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March 24, 2017

Eternity

Eternity is not the continuity of time forever. That is the meaning in the dictionaries: forever and forever. But forever is part of time--prolonged time, indefinitely prolonged, but it is still time. Eternity is jumping out of time; it is nontemporal, it is no-time.

The present moment is the door to eternity. The past and future are part of time. The present is not part of time--the present is just between the two, between the past and the future. If you are absolutely alert, only then are you in the present; otherwise you keep missing it. If you are not alert, by the time you are alert it is already gone, it has become the past; it is so swift.

So between the past and the future there is a door, a gap, an interval--now--that is the door to eternity. Only in eternity is bliss possible: in time, at the most, pleasure; at worst, pain--but both are fleeting. Their nature is not different. Pain comes and goes, pleasure comes and goes. They are momentary, water bubbles.

Bliss has no counterpart. It is not a duality of pleasure and pain, day and night. It is nondual, it knows no opposite. It is a transcendence. Try to be more and more in the present. Don't move too much in imagination and memory. Whenever you find yourself wandering into memory, into imagination, bring yourself back to the present, to what you are doing, to where you are, to who you are. Pull yourself back again and again to the present. Buddha has called it recollecting oneself; in that recollection by and by you will understand what eternity is.

Text: Osho

March 3, 2017

Anniversary

momDadAnniversary.jpg

To my dearest parents. Happy 60th. Life is fleeting, and we make the best of this lifetime...

Currently listening:
佛光山佛教梵唄 - 彌陀聖號 (千華調)

December 14, 2015

Paradise of Song

Have we met?

Ahangar was a mighty swordsmith who lived in one of Afghanistan's remote eastern valleys. In time of peace he made steel ploughs, shoed horses and, above all, he sang.

The songs of Ahangar, who is known by different names in various parts of Central Asia, were eagerly listened to by the people of the valleys. They came from the forests of giant walnuts trees, from the snowcapped Hindu-Kush, from Qataghan and Badakhshan, from Khanabad and Kunar, from Herat and Paghman, to hear his songs.

Above all, the people came to hear the song of all songs, which was Ahangar's Song of the Valley of Paradise.

This song had a haunting quality, and a strange lilt, and most of all it had a story which was so strange that people felt they knew the remote Valley of Paradise of which the smith sang. Often they asked him to sing it when he was not in the mood to do so, and he would refuse. Sometimes people asked him whether the Valley was truly real, and Ahangar could only say:

"The Valley of the Song is as real as real can be."

"But how do you know?" the people would ask, "Have you ever been there?"

To Ahangar, and to nearly all the people who heard him, the Valley of the Song was, however real, real as real can be.

Aisha, a local maiden whom he loved, doubted whether there was such a place. So, too, did Hasan, a braggart and fearsome swordsman who swore to marry Aisha, and who lost no opportunity of laughing at the smith.

One day, when the villagers were sitting around silently after Ahangar had been telling his tale to them, Hasan spoke:

"If you believe that this valley is so real, and that it is, as you say, in those mountains of Sangan yonder, where the blue haze rises, why do you not try to find it?".

"It would not be right, I know that," said Ahangar.

"You know what it is convenient to know, and do not know what you do not want to know!" shouted Hasan. "Now, my friend, I propose a test. You love Aisha, but she does not trust you. She has no faith in this absurd Valley of yours. You could never marry her, because when there is no confidence between man and wife, they are not happy and all manner of evils result."

"Do you expect me to go to the valley then?" asked Ahangar.

"Yes," said Hasan and all the audience together.

"If I go and return safely, will Aisha consent to marry me?" asked Ahangar.

"Yes," murmured Aisha.

So Ahangar, collecting some dried mulberries and a scrap of bread, set off for the distant mountains.

He climbed and climbed, until he came to a wall which encircled the entire range. When he had ascended its sheer sides, there was another wall, even more precipitous then the first. After that there was a third, then a fourth, and finally a fifth wall.

Descending on the other side, Ahangar found that he was in a valley, strikingly similar to his own.

People came out to welcome him, and as he saw them, Ahangar realized that something very strange was happening.

Months later, Ahangar the Smith, walking like an old man, limped into his native village, and made for his humble hut.

As word of his return spread throughout the countryside, people gathered in front of his home to hear what his adventures had been.

Hasan the swordsman spoke for them all, and called Ahangar to his window.

There was a gasp as everyone saw how old he had become.

"Well, Master Ahangar, and did you reach the Valley of Paradise?"

"I did."

"And what was it like?"

Ahangar, fumbling for his words, looked at the assembled people with a weariness and hopelessness that he had never felt before. He said:

"I climbed and I climbed, and I climbed. When it seemed as though there could be no human habitation in such a desolate place, and after many trials and disappointments, I came upon a valley. This valley was exactly like the one in which we live. And then I saw the people. Those people are not only like us people: they are the same people. For every Hasan, every Aisha, every Ahangar, every anybody whom we have here, there is another one, exactly the same in that valley."

"These are likenesses and reflections to us, when we see such things. But it is we who are the likeness and reflection of them -- we who are here, we are their twins..."

Everyone thought that Ahangar had gone mad through his privations, and Aisha married Hasan the swordsman. Ahangar rapidly grew old and died. And all the people, every one who had heard this story from the lips of Ahangar, first lost heart in their lives, then grew old and died, for they felt that something was going to happen over which they had no control and from which they had no hope, and so they lost interest in life itself.

It is only once in a thousand years that this secret is seen by man. When he sees it, he is changed. When he tells its bare facts to others, they wither and die out.

People think that such an event is a catastrophe, and so they must not know about it, for they cannot understand [such is the nature of their ordinary life] that they have more selves than one, more hopes than one, more chances than one -- up there, in the Paradise of the Song of Ahangar, the mighty smith.

Text: Idries Shah

--

Currently listening:
Arturo Stalteri - Another Green World

September 11, 2015

An Old Tale

I had many books when I was in my early twenties and I remember this particular story, one of which I treasured the most. How it brings me joy to read it again...

