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Finding Purpose in Nature


If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.

I am really thrilled to share today’s Daily Soul Retreat with you! It is a video exploring many meaningful expressions of life — nature, people, gratitude, joy, happiness — and offers a beautiful demonstration of a person living their truest passion and purpose in life.

It is a very special video about a photographer and cinematographer who has spent his entire adult life creating time-lapse photography of nature. For 30 years, non-stop, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Louie Schwartzberg, of MovingArt.com has been capturing the beauty of nature… in motion.

The incredible beauty of his photography in this extraordinary video will thrill you, as will his words.

This particular quote struck a chord deep inside me. He says, “When people see my images, a lot of times they’ll say, ‘Oh my God.'”

He continues, “Have you every wondered what that means?

‘Oh’ means it caught your attention, makes you present. Makes you mindful.

‘My’ means it connects to something deep inside your soul  – creates a gateway to your inner voice to rise up and be heard.

‘God’ is that personal journey we all want to be on — to be inspired — to feel connected to a universe that celebrates life.”


Watch and be inspired…  Maybe, you’ll even say, “Oh my God.” 🙂

Here are a few more quotations about nature to inspire your day…

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” —Lao Tzu

“My profession is to always find God in nature.”  —Henry David Thoreau

“All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child.” —Marie Curie

“Nature is the art of God.” —Dante Alghieri

“The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration.” —Claude Monet

“The day I see a leaf is a marvel of a day.” —Kenneth Patton

“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.”  —E.E. Cummings

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” —Frank Lloyd Wright

“We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.” —William Hazlett

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on today’s Daily Soul Retreat. Please scroll down and leave your comments below.


Wishing you a passionate, purposeful, and nature-filled day!

With love and gratitude,
Valerie Rickel
Founder and Soul

© 2013 Valerie Rickel. All Rights Reserved.



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Guest Blog: “Finding Your Life Purpose in Your Values and Your Needs” by Carol Adrienne


I’m so excited to share a guest blog by one of my favorite authors today — Carol Adrienne, Ph.D. Carol is an internationally-known workshop facilitator and best-selling author, whose books have been translated into over fifteen languages. Her books include:  The Purpose of Your Life: Finding Your Place in the World Using Synchronicity, Intuition, and Uncommon Sense; The Numerology Kit; Find Your Purpose, Change Your Life; and When Life Changes, Or You Wish It Would, which features an interview with yours truly! 🙂

I really love this article because Carol helps us get closer to discovering the purpose of our lives, through helpful exercises and other fun assignments. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Let us know by leaving a comment down below!

Carol Adrienne - The Purpose of Your Life“Finding Your Life Purpose in Your Values and Your Needs”
by Carol Adrienne

It’s Not a Job Title—It’s What You Value and Need.

I believe that it’s a big mistake to think of your life purpose in terms of a job title. It’s’ much more complex than that. You were born with a purpose, a desire to experience and create certain things in this lifetime. Maybe you even have unfinished business with other souls—people in your family, friends, lovers, or people that you work with on projects. Life purpose can be partially detected in those things or ideas to which you feel very connected, or that you value highly.

What is it that you most value and must have in your life? Is your first thought, “I have to have my morning coffee!”? or, perhaps, “I must have good friends in my life.” “I must have freedom. I have to work for myself.” “I need to feel I’m making a difference in someone’s life.” Or “I have to live near nature. That’s non-negotiable.”

As we begin to focus more consciously on what our needs and interests are, we further activate the Law of Attraction. Remember, this universal law states that whatever you focus on expands. Therefore, to increase positive flow, keep looking for things in your life for which you are grateful, and which you want to attract. Let the daily irritations drop away from focus. Criticisms and retelling old problems and frustrations actually dilute the positive intention for the success that you really want.

