5 simple ways to cultivate inner peace
becoming the me i want to be

light up your life: 5 ways to make your path brighter


This morning I was walking down the same path I had walked down the night before and it suddenly dawned on me how different my thoughts were in the daylight. Last night, I'd been walking down the brick path late at night and I'd been slightly scared, walking fast, clutching my keys and occasionally looking over my shoulder. But when I ventured down the same path this morning, I was walking leisurely, strolling along and not once considering looking behind me. It dawned on  me that that's the difference between night and day, between darkness and light. This is something that's probably happened to all of us at some point. We've walked somewhere at night and felt entirely differently when we walked down the very same path during the day. It's amazing what a little light, a little change of perspective, a little more ability to see where we're going, can do. To me, this is a great example of how our minds (coupled with external conditions) can transform the world. The path I was walking down was the exact same path. Same bricks. Same bushes lining it. Same distance from the road to the door. Nothing had changed overnight. Yet, now, in the morning light, I was seeing it differently. 

And seeing this path differently made me think about the way I see my life differently too. When I realized what a difference the daylight made in my perception of the path, I really got to thinking about my own internal "day" and "night," the light and dark within my own mine. As I left the path and entered my building, my mind was flooded with questions. What if we applied this light and dark to the paths of our lives? What if we realized, really understood, that we could be walking down the same path and see it entirely differently? What if we realized that we actually have the ability to transform the blackness into light? To transform a situation with the light we shed on it?

Of course, these are not novel ideas. People have known, well, forever that the way we think about things -- how much metaphorical darkness or light we give to a situation -- impacts the world around us. Our minds are powerful, powerful things and can truly alter our worlds with our thoughts. We have the ability to distort things -- both in negative and positive ways -- and, more importantly, we can control how we distort them. We have the ability to cast more light or more darkness on a situation. For example, when walking alone at night, I can frighten myself terribly when I start thinking of all the dangerous things that could happen or revisiting terrifying situations I've heard about. Conversely, when walking along on a beautiful fall day, the sun shining brightly overhead, I can convince myself that I don't have a care in the world. Even I might be having a bad day, for just a few moments, the warm sunshine pouring down on me can transform my mood because it causes me to think of summer, warmth, happiness. My mind takes what it sees out in the world and transforms it, labeling it, giving it a good or bad (or neutral) connotation.

When I thought about how much my mind has the ability to transform the world around me, I began thinking about how I could increase the light in my life. I then realized that, when walking at night, I could have brought a flashlight with me, lighting up the path before me. If I had the power to (as I would in the figurative sense), I could install lighting along side the path, creating a well-lit walk. And these ideas tie in perfectly with what I'm always writing about the effort it takes to be a positive and present person. Both in the literal and figurative sense, it takes work, energy, and effort to have a path that's bathed in light. But, as anyone who has walked down a well-lit path wrapped in a feeling of safety knows, it's worth the effort if you are able to walk down the path unafraid. 

If you're anything like me, you want to walk down your path unafraid. You want to walk down roads and paths that are well-lit. You want to see clearly and not be scared and feel safe. So how do you do that in a figurative sense? How do you make the path of your life a path that is lit up, inspiring contentment and drowning out fear while at the same time finding a balance between the darkness and the light? As we all know, you cannot live in bright, blinding light forever. Light is wonderful. It helps us to see and helps us to thrive and grow. But without darkness, we would be in a lot of trouble. We need the darkness as well as the light. We need a path that is lit the way many streets are -- the light and dark intertwined, allowing us to see without brightening the world to an unnatural state (unless, of course, you find that the roads you venture down happen to be in Time's Square...but even there, at night, there are patches of darkness). We need both the light and the dark in our lives, but there are ways we can make our paths brighter, ways we can make the road we're traveling down just a little bit more clear. And here are the 5 best ways to shed some light on that path of yours...


The 5 Best Ways to Shed Light on Your Path

  • Bring your own source of light. As I mentioned above, if you're going to be heading down a dark path, bring a flashlight. What does this mean in a figurative sense? It means you have to create light where there is darkness. When you're faced with a difficult situation, find a way to shed light on it. Look at it from new angles, shine a bright light into the darkest corners, and look deep within yourself for a positive perspective. You don't have to wait around for someone to turn a light on or rescue you from the darkness. In fact, more often than not, light isn't just going to beam down on you for no reason. If you're on a dark path, you have to create light or, better yet, you have be the light. Don't wait for it; be it.