A powerful king, ruler of many domains, was in a position of such magnificence that wise men were his mere employees. And yet one day he felt himself confused and called the sages to him.

He said: 'I do not know the cause, but something impels me to seek a certain ring, one that will enable me to stabilize my state. 'I must have such a ring. And this ring must be one which, when I am unhappy, will make me joyful. At the same time, if I am happy and look upon it, I must be made sad.' The wise men consulted one another, and threw themselves into deep contemplation, and finally they came to a decision as to the character of this ring which would suit their king. The ring which they devised was one upon which was inscribed the legend:

This, too, shall pass.

Text: Idries Shah

--

Currently listening:
Max Richter - Dream 19 (pulse)

December 2, 2013

Remembrance

Death Is Nothing At All
Death is nothing at all--I have only slipped away into the next room. I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way you always used. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without the ghost of a shadow on it. Life means all that it ever meant... There is absolute unbroken continuity.

What is death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you--for an interval--somewhere near just around the corner.

All is well.

Nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before. How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Text: Henry Scott Holland

--

Currently listening:
佛光山佛教梵唄 - 彌陀聖號 (千華調)

December 14, 2012

For Those Who Have Lost

For all who need comfort, for all those who mourn
All those whom we cherished will be reborn
All those whom we love but see no more
They are not perished, but gone before
And lie in the tender arms of He
Who died for us all to set us free
From hatred and anger and cruel tyranny
May they rest in peace, and rise in glory

All suffering and sorrow will be no more
They'll vanish like shadows at heaven's door
All anguish and grieving will one day be healed
When all of God's purpose will be revealed
Though now for a season lost from sight
The innocent slain in the blindness of right
Are now in the warmth of God's glorious light
Where they rest in peace, and rise in glory

Lord give me wisdom to comprehend
Why I survive and not my friend
And teach me compassion so I may live
All my enemies to forgive

For all who need comfort, for all those who mourn
All those whom we cherished will be reborn
All those whom we love but see no more
They are not perished, but gone before
And Lord keep them safe in your embrace
And fill their souls with your good grace
For now they see your face to face
Where they rest in peace, and rise in glory

Currently listening:
Libera - Rest In Peace

October 30, 2012

Monument Valley

Monument Valley.

You should go.

Currently listening:
R. Carlos Nakai - Song For The Morning Star

October 16, 2012

花樣的年華

The Enchanting Years.

Currently listening:
周璇 - 花樣的年華 (The Enchanting Years)

October 4, 2012

This Life

I wish every one well today... and for the rest of your life.

October 11, 2012

No Words

If it is possible, live an experience and don't fix it with any words, because that will make it narrow.

You are sitting... it is a silent evening. The sun has gone, and the stars have started appearing. Just be. Don't even say, "This is beautiful," because the moment you say that it is beautiful, it is no longer the same. By saying beautiful, you are brining in the past, and all the experiences that you said were beautiful have colored the word.

Why bring in the past? The present is so vast, and the past is so narrow. Why look from a hole in the wall when you can come out and look at the whole sky?

So try not to use words, but if you have to, then be very choosy about them, because each word has a nuance of its own. Be very poetic about it.

Text: Osho

--

Currently listening:
Depeche Mode - Never Let Me Down Again (Split Mix)

September 24, 2012

Words To The Whys

Ups and downs and ins and outs,
Forevers and nevers and whys.
Befores and afters, dos and don'ts,
Farewells and hellos and good-byes.

Life is a string of perhapses,
A medley of whens and so whats.
We rise on our yeses and maybes,
Then fall on our noes and our buts.

Text: Patricia T. O'Conner

September 13, 2012

This is a test

Portrait.

Test like you mean it.

December 23, 2011

Eternity

Eternity is not the continuity of time forever. That is the meaning in the dictionaries: forever and forever. But forever is part of time--prolonged time, indefinitely prolonged, but it is still time. Eternity is jumping out of time; it is nontemporal, it is no-time.

The present moment is the door to eternity. The past and future are part of time. The present is not part of time--the present is just between the two, between the past and the future. If you are absolutely alert, only then are you in the present; otherwise you keep missing it. If you are not alert, by the time you are alert it is already gone, it has become the past; it is so swift.

So between the past and the future there is a door, a gap, an interval--now--that is the door to eternity. Only in eternity is bliss possible: in time, at the most, pleasure; at worst, pain--but both are fleeting. Their nature is not different. Pain comes and goes, pleasure comes and goes. They are momentary, water bubbles.

Bliss has no counterpart. It is not a duality of pleasure and pain, day and night. It is nondual, it knows no opposite. It is a transcendence. Try to be more and more in the present. Don't move too much in imagination and memory. Whenever you find yourself wandering into memory, into imagination, bring yourself back to the present, to what you are doing, to where you are, to who you are. Pull yourself back again and again to the present. Buddha has called it recollecting oneself; in that recollection by and by you will understand what eternity is.

Text: Osho

Ending the year with eternity...

May 18, 2011

The Riddle [Revisit]

Who dares it - has no courage
To whom it is missing - feels well
Who owns it - is bitterly poor
Who is successful - is damaged
Who gives it - is as hard as stone
Who loves it - stays alone

Originally posted January 7th, 2004.

A friend of mine solved the riddle, and now, it's not as intriguing as it was when I had not known the answer. I like the mystery. It keeps me grounded and it feels comforting.

Oftentimes, not-knowing is an integral part of the grand equation.

May 12, 2011

Understanding Time [Revisit]

As we cross the threshold into the millennium, more and more people have begun to ponder the question of time. According to reports, the United States has spent millions of dollars to build an eternal clock. It will only strike once every century, to remind people to slow down their steps and to reflect upon their shortcomings. To understand and successfully utilize time has indeed become a worthwhile issue for modern people.

Many people often complain how time flies, while others complain about how time crawls. Some spend their time in search of fame and fortune instead of spending time with their loved ones, while others waste their time on trivial matters instead of using time to better themselves. If students are unwilling to spend time in the classroom, how can they acquire knowledge and broaden their horizons? If farmers are unwilling to spend time plowing their land, how can they reap a full harvest? It is clear that the way time is perceived is dependent upon how time is used.

