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Ep. 46 - Awakening The Hero Within - An Interview With Christian de la Huerta

by Hearts Rise Up
May 21st 2021
Christian de la Huerta is an author, spiritual teacher, speaker, and personal transformation coach whose mission is to help others learn to stand in their power. In this interview, Carol and Christian... More
Thank you for tuning your heart's in for another episode of the Hearts Rise up podcast. I'm carol chapman, your host along with my co host and Siri and Concetta antonelli. We share our own personal experiences, tips and strategies along with powerful stories and compelling insights from guest interviews. We're here to inspire and empower your conscious evolution, help you tap into your inner wisdom and rise to your heart centered higher self Together we can rise to a higher level of consciousness, an elevated state of being and experience more love, joy and freedom. Mm hmm. Hello again to all of you. Heart centered listeners. I am delighted to be back with you for another episode of our podcast. My featured guest today is christian Delaware to With 30 years of experience.

Christian is a sought after spiritual teacher, personal transformation coach and leading voice in the breathwork community. He has traveled the world offering inspiring and transformational retreats combining psychological and spiritual teachings with lasting and life changing effects. An award winning, critically acclaimed author, he has spoken at numerous universities and conferences and on the TTX stage. His new book awakening the Soul of Power was described by multiple Grammy Award winner Gloria estefan as a balm for the soul of anyone searching for truth and answers to life's difficult questions. His books messages about authentic self expression and personal empowerment. It explores power in a different way than what initially comes to mind when people think of power christian, Welcome to the show carol. Thank you so much for having me, I'm honored to be here.

It's terrific to have you here. And many years ago you went through a major shift and pivot in your life and that was around the age of 30. But I would love for you to take us back before then. And even in your early years as to what was happening in your life, to give us a sense of what you were going through that triggered eventually a shift or a pivot in your life. That puts you on this journey of inner transformation. Great, thank you. I was born in cuba and I lived in a communist totalitarian regime For the 1st 10 years of my life, which which I think is one of the ways in which it is kind of ironic that I'm writing about personal empowerment because in that system of course power is hierarchical and not negotiable. And my family was also very Catholics with another very hierarchical power over kind of organization in which you just told what to do.

We were raised in fear, right? I mean, that's that's what keeps these totalitarian regimes functioning is that it's fear based because my parents were counterrevolutionary, so they were conspiring against the castro regime at the time. You know, we grew up with the implicit message to kind of not show up too much to kind of you didn't want to be seen too much. So when we came to the States without speaking a word of english. We moved to a small town in rural Georgia, Milledgeville, you know, which didn't take kindly to foreigners back then, it was tough to say the least. It was really kind of traumatic for me not speaking the language and then having this need to be accepted that it's such a human thing at the same time, that I felt so different and so other like, and so and struggled with not wanting to be seen, that was so ingrained in me. And at the time I already knew that I was gay, which was a source of conflict coming, you know, coming up in a catholic environment.

And there was a part of me that's always had a sense of mission, a sense of wanting to serve the sacred, as I've understood that through different points of my life. And yet in a religion which did not have room for me, which told me that that I was anathema in the eyes of God and I was going to burn in hell for eternity. And so at the end of my teens, when I finally discovered falling in love and I was able to reconcile who I was and what it took basically, as you know, had struggled through all my adolescent years, which was one long depression as I tried to reconcile my spirituality and my sexuality finally got to the point where when I realized the power of love, I mean, we'll never forget that moment because I thought after that first kiss, you know, I just thought, you know, there wasn't after that moment, there wasn't a psychologist, psychiatrist or psychologist or priest or minister or rabbi or anybody who could tell me that it was wrong because I just knew that it was so beautiful and so powerful that there's no way that I could that love could be wrong, no matter how it was expressed.

And so through my twenties, I kind of threw the baby out with the baptismal water. I didn't, I didn't realize that there was a difference between religion, structured, organized religion and spirituality which is inherent to all of us. And so I just threw everything out the window and at the end of my twenties I would have a successful life, a really good job condo on the water, sports car, you know, the Armani suits and all that good stuff and yet the more that I had and the more that I was sought after, the more that I realized that it was like an expanding hole in my gut that I just kept thinking there has to be more, there's gotta be more to life. That's when I had that moment of just like getting really clear about what I wanted from life, which process led me to experiencing breath work for the first time when I did that, like everything change. I was on a tractor with a PhD in psychology and jump track, wow take us back to the moment that if there if there was a moment or maybe it was a series of moments that triggered that shift, what did it feel like?