  • Surround yourself with others. Ever notice how a dark path isn't nearly as scary when you're with other people? Walking down a dark road alone can be scary, but it's a lot less terrifying when you surround yourself with others. Life's kinda like that too. It can be scary and overwhelming at times, but when you surround yourself with people (especially positive, supportive people), the dark road before you seems a little brighter, a little easier to bear. I'm not exactly a people person, but I do know that I feel a lot safer on a dark road with a group of friends than I do when I'm on my own. Surrounding yourself with a great support system will help make even the most dimly lit path seem safe enough to walk down.

  • Choose your route carefully. It would be nice if we could always walk in sunshine, but we know that's not the case. We will all have to walk in the dark sometimes, stumbling and unsure of where we're headed. But don't look down and give up. Instead, look around you and see if this really is the best path to be on. Sometimes all it takes is opening your eyes and looking around to see that nearby is another, brighter path, a path that would be much safer to venture down. Occasionally we're forced in one direction, but more often than not we have a choice. We can choose the path we want to go down. We can look for the brightest path, and, if we don't see a bright path, we can make our own paths.

  • Imagine the best possible scenario. You're probably familiar with the Law of Attraction and, though I won't go into the details here, I find the concept fascinating. I really do believe that we can attract things with our thoughts. Therefore, if you think the path you're on is going to get darker and darker, it will. So imagine the best! Imagine the sky lightening and the sun peeking out of the clouds. Imagine bumping into a friendly group of people along your path. Don't think of all of the negative things that could happen or you will attract them to you. Instead, think of the wonderful things you'll encounter on your journey and you will encounter them.

  • Be prepared for the dark spots. Even with all of your positive thinking and imagining the best, sometimes things don't go as well as planned. Sometimes the batteries in your flashlight die. Sometimes all of your friends have to head down a different path and you're on your own again. Don't despair! Instead, be prepared. If possible, it's ideal to have some self-defense skills under your belt. This works in a figurative situation too. If you can prepare yourself by strengthening your skills, you'll be more likely to travel safely down your path. Not sure what to work on? I'd suggest confidence. I've read that the more confident you look, the less likely you are to get attacked. Same thing goes for life. Be confident, believe in yourself, and you're a lot less likely to be brought down by others.


Life is filled with light and dark, perfectly lit paths and dark, winding roads. We're all aware of the good and the bad, but we don't always remember that we can make the most of the darkness and, in fact, we can make even the darkest times brighter if we choose to take any of the actions I've mentioned above. You, me, we all have the ability to shed light on our own paths, to make the roads we're traveling down brighter. And, awesomely enough, we also have the opportunity to shed light on the paths of others as well. Give some thought to how you can brighten your own path and how you can give others a little bit of that bright light too.

How do you create light when walking down a dark path?
Do you shed light on the paths of others? How so?


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Hi Dani,
I love how thoughtfully you dissected this concept of light and darkness on the path of one's life. I think you came up with some really great ways to "shed light on your path." I would also add that an attitude of gratitude works wonders. The more grateful we are, the more we accept ourselves, where we're at and the people we're with, exactly as they are. The more we accept people, things and places as they are, the more we see life through the eyes of love (light), as opposed to fear (darkness). Great post. Have a wonderful week!

This is a great post, and as I started reading it I thought, "Wow, she's really onto something here!" Such a great analogy, Dani.
That being said, you got me thinking about my own dark path experiences. My gosh, they can feel so dark sometimes... Endlessly so. And yet, just like with the dawn of a new day, the light always returns.

Your tip to have people to walk the path with is huge to me. I have an amazing network of friends and supporters who, when the path is darkest, shine a light for me. (I always seem to forget mine!)

Have a beautiful week!

Jodi - I'm so glad to hear that you loved it. I agree with you about gratitude. Thanks for bringing that one up. Gratitude is a great way to bring light into our lives AND into the lives of others. Thanks for bring up that point!

Megan - Thanks so much! Like you, I also have some really dark times that I find myself reflecting on, but the light always returns, and we can create it if we want to. Having a great group of people to shine the light on you is SO important and I'm glad to hear that you have that in your life!