Once upon a time, someone asked a Chan master to teach him how to manage time. The Chan master replied, "When time passes, it never returns; every second is thus precious." Hence, whoever can use time wisely has control of his or her life. It does not matter how old you are; what is important is how you manage your time.

"For a person who is exhausted, the road is long; for a person who cannot sleep, the night is endless; for a person who does not understand the truth, the reality of birth and death is far-reaching." We must understand that the past will never return, the present is gone in a blink of an eye, and the future is fast approaching and will become the past in a moment. An eminent master once said, "A day’s time is more precious than the treasure of the universe."

As long as we can understand the fleeting essence of time and learn how to use it wisely, we can break the boundaries of time and transcend the limits of temporal space. As long as we can learn to treasure every second of our lives and seize every moment, we will be able to realize and experience the truth in the saying, "a moment is eternity." In this way, precious time is not limited to the tolling of an eternal clock.

Text: Venerable Master Hsing Yun

From May 29th, 2007.

How did you spend your time today?

May 5, 2011

Tempe [Revisit]

In years to come, when you have far surpassed your golden days, say, over 90, and feeling all the 'symptoms' an any 90+ year-old would feel... What would you do? In general, I'm talking about symptoms like fatigue, memory loss, feeling inactive, decreased judgement, misplacing things, disoriented from time to time, difficulty performing familiar tasks or even having problems with speech...

If one day, you have truly come to this - What can you do? Or shall I rephrase: What is left to do?

At then, who do you live for? Yourself? For others? What would you think about? You wouldn't think about what movies are opening this weekend, the latest trend in fashion, or how your stocks are performing this week... Oh right, the grand children... but they'll have all grown up by then. The great grand kids? That is if you're lucky, and if so, would you remember their names? Most likely, maybe you would think about - Life, in retrospect [that's whatever you can remember, you think you remember, or whatever you can conjure up], and Death [the one true friend that'll wait for you 'til the very end of time]!

What was the meaning of life again??? Ah yes, that's it! But will I even remember?

Thinking back, sitting still, looking forward... The above was posted back on December 8th, 2003. Please pardon the grammatical errors and such. Maybe I just have a different way of using words. Not sure.

Tempe: Something to think about... at least for now.

April 29, 2011

The Stars We Are

Lit Up.

I miss you.

--

Currently listening:
The Key Sessions Quartet - Mad World

April 28, 2011

Just You

The below was typed up over 15 months ago but was never posted. Well, rummaging thru my old drafts, here it is.

Nobody is superior, nobody is inferior, and nobody is equal either. Everyone is unique. Equality is psychologically wrong. Everybody cannot be an Albert Einstein and everybody cannot be a Rabindranath Tagore. But that does not mean that Rabindranath Tagore is superior because you cannot be him. Rabindranath cannot be you either.

My whole point is that everybody is a unique manifestation. So we should destroy the whole idea of superiority and inferiority, equality and inequality, and replace it with a new concept of uniqueness.

And every individual is unique.

Just look lovingly and you will see that every individual has something which nobody else has.

Text: Osho

February 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Grandma

I think you would have liked this track very much. I miss you grandma...

--

Currently listening:
佛光山 Buddhist Monk Choir - 觀音聖號 (五音調)

February 4, 2011

The Dream of Life [Revisit]

Today I found out a friend of mine, his partner of 35 years together had passed away 2 weeks ago. My heart trembles. He mentioned to me that his partner has been ill for the past 10 years and that he's been taking care of him all this time, but this was still all too sudden. My friend and I aren't close, but we somehow bonded in a fairly short amount of time. My heart breaks when I heard about the funeral arrangements and everything that involved. He said his partner requested to be cremated. I remember the time I was asked to 'push the button' when it was my grandmother who was lying in the casket...

Looking at my old blog this afternoon, I came across an entry from April 2, 2007...

THIS FLOATING WORLD
Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.

The image of a human life as a small skiff on the wide waters of the world has been around as long as people have had boats, and the thought of that life is a dream is no news flash either. But what does it mean that there is something happy, maybe even beautiful or consoling, in thinking so?

[...]

This world we are born into--this complicated, difficult, haunting touching world--is the one whole thing. It is the world we awaken in, and awaken to. Our awakening is made of this world, just as it is. It doesn't come from some other realm like a bolt from the blue, and you don't go to someplace else when you awaken. Awakening is not a destination, and meditation is not a bus ride. Awakening is the unfolding of an ability to see what has always been here. To see, more and more reliably, what is actually in front of you.

[...]

We're awfully lucky that life isn't a monologue. There is so much that is unexpected and unplanned for, and those are the things that can make all the difference: raising a child you didn't give birth to, helping an elderly neighbor as she's dying, spending time in a foreign country because you fell in love with someone who lives there. Sometimes these things fall like grace from some unanticipated cloud, and sometimes it's more like a meteor plowing into us. But the world is filled with stories of how hardships and difficulties can pull us deeper into life, if we let them; they can bring us heart and soul in a way the easy life never could.

In this dreamscape of a world, heavens and hell realms are a thought or a phone call or a news broadcast away. Children turn into adults you never could have imagined they carried inside them. The sky over the sea is full of pelicans, and then they almost disappear, and now the sky is full of them again, because humans started using DDT and then stopped. On any morning, what happens on the other side of the world can make you weep over your breakfast.

Perhaps, after all, we shouldn't take our lives so personally, shouldn't think of them as the monologue of busy and insistent and separate selves. Perhaps we are made up of landscapes and events and memories and genetics; of the touch of those we hold dear, our oldest fears, the art that moves us, and those sorrows on the other side of the world that make us weep at the breakfast table. The astronomer Carl Sagan used to say that if you really want to make an apple pie from scratch, you have to start with the Big Bang.

[...]