I spent a weekend just living in the question like what do I want from life? And I didn't watch tv, I didn't listen to music, I just, I wanted to be really, really present for that question and I would, I started making a list, I wasn't evaluating or judging what I was writing, it could be like really big or completely petty, I just like what do I want from life? And then I like once nothing else started coming out, I started the process of eliminating and got it down to three and there was something like I wanted to fulfill my potential which included in every sense of the word, physically emotionally, mentally spiritually, which had kind of ignored for a few years, I wanted to discover my real soul level mission level purpose and I wanted to travel and meet and connect with and work with people from all walks of life, from all different types of cultures all over the world. I don't even know where that list went, it's probably sitting inside one of my books, I never saw it again, but getting so clear was catalytic and a few months after that is when I was first told about this weekend intensive and when I first learned there was a weekend workshop where I first experienced breath work and where I first understood about the ego mind which had told me about, I mean, not my psychiatrist father, not any psychology teacher in college, not the priests that I went to high school, I went to an all boys Jesuit high school and that's what I needed to know.

It was the combination of understanding how the mind works, how it sabotages us, how it limits us. It's understanding its shenanigans, it's, you know, defensive nature, it's reactive nature. It's it's need to be right, all that kind of stuff. And then having a tool through which to heal myself, which was breathwork. Tell us a little bit about the breath work because that's a major part of the work that you do that has contributed to your inner transformation. I mean, that's what we're all about seeking things on the outer. Obviously, it just doesn't do it for us because we're never going to be satisfied. But once we go within and really do that deep soul searching, which you did and then you combined it with some practices that you started to implement in your life. Let's talk a little bit about the breathwork. What kind of breath work is it? How does it work and why is it so powerful? Yeah. So those are great questions I'm so with you about the importance of going with and I'm not dogmatic about many things, I think about three.

And I guess dramatic is not really the right word because I'm willing to be shown a different way but things that I just don't see how we can get free, how we can be free ourselves without. And one of them is going within diving into and facing ourselves. Because that's why the series is called Calling all Heroes because it's heroic work right to go inside and to face ourselves and to figure out our triggers and why we do the things we do and our patterns of behavior and our relationship patterns. Sometimes it requires looking at stuff and remembering stuff that's not fun or pleasant to remember. But it's so worthwhile because there are the keys to freeing ourselves for me. Breath work was one of those keys. It's a simple breathing practice. It comes out of the yoga tradition, although it was discovered independently here in the in the west, in the bay area in san Francisco in California. And it's just a simple circular way of breathing that you do for about an hour, an hour and a half. Some modalities go longer like 34 hours. The mortality that I was trained in used to be called rebirthing.

I stopped calling it that many, many years ago because it's a confusing name and it also creates certain expectations that you have to relive the moment of birth, which is good if it happens. But it's not necessary. The science isn't there yet in terms of explaining how it works and because I have yet to come across, I've been doing it now for, for 30 years and I've yet to come across any other tool that heals as quickly and not so many I'm talking about not only in terms of past trauma, emotional and psychological trauma, but it heals mentally, it heals spiritually and it even heals physically and I know that sounds too good to be true. My more scientific, mental, you know, logical mind, that doesn't make any sense still, but I can't argue with results, it works both from my personal experience and having witnessed countless, countless people have profound moments of healing, including physically. Ultimately, here's how I make sense of how it works in many, I would say, most spiritual traditions and even in some secular languages, one word, so the same word can mean breath or spirit depending on the context, depending on how it's used.

And it's from that perspective that, you know, when we think about the breath is our most loyal or most faithful companion on this journey of embodiment. And so many of the spiritual traditions talk about breath as life, it is life. So for me that's the level in which I can understand how it works. I think science either, I think they'll like they'll study it more. Like there's so much research on the effects of meditation on how that works. I don't think we're there yet in terms of the breath, right? I think it's really interesting that many, even meditation traditions teach to is just focus on the breath. If you were just going to just be a novice at meditating one of the things, the first things I would suggest is just sit yourself down, be quiet and just focus on your breathing and then you begin to focus on where the breath comes in and goes out and where you feel it within the body. You feel it in different parts of the body, you feel it through the nose, you feel it in the chest, you feel it in the rib cage, you feel it in the belly.

