Leora Lightwoman

Beauty and Abundance

Leora at the Mind Body Spirit Festival 2015

‘Tantra is a path that brings together healing, touch, personal sharing and meditation’

Leora is at the Mind Body Spirit Festival at Olympia in London on Saturday May 2nd

Ahead of her workshop on ‘Tantra: Innocence and Playfulness’, Leora Lightwoman, founder of Diamond Light Tantra, shares her thoughts on Tantra, as well as some simple but powerful ways to build sexually, spiritually and emotionally fulfilling relationships that are magical rather than messy.

What is the relationship between tantra and sex?

We’re all sexual beings, whether we’re sexually active or not, so we might as well harness that energy in a way that supports our spiritual growth and the wellbeing of all. We do this through a combination of meditation, healing, touch and personal sharing, which builds a set of practical and spiritual tools that support you in every aspect of life, not just sex or even relationships.

Tantric meditations are varied and can include gazing into another person’s eyes, whilst being aware of any feelings in your own body; offering a lover a very slow, loving, conscious caress or simply drinking a glass of water with full awareness.

However, if you are making love, it’s possible to rest in a highly aroused state and to meditatively connect with your beloved in such a way that you experience no separation – and when you’re not separate from someone, there is no conflict. Love flourishes in a way that cannot arise in separation and this can overflow into the whole of your life.

Do I have to be in a relationship to practice tantra?

Absolutely not. I attended my first Tantra workshop when I was a shy 24 year old and my own personal relationships were a bit of a mess. Tantra took me on a life-changing journey – one that wasn’t just about who I am in relation to others, but primarily about finding balance and harmony as a happier, more loving and more fulfilled human being.

Over the years, I have gained a sense of wholeness and completeness in myself and I learnt that, contrary to common perceptions about what makes a great relationship; self-love is a very good place to start.

Doesn’t ‘self love’ mean being selfish or self-centred?

For me, it can be the exact opposite. Self-love starts with self-care and self-responsibility and opens up your capacity to give and receive love and connect more fully with others. Far from being selfish, the ability to care deeply for yourself means you can be much clearer about who you are and what you need, and in doing so, give others permission to do the same.

Without self love, you’re more likely to make harsh judgments about your body and the amount of time, love and attention you deserve and no matter how much you may want to be cherished and adored or even simply liked and respected, if you don’t believe you’re worthy of it, close relationships of any kind are likely to struggle.

What are the benefits of tantra?

In or out of a relationship, participants on my training courses have reported enhanced self-confidence and self-awareness, attracting healthy, healing relationships and deep, meaningful friendships – as well as having more fun in their lives. They also talk about becoming more creative and joyful and developing a deeper connection with their life purpose. For those in a relationship, Tantra brings a new wave of love and potential in their sexual intimacy.

Can you suggest an exercise to do at home?

Sit comfortably, close your eyes and notice your breathing. After a few minutes, imagine that your breath is entering your body through your base, rising up to your belly on the in-breath, and falling back down and out of your body on the out-breath. Imagine that this breathing is opening, soothing and bringing new life to these areas. After five minutes, imagine your breath rising from your base, through your belly to your solar plexus and back down as you breath out. After a further five minutes, continue the in-breath all the way up to the heart centre in the middle of your chest and let it fall. Notice the delicate sensations in your body as the breath passes through. Then sit quietly for five minutes, bringing your awareness gently back to your body.

What’s your favourite tantric subject at the moment?

I’ve just launched a new series of workshops taking place later this year, which include the subject of ‘co-creation’. This means, on the one hand, the creativity that emerges from within us when our own heart and sex are in alignment and we’re in flow.

It also refers to the possibilities that arise when two people meet in such a way that there is an overflowing of love and joyful creativity and naturally something more than the two of them is created. It can be felt as the impulse to build a wonderful relationship, to have a baby together, start a new project or offer something back to the world.

You’ll also be introducing participants to sex magic… What’s that about?

An aspect of sex magic involves using your sexual energy to effectively ‘turbo boost’ your intentions in life. Combine it with passion, purpose and the power of your heart, and you have a recipe for creating some powerful magic in your life, accessing your deeper truth and realising your dreams.