But which I mean, to experience the dreamlike quality of life is to understand that there is something mysterious at the heart of things, something we can't figure out or get control of. It's a mighty big ocean whose surface we skim. If we lean back into that experience, we're more and more at peace with what isn't certain, and less and less in a chronic state of complaint at what W.H. Auden called the disobedience of the daydream. We spend so much time disappointed in life for being life. But as we feel less and less resistance to things as they are, as peace grows in the midst of uncertainty, kindness is not far behind. We're not at war with life so much anymore, and that is a kinder way to be. When we're not fighting with life, or turning away from it, joining in seems to come pretty naturally. Someone is hungry; it's time to make dinner. An election turns out badly; where do we go from here? When we're aware of the dream of life, we know that we're part of its co-creation whether we act or not.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.

The word merry came from roots meaning "pleasing" and "of short duration." This poignant life, so fleeting and yet made entirely of eternal moments--this is the dream we are making together, this is the dream that is making us, and that is the one whole thing.

Text: Joan Sutherland

Peace. To all.

xo, r

January 27, 2011

Between Lives

Everyday I'm being reminded... I'm a by-product of my very past and a child of my destiny. What's important is this moment―this golden moment! Existence is seamless and neverending. It dies with a bloom and it'll be glorious 'til the beginning. All of this, is written in stone but yet to be found. No matter how and when, you will always be.

This lifetime.

Transcendence.

Bless this moment in time!

--

Currently listening:
John Foxx & Harold Budd - Raindust

December 2, 2010

Ah-Pau

Grandmother.

It's been a year... I hope you are doing well grandma, wherever you are......

November 29, 2010

And To Hold Her Hands Again

I have been thinking about my late grandmother all week. This coming Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of her departure. Last night when the lights went out before sleep, I thought about her again. That particular night she spent in the ICU when she had the blood transfusion... I was alone with grandmother. I remembered the nurse came in to the room to draw her blood. She poked the needle on top of my grandma's frail hand and missed. I had to press her arm down to hold her still. Frightened and tried to pull away, I saw the blood forming beneath her skin, spreading under the membrane like an ink-spill covering her hand... I can never forget it!

Those sad eyes I saw, I can only say little to comfort her...

October 27, 2010

Peace

Bodhisattva.

No matter where you are, may peace follow you through and through.

May 5, 2010

Come Closer Together

John & Paul & Ringo & George.

I've always wanted this shirt ever since that graphic designer, well, designed it. I think the original shirt was black type on dayglow yellow. Hey, where is Yoko's name?! :-D Oright, she has her own shirt.

I might have some great news soon on the job front. I think today I might head up to Amoeba Records to see what's going on. I have not been there for years. I remember when I was much younger, I used to go record shipping almost every week. The good ol' days of Hi-Fidelity. Remember the static electricity when pulling the brand new vinyl from its sleeve? And turning to the B-side in one quick flip?

Compare that to CD, CDs haven't much life on its own. Put the needle on the record when the song beats go like this!

--

Currently listening:
Beatles vs. NIN - Come Closer Together

April 15, 2010

The Business of Colors

Since I have a new domain under my name [finally], recently I had some new business cards made with the domain / email change. I'm not using my photo this time but some color blobs like the above with a simple back. Minimal but necessary.

In other news, since my dad was away on a trip, I picked up my mum to come stay with us this past weekend for 2 nights. We butt'd heads in the kitchen a bit, but aside from that, I was so glad she stayed. I love her so much and I was quite sad after I dropped her off back home on Monday. It's like the older they [or I] get, the more I truly appreciate them. Talking about my mother is a whole other entry, I think I'll save that for later.

If you're not paying taxes this year... Happy Tax Day.

--

Currently listening:
Air - The Dream of Yi

April 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Grandma

My beloved grandmother.

I miss you very much!

March 1, 2010

Revelations

Bless you for your anger
It's a sign of rising energy
Transform the energy to versatility
and it will bring you prosperity

Bless you for your sorrow
It's a sign of vulnerability
Transform the energy to sympathy
and it will bring you love

Bless you for your greed
It's a sign of great capacity
Transform the energy to giving
Give as much as you wish to take
and you will receive satisfaction

Bless you for your jealousy
It's a sign of empathy
Transform the energy to admiration
And what you admire
will become part of your life

Bless you for your fear
It's a sign of wisdom
Transform the energy to flexibility
and you will be free from what you fear

Bless you for your search of direction
Transform the energy to receptivity
and the direction will come to you

Bless you for the times when you see evil
Evil feeds on your support
Feed not and it will self-destruct
Shed light and it will cease to be

Bless you for the times you feel no love
Open your heart to life anyway
In time you will find love in you

You are a sea of goodness
You are a sea of love
Bless you, bless you, bless you
Bless you for what you are

Count your blessings every day for they are your protection
Which stand between you and what you wish not

Count your curses and there will be a wall
Which stand between you and what you wish

The world has all that you need
You have the power to attract what you wish
Wish for health, wish for joy
Remember, you are loved

The world has all that you need
And you have the power to attract what you wish
Wish for health, wish for joy
Remember, you are loved

I love you...

Text: Yoko Ono

--

...and I love you, too.

February 17, 2010

Understanding

Understanding is totally different from knowledge. Knowledge is borrowed, understanding is your own. Knowledge comes from without, understanding wells up from within. Knowledge is ugly, because it is secondhand. And knowledge can never become part of your being. It will remain alien, it will remain foreign, it cannot put down roots inside you.

Understanding grows out of you, it is your own flowering. It is authentically yours; so it has beauty, and it liberates.

Text: Osho

--

Yet of course, the reason why you want to understand is a whole other issue.

January 29, 2010

This World Is Not My Home

The present has nothing to do with time. If you are just here in this moment, there is no time. There is immense silence, stillness, no movement; nothing is passing, everything has come to a sudden stop.

The present gives you the opportunity to dive deep into the water of life, or to fly high into the sky of life.

But on both sides there are dangers: 'past' and 'future' are the most dangerous words in human language. Between past and future, living in the present is almost like walking on a tightrope; on both sides there is danger.