It is definitely very amazing. Tell us a little bit about your work and how you over time have as you made this pivot and you started introducing new practices and things in your own life. How is that paralleled what you offer to others in your retreats in your workshops and what's even in your book? Yeah. And I want to add one more thing because I know of your interest, I know you have a degree or certification and emotional intelligence. And so I want to just say, before we move into that question, I want to say, I just want to highlight the importance of the breath in relation to the emotions because we've been so conditioned to make the emotions weakness as you know, you know, emotions are in strength, they're not weakness, they're not good, they're not bad. They're energy like everything else we used to know from like spiritual teachings that everything is energy. Now, we know from quantum physics that everything is energy and energy can't be destroyed. So when we suppress emotions because we've been so conditioned to be afraid of them and because we've labeled them weakness, those emotions don't just just don't go away, We stuff them, they get lodged in the tissues of the body and after years and decades and a lifetime of suppressing emotions.

We walk around with layers upon layers upon layers of suppressed emotional crap. And then here we are trying to have a relationship in the present moment and all of it is getting filtered through those layers of emotional crafts. So really important. And that's one of the ways in which breathwork is really helpful by the way, which is clearing those layers of emotional crap and releasing it out of the body. I mean, you're so right, we hold so much in the body and especially if we're in an anxious or fearful or or constantly in a hyper kind of state are breathing is different. It's shorter. It's more shallow. And I think most of us probably go through life if we're in if we're operating in a frenzy or constant rush or just focused totally on what is external to us because it's all this stimuli that we're dealing with, that we're not even conscious of what is happening with our breath.

And so the first step would be to be conscious of it, be aware of it and start paying attention to your breath. Exactly. And if we took nothing else from this conversation, that awareness of the breath, especially as we're about to get into an emotional upset right? To remember to breathe, right? Because what happens when we get into an emotionally upsetting situation is like we stopped breathing and we shorten the breath, you know, that's the reason those emotions get stuck in the body because we stop breathing. So if we have that presence, all it takes is that awareness and present, which comes as a result of regular meditation practice and mindfulness practice. So that in the moment we can just take some deep breaths as we're having our emotions and then they don't get stuck in us. They can just go like energy flow in and flow right back out and it creates that calm, that centeredness, that more relaxed state, really calming the nervous system down. So it's not operating in such a heightened state all the time.

Because when we're operating in that heightened state, I mean that's where so many physical emotional mental things are constantly coming into play. I want to dive into the essence of your book. And I know that even in our previous conversation, you know, we were talking about the ego and how the ego can really get in our way and how do we get the ego out of the driver's seat. I'll throw it back to you, where would you like to dive in right now? Just speak briefly about how I work with people for 30 years. I've been doing retreats and weekend workshops and I take people on longer events weeklong 10 days to beautiful places in the world. If a retreat and a vacation got married and had a child that would be that experience which I call soulful track. So it has elements of a retreat. We go to places like Machu Picchu or Hawaii northern new Mexico Egypt southern France and so have some retreat time for retreat and then we'll do some enjoy the beauty and the magic and the energy of those places because of the pandemic.

I haven't been able to have any live events for the last year. So I've been doing more virtual coaching. I don't do the group, the breath work in a group basis. I don't, I feel like it's safe enough to do virtually because it's such a powerful experience and people have powerful cathartic release is like I will work with one virtually if it's somebody I know somebody I've worked with before and somebody who has a support system wherever they live. But if it's somebody I don't know, I won't do it and I won't do a group either. Okay, so it has some pretty powerful effects. Oh my God in releasing those trapped emotions. People will often relive the original memory of of that trauma, which you know, if I'm present with them, I can support and there are many things that I can intervene and handle when they have that moment of release, but if it's through a computer and they turn the computer off like there is nothing I can do. So that's the reason why I worked very selectively with people over, you know, virtually what I am doing virtually that is available for everyone.