Tell us more about your upcoming workshop at the MBS and what can people expect?

It will be a 90-minutes journey of moving gently into a deeper connection with yourself and others in the room. Come alone, with friends or with a partner – I’ll be guiding you through a process that will help you find your boundaries, communicate what you want and allow yourself to open a little more to giving and receiving love. You may also access more of your own sexual aliveness and get a sense of the basics of Tantra energy work. There won’t be any nudity. It’s simply an invitation to express your playfulness in the way that a child would – with innocence, laughter and a sense of fun.

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Holding and Surrender

Prediction Magazine

Tom stood behind Allie, a young woman he had met 2 hours earlier at a Taste of Bliss Tantra workshop.  She leaned gently back into his strong form as he swayed to the music, and she allowed herself to be lulled by the undulating waves of his movement. He lifted her hands gently from beneath and danced them in the same slow, expansive motion. Allie, a successful project manager, found her worries and preoccupations melting, as for the first time really ever, she let herself be held and guided by a man.

A while later, they exchanged roles, and Tom found Allie’s soft and comforting form behind him, holding him and rocking to the music, as she followed the dance of her heart, and of her feminine sensuality. In the sharing session that followed, Tom told the group that he had revised his whole idea of the kind of partner he was now seeking, knowing now how it felt to be truly held and supported by a woman.

The Yin Yang Dance

You need only 25 minutes, and 10 minutes of slow, beautiful rhythmic music. You need a partner or friend with whom to share the exercise.

The man (or partner A) stands behind the woman (or partner B). The woman steps backwards until her back is touching his front. She gently leans back into him, whilst still supporting her own weight fully on her own feet. She closes her eyes and feels his presence behind her. Gradually she allows her back, body, heart, pelvis and mind to soften and relax knowing that at this moment she is save and protected. The man too relaxes, and imagines his breath entering from his base, enlivening his pelvis and potency. When he feels alive and in touch with his sensuality and sexuality, he continues to breathe up into his chest, allowing his heart and caring nature to be awakened, and his inherent desire to support, love and cherish woman. He allows the music to invite him into motion, and he takes her arms and dances her, with the intention of supporting her whole body and being to relax and surrender into safety, beauty and loving sensuality.

After 10 minutes, gently come to face each other, in eye contact, without words, and swap roles

As the woman comes behind, she feels her softness and gratitude, and embraces the man, as he simply feels her warm and delicious form and spirit behind him. He allows himself to melt into her, as she dances him.

After 10 minutes, return to eye contact, and take 5 minutes to share your experiences.

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Pleasure within Safe Boundaries

Prediction Magazine

Your partner wants sex. You are not in the mood. What do you do?

You are on a first date with a lovely new prospective partner. They lean forward to kiss you. You like them, but it feels far too soon for you to be physically intimate in this way. How do you respond?

When you say ‘yes’, but really mean ‘maybe’ or ‘no’, you lose the intimacy of authentic communication. You also lose trust and safety with yourself.

“I didn’t want to hurt his feelings,” says Sasha. Many women – and men too – say the same.

But what are the true consequences of NOT communicating truthfully? Would YOU like it if your partner agreed to something, but in reality they weren’t enjoying it? And what happens to your heart when you know you are enduring something that you don’t really want, and that in addition you are not being truthful with your beloved?

‘Yes, No, Maybe, Please’ Exercise:

This exercise is to practice authentic, in-the-moment, intimate communication safely and playfully. It also enhances creativity, joy and spontaneity in intimate partnerships. You can engage in it for as little as 20 minutes, and as long as 2 hours. You will need either a love partner or a friend.

Agree a time frame. For half of that time one of you will be the ‘initiator’. Then you will swap. The one who is not the initiator is the ‘active recipient’.