But once you have tasted the juices of the present, you don't care about dangers. Once you are in tune with life then nothing matters.

And to me, life is all there is.

Text: Osho

--

We are but transients of time, living in worlds between...

--

Currently listening:
David Darling - Dawn

January 6, 2010

Gratitude

You should be grateful for everything that happens to you, even your pain.

The quote above is from a Hasidic saying. 2009 came and went, certain loses, but I'm still very thankful for what it is. Sometimes I feel like I'm floating in oil, watching my life drifts by and by. Comfortable yet stagnant, but still watching...

I have made some changes to improve myself. Self-doubt is a very negative thing. Am I good enough? But if I don't believe in myself, who will? I have learned much from this past year. I'm grateful for the people around me--you, my friends, my family, Alec, and the people I have yet to meet and come across. I'm grateful for this amazing life that I have. But how can anyone possibly put this tremendous feeling into words?

Thank you. Here's to a good 2010.

--

Currently listening:
Air - The Dream of Yi

December 31, 2009

Wishing

Peace to all.

Currently listening:
The Hotel Cafe - Auld Lang Syne [Charity Medley]

December 22, 2009

Holiday Music

Christmas 2009.

Finally I made a Christmas/Holiday CD for Alec [and myself]. It's a hodgepodge of tracks. Maybe it'll give me a boost of the holiday spirit. Dunno. *shrug*

Have a listen... It's on the radio to the right. If I'm not back by Thursday, I wish you all a very happy, safe, and a loving Christmas holiday this year!

xo, r

--

Currently listening:
Sarah McLachlan - River

December 15, 2009

Mothers

Motherly.

Here is a photo of my mother watching her own mother being put beneath the earth. Gone is the vessel. My grandmother was cremated yesterday. We took one last look at her and then we parted. My mother has always been a hard-headed, stubborn woman. Seldom I've heard her cry but it was never like this. She was whimpering and saying the words "Ma-Ma!" as if she was a little girl again. It was heartbreaking. My mother lost her father when she was six and all she had was her 2 little sisters and her mother. But she will remain strong; just like her own mother.

I cried like a baby yesterday. In the end, the man who was tending the cremation service asked if any one of us would like to 'press the button'. We declined. For me, I just can't do it. I kept reminding myself that it's only a body that used to be my grandmother. No more. No less. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust...

I didn't cry all that much this afternoon for I did most of it on my way to the service. There is no more pain and suffering for my grandmother. I believe that life/death goes around in an enigmatic circle... She's at peace and I look forward to seeing her again in the future.

Grandma.

The photo above is one of many of my grandmother that I took with my phone. Before the hospital bed arrived, I used to hang out with her on her bed and we both would watch TV together. I made this big photo album for her full of pictures of everyone she knows. This particular page that she's looking at are photos of my grandfather's grave site back in China. I also bought her the ducky on that table for her birthday, and next to that is a 'self-portrait' photo of my grandmother and I back in 2001. I still remember that day. I gave her a small 'interview' and recorded it with my little point-n'-shoot camera. In the video I asked her about her family... About her own father and mother, and the war...

Death is inevitable. But what does that make life? What came before life itself? Today I think of such questions but I need not know the answers. They will come to me one day...

Today was a sad day, but it was also a good day. A day of remembrance! Have a good night everyone and take great care of yourselves and one another.

xo, r

December 6, 2009

On Entering—Living In—Leaving the World [Revisit]

The March of Time.

Man, you enter the world reluctantly, crying, as a forlorn babe;
Man, you leave this life, deprived again, crying again, with regret.
Therefore live this life in such a way that none of it is really wasted.
You have to become accustomed to it after not having been accustomed to it.
When you have become accustomed to it, you will have to become used to being without it. Mediate upon this contention.
Die, therefore, "before you die," in the words of the Purified One.
Complete the circle before it is completed for you.
Until you do, unless you have—then expect bitterness at the end as there was in the beginning; in the middle as there will be at the end.
You did not see the pattern as you entered; and when you entered—you saw another pattern.
When you saw this apparent pattern, you were prevented from seeing the threads of the coming pattern.
Until you see both, you will be without contentment—
Whom do you blame? And Why do you blame?

Text: Hashim the Sidqi, on Rumi

--

The above was my very first blog entry back from January of 2003... Today is my grandmother's funeral. She's been widowed for more than 75 years. After my grandfather's death from cancer, grandmother took care of her three girls [also her grand AND great-grand children] all these years. I remember every time I visited her since she's been bedridden, under her tiny breaths she would ask me whether I had eaten lunch yet, if I wore enough warm clothing, or to make sure for me to drive home early before dark. She was always so caring and thoughtful to others, yet stubborn 'til the very end. I hope somehow she and my late grandpa can finally reunite. The thought only comforts me, but no one knows but the moon and the stars...

People say that life is but a mere reflection of death. Can't have one without the other. At what cost to simply exist? People also say that death is a 'celebration' of life itself. So rejoice! The dead don't want to hear no crying. Don't cry for me for I'm only near yet one can't see.

No crying. I understand—I do. But why am I still doing so...

December 3, 2009

Death Is Nothing At All [Revisit]

Death is nothing at all--I have only slipped away into the next room. I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way you always used. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without the ghost of a shadow on it. Life means all that it ever meant... There is absolute unbroken continuity.

What is death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you--for an interval--somewhere near just around the corner.

All is well.

Nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before. How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Text: Henry Scott Holland

--

Currently listening:
Imee Ooi - Tranquility

December 2, 2009

Goodbye Grandma

Grandma's 97th Birthday.

This photo was taken back in March of this year, the 14th to be exact. My grandmother's 97th birthday celebration. It was the most wonderful birthday celebration for my grandmother. Sadly she's been sick shortly after that and I've been going home to visit her almost every weekend. The last time I saw her was Thanksgiving and this past Saturday. She's been bedridden since May and every time I part, I would give her a kiss on the forehead. "I will see you next weekend grandma!"