Dani, really loved this post! The one that really stood out to me was...
"Imagine the best possible scenario." Without a doubt, a powerful imagination of what we want combined with "feeling it" can make life transform before our eyes.

Thanks for the great post!



How can I not feel absolutely inspired, bright and glowing after this post???

Thank you so much. I am once again reminded that when we re-frame where we are, we can be unafraid and let the light shine in -- the light that is always there for the taking.

Hi Dani.

Surrounding yourself with others is a huge one. I've done so much stuff due to being surrounded with others that I wouldn't have been piqued into doing if I was on my own at those various points. As time passes from those occurrences, we then develop more ability to do them on our own, but they are still great to do while surrounded by others.

For many folks, not having others surrounding them is enough to deter them from activity, and we can become heavily slowed down without the accountability, responses, and energy that others provide.

What a lovely and thoughtful post. I love the metaphors you've used here. The point you make here is so very true and one I have learned to pay attention to: that how I frame things can change, from one minute to the next. And doing so, creates my reality. So "choose carefully" this says to me. Be alert, aware of what is going on around you and within you.

To answer your question, today I will continue to shed light on any opinions or judgments that may surface within me about someone. In fact, I just had that opportunity about 5 minutes ago. I learned that my daughter's best friend is pregnant, 6 mos, and didn't even know it. She is a single person and has some very serious life issues. My judging mind wanted to label her as 'wrong' or 'foolish.' If I shed light on these thoughts, I can choose to see her differently, with compassionate eyes, with a wide open heart. I can also choose to reach out to her. She has very few friends. And only a couple who would attend a baby shower. So my next thought was to make her baby a blanket. I will do that and send it to her with love and prayers that she and her baby be well....

I'm glad you mentioned being prepared for the worst possible scenario. Lots of people think this is kind of macabre but I've found it immensely comforting. Most of the time the worst thing I can imagine is something I can deal with, maybe not easily, but I can still move forward. Having that knowledge is powerful.

Hey Dani, nice post. I like the tip on imagining the best possible scenario. Even when we don't know where we are going, we can always create some place where it would like to be. The hard part is catching ourselves when things start get to scary as well as not letting our emotions take over. This was an interesting post on our path towards life. Thanks for shedding a bright light for us.

Dayne - Thanks! I really enjoyed writing it so I'm glad you liked it. It really is amazing what we can do with our minds. When we think about the best possible scenario, it puts us in a place to make that situation a reality.

Jannie - Aww, that makes me feel good! I'm glad the post left you feeling brighter. :) Great way of putting it -- when we reframe who we are, we can let the light in and that light is always there (whether we can see it or not!).

Armen - Great point. People really do transform your life and create situations for you that you wouldn't necessarily be in on your own. I tend to be less social than the average person, but it's something I'm working on because I really do believe it's so important to have a positive support system.

Jan - Thank you! I'm so glad you liked my metaphors. "Choose carefully" is a great way of thinking about how we create the world through our thoughts. We have the power to create a positive outlook and it's up to us to choose that way of thinking. What a great example you've shared in your comment. You chose a positive outlook and action instead of negative and that's not only making your life better but the lives of others (your daughter's friend, her unborn baby...) better too. How wonderful!

Hayden - I agree that a lot of people would take this as a negative, but it's important to be prepared. As you noted, most of the time we can deal with even the worst situations, and it really does help if we're prepared in advance. That being said, it's really important not to get overly stressed about or focused on the future and things that may/may not happen.

Tristan - Thanks! You're right. Even if we don't always know where we're going (or why!), we can imagine and hope for the best. It really does no good to imagine the worst (though it helps to be prepared on some level). I also agree with your point about not letting our emotions take over. This can be hard to handle at times, but ultimately we have control and we can move towards a more positive outlook if we choose to.

Thanks for stopping by - I am glad you do not have trouble with the feed. It seems spotty - like it works for some, but not for many from the feedback I have gotten (and I know from my test feed that it is not working for me). For now I am going to leave both feeds running, but I have put the new feed at the top of my blog for new subscribers. Don't really know what else to do. Hopefully people will switch over. I like the idea of a custom domain, but the spotty feed is no fun!

Actually, now the feed seems to have un-hiccupped. Good to know!