The initiator sits facing their partner, and initiates intimacy, whether it’s a hug, kissing, touch or simply holding hands, being in eye contact or lying together. The active recipient notices their own responses. If you are enjoying what’s being initiated, you say ‘yes’. If not, ‘no’. If you are unsure, ‘maybe’, and if you are really loving it, ‘please’. The initiator hears and recognizes their partner’s responses, but has no obligation to act in any particular fashion in return, other than, if you hear a ‘no’, to refrain from that particular action in that moment (you can always resume that action a little while later, which may give rise to a different response). The important thing is to follow your impulses that arise IN THE MOMENT, rather than pre-determined agendas originating from the mind. This gives the initiator freedom to safely express themselves fully, knowing where they stand. Also the ‘no’ is not a rejection of you. It’s feedback regarding a particular action at a particular time. In this way the fear of rejection can be diminished, and greater freedom discovered.

After the prescribed time, swap roles.

At the end, take 5 minutes each to talk about your experiences in both roles.

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Prediction Magazine

Sexual energy is life-force energy. In its clear form, it is enlivening and rejuvenating. It can be used to potentise the true desires of your heart and your spirit.

Annabel and Dom are a young couple who became pregnant without consciously intending to. They were delighted, but also fearful. Would parenthood make too many strains on their so far lighthearted and beautiful relationship? And financially, Annabel was the sole earner, as Dom was studying. How would they cope when Annabel became a mum? Dom reacted by becoming more adolescent, going out with his mates and leaving Annabel home alone, and flirting. She, understandably, became distressed, hurt, angry and sometimes depressed.

As they did not know what to do, they made love and opened to guidance from Great Spirit / the Universe. In the afterglow, something had changed for Dom, and he had tears in his eyes. He admitted that he was worried that he might be inadequate as a dad and a provider, but that he really wanted to try. They decided to move from London to Scotland to be close to his parents, who were able to help them with childcare. Their rent reduced by two thirds, and Dom found a job that he loved, and still gave him two afternoons a week, plus weekends to be with their baby son.

Sex Magic Ritual

First, take some time, either sitting in silence, or in nature, to open to your true, deep wishes and intent for the New Year.

Love Partners – Share your new year wishes.   Encapsulate them into a simple picture, or ‘sigil’. This can be a shared sigil, or two separate ones. If you have two sigils, then you will share two sex magic rituals, on two separate occasions, focusing on one sigil for each ceremony.

Individuals – Create a sigil from your deep intent.

Prepare a sacred space for your ritual, clearing clutter, washing, preparing the room beautifully with candles, from a place of love. Imagine as you do this releasing all blocks to experiencing fulfillment.

Make love (couples) or self-pleasure (individuals), in a rich, slow and conscious way, inviting in your dream. Be open to the wisdom of Great Spirit, who may have different or greater plans for you than those in your mind. And at the same time, feel how it will be to realize your intent. Have your sigil visible throughout

As you become aroused, imagine your sigil in your sex centre and in your heart. At the point of orgasm, imagine your orgasmic energy moving from your base, through and up your body, out of your crown and into the hands of the Universe.

Then let it all go. Open to all possibilities…

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Aliveness: Where Less is More (Part 1)

Prediction Magazine

Annabel’s eyes are soft and slightly moist, as she looks at James with love and gratitude.  What Tantric mystery has transported them to this place?  This is only their second Tantric workshop, a 1-day course, and they have not had sex, not undressed, and the simple 20 minute meditation that they have just shared does not even involve physical contact.  ‘Aura Stroking’ is one of a series of beautiful, honouring practices that directly offers us the experience of ‘less is more’.  By relaxing and softening, and opening to the subtleties of human energetic contact, a relaxed, natural and deep sense of joy can naturally bubble up from within us.

Tantric tip:  Aura Stroking

This meditation is for both love partners and for friends.

Face your partner, and stand for a couple of minutes in eye contact, breathing together.  One of you then close your eyes, and the other, begin with your hands at the level of your partner’s chest, wide apart, one behind and one in front of your partner, and very, very slowly bring them closer in towards their body, until you feel a sense of contact, before physical touch occurs.  This is usually between half an inch and 3 inches away from their body.    Begin stroking very, very slowly, from head to toe, over your partner’s whole body, at the distance away from their skin where you feel this contact.  Your hands are soft, and you will feel a tingling.  When you move your hands down your partner’s body, continue to be aware of this tingling point of contact.  If you lose it, stop or slow down, to re-discover the point at which you are in touch.