She holds the dearest in my heart. Sometimes even more so than my mother and father, for my grandmother raised me when I was born. Both my parents had to work so my grandmother took care of the four grandchildren. She is everything to me. My grandma taught me how to stand up for myself yet to be fair to others. She taught me not to sigh for it is a show of 'weakness'. She taught me how to be an individual and to never give up on the things I value and cherish. She taught me how to have hope. She taught me how to be who I am today... She taught me all these things even though she wasn't fortunate to have had any education of her own. I owe everything to her. This day on, my life will never be the same. I love you very much grandma.

I will always miss you!

October 4, 2009

No Place Like Home

Convalescent.

It's true isn't it? There is no place like home. My grandmother was brought home yesterday by my sister and I. I got there at around 8.30am in the morning, read my book and talked to her 'til around lunch time. I fed her a bit of mashed potatoes and some Ensure, watched TV and then told her I'm going to pick up my sister to help take her home. Anyway, grandma's been very 'obedient' at the home. All she's been doing was lie in bed quietly, propped up when moved, lied down when placed... like a little rag doll. In her situation there, she was given some liquid medication to stimulate her appetite, but still, she ate very little. If she could finish a can of Ensure that day, we call it a good day. The home also provide sedative medication. I shudder to think...

My mum was reluctant to place her mother there, but her two sisters concurred that this is the best choice given the situation at hand. My mum and dad ending up spending about 6-7 hours each day visiting grandma. Mum told me that was even more work and stress for them. A couple of occasions when my mum was visiting, grandma was wheeled out in the main room with others, which was good, but they didn't put much clothing on her so that she ended up all clammy and cold. She just sits there whether passed out or awake. My mum said grandma was so cold her fingers were in different shades of purple. She could also be exaggerating a bit, too. My grandmother is tough but also shy, in a place where she knows no one, she wouldn't say a word. She also says very little to us these days. We put up a written sign next to her bed saying to please put extra clothing on her whenever she's up and on her wheelchair, but to no avail. One can see that she has so much to say from her eyes, and without her dentures, half-dazed, she only tries...

My mum decided to bring her mother home was right after her last visit. She got there one morning and the first thing that my grandma said to her was that she wanted to go home... My mother was crushed. Grandma was just out from taking a sponge bath. While she was checking the bedding, she noticed that somehow the undershirt that grandma was wearing got all damp?! I'm not sure if my mother asked the staff there what had happened or not. Mum was so hurt to see her mother like this. She called and told me everything while crying on the phone that evening.

UPDATE: Mum just called and she sounded different I told her. She's much happier now and the lady was hired and started today. A live-in caretaker who will be staying in my grandmother's room as well. My mum didn't do that before because of money issues but we've got that taken care of. She said the lady is watching TV with grandmother in the room right now. My brother went to visit with his kids and grandmother even wanted to sit out in the living room in her wheelchair. Mum said that grandmother didn't even recognize the kids at first until she saw my brother... Mum told me she sat out for about 10-15 minutes. It was a good day today. It's so nice to hear something is happy just from their voice, especially you're mother's. Again, I thank everyone's for your kind words and concern. There is no place like the comfort of one's home.

September 20, 2009

Hospital Visit

Thank you everyone for your concern and good wishes. Alec and I were supposed to take a week-long vacation to Monument Valley, AZ that was planned months ago. But plans changed. We just drove back from Sequoia National Park today and we'll be heading out to Prescott, AZ tomorrow afternoon. Long story! At any rate, my sister called and said grandmother's blood pressure was extremely low when she was checked in to the convalescent home. She was then driven to the ER and put in ICU that same Friday night. She has an infection in her stomach and that's why she wasn't eating much this past week. Tests are still being administered and her conditioned is now stable. She's in a regular hospital room now and I'm going to see her first thing tomorrow morning.

Her condition is good for she is a good fighter. I just hope she's not in pain. Thanks again everybody. xo, r

September 17, 2009

The Night Before The Day

Warmth.

My grandmother is to check-in to the convalescent home tomorrow. The place is about a 13-mile drive from my parents' place. Grandmother phases in and out these days. My mom told her that she'll be checking in to the hospital tomorrow in order for her to 'get better', so she could walk again. My mom told me to repeat and say this loudly to my grandma once more since she might not have registered what my mom said. I obliged. But is it not right to lie? When is it right to not tell the truth?

Grandma refuses to eat anything since last night and when I got there this morning she was patting her stomach with her small left hand. My mother finally talked her into eating something along with some medication for her stomach. Finally she closed her eyes and rested a bit. Mom is afraid that grandma might get tube-fed at the home since she refuses to eat a lot of times, I hope she's wrong, but... My family had previously discussed that grandmother most likely will never get better. She's even too weak to undergo any rehabilitation. Growing old is terminal. But she still has such a strong will to live. Or is it that she's afraid of dying?

The width of her ankle-bone is bigger than her legs... Like a skeleton in disguise... But her hands are still so soft and warm. I just held her hand while she closed her eyes. I even took a couple of photos while she was resting. It seemed like a bad time for taking photos, but I'm just afraid...... I'm afraid that she will never come back home. That she will never get to see her own room again... Am I more sad than afraid? My mother is somewhat thinking positively about her mother coming home in a couple of months... We all know the chances are grim but we still need to think good thoughts. Don't we? Or are we just deceiving ourselves? I had no tears, I had faced it. It is what it is -- this day. In our mind, this is what's 'necessary'. A human life, our beloved 97 year-old grandmother, being escorted to an unfamiliar place to live against her will starting tomorrow... How cruel the life.

My sister who also came to visit left a bit before me, and then it was my time to say goodbye. I whispered in her dazed sleep: "Don't be afraid grandma. When you're ready, grandpa will be waiting for you. Don't be afraid!" I made sure no one could hear me. Later she opened her eyes, I then kissed my grandmother's forehead and told her I'll come back next week to see her again, something that I usually say to her when I leave. "I'll get better." she replied softly. She then closed her eyes once more and by then my eyes were already swollen with tears. I couldn't help it. Hope against hope...

Goodnight grandma. I'll see you very soon.

September 16, 2009

At Home

Grandmother in bed.