I'm doing breathing techniques and breathing practices, but not this intense hour and a half breath board session, but I'm doing a yearlong coaching program which I'm actually really enjoying because of course I'll go back to doing retreats whenever we can and they are powerful and they're incredible and fun and we do breath work four times. So that's really, really healing and catalytic and in some cases people have this amazing peak experience and then they go back into their lives and little by little, you know, the day to day drama and responsibilities and habits start pulling them down and they start forgetting and the ego reaching, you know, starts pulling them down with the voices of self doubt and fear and then they have to come to another retreat. What I'm loving about this model of the year long is I get to stretch out the teachings over a year, deliver them in piecemeal bite sized pieces with, here's the key interactivity, small teaching, small amount of teachings, but then homework and and not heavy duty homework, but the homework is designed to apply the teachings to our lives because that's when we integrate them, when we have to like interact with them.

So yeah, I'm really excited about that. And I'm also, it's a creative process because I'm having to use learning modalities that are different from what I normally use in three D when I'm doing a retreat. So I'm having to learn study about how people learn and using visual and auditory and following the body as much as possible. And so it's it's it's exciting. Let's talk about the book because the book is something that you have been maybe planning to write. But over the course of time it wasn't ready to really present itself or be revealed until just in the last year or two. Tell us a little bit about why you wrote the book and how does it relate to your own journey. It's also part of this series that you're going to be writing on the hero's journey. Yeah, another deep question. I can answer it from several levels as to why I wrote the book. One is realizing that many of us have an ambivalent relationship to power. We want it, but we're terrified of it and the more that I've done retreats on that theme and with everybody and specifically with women because the book has a particular message for women in relationship to power.

The more that I realized is that the fear underneath it is that we think we might abuse it. And no wonder all we gotta do is turn on the news on any given day. And on top of that we've been conditioned to think of power as a negative thing. Alright, How many times have we heard power corrupts and absolute power corrupts? Absolutely. So what good hearted being wants to be corrupted or wants to abuse power? So add to that to that mix, what we were talking about before, which is our fear of the emotions and our denial, all the emotions. So we avoid conflict, we hate confrontation, put all that into the mix. And what happens, we end up giving away our power right? And we end up settling for less. We end up selling ourselves short, we end up playing small, we end up stuffing our power and our Magnificence and our bigness and settling for the illusion of security for a false sense of security and for morsels of pseudo love. So that's the big picture of of what inspired this book.

Another experience that I had was was in meditation a few years ago and I heard the words and this has only happened three times in my life where I actually heard audible words and the words were the sole of power. It's like, oh that's cool! What an interesting thought. I got up, got the U. R. L. Forgot about it a month later. I had been working with an agent on a different book literary agent in new york. And she said yeah I want to work with you. But I want to see some of these marketing ideas implemented before we pitch a publisher implementing those ideas would have taken me a year. So for me it was like putting on the brakes and kind of sent me into a spin, sent me into crisis for a few days and then I thought like all right, what am I really going to do? Because I was already spending the advance in my mind and then I thought all right, so if I was just going to write with no agenda not thinking about about the advance of how we're just going to write, what would I write about? And in those three days of being in that question it was like one of those you know moments like light bulb moments or dull moments.

It was like oh my God women's empowerment. Soulful Power. If I if I really believe what I've been saying for years that the single most important thing that needs to happen in the world is the empowerment of women, what am I doing about that specifically? And the book Is for everybody right, we all struggle with issues of power and this ambivalence that I'm talking about and it has a particular message for women stemming from that belief because I am convinced that when women are in 50% of power, we're going to have a very different relationship to war and poverty and hunger and social injustice and wealth distribution of how we treat the environment to all of it. And it's not to idealize women is not to add another whole layer of responsibility for women to to have to deal with it. It's because and it's not to to demonize men either. It's because systemically we've been really working off kilter. We've been working off balance and that system that patriarchal system of which toxic way of expressing what masculinity means and what it means to be a man is not serving anybody, including them, right?

Even men need to tap into the feminine side of our energy. You know, it's really energy. The masculine energy is really all about taking action. Whereas the feminine energy is really all about reflection and introspection and taking that time to go within and reflect. We're constantly as a society doing doing doing but we're not being enough. I think the angle of the need for more empowerment for women is very, very important. It's not about femininity or masculinity. It's really about bridging and being able to operate in both at different times and different circumstances in our life to be able to balance how we are interacting with one another, how we are relating to ourself, how we are relating to others, how we are even perceiving the world and it's the it's about the energy.