You can stroke down their body 2-3 times, with your awareness and intention covering the whole of their body – front, back and their sides.  Your attitude is one of honouring, celebrating the whole of your partner: their body and being, and the aliveness and sensitivity in them.  Let your aura touch include, and therefore integrate, the genital areas, whether or not this is your intimate partner.

Return to eye contact, in silence.  Find a simple way to thank and acknowledge each other, like sharing a hug, then swap round.  At the end, you should both feel relaxed, alive, closer, and more in touch with your inner light.

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Soul Gazing

Prediction Magazine

Our deepest being is always here.  When we make contact with this place, we release separation.  The following simple exercise, which can be practiced with a love partner or a special friend, can help you directly experience this reality:

Sit facing you partner, lightly holding hands, and close your eyes.  Feel your breath moving in your body, and allow your body to relax and soften.

After about 2 minutes, when you feel connected with yourself, open your eyes with soft gaze, and receive your partner’s eyes (or wait for them to open their eyes, whilst lightly resting your attention on their face, receiving them in this way).   Allow all thoughts and feelings to be present, whilst lightly bringing your attention back to the eye contact.

Close your eyes for another 2 minutes, again breathe and feel, then open them again, and this time as you open your eyes, open yourself to the human being in front of you.  As you witness their expressions and feelings, character and presence, ask yourself, ‘could he / she be a mirror of myself?’  Open to noticing how whatever you perceive in them is also in you.

Close your eyes one more time, for 2 minutes, and when you open them again, open to receiving the Essence of your partner, their spirit, soul or beingness.  Don’t look for anything, just let go of all classifications and judgements as they come up, and receive your partner with the deepest, wisest part in you.  In this way, your essential beingness, oneness, may reveal itself to you, as in the poetic description of Namaste:  “I honour the place inside you where the whole Universe resides.  When I am in that place in me, and you are in that place in you, there is just one of us.”

In the words of Cinzia, who experienced this meditation with her husband in a Diamond Light Tantra Introductory Evening:

Having the chance to spend some special time with my partner, in this way, was a real treat, it was like seeing each other after a long time.

Just being there, looking into each other eyes, slowly and gently sharing love was a nourishing experience, a reminder of what makes us bond and why we are happy to be together.

Since then we’ve been trying to spend special time where we do something slower, quieter, just BE together with no plans.

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Awakening Passion

Prediction Magazine

‘I still love him very much, but the passion has gone’, Linda tells me, as she and her partner arrive for a couples’ Tantra session.   After 20 years, isn’t this normal?  She enquires.

Contrary to popular belier, passion can grow with the age of a relationship.  One aspect of passion is polarity – passion is a matter of the heart and of sexual energy, and both must flow within each, and between lovers for passion to flourish.    A woman in touch with her feminine flow is able to express her love and devotion, and to receive her partner’s sexual impulses.  A man in his masculine flow is in touch with his love for his woman, can receive her love, and express his desire with his body, heart and mind.

Passion is not just about sex, it is also a way of life.  Living passionately means being willing to release control, and to feel.  To feel your love, your anger, grief and joy.  When you put the lid on one feeling, you subdue the rest as well.

“When you can be passionate in your grief” says Margot Anand, one of my teachers, “you can be passionate in sex and in love”.

Below is the exercise that I gave Linda and Chris.  Letting go of their ‘civilised’ personalities allowed them, over time, and with guidance, to reconnect with their desires, feelings, express and release hidden conflicts, open their hearts and awaken passion:

Tantric Tip:  Awakening Passion

Consider some of the ways in which you may be dampening down your passion.  Do you try not to feel or express anger?  Are you fearful of wearing your heart on your sleeve, in case you get hurt?  Do you hold yourself back, in case you’re ‘too much’?  Would you be willing to become more spontaneous?

Step 1:  With a partner, take 5 minutes each to share your responses to the questions above.  Whilst one partner speaks, the other simply listens.  Then take a further 3 minutes each to again answer these questions.  You will go deeper this time.  Take a further 3 minutes each to share how you might allow more range in your feelings and expression in daily life.