That's my grandmother in the ICU this past May. She had a tear in the stomach because of some medication and was bleeding internally. She spent 3 days in the hospital. My mom knew something was wrong since she wasn't eating much at all the weeks before. She was just about 50 pounds at the time.

My grandmother was a country girl. She never had a proper education. She knows numbers and that's about it. She's been very stubborn all her life. Anyway, since she came out from the hospital, all she does is lie around in bed and watch TV when she has the strength. She's now too weak to walk you see. My grandmother took care of my family for years on end, and for the past years, it was finally my mother's turn to care for her in return. It's been a tough road for everyone. For the past 4 months, grandma has been wearing adult diapers but refuses to use it. My folks had an reclining hospital bed put in, but grandma would still try to climb over the bars and use the commode in the room herself in the middle of the night. Mom help her to the commode around midnight and about 7am in the morning just in case. But when grandma does climb over, she usually makes it but can't get back up on the bed, or that she makes a mess of herself first and then lies on the floor and just waits for my mother to help her back up. I had even put in a baby monitor in her room but my mom can't really watch her 24 hours a day.

I've been heading home to see them every weekend. It's not easy to see them like this. My mother's health isn't good either; she's close to 80 herself. About once a week my grandmother would have an 'episode' and soil herself, her sheets and carpet and everything else. My mom would spend the entire day cleaning up the place. Wash all the sheets and blankets, my grandmother's clothes and including my grandma and herself. It's an all day affair. My mother has a weak heart and last week she spent a night at the hospital again because of her poor health. It happened this past weekend and I had to life my grandma into the tub. At one time in my life, this 50lb-woman took care of me, fed me, bathe me, took me to school and everything else...

Grandma at home.

My dad called me up last night and said that they have finally decided to place grandma in a convalescent home. My parents have done their research and there's a really 'good' home with some Chinese-speaking nurses. My mom and dad simply can't handle it anymore. It's heart wrenching but it is what it is. I dread the day and it's happening this Friday. The one thing that I'm afraid is that the home might restraint my grandmother since she likes to climb down the bed herself. But that's what they do when people do that. They don't want them to fall. Total submission. Nobody likes that. Seems like so many things are happening...

The above photo was taken about a month ago. I'll be heading home tomorrow to see my grandmother one last time in the house.

September 11, 2009

Eight Years

Remembrance.

Peace to all.

--

Currently listening:
Dead Can Dance - Hymn For The Fallen [Live]

September 4, 2009

Your Experience

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Text: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

September 1, 2009

The Game of Life - Revisit

Another old familiar [somewhat silly] post, written back in May 7th, 2003. Do you find it 'comforting' simply to look back in time? No matter how good or bad the situation was... To think back on how happy or lucky you were at one time, or maybe a dark period that you went through and now you're finally over it. Sometimes I find looking back can be so comforting and safe--a familiar place, but I try not to do it too much. It isn't real anymore. It happened and I'm only grateful.

The Game must go on.

--

No, not the Milton Bradley version. The version we called our very own. What is it? No one knows, some people claimed that they do, then again, everyone has their own 2 cents.

People say: Live the moment! and people also say: Life is what you make it!, yeah, something like that... Or what about Just Live!, or Live / Choose Life!... I dunno, every thing is true and not, everything is cliché, yet there's always something to entertain us...

I question a lot of things, I might not have answers, but I usually end up finding something appropriate along the way. Most of the times I find myself more puzzling than life itself. Life isn't the question, I think we are!

Life is happening, and truth is what I'm thinking about right this second! I've read somewhere said that: We're all living in the past, the present, and the future all at the same time... One's probably thinking: No durr!, and yet the saying [or is this a cliché?] is so simple and yet profound, it's something to think about... A happy errie thought.

I love thinking and not thinking. I just love what I love. To be free and be able to do whatever I please. I'm much in a better position than a whooooole lotta people I know, and I'm forever grateful for that. Life is what it is, no matter how successful and charming or the poor and the 'pathetic loser' that you think you are, or how 'unmeaningful' you think your existence is to others... It's your life, and it's just as good as any other's.

...when I die, I'll be nothing. At least it's the 'nothing' that I can come close to comprehend. I imagine [and the world 'imagine' is certainly an understatement! What are the words that surpass 'beyond imagination'?!?] myself transparent... not being... Whatever I may become, whatever I may be - the room so bright, the place so brilliantly white [or maybe a blinding black?] that I won't be able to see myself... something unfamiliar... That last appearing / disappearing act!

Somewhere along those lines would be my interpretation of an individual leaving the earth, or is that the start of life? The end isn't the beginning, and the beginning is not the end. Here, the end is the end, and the beginning, it just is. I think the middle is where I want to be...

...and I think I'm there!

August 26, 2009

The Things You Love - Revisit

I was looking for a story or two from Venerable Master Hsing Yun which I posted from my old blog, but I found the post below instead. Written back in March 23rd, 2007. I tend to write a bit more back then. These days, I use my camera instead. Maybe I can find a happy medium. The quote from the entry below by Lin Chi always gets me. It makes me stand still and look at all the things around me. Appreciating what I have and what I have not. This life is a gift, but is there more to life than life itself? There's another memorable quote which I read last night by a philosopher named John Locke:

No man's knowledge can go beyond his experiences.

For some reason I find that so true, somewhat sad yet beautiful.

--

While I was driving home the other day, I was thinking about non-attachment. For instance, I love music, yet I have made myself a slave. I love to read and look at new things, for I made myself a slave to those things, as well. I once read that it is the things that we love that make us blind and deaf. I guess that's somewhat true. I imagine myself a world without music [but where will it go?!?]... I'm sure it'll be difficult at first, but I wonder if I will 'hear' something - different? I guess it depends on how receptive I am.

I finally mailed the photobooks of Medina which I made for my nephews yesterday. I don't know why I took so long to do it. It was last July... Where did the time go? I still have her picture on my phone. We really don't know what we miss until they're gone. How trite, but yet real. I still wonder where our loved ones go when they leave...