Hi Dani,

A great metaphor, of going down the path, alone or with others, in light or dark, and as you say, you want to go down the path unafraid, and that's the essence of it. Letting go of fear is a great start!


City Girl - You're welcome! I almost always read your posts, but today I commented because I wanted you to know about the feed. Glad everything's working now!

Kaushik - Thanks! Letting go of fear is definitely a great start and ties in well with the post you had up today. I really enjoyed that one. Thank you for writing it!

This is absolutely why I've been writing so much lately about the 'darker side', the 'shadow self' and how to see it differently and shed the light on that part of the path. (In fact, that's the whole reason I'm offering that course right now.)

I see so much out there about 'just be positive' in a way that has landed many of my clients into major frustration. In essence, what they've done is try to ignore that the dark exists, and aren't sure what to do when it pops back up. (And then add insult to injury for having any 'dark places' at all by beating themselves up for not being perfect and still having some 'dark', which we all do.)

So yeah.
Love this post today, Dani.
(And love that picture!)

All the best!

(Totally unrelated, but back to the picture.....I've seen that before and am trying to remember who's it is. I'm thinking it's zemotion's, is that right? Thanks! deb)

I so liked this post today...and we are having bright sunshine this morning after heavy rain yesterday. I felt myself very reluctant on my lake walk because the rain was so heavy and dark, I had to keep my head down to be able to see. I was very prepared, but having to look down and not forward, was limiting to my pace. I was not as relaxed.

Then I rushed the garbage out to the curbside in the very dark, with no preparation - like turning on the outside lights...I was fine and comfortable until I ran head first into a huge garden spider's web...my physical being said...oh no a saber toothed tiger!

Nice guidance in your writing today...be your own light
I always think of emotions as your lighthouse...Thank you


You certainly lit up my evening!! Outstanding post! I really liked the metaphors you chose to bring out the meaning. It's so true how much we can alter the perception and interpretation of our outer reality depending on our inner reality - both in the positive and negative sense.

We can also selectively chose to alter the way we see reality in order to overcome fears, brighten our mood, get motivated or get the right perspective on things. I think they call this method 'reframing' in Neuro linguistic programming (NLP).

Take care ;)

Hi Dani! This was a perfect metaphor, and definitely a topic that's been on my mind (we really are in sync - hive mind?!) To shed a light on my path I always look for the balance. I am also of the mind that to have light we must have darkness, so when I'm in a negative situation, I try to find the light within it. For instance, I've been told that my hours will be cut, which means no more overtime and significantly lowered paycheques. Instead of fearing it, I've looked at it this way: More free time to pursue the things that I feel will benefit my future, which is something I'd been asking for. I've actually found that the universe really answers my calls - just not always at the right moments, which I believe means to be patient (another lesson I've been needing to learn). Thank you for writing this, as always! <3

I needed this. I was having a bit of an internal panic attack because of some career-direction issues.


I needed this and so glad to have found your blog through Kate Iredales. You inspired me today. Thanks so much

Hmmm, how do I create light when walking down a dark path? I think by just knowing that it'll all work out. It always does. I just keep telling myself "this too shall pass" or "have faith" or "what's the lesson?" and that generally helps.

As for shedding light onto others, I think I do that by making them laugh. Even when times are tough or scary, laughter always helps.

Really clever analogy PP.

Hi Dani, it seems we are walking on a bit of the same path today. See my post today, "How Life Works - There's A Hole In My Sidewalk." Sometimes when I feel like I'm walking on a new path, and can only see just one step ahead, I apply Faith. Faith that I will travel in safety and succeed at whatever I'm doing, or wherever I'm going to end up -- all will be okay. Take care, A.

Wow, another great original post. I love how detailed you get with this one!

Hi Dani - Great post! I love this topic! I think the way I create my own light is to be aware of what's in the darkness. You could use this both literally and figuratively. If it's a familiar path I'm on in a literal sense I'll probably feel more comfortable because I know what's around me. Figuratively, if I am in a place that's "dark" figuring out what is there with me in the darkness (or what I've put there) helps me to bring light.

Deb - That's so great that you're helping others to deal with this concept. As you noted, you can't simply ignore darkness... You have to work on ways to balance the light and the dark, which can be tricky when it comes to figuring out how to incorporate positivity into your life. As for the picture, I'm not sure actually, but it's definitely not mine. It's beautiful though!