Step 2:  In a carpeted room, or on a soft, low bed, kneel on all fours and place your right shoulder in contact with your partner’s right shoulder.  Close your eyes, and ask yourself which animal is the bearer of your passion at this moment.  Imagine that you have become this animal, as you press your shoulders together, and begin to make animal noises.  Allow the inner child in you to play with this imaginative game.

Step 3:  Allow yourself to gently push and receive, to explore and play with contact from other parts of your bodies as well – perhaps head to torso, side to side, bottom to bottom etc – all in the spirit of play.

Step 4:  Men, say “I want you!” as you continue this game.  Women say “I am yours”.  Say it repeatedly, even if you don’t feel it or mean it.  Play with it, and the different nuances.

Then either lie together and share your experiences, or allow this to develop into further sensual / sexual contact.

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Opening To Pleasure

Prediction Magazine

We all want pleasure, right?  The degree of pleasure you enjoy in your life is not just a matter of how much you acquire, it’s a state of being.  The more present, receptive and open you are in your body, mind and being, the more genuine enjoyment and gratitude you can derive from the simplicity of daily life.  “I woke up, jumped in the shower, and for the first time in 50 years I really felt the water caressing my body, and it was truly pleasurable” shares Martin, the day after a Tantra workshop.

It doesn’t stop there.  How would it be to allow the heights and depths of sexual pleasure to be higher and deeper still – without having to learn any new skills?  As you make love, or as you are touched or pleasured by your partner, allow yourself to relax deeply.  Take natural deep breaths, lightly imagining that you are breathing air into your sexual organs, all the way up to the crown of your head, and releasing from crown to genitals on the exhale.  Allow all the tension in your stomach, thighs and genitals to release as you exhale.  There is nothing to chase, or get.  As you relax more fully, you will notice tingling or rippling sensations in your body.  Welcome these.

Become aware of your thoughts.  Notice how your thinking affects your experience.  Is your mind elsewhere?  Shopping list?  Or are you wondering when your partner is going to stop, get bored, get it wrong or notice your unshaven bikini line?  Whenever you notice one of these limiting thoughts, as you continue to make love or receive caresses, receive your partner’s gaze and speak this thought out loud to them.   Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions this evokes. Then return your attention purely to the touch, to this moment, without dwelling further on this thought.

“I’m frightened if I let go more, I’ll become emotional, and you might get worried and stop” Maria shares with her partner Steve, as he massages her.  As they both smile in recognition of this statement, Maria’s eyes are moist with a mixture of vulnerability and relief.  Steve continues with his sensual adoration, and Maria’s defenses melt away.  She laughs and moans with delight.

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Opening To Love

Prediction Magazine

‘I know I’m not as beautiful as some women’ says Janice, a 56-year-old divorced company director, mother of three, ‘so I can’t be too choosy’.  Tania, a 31-year-old Swedish solicitor, has a different problem.  ‘I know I’m attractive to men – I’m young, fit, blonde, and have a great figure,’ she explains, ‘but I don’t trust that men really want ME, the real me.’

We are at a Diamond Light Tantra Level 2 weekend workshop, called Opening to Love.  Women and men have separated for a couple of hours, and I’m with the women, who are exploring body image, how the feel about their physical bodies, and how this affects their self-esteem, sexual and relational self-confidence, and their capacity to receive love.  The men are in another room, doing something similar.

They are in groups of 3 women, each taking turns to talk about their bodies, and share what they like, what they don’t like, and how they feel about themselves as sexual women.  The next stage is to receive positive feedback from the other two women in each group.   Julia receives the following comments:  ‘I love the softness of your skin, and the kindness in your eyes’ she is told.  ‘You move so gracefully.  Your body is luscious and inviting, soft and feminine’.  At age 40, this curvaceous, intelligent and independent nurse has never fully received compliments like this from other women.  ‘I’ve heard them from men’ she tells them, ‘but I didn’t really trust that it was true, as I’ve always suspected that they had a secondary motive’.

At the end of the exercise we all stand in a circle and look around at each other.  Two hours earlier we had been practically strangers to each other.  Now, each woman glowed with an inner light, and was more in touch with, and accepting of, her own unique expression of beauty and womanliness.