I posted the story below a year ago. Exactly why I rehash material I do not know. Maybe I just want to keep remembering. If I find something worthwhile, I think it's worth the little time don't you think? No matter how long you've been away, remember to come back to it. I try to keep myself grounded every now and then by re-watching the movies that I love, re-reading stories that are significant to me, watching kids play, listening to my friends and family talk - closely. Life gives you a good reminder every now and then. But again, it all depends on how receptive we are.

The following piece is by Thich Nhat Hanh. To me, this is one of those reminders. Thanks again for reading everyone and have a wonderful weekend.

APPRECIATING EARTH
For many years I have told this story. Suppose two astronauts go to the moon. When they arrive, they have an accident and find out that they have only enough oxygen for two days. There is no hope of someone coming from Earth in time to rescue them. They have only two days to live. If you asked them at that moment, "What is your deepest wish?" they would answer, "To be back home walking on the beautiful planet Earth." That would be enough for them; they would not want anything else. They would not want to be the head of a large corporation, a big celebrity or president of the United States. They would not want anything except to be back on Earth--to be walking on Earth, enjoying every step, listening to the sounds of nature and holding the hand of their beloved while contemplating the moon.

We should live every day like people who have just been rescued from the moon. We are on Earth now, and we need to enjoy walking on this precious, beautiful planet. The Zen master Lin Chi said, "The miracle is not to walk on water but to walk on the Earth." I cherish that teaching. I enjoy just walking, even in busy places like airports and railway stations. In walking like that, with each step caressing our Mother Earth, we can inspire other people to do the same. We can enjoy every minute of our lives.

--

Currently listeninging:
Nuno Malo - White Bodhisattva

August 2, 2009

Once Was

Transcendence
I had a dream last week and I remember. I know we dream a lot in general, it's just that most of the time we don't recollect! I never do anyway, 4 times a year maybe! I was seeing ghosts... I recall sleeping in my bed, then seeing huge dark shadows approaching... I was panicky to say the least, then everything came in focus and I saw their faces...

They were just like us. Normal looking attributes like us with clothes and bodies and glasses, etc., but they were definitely ghosts... There was this one vivid face of a man staring at me emotionless... They were looking for something in my house, everywhere... Something, but I'm not sure what...

Then I was outside, in the bright sunshine... Myself and about 20 other 'ghosts' were standing on a dock, ocean glistening... Then I saw my dad, in his pajamas and the old robe that he used to wear years back when I was a little boy... He was standing next to me, smiling... and then he raised his arm and pointed to the glaring sun while staring directly at it... then I started crying uncontrollably... I was bitterly sad for I don't know why...

I do not know what it all means, but that's the bulk of it. Good thing is that I saw my dad yesterday and he was happy as a clam. For me, I think my 'life' will go on after this one. Where/whatever I may be/become. Must true 'life' be presented in a physical form to be called such?

--

While I was searching for a particular Flash file from my old journals, I came across the above written back in May 16th, 2005. That was quite a dream that I had. I saw my mom and dad this past weekend and they're still relatively happy. Anyway, so many odd entries that I wrote. My very own entertainment. The below was from July 22nd the same year. Short and sweet.

--

Mindfulness

Enlightenment for a wave in the ocean is the moment the wave realises that it is water.

How well do I know myself? My other selves? Aren't we always learning? Learning and absorbing material that goes into our brains - and our hearts! Learn from the 'good' things, also from the 'bad', and then create something beautiful...

Know who you are... and embrace!

Quote: Thich Nhat Hanh

--

I found my file. Enjoy your Sunday.

July 26, 2009

Right Moment

I'm just waiting for it... the right moment. Or am I?

July 23, 2009

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Text: Max Ehrmann

July 20, 2009

Remembrance

Thinking about my sister Medina who passed away three years ago today. Flying down to Melbourne, it was a wonderful trip getting to see her one last time before she left. I remember the visit as if it was yesterday. Holding her hand, watching her sleep, saying our goodbyes...

I dreamt about her last night... And as time marches on, there will be more 'anniversaries' to remember. Take heart.

No photo today.

--

Currently listening:
Sam Hui - 浪子心聲 [1976]

July 15, 2009

Last Day

I was just thinking... What if there won't be a tomorrow? For you, and for me. What would you do today? Call your family? Getting in touch with your loved ones? And so what if tomorrow is your last day and you not know about it? How will you live today?

How are you living today now?

July 7, 2009

A Riddle

Who dares it, has no courage;
To whom it is missing - feels well;
Who owns it, is bitterly poor;
Who is successful - is damaged;
Who gives it, is as hard as stone;
Who loves it, stays alone...

--

Browsing through some of the entries from my old blog is kinda fun. I miss the sporadic-ness on how I can post just about anything and everything, but not too much. It seems like what I want to say these days has all been said before. But this riddle is worth repeating. I'm not good with brainteasers and riddles myself. Are you?

xo, r

June 14, 2009

First Post

ON ENTERING, LIVING IN, LEAVING THE WORLD
Man, you enter the world reluctantly,
crying, as a forlorn babe;
Man, you leave this life, deprived again,
crying again, with regret.
Therefore live this life in such a way that none of it is really wasted.
You have to become accustomed to it
after not having been accustomed to it.
When you have become accustomed to it,
you will have to become used to being without it.
Mediate upon this contention.
Die, therefore, "before you die," in the words of the Purified One.
Complete the circle before it is completed for you.
Until you do, unless you have—
then expect bitterness at the end as there was in the beginning;
in the middle as there will be at the end.
You did not see the pattern as you entered;
and when you entered—you saw another pattern.
When you saw this apparent pattern, you were prevented
from seeing the threads of the coming pattern.
Until you see both, you will be without contentment—
Whom do you blame? And Why do you blame?

Text: Hashim the Sidqi, on Rumi

--

I remember starting my first blog back in 2003 with this exact same post... Something which I printed on a small piece of paper and carried in my wallet during my high school years. Here I am again. Some things never change. Do they?

Welcome! Again.

About Personal

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