Below is an easy and enjoyable exercise (you’ll need at least thirty minutes to an hour) to help you define what you are currently about and where you’d like to go. The beauty of this exercise is four-fold: 1) It shows you how many wonderful things you have already created or been given by life. Therefore, you may find that you are not so far from your goal as you thought; 2) Acknowledging your actual abundance and success builds trust and confidence in yourself; 3) Using symbols to represent your life matrix stimulates powerful, magnetic unconscious forces; 4) Delineating your life matrix helps clarify what kind of over-all path you are on. Therefore, when you look at what you have drawn on your page, ask yourself, “What kind of purpose does this person (you) seem to be fulfilling?”

Draw a Picture of Your Current Life Matrix

What you Need: White paper; pen or pencil, (optional, colored pencils or crayons), a quiet place where you won’t be bothered for about thirty minutes.

  • What I Love About My Life Right Now. In the center of your page, using simple little symbols and stick figures, draw in everything you really love in your life right now. Everything that is non-negotiable. Everything that you cannot live without. These are people, places, things that you already have. Everything in your life that you value–e.g., your children, your family, your friends, house, car, computer, colleagues, running shoes, church, books, trees, (include intangibles such as, love, health, freedom, security, and education). It’s important to draw them, instead of using words to jot them down.
  • What I Want To Attract. In the upper right hand corner, draw symbols of specific things or people you would like to have in your life–what you want to attract. Enclose these symbols with a large heart (so you can pump life-blood into them).
  • What I Want To Release. In the lower left hand corner, draw symbols to represent what you want to release, complete, and get rid of. Enclose these symbols with a pair of big wings (so they can fly away).
  • My Values. Now go back and put value words under the people, places, and things you really like that you drew in the center of your page. If you have drawn a house, don’t write house, but instead write down what the house gives you in value–e.g., “a warm cozy retreat from the world” or “a comfortable place to work, live, entertain friends and a good investment.”

If you drew a picture of your computer, ask yourself what value your computer provides you–e.g., “link to the outside world” “educational information” “work station to create my livelihood without commuting.” If you drew a picture of your car, what value is your car to you? Mobility? A statement of personal expression? Ability to get to your job and provide security for yourself? Freedom to get to the mountains for skiing? Ability to be responsible and take your kids to school in a car pool?

Write down on another sheet of paper all the value words of: 1) what you have in your life right now; 2) what you want to attract; 3) and what you want to release.

Recognizing Your Top Needs

What motivates you? Really. According to author Jose Stevens, Ph.D., (The Michael Handbook), there are nine basic needs which motivate us–listed below. Perhaps these needs are another way to look at what we call life purpose. If so, these basic, in-born drives would be so important that we could not help but seek their fulfillment.

Find your top three needs. Take a look at the following choices, and select three which most seem to describe what motivates you; in other words, which would be your three top drives? Write them on the same sheet along with your values above.

Find your primary need. From those three, select the one you absolutely must have fulfilled. This top need will be the one that shows up in almost every choice, in almost every way you interact in a relationship. This primary need is one core element of your life purpose. Write it below in the section provided.

  • SECURITY–Are you constantly thinking about how to keep things in control, manageable? Do you always look for options that give you an out? Do you always have (or think you should have) a back-up plan? Money in the bank for the future?
  • EXPANSION–Are you driven to create more of everything? Big dreams? Want to learn, learn, learn? Grow, grow, grow your business?
  • ACCEPTANCE–Are you always looking for those subtle signals that people approve of you or like your work? Do you want to be accepted into the major circles in your field? Do you flatter or people-please?
  • ADVENTURE–Are you constantly chafing at the ordinariness of life, constantly planning your next expedition? Taking risks with other people’s money? Leaping before looking? Do you crave to explore the unknown no matter what field of endeavor?
  • POWER–Are you constantly seeking to be in a better, more powerful position? Do you envy “the big boys?” Do you associate with wealthy or powerful people? Are you generally confident that you can handle most situations–better than others who you consider too timid? Are you impatient with slow thinkers?
  • COMMUNION–Do you participate frequently in gatherings of people? Do you gravitate to meetings, congregations, activist groups, like-minded people? Are you extremely empathic so that you can merge with others’ thought processes? Do you resist being alone? Are you an organizer?
  • FREEDOM–Are you always seeking a way to live by your own time schedule? Can’t consider 9 to 5 employment as a long-term option? Entrepreneurial? Sole proprietor or talented artist, writer, performer? Always express different ideas from the norm? Scoff at authorities and institutions? Don’t care what people think of you?
  • EXPRESSION–Do you overflow with creative ideas and expression in any form (speaking, writing, art, sculpture, music, doodles, jokes, life-of-the-party antics). Have you had several professional careers or businesses?
  • EXCHANGE–Are you passionate about ideas? Always giving out information, sharing insights, looking for like-minded people with whom you can exchange information. Are you always telling people about books you have read, great doctors you have found, good schools, recipes, or better ways to do things?
  • OTHER?–As you review this list, can you discover any other need that is not on this list?
  • What is your top need?