Janice is visibly more relaxed.  ‘I know I have a big belly’ she shares, ‘but I also have big breasts to go with it.   It’s who I am, I’m a big persona, I’m strong and caring.  My belly is saggy because it’s carried my 3 children, one of them a ceasarian section.  I wouldn’t change this for anything.’  She exudes acceptance, pride and dignity.  It’s easy to see how genuine older men would find a woman like this attractive, if they weren’t obsessed with the idealized image of a 20-year-old waif.


Tantric Tip – Enhancing Attractiveness

How attractive do you imagine you are to the other sex?  What do you imagine they judge, or find unattractive in you?  What do you think they will cherish in you?

Your judgments and beliefs about yourself will affect others’ perceptions of you.   As you become more loving towards yourself, your partner or potential partners will likewise see you in a more positive light.

Stand in front of a full-length mirror.  Look yourself up and down, head to toe.  Make a list of what you don’t like about your body, and why. Write it down.  Don’t dwell on them, just list them.

Describe in writing what you do like, or love about your body.

If you have a partner, read them your two lists.  Ask them not to comment, but just to listen in silence.  Then sit in front of them, naked, and ask them to tell you what they love and find attractive in you – only the positives!

If you are single, read your writings to two friends of the same sex as you (this can be on separate occasions), and then ask them to tell you 3 things that they really like about you in your body – these can be aspects of your body, and also your body as a whole.  Write these down and stick them to your mirror!

Notice how you feel about yourself.

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Workshop review: Tantra

Kindred Spirit Magazine

Leora Lightwoman has been running Tantra workshops for several years. A petite, charming woman, she is very tuned into the participants’ thoughts. We are expected, right from the start, to hold the gaze of strangers of the opposite sex; a deeply intimate experience that I could barely manage with former partners, let alone complete strangers. I find that after the initial discomfort, I can hold my partner’s gaze and the embarrassment subsides. And then, later in the afternoon, there’s nakedness and suddenly I realise I’m no longer in my comfort zone. It happens so suddenly that my jaw barely has time to hit the floor. One of Leora’s helpers is demonstrating the next exercise, a sort of firm massage and then a light fingertip touch that is called a ‘tantra touch’. She gets completely naked. As naked as the day she was born. She has curves. She is very beautiful and is ridiculously confident while totally naked in a roomful of strangers. Leora picks up on what we’re thinking and assures us that we can get as naked or not as we like. I’m thinking ‘not’. She then reassures us that nakedness is natural and you can tell that she’s probably had to say that several hundred times over the years that she’s taught this course. ‘Grow up!’  admonish my inner child who is still pointing and shocked at the fact that there’s a naked woman in the room.I am reassured by the fact that there are also prudes like me in the room who remain resolutely dressed. The space that Leora has created is, however, ‘sacred’ in a way that I have never experienced before. Sacred space is not just about lighting some incense and doing a little chant – it is about safety and comfort and protection. It is very rare to find a workshop where you feel you won’t be judged and in which you don’t judge others at all.

The last exercise of the day was the most profound for me and that’s saying something, given that I cried and hugged my way through most of the other exercises (where is that firm British resolve when you need it?). We were instructed to pair up with someone we hadn’t worked with that day and this gorgeous Hugh Laurie look-a-like gave me a huge beam from across the room.

When we stare into each other’s eyes, Leora had asked us to see ourselves in the other person. The idea is that you’re not concentrating on the external ‘do I fancy this man/woman?’ but that the person is mirroring you and you can see your own essence in them. Hugh Laurie man was ideally suited to mirroring me as we both clearly deflect uncomfortable feelings through humour. The exercise was about saying our feelings out loud; a prospect even more daunting than nudity. We were laughing
and kidding around like naughty school kids but when we stilled enough to do the exercise, I could see his – and my – pain that is always behind an armour of layers and layers of mockery, satire and humour. Suddenly I wasn’t laughing and he wasn’t laughing and for a split second we were present. I saw him. He saw me. The truth of us both, not strangers at a workshop or a man and a woman but just two sides of one coin being flipped over and over and over in a cosmic toss that was both playful and meaningful. Then the sensation was gone and we were silly kids having a laugh again. And that was perfect too.

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