effect of quickly allowing me to see where I'm not aligned with my essential self. It can point me to where I'm in pain and not addressing that pain. Sometimes I'm like, "Hmm, I notice I've been writing that I'm feeling bothered about such-and-such for a week now ... what's going on with that?" In fact, there are certain things I've let go of in my life much more quickly than I would have if I hadn't been addressing them in my journal. And, things I've moved toward more quickly because journaling helped me tune in to what I was really wanting.
There are also times where I'm simply not ready to make the changes I know I eventually need to make that come through on the pages of the journal. And in those cases, the journal gives me a safe space to be totally honest about my fears. Just the act of being able to express what I'm feeling in completely open way, without ramifications, keeps me congruent and in touch with myself. Which, for me, is always the overriding goal.
Dawn: I love what you said about being in touch with your essential self and how that is your ultimate goal with your journaling practice.
Can you share how Journaling has enabled you to appreciate yourself for who you are, especially when you deal with those fears that sometimes can hold you back from positive change? Does journaling help you be more gentle with yourself when that happens? Also, are you able to validate your emotions and feelings to help prevent being too hard on yourself through those challenging changes?
Jill: I think "hearing" my own voice on the page when I journal has allowed me to get to know myself really well, and that has caused me to understand over the years that I have a very particular process that I can trust. So even when it seems like I'm "stuck", there's something going on beneath it all that makes a lot of sense. And that knowing has helped me be kinder and gentler with myself, because so much of what the critical part of me thinks is stuckness is actually just me taking my time to get to where I need to be!
I do struggle at times with not being hard on myself -- it tends to be a "default" reaction for me because I learned it so well when I was young -- but there's something about putting my feelings down on the page that allows me to detach from the harshness and see it for what it is. So, the journaling creates awareness, and from awareness, I can shift quickly into kindness. That's a practice for me -- shifting into kindness whenever I can. :)
Dawn: Wow. Knowing ourselves on a deeper level can be challenging and yet rewarding at the same time; I love what you said about understanding your inner process and recognizing that it can look like the illusion of being stuck when it isn't that at all; it's simply the way you deal with change and inner change is already being initiated. That is truly powerful. I love how journaling creates that awareness so that kindness can become your prominent focus as you work through that change.
With all this powerful, life-enhancing change going on, do you have specific ways of nurturing yourself, either in conjunction with your journaling or an activity or engagement all on its own? How, as an adult, do you find ways to nurture and nourish your self in any life dimension and how does that nurture affect how you leave your meaningful mark in the world?
Jill: For me, much of nurturing myself involves slowing down (which you did a wonderful video on recently). We live in a very hard-driving culture which moves very quickly, and I have a fast-moving mind which jumps quickly from one thing to another. So a lot of nurturing myself involves remembering to come back to my breath, to the present moment, and reminding myself that it really is okay to slow down and savor things and tune into myself. This can mean taking walks where I really notice my surroundings (I love combining getting my morning coffee with taking a walk). Time with my cat is very nourishing as well. I've always found the presence of animals so healing, somehow, but cats especially, maybe because of the purr (which is said to have healing qualities).
And then, connecting with people I love who truly support me is key to nourishing myself. I'm noticing that seeing people in person is important, especially when so many of us spend so much time in the online world. There's a particular way I feel nourished when I've been with a friend in person, or even had a great phone conversation, where I feel their presence in a way that is important to me. So reminding myself not to substitute online connection for physical world connection feels relevant to nurturing myself right now (though I do love connecting with wonderful people online!).
And that said, one of my favorite ways of nurturing myself IS by going online and reading blogs and articles and essays that connect me to who I am and what matters to me. I adore having books and artwork around me, too, that help me stay connected to what I care about. The more connected I am to what matters to me, the better I feel, and the easier it is for me to tune into others and connect with them.
Dawn: Slowing down, savoring the moment and creating connection with people and nature and things that have great meaning for you...delightfully authentic and nourishing for the soul. I agree it is important to have a balance between what good we derive from the online world and having important connecting time in person. I also enjoy finding folks and resources in the online world that resonate with me and what matters to me...
Connection seems to be key in creating a life that is full, rich, meaningful and authentic. When we are personally empowered, we are fully Who We Are, in the zone, creating our best work and forging those most meaningful connections with people and other things we value.
Can you share with us how all the elements of your life dimensions you have shared that help you create positive change in your life lead to personal empowerment? How do you know when you are personally empowered and when you're not? What does personal empowerment feel like to you? What is your most direct path toward staying there?
Jill: What a great question. I love this question because the way we FEEL is really what creates our lives. So, how do I know when I'm personally empowered? Because I feel connected to myself -- I feel good! When I say good, that doesn't necessarily mean "happy" (though it could). It means I am in integrity -- the way I'm living is in sync with who I am and what I value. Of course, the journey of life, for me, is about questioning what it means to live "congruently" and continually closing the gap between feeling "incongruent" and "in sync with who I am." So it's always ongoing. I'll never be "done"!
For me, the most direct path toward "closing that gap" is to keep checking in with myself, through practices like journaling. And walking. And simply being. You might have heard of the idea of "do-be-do-be-do." I think that's what it's about -- taking actions (doing) and then moving back into being, connecting with myself, checking in about how that action went, where it pointed me, what sits right and what doesn't. And then taking the next action that occurs to me. And then checking in again. Always remembering to check back in with myself. This is so much of what I work on with my coaching clients -- how do we take inspired action, as opposed to just taking actions out of fear or frustration? Inspired action is when we're acting based on personal wisdom, or simply a sense of curiosity. It feels much lighter and freer than fear-based action. So when I feel light and free, I know I'm on the right track.