Part of it's like we're all energy and we all have masculine and feminine energies. This having made the female energies weakness. That's just so wrong. It's like, I mean, all we have to think about the power of creation that resides in the female body. It's like, come on, what is more powerful than that before. You want to want to play this one thing for the men in the audience too, because the book is intended to help all of us claim our power. And we've gotten confused about that, you know, and and goes back to our conversation about the emotions. You know, we've gotten this erroneous way what to think of thinking about what it means to me, man. So you got to walk around like this and not feel anything and And the the repertoire behavior is like, like this limited about what what what a man can do, which is also as limiting as it is for women. And there's a price to pay for that. So like no wonder the rate of suicide in this country is like four times as high among men, 70% of the suicide in the United States are committed by middle aged white men And women outlive men by five years in this country by seven years globally.

To me, there is no question, there's no doubt that this expression of masculinity is part of that. It's a prison, the prison that we're finding. And so in reclaiming all parts of us and all energy is accessible to all of us. We will all find freedom in different ways. Yeah. And I think a lot of it too is really being able to tap into our heart center when we live in our heart center, there's really only love that resides there, hate really can't reside, you know, and so that I can even make the connection there with that. I think there's a there's a section in your book about paths to sell full power. I would think that one path is certainly through the heart and tapping into what is in your heart and living from a place of compassion and kindness and love? And we're not really doing enough of that as a society which is powerful by the way, because we tend to think of love of this new hall marquee, new agey Nandy pandy, airy fairy kind of love.

And no, no, no, that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about love as the fiercest, most powerful energy and force in the universe. Let's talk a little bit about the Zone of Power. Because that's the section of your book that I think is important for even listeners to understand. Okay, well, so how do we stand in our power? And what is that zone of power? And how do we manage in the zone of power? Yeah. And and so much to say about that too. So, one of the first step is realizing resolving that ambivalence, right? So realizing that there are ways that there is a way that we can step into our power in a different way. That is not hierarchical, that is not about abuse. That is not about arrogance, that is not about having an agenda that it doesn't require for us to push anybody down. Step on them, put our need to their neck in order for us to prop ourselves up and feel powerful. Part of that section is helping us understand that there are different kinds of power and we don't have time to get all of that here.

But but the basic differences, one is worldly power or negroid power. The power that comes from the ego mind, in which one way that we can say, one thing we can say about that is all based about externals, right? We tend to think of powerful people or people who have money, who have fame, who are part of some hierarchy, whether it's a corporate ladder or religious hierarchy or any kind of institution, But because they're outside of us, all those things are fickle. They're here today. They're gone tomorrow. Whereas the other kind of power that we're talking about, I call soulful power, spiritual power, it's inside every one of us. Nobody can give it to us, nobody can take it away. We are the only ones who can give it away. It's it's and it's humble, right? It does, it doesn't have to prove anything to anybody. It just is. So I think, you know, visual that always comes to mind for me when I speak about this is Gandhi or Gandalf from Lord of the Rings in their simple monastic robes or sandal feet.

You would never know how much power they hold until it's necessary. And then watch out Gandhi brought the british empire to its knees without ever shooting a gun or landing a punch. That's power. Oh, absolutely. And I think that so much today, the people have really given their power away in our society because there listening to the, to the media, they're listening to others. They're seeking external approval or external validation. They get their information from others rather than really thinking for themselves and doing the inner work to really explore and intuit what is right for you as opposed to getting validation externally. And I think that maybe where it starts is just doing the inner work and that's probably the first step may be to stand in your power and to begin to to explore your own inner power and your own inner knowing.

I equate power to your inner knowing a sense. I mean, I know it's not as simple as that, but you're absolutely right. The stronger our sense of self, stronger our core, the more powerful we are and the less dependent that we are on external validation. And we stopped needing anybody's approval. And and we stop needing to overcompensate, right? Because so much of the powerful behaviors that we see out in the world are coming from ego and they're overcompensating for not feeling good enough or for not feeling powerful enough, perfectionism, symptom of that, of not really valuing who we are. So the stronger our sense of self, all that stuff, all those unhealthy expressions of power and all of this unhealthy and unfulfilling ways of being, they just fall away and we just get to be who we are and we get to we get we still get to rats are excellence and our magnificence, but just because just because it's there and not because we're needing to prove anything to anybody.