How My Top Need(s) Are Shaping Me

A Five-minute Writing Exercise

Have your kitchen timer or watch ready, along with your pen. When you are ready to write, set the timer for five minutes or look at your watch. Starting with the top need selected above, you are going to write, stream-of-consciousness-style on the subject of :

[MY TOP NEED] shows up in every choice I have made so far. For example…..(continue to write without trying to have any goal.)

-As you write:

-Allow whatever comes out to come out, even if it seems nonsensical.

-Use the words for your other two top needs somewhere in your writing.

-Keep your pen moving until the timer rings!

-After the five minutes is up, stop writing and:

-Notice what word you started with and what word you ended on. Is there a message for you even in these two words?

-Underline significant sentences that give you insight about how your top need is motivating you and shaping your choices.

Write Out Your Purpose Statement

Once you have collected a list of your values, three primary needs, top need, and underlined ideas in your free-form writing, what could you say about the purpose of your life?

Copyright Carol Adrienne, Ph.D.  Visit Carol at: www.CarolAdrienne.com


I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on Carol’s article! Please scroll down and leave your comments below.

Wishing you a purpose-full day!!

With love and gratitude,

Soulful Match - Online Spiritual Dating Site

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Guest Article: “Aligning Your Life for Fulfillment and Success” by Alan Seale


It’s my pleasure to share a guest article with you today. Alan Seale is a dear friend and this article of his, “Aligning Your Life for Fulfillment and Success,” is very meaningful to me, so I wanted to share it here with you, in keeping with our “Life Purpose” theme. Alan is the author of one of my favorite books, Soul Mission * Life Vision, and I think you will find his discussion in this article, on the subject of aligning ourselves with the “vertical” and ‘horizontal” orientations of life, to be fascinating.

My father used to speak to me a great deal about the “vertical” and “horizontal” planes and instilled in me a deep appreciation for the meaningfulness, sacredness, and importance of living one’s life in alignment with the “vertical.” He used to say that the vertical plane is all that truly matters. I think he was right! Thank you, Dad. ♥

I hope you enjoy Alan Seale’s article as much as I have!

“Aligning Your Life for Fulfillment and Success”
by Alan Seale

A familiar symbol in many spiritual and religious traditions is a cross. The cross is a powerful metaphor for our two fundamental orientations to living: vertical and horizontal — who we are in the world and what we do.

In the most basic terms, the vertical orientation is all about being — who we are at our essence – and alignment of all the aspects of our lives with that essence. The horizontal orientation is all about doing — action and accomplishment. Where they overlap in the center, where the “being” and “doing” are both engaged, is the area where you experience your greatest impact and accomplishments. “Being” alone ultimately lacks effectiveness. “Doing” without “being” lacks meaning and insight as well as a sense of a bigger picture, and is therefore not sustainable. However when both are engaged, extraordinary things can happen.

Our mainstream Western culture has been primarily focused on the horizontal plane. Value and worth have been measured by actions, accomplishments, skills, and productivity. Our culture offers very little support or instruction for tapping into the vertical. Self-awareness, intuitive awareness, and an ability to access a bigger vision and the unseen world of energy and potential have not been a part of our mainstream educational process or consciousness.