Patricia - So glad you liked it! Sounds like it was pretty good timing for you. Thanks for sharing your experiences of dealing with the darkness; your examples are perfect for this post and really illustrate how we can turn on the lights and be prepared when we know we will encounter darkness.

Gilbert - Awesome! :) I'm so happy you thought it was outstanding. What a compliment! We absolutely have the ability to alter the way we see the world. Usually it's easiest to go with whatever comes to mind first, but, when we really think about it, we realize we have the power to create positive and negative perceptions. Good point about "reframing"... I haven't read a NLP book in awhile, but I should check 'em out again.

Ia - It's awesome that this really resonated with you. Great point about looking for the balance. That's such an important element of all of this -- the balance between light and dark. It's great that you're looking at the bright side of things. You probably aren't even aware of how much of a wonderful difference that attitude is making in your life. I agree about the universe... I believe things happen for a reason, even if we can't always figure it out at the time...

Meream - It makes me happy to know that this post was helpful for you. I hope everything works out with your career, but, as I said to Ia, I really do believe everything happens for a reason. What's meant to be will be so don't fret too much!

Yolanda - I'm so happy you found Positively Present too! It's so great when blogs lead the way to blogs... I love that. And I'm so glad this post inspired you. :) Thanks for commenting.

Sami - Excellent way to create light! I really think the idea that it will work out the way it's supposed to is so important for creating our own light. It's not always the easiest thing to do when we're in a really tough spot, but most of the bad things I've been through in life have led to the good things so I try to remind myself of that. And laughter is a GREAT way to spread light to others. There's nothing quite a good, hearty laugh to brighten the world...

Anita - Looking forward to reading your post today! I really think that having faith in yourself, believing you can make it just one step farther, really helps make whatever path you're on seem more bearable. That's a great point and I'm glad you brought it up in your comment!

BeTrulyHappy - Thank you! I got pretty into it and had a hard time keeping it short. I figure I can have a super long post every now and then since I love writing the long ones so much!

Amanda - Thank you! I like what you said about being aware of what's in the darkness. It's so important not to ignore the darkness. I think some people think that being positive or happy is all about ignoring the bad things, but it really doesn't work out well if you do that. Being aware of what's around you (literally and figuratively!) is so important when it comes to being present and when it comes to creating a balance between the darkness and light in your life.

Too many people underestimate the power of finding the right angle. We feel like we can only look at a situation from one perspective, our own. We have the ability to imagine 1,000 different vantage points.

We can shed a light on our path by choosing the best possible perspective that gives you and the people around you a ton of compassion. This isn't easy, but as long as you bring your own source of light there will always be a positive angle.

Hi Dani,
Outstanding post!I get your post by email and it was a great message to read this morning.Our minds are powerful and our thoughts are our intention setters.So,how we look at a problem sheds new light on it.
Thank you

Karl - You bright up a great point! There are SO many different ways to look at a situation and we often limit ourselves by focusing only on one view. And I also love that you mentioned the idea of compassion. That's something most people could give more of (to themselves and others) to really make the world a brighter place.

Sema - Thanks so much by subscribing via email. That's awesome! :) What a great way of putting thoughts -- as "intention setters." I love that! I agree that how we look at something can really impact how we see it and we must be conscious of that.

Excellent post Dani. I think that imagining the best possible scenario is one of the most powerful things you can do. I've noticed when I give continual effort to doing that, things go alot better.

Beautiful post, Dani. Personally, I try to stay in Christ's light. It's a great source of strength and guidance to me.

And sometimes, my instincts say I am straying into darkness too much. That's when I have to pull up short and reassess where I really want to go.

Still trying to figure it out, but it gets easier with time and experience.

Have a wonderful day!

Srinivas - Thank you! I agree with you. It's tempting to let your thoughts wander toward the bad things that could happen, but that never does anyone any good.

Jewel - Thank you! It's nice to hear that you have a source of strength and guidance that you can turn to. You've brought up a great point about instincts. They are usually right and we should all listen to them more often!

Hi Dani, I'm a new guest and commenter...

Just want to say I found this post very engaging. The last paragraph ties it all in beautifully for me -- in lighting our path, so we light those of others.