Well, I think that you've got a great message here and you're obviously living proof of what you have been through in your life and that the book and the work that you're doing is really a testament to how you have lived your life and the things that you have learned and the practices that you are implementing. If there was one thing that you wanted to offer as a piece of advice for someone just around awakening their own soul of power, what would that be read the book for? For one thing, I mean, but seriously because it walks people by the hand, but not only understanding the ego mind in all the ways that we sabotage ourselves, but it also begins to like deconstruct our relationship to power so that we can then rebuild it and find ways of expressing it. Dot are a match for who we are. So the bottom line message is like there is a way that we can step into power without sacrificing our our essential nature without giving away our goodness the kind of power that is congruent with who we are at the essence, right are.

If I can do it, anybody can do it. Yeah. Congruent with our really our true nature which is really all about love and kindness and compassion and if we can live from that area within us or that the the essence of who we are, I think that the world would certainly be a better place. I have one final question that I often ask guests if you had a genie in a bottle and let's just say that that's the in our genius within you and you had just one wish, what would that be when I think about the way of the world and the situation that we find ourselves in and scary times in which we live and when I think about the whole that we have collectively dug ourselves into and all the incredible challenges that we're facing, The only way that I see to come to come out of that is paraphrasing Einstein that you can't solve a problem from the same level of consciousness in which it was created.

And so to me that means a revolution in consciousness a leap in consciousness is spiritual revolution, each one of us, It all starts right here, right? That's the only way this is going to happen with each one of us getting to know who we really are and stepping into our own power and then enough of us do that and the world changes. I love that because I know that that's your mission is to really help initiate a revolution in consciousness so that we can elevate humanity's consciousness overall. So, I think that is a great wish. I'm looking forward to seeing your book successful and the next I know you have a couple of other books in the works in that series. I just want to say to our listeners that book itself, it truly is very, very powerful. So, I would encourage anyone to get a copy of awakening the Soul of Power, thank you so much for saying that carol, thank you for having me on the show to me, You are doing that same work, right?

You are part of supporting that spiritual awakening that spiritual revolution. So thank you so much for doing everything that you do on all our behalf. Absolutely thank you and I'd like for you to share where people can learn more about you and I know that you have a free meditation and a free chapter of the book and some practices as well that people can link up to offer your website. So your website is Soulful Power dot com. Soulful Power dot com And then we'll put a link to the free stuff, the gifts that you're offering people in the show notes so that they can get the free meditation, the practices and then chapter of the book and that will give them a nice little glimpse as to what's in the book. Is there anything else that you would like to share as we wrap up here? In part ways. Thank you again and for the listeners, it's all hands on deck. So if you've had the slightest suspicion or inkling that you have work to do as a teacher or a healer or as an activist for change to support this spiritual revolution.

This is it, this is the time. That would be awesome, Thank you for sharing, thank you for being on the show, christian all the best to you. And I just want to say to all our listeners, thank you for taking the time to listen in again. This has been a great episode and just want to encourage you to go to our website, Hearts rise up dot com. We have guided meditations, we have a course that we launched back in the fall called the heart resonance primer. You can check that out under the shop page. We also have a community on mighty Networks called the Hearts Rise up Community and we'll put a link to that in the show notes and that is a free community and we have all sorts of things that we provide to our members in the community. And we said we'd love for you to check that out. So we'll put a link to the landing page and we just want to thank you again for being a valued listener and be sure to carry our message going forward to others and see if they will subscribe to our channel and thank you again for being a valued listener.

Bye for now. Yeah, we hope today's show helped to bring a bit more joy and happiness into your heart. We hope it inspired you to unleash your inner power and rise up to your best and loving heart centered, highest self. We'd be grateful if you'd leave us a review on Itunes. Those reviews are important to spreading this valuable message. We'd love for you to subscribe to our podcast and share the show with others, visit Hearts rise up dot com for heart centered courses, guided meditations and are popular notes from your higher self Until next time, keep rising up and may all that you love thrive

Ep. 46 - Awakening The Hero Within - An Interview With Christian de la Huerta
Ep. 46 - Awakening The Hero Within - An Interview With Christian de la Huerta
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