However, the winds are shifting and today we are witnessing a gradual awakening to the importance of the vertical connection. It is this concept of vertical alignment informing and supporting the horizontal action that helped give birth to the Center for Transformational Presence. Stepping into your most dynamic and effective presence, reaching your greatest potential, and making your greatest contribution to your world involves making the vertical connection first — tapping into the vertical plane and letting it inform and guide your actions in the horizontal plane.

It is through the vertical plane that you get in touch with your soul and soul mission, and then bring all of the aspects of your being — your thoughts, beliefs, intentions, attitudes, perspectives — into alignment with that essence and mission. This vertical alignment brings a sense of feeling centered and grounded — a confident feeling of “having it together.” When this alignment is not in place, you may have a feeling of being “out of sorts” or “out of touch” with yourself and your place or role in situations, and even how you fit into your world. A sense of true and authentic confidence is often lacking.

As your alignment in the vertical plane grows stronger and more secure, you more fully understand who you are and why you are here. You recognize your gifts and the contributions you are here to make. You learn to trust your intuitive mind and recognize it as the greater mind of which your intellect is only a small part.

Beyond personal alignment in the vertical plane comes alignment with the bigger picture of life — a sense of connection and alignment with the evolutionary unfolding of life. From vertical plane awareness you are able to perceive a larger context through which the events of the horizontal plane are unfolding. Through the vertical plane, you can learn to sense the greater potential ready to emerge within your life or situation-to intuitively recognize “what wants to happen.” You can learn to partner with that potential and with the greater Consciousness and be a steward for that potential to become reality. You can learn to recognize what is wanting to happen in service of the greater good through your life and your goals and dreams. And you can learn to see how your life and your goals and dreams are a part of a much larger evolutionary flow. Through the vertical plane, you can learn to tap into the evolutionary Intelligence or Consciousness and let it guide you.

As you find that vertical alignment, you then step into the horizontal plane and move into action. While work in the vertical plane is largely “inner” work and therefore often not necessarily visible to others, moving to the horizontal plane takes you into the “outer” world — the world of structure and form — the “real” world, as the mainstream culture would call it.

When you are in the horizontal plane alone with no connection to the vertical, your awareness is limited to the three-dimensional realm. You have no access to a bigger picture and sense of energy and potential. You can easily feel like you are living in a world where you must push and shove to “make things happen.” However, when your action in the horizontal plane is informed by the intuitive awareness, insight, and big picture view of the vertical plane, incredible things can be accomplished.

To a large degree, the greater the height and depth of awareness in the vertical plane and the greater your alignment between all aspects of yourself, evolutionary potential, and the Greater Consciousness that connects everything, the greater your success and impact in the horizontal plane. The more action is informed by being, the more effective and sustainable it will be.

Therefore, you reach your greatest potential by establishing the vertical alignment first, and from there widening the vertical into the horizontal so that every action in the horizontal plane is informed by the power, wisdom, and insight of the vertical plane. Through widening the vertical you in effect also expand to much greater height and depth in the horizontal, creating a large sphere of energy, impact, and accomplishment, all informed by a great vertical alignment and awareness.

In the horizontal plane, the inspiration of the vertical plane turns into action. Through that action comes further learning, which in turn inspires deeper understanding, exploration, discovery, and transformation in the vertical plane. That transformation then leads to new choices, actions, habits, and practices in the horizontal. In the dynamic balance between vertical and horizontal orientations of awareness, each plane continues to inform and inspire the other.

While we could continue to talk about this vertical-horizontal awareness and balance, the best way to understand these planes as they apply to our lives is to experience them. Take time for the following exercise so that you might have your own experience of these planes of orientation.

Alan Seale is an award-winning author, inspirational speaker, leadership and transformation coach, and founder and director of the Center for Transformational Presence. He is the author of many best-selling books, including Intuitive Living: A Sacred Path, Soul Mission * Life Vision, The Manifestation Wheel: A Practical Process for Creating Miracles, and The Power of Your Presence, and most recently, Create a World That Works: Tools for Personal and Global Transformation. Vist Alan at: TransformationalPresence.org

Alan offers two fabulous eCourses at en*theos Academy: Soul Mission: Your Purpose in Life, Your Gift to the World and The Manifestation Wheel. Scroll down below for more info.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on Alan’s article! Please scroll down and leave your comments below.