I look forward to more...

Belinda - Thanks for visiting the site and leaving a comment. I appreciate that a lot! I'm so glad that you enjoyed this post and I'm looking forward to sharing more with you on the site. :)

Hi Dani .. interesting ideas on shedding light to my path .. at the moment it's quite darkened .. but I know where th light is .. just need to see this period through ..

Hope all's well with you ..
all the best Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Hilary - I'm sorry to hear that your path is dark right now, but you can create light and find it in others. Easier said than done, I know, but I hope the post helps somewhat!

There is absolutely something about night and day that makes me think differently. While the night is definitely a little scarier, it's also a time when more things seem possible (both good and bad). I guess that's why midnight is the witching hour.

Hi, Dani -- wonderful, well-thought out post on a subject we all have to deal with! You did really good stuff here.

Like most folk, I've been in and out of darkness to light so many times over my lifetime, I've kind of learned to relax no matter what. I think it's a familiarity thing, plus hindsight. The darkness is ALWAYS followed by light. The sun is ALWAYS shining no matter how thick the clouds are. I think I've actually made friends with darkness, in that when it comes, I can work myself up to anticipation of the light returning. In fact, I read recently that when we can actually be grateful for the darkness times (or any kind of hard time), we've rounded the corner towards enlightenment. To me this means that when we can truly be grateful for every event, we're accepting every event as a stepping stone to where we've asked the Universe/God to take us. Makes sense to me, and my light to others would be my living according to my beliefs.

Melissa - Really great point about night and how it makes everything (good or bad!) seem possible. I feel the same way about that and it's a really interesting spin on the darkness. Thanks for bringing that up!

Jeanne - Thank you! I think that dealing with darkness gets a lot easier with experience because we realize that the light will eventually come back into our lives. And really great point about the sun/clouds. Even if you can't see it, the sun is shining! Being grateful for the good and the bad is really an enlightened way to be... We can learn so much from the dark times and those times make our light times even better.

Nazim - Thank you! What a compliment! :) I haven't seen The Secret, but I've read the book and I love it! I really wish I could master my thoughts completely to bring positive things to my life, but it's hard sometimes!

This post is amazing. I had to take some time to let it sink in with me before commenting because it came at such a perfect time for me. Your comparison is so perfect and meaninful and well crafted. I sat here reading, practically in tears, because you were writing so well about such important things. I'll be including your post in my post this morning. Thank you so much for sharing this.

Daphne - Thank you so much! :) I'm practically in tears myself, reading your comment. It makes me so glad to know that you enjoyed the post and that you liked it so much that you're going to mention in your post. Thank you!!

Got to know about this post through Blisstree's blog carnival. I love your writing and the picture! Where did you get such beautiful picture? I think it's very important to "choose your route carefully", because there's where you gonna focus your energy and time, you don't wanna go in the wrong direction for no reason! Keep up the great work, Dani.

Ken - Thanks so much for the compliments! I agree that it's important to choose our routes carefully and to make the most of the paths we're on. Thank you for commenting!

Walking a dark path can send our minds into the depths of all terrible possibilities and bathe us in fear. But darkness is nothing but the absence of light, just as fear is nothing but the absence of courage. Turn on the light and darkness is gone, have thoughts of courage and fear disappears.

We don't have to walk that path and thanks for reminding us to turn on the light and bring courage along.

Good post.

Lisa - I love what you wrote about turning on the light. It's so true that when we turn on the light in our lives, the darkness is gone. We have the choice to look for light in our lives and it's important that we do so in order to deal with the darkest times.

I've often felt that our current mindset and surroundings sort of alter the way we see the world. Sort of like putting on a new pair of glasses each time. Sometimes we're happy and relaxed, and other times more tense and nervous. When we're looking through those particular lenses, everything we see seems to be affected by that mindset. So when you're relaxed and happy, then EVERYTHING seems to be that way, and when you're more anxious, you perceive the entire world that way too.

Travis - Absolutely! You can be in the exact same place two days in a row and feel completely differently based on what your mindset is. The way we think has a MAJOR impact on the lives we lead, which is why it's so important to be conscious of how we are thinking. Positive thinking makes a huge, huge difference in the way we see the world!

You always have the most well thought out articles, Dani! Love it!

Rocky - Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed this article. :)

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