Dawn: I could feel the good vibes coming from your answer to personal empowerment and the do-be-do connection you explained! I love it--checking in with yourself each time you take an action to be sure it's aligned or congruent with your values, and not responding out of fear or frustration. Indeed. There is such an innate difference between the two, isn't there? Light and free is what we want to be!
Starting from a place of lightness and freedom is a great place to live from in our creativity. Jill, as a Life and Creativity Coach, can you share with us why creativity is so important and how you handle creative blocks? How do you stay consistently creative without feeling overwhelmed? How do you know when you are satisfied with the amount of creative expression you are putting out?
Jill: Well, I always define creativity in a broad way -- the definition I like is that creativity is the life force moving through us. So if our creativity is feeling a little bit sluggish or blocked in some way, that points to some area where we are feeling sluggish or blocked in our lives. These "life issues" tend to show up in our creative work. So it's great to keep our creative energy (life energy) flowing. Of course, it's not possible for it to flow all the time -- in fact, when it stops flowing, there's often something really important for us to learn there. (This is what we might call a "dark night of the soul", in some ways.) I also feel strongly that we are all the creators of our own lives -- it's not only writers, artists, musicians, etc. who are creative! We all are, no matter what we do. That's what I love about journaling -- we can all do it, it's about the expression of who we are. That's really why creativity is important, to answer your question -- because we crave that expression of who we are, and we want it to reach others who appreciate it. In that sense, it's about community, but it's also about remaining connected to ourselves.
As for how I stay consistently creative without feeling overwhelmed -- well, I don't! I do get overwhelmed at times and I am not always consistent. Having moved recently, I realized how much of that creative life energy sometimes needs to go to making big changes in my life, and then I don't necessarily have as much of it going toward "tangible" creative output. But in moving, I've been creating a new living space for myself, so that's creating, too!
But I would say the biggest thing that helps me stay consistent and keeps overwhelm at bay is to begin with kindness toward myself. In other words, self-acceptance is always the underlying factor. And that means noticing when perfectionism comes in and sort of cracks a whip over me and demands that I do more. If I feel like I'm forcing or pushing it, I know it's time to stop for the day. I like to stop writing before I get to that point! There's kind of a "sweet spot" where I can feel that I've challenged myself and I've reached a certain edge, but if I get into pushing beyond that too much, I can bring on burnout. And this is something that simply takes time and practice to understand in oneself. Everyone has a unique point at which, if they pay attention, they know they're satisfied with what they've done, or they're not! We just need to pay attention. And using our journals to record what we notice about this can be incredibly helpful.
Dawn: I love your definition of creativity...and I so agree! Everyone can express themselves creatively since we ALL have creative energy...to do what each of us do well. And It's Awesome. And when the energy is not flowing, there is always something important to be learned. I think that's one of the reasons I love art journaling so much, because it gives me that space to listen when things aren't flowing. And it's important to give ourselves space during change. And yes, Journaling is the PERFECT PLACE for that creative expression of Who We Are. I couldn't agree more!
I love how that brings us back to kindness, Jill. This is such a powerful place to be. It can truly make all the difference when we feel overwhelmed and need to get ourselves back to center. And noticing is so key to understanding ourselves on the deepest of levels, which is so vital to our creativity, our personal empowerment and to Knowing Who We Are.
How Sweet It IS when we are loving ourselves from the inside out by paying attention, recording our understandings in our journals and giving ourselves space to express ourselves creatively while being kind and gentle throughout the process of bringing about positive change.
Jill, can you give us a final word for those who want to start a journal practice and for those still looking for that sweet spot of creative expression? What is your recommendation in a nutshell?
Jill: The main thing I would say for getting started with journaling is to simply trust that whatever comes up onto the page is perfect. There is no way to "do it right". Trust that you have a unique path with your journaling and stay open to discovering it. One of the most exciting things about journaling is that, if you stay with it, you will be led to that "sweet spot" of creative expression. You'll know you're there because you'll feel it. But, like with any practice, you need to MAKE it a practice by staying with it. The benefits only come from doing it repeatedly. So if you're interested in journaling, try it for at least three weeks, or a month -- that gives you a chance to do it enough to start experiencing where it can take you. You can start very simply, by writing down what you see in the room around you, or out the window, what that makes you think of, how that makes you feel. Try it for even five minutes a day. And see where you go!
Dawn: Thanks so much for that fabulous final word, Jill, as we conclude this delightful conversation about journaling, creativity and learning to listen and be Who We Are in all of this wonderfulness! We appreciate all you have shared about your journaling practice and your learning process when dealing with change and creativity.
Do check out Jill's Bio and her social media so you can connect with her; I also highly recommend Jill's The Artist's Nest where she shares about her creative and journal keeping process; it's simply fab and insightful!
Jill Winski's BIO:
Jill Winski is a writer, a creativity coach, and a Martha Beck Certified Life Coach. Her own fears inspired her to create The Artist's Nest, a safe place to talk about creativity, self and getting unstuck.
You can CONNECT with Jill on Social Media:
Dawn engages in many roles: As Writer/Blogger and Artist/Creative and Founder of Refresh with Dawn Herring: Where Art and JOY Align, She enjoys sharing from her vast experience as award-winning, life-long artist and leader in the field of written journaling, offering encouragement and proven tips to other journal keepers. Dawn's focus is on written journal keeping, artistic expression and finding your Creative Voice, and positive change that leads personal empowerment, encouraging you to leave your authentic and positive mark in the world. Dawn is a Commercial artist, hand letterer/illustrator and writer/blogger and enjoys sharing insights, humor, and encouragement as she shares from her life experiences as a woman, wife, mother of two grown daughters and as a Grandparent to a special needs grandson. She enjoys keeping a journal and reading spiritual texts to help keep the light on. May JOY Align with Your Creative Heart.
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