Also, Alan has generously donated his “Chakra Meditations MP3 Bundle Package” as part of our “Soul Retreat Gift Pack,” exclusively for Daily Soul Retreat Newsletter Subscribers. If you haven’t already picked up your free gift, click here for all the details!

With love and gratitude,

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Book Recommendations: Life Purpose

I’m very excited to share my all-time, most favorite books on the subject of “life purpose and passion” with you today. These are books that have helped guide and shape my life over the years, and it is my hope that they will offer the same help and guidance to you. Enjoy!

The Purpose of Your Life
by Carol Adrienne

I love, love, love this book and could read it a hundred times. This book has been a great personal inspiration to me. In fact, it led to the very creation of SoulfulLiving.com! ~Valerie

Chapter by chapter, The Purpose of Your Life explains how to locate the source of your innate energy and focus it, how to align yourself with the natural forces that swirl around us always, and how to develop the intuition that fosters synchronicity. The book is packed with illuminating anecdotes and profiles of fascinating people — from artists to urban planners to Zen masters — who describe how they found their own purposes. There are practical exercises throughout, along with charts, self-questionnaires, and other tools that help you understand yourself and your deepest aspirations. As you learn to recognize and trust the voice of intuition, you’ll find new doors opening and new possibilities everywhere. You’ll feel invigorated by the potential you’ve unleashed, a power that will only grow with each new accomplishment. And you’ll discover the serenity and satisfaction that come only to those who are living life to the fullest.

Soul Mission, Life Vision: Recognize Your True Gifts and Make Your Mark in the World
by Alan Seale

A ground-breaking guidebook to knowing and fulfilling your life’s purpose. It is the owner’s manual you never received when you entered this world, offering both the theory and the practice that can lead you to getting the most out of your life—physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. This compelling book begins with an in-depth exploration of how life works—understanding your human experience. From there Alan leads you on a powerful expedition to discover your soul’s mission. Anchored by your soul mission, you then take an amazing flight into the world of all possibilities and create a life vision that fulfills your mission as well as your greatest hopes and dreams.

I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It
by Barbara Sher

If you suspect there could be more to life than what you’re getting…if you always knew you could do anything if you only knew what it was, this extraordinary book is about to prove you right!

A life without direction is a life without passion. This book guides you, not to another unsatisfying job, but to a richly rewarding career rooted in your heart’s desire. And in a work of true emancipation, this life-changing sourcebook reveals how you can recapture “long lost” goals, overcome the blocks that inhibit your success, decide what you want to be, and live your dreams forever.

I Will Not Die an Unlived Life: Reclaiming Purpose and Passion
by Dawna Markova

In I Will Not Die an Unlived Life, one of the most charismatic teachers and thinkers of today speaks from her heart. Twenty years ago, faced with a life-threatening illness, Dawna Markova began a journey of rediscovery. This book follows her path to finding deeper meaning in life. As she points out, people can continue to feel powerless and live habitual lives – or they can make the choice to follow their passion.

Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life
by Gregg Levoy

How do we know if we’re following our true callings? How do we sharpen our senses to cut through the distractions of everyday reality and hear the calls that are beckoning us?

Drawing on the hard-won wisdom and powerful stories of people who have followed their own calls, Gregg Levoy shows us the many ways to translate a calling into action. In a style that is poetic, exuberant, and keenly insightful, he presents an illuminating and ultimately practical inquiry into how we listen and respond to our calls, whether at work or at home, in our relationships or in service. Callings is a compassionate guide to discovering your own callings and negotiating the tight passages to personal power and authenticity.

The Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One
by Margaret Lobenstine

It is conventional wisdom that there is one true path in life for each of us. But what about those with a wide array of interests, a dynamic curiosity about the world, and an ever-renewing wellspring of passions? Margaret Lobenstine calls these people “Renaissance Souls,” and in this groundbreaking book, she offers a life-planning strategy in tune with their dynamic, change-loving personalities. Renaissance Souls often get stuck, moving from entry-level job to entry-level job, degree to degree, or hobby to hobby, unwilling to settle on just one thing to do “for the rest of my life.” Or, after achieving success in one field, they yearn for new challenges and begin looking around for something different. Yet they are also afraid that if they pursue their changing interests, they will have to give up on financial security, becoming “a jack of all trades and master of none.” The Renaissance Soul, the first book devoted to this personality type, not only shows that it’s possible to design a successful, vibrant life built on multiple passions, but also gives readers the practical advice to do so.

I hope you enjoy your reading!
Valerie Rickel
Founder and Soul

© 2013 Valerie Rickel. All Rights Reserved.



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Video Tour: Passion and Life Purpose

I’m so excited today, because we’re exploring the subjects of passion and purpose – my most favorite topics! I’ve greatly enjoyed the process of researching and viewing numerous videos on these subjects, to select a particularly meaningful one to present to you today. In fact, I discovered so many amazing videos that I found it hard to pick just one. So, I’ve selected three short videos — a “video tour” of sorts — that I believe do a really great job of speaking to this subject and getting right down to the heart of the matter. I hope they inspire you as much as they’ve inspired me!

I think you’ll find the first video to be very motivational. Australian theatremaker Tim O’Connor discusses the steps he took to be able to live and work in his passion every day and he offers us inspiration to help us to do the same.

Next, Start With Why author Simon Sinek shares “why passion is a result and not an action.” He explains why finding one’s passion requires creating a process to make it actionable and why the first step is to identify what you love and then to create results from it. Love it!

Lastly, I just adore Natalie MacNeil, founder of She Takes On the World, and, in this video, she does a great job of helping us find our passion and purpose with seven straight-forward, no-nonsense, thought-provoking questions. Answer her questions and you’re sure to be living a life on purpose in no time flat!

I hope you enjoyed the “tour” and found the videos to be meaningful and inspiring. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic of passion and life purpose. Where are you in the process — Are you living your life purpose? In the discovery phase? Haven’t a clue? Share your comments with us, below.

Wishing you a purposeful, passion-driven day!!

With love and gratitude,
Valerie Rickel
Founder and Soul

© 2013 Valerie Rickel. All Rights Reserved.



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Living Your Truth

ValerieWhile I was growing up, my father often said, “The Truth cannot be told.” This was one of his favorite expressions, and it brought me to one of my own: “Your Truth cannot be told.” Why not? you ask, and I reply, Because our Truth is our Highest Good, our Heart, our authentic inner knowing. It is unique to each of us. It is our special gift, our Light, the reason we are here. Our Truth is not a Truth that “can be told” to us by another. It is a Truth that we each must find for ourselves.

Several months after my father’s death, I heard my own Truth—the wisdom in my Heart—calling me. I found myself spending every free moment, day and night, dreaming of and creating a web site community focused on spirituality and personal growth. It was to be called SoulfulLiving.com. My soul had been “called.” It was one of those things that I knew I could not not do.

Two years later, my mother suffered a very serious stroke and died eight months later. It was at this time that it became clear to me that life is too short to do anything less in life than what you are most passionate about. I found the courage to leave my full-time job, an eight-year career in marketing and public relations in the shopping center industry, and devote myself full-time to SoulfulLiving.com.

It hasn’t always been a smooth journey. There were times when people close to me were critical of the work I’ve chosen to do. They said I was crazy for leaving my comfortable, stable career, and I have to admit it: sometimes I allowed their suggestions to get under my skin and invade my psyche. I am still growing and gaining wisdom, however, and now I understand that it has been those very criticisms that helped me to gain the firm conviction that I am doing exactly the work I was put here on earth to do. I know deeply in my Heart that I am living my Truth. SoulfulLiving.com is my special purpose—my gift, my Light.

Remember that your Heart—your Truth—will never lead you astray. Let the Light of your Heart guide your way.

© Copyright 2004 Valerie Rickel. This essay was originally published in Pat Sampson's book, "The Power of Positive People."




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