OYM Kevin Meehan | Fallen Peppercorns


What does it look like to live a life surviving without the security traditionally provided by a family structure? How can you grow when living a life fed with abuse and trauma? In this episode, Kevin Meehan, an integrative health practitioner and the author of Fallen Peppercorns, narrates his journey of navigating abuse, homelessness, starvation, and trauma while striving to achieve his dreams. He resolves his internal struggle by finding a balance between looking at circumstances as good or bad. Kevin learned to relax and let go of the tension, and make peace with his struggles to allow himself to grow and move forward. Don’t miss the lesson and value Kevin brings to this episode. Tune in now!

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Kevin Meehan Integrative Health Practitioner And Author Of Fallen Peppercorns

Kevin Meehan is a licensed integrative health practitioner and acupuncturist. As a teenager, Kevin was faced with emotional trauma, abuse, addiction and homelessness. To inspire others to overcome their challenges as he was able to do, he has written of these experiences in his memoir, Fallen Peppercorns. He also authored and illustrated a children’s book around his beloved black lab that he rescued from an abusive, neglectful situation. That book is titled Isosceles’ Day. Kevin Meehan has long since recognized the importance of compassion in helping others, both animals and people. That commitment to helping others, coupled with his passion for biochemistry, led him to become an integrative practitioner and to design and produce the unique patented Meehan Formulations line of supplements. These restore health naturally by addressing the root causes of health challenges instead of simply treating symptoms. Kevin is the Owner and Founder of the Teton Valley Health Clinic, which has served Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for many years with healing therapies drawn from alternative and mainstream health sciences, which foster the body’s inherent ability to heal.

Kevin, welcome. Thank you for joining us. It’s a pleasure.

The pleasure is mine too. Thank you.

I finished reading your book, Fallen Peppercorns. I’m hoping you can get us started by letting us know what motivated you to write a book like that and what drives your passion for recovering from things like that.

Tim, that is a multifaceted question but it’s very good. What motivated me to present this book to the public was not only to present one aspect of what we consider child abuse but another was for motivation to encourage people to be motivated, regardless of what happened to their past. In response to your question, one of the motivating factors was if I can do it, you can do it.

We all have different aspects to our lives but the motivation premise was about many people consider what my brothers and I went through as children to be traumatic, to say the least. Regardless of this trauma, we’re able to foresee, get through this and perhaps use this as a benefit in our lives. One of the motivating factors is to encourage individuals who read the book or understand my background and where I am about saying, “If I can do it, you can do it if you are motivated to achieve such goals.” That was one of the primary motivating factors for writing the book.

I imagine that having gone through some of the things you talk about in the book, which include different levels of being abandoned by each parent and living your life on your own without a house to live in for a series of months and scrambling for survival, some part of you feels gratitude for getting through it.

You nailed that right on the head. The idea of being able to experience something like that, a lot of people don’t have the opportunity to experience. I look at it from the perspective that I had the opportunity to go through this experience, more or less like a football player would feel about training camp, which makes him a better athlete, for example. By looking at it from that perspective, I’m able to be grateful for the things I have. Even having a talk with you and being introduced to you is gratifying to me. It’s an honor to be able to be in a position like this to potentially help people as you do.

To present this book and what happened to me as a child allows me the gratification of saying, “Here’s a gift.” This is the gift I like to offer to the public about something which I was able to, I’m not going to say overcome. That might be a word that can be judged in many different venues but rather to respect life for what it is from what I had or experienced as a child.

One of the things that you say is that when you go through times when you don’t have enough to eat, shelter, love and support, if you choose the proper filter or interpretation of that, you can learn to then use that experience to deeply appreciate every morsel of food, every kind word and every piece of clothing. I’m curious about what you think allowed you to be able to do that when so many people who have experienced similar difficulties turned negative, depressive and pessimistic. What do you think was going on inside you that allowed you to interpret that differently?

In the book, there’s a sequence when I’m in the citrus orchard. I describe a covey of quail that are calmly pecking at the ground for food. It was quiet. I remember it was morning. Watching the quail, there was something peaceful about simplicity in life to me, where they had nothing rather than themselves. They were searching for food, what they could find, the morsels and fragments on the ground.

At that time, I realized, “If they are seemingly content with their lives, why can’t I be?” I looked at that moment. It’s in the book. I realized I was sitting amongst citrus trees, in this case, oranges that were bearing fruit. I had the opportunity to have fruit at my fingertips. To answer your question, something struck me at that particular moment about being respectful and appreciative of what I had rather than what I didn’t have. I even had a Pendleton blanket to my name and I was glad that I had that blanket for warmth.

What was your age at that time roughly?

About thirteen and a half years old.

Sometimes when I do this work and I talk to people who do spiritual work or deep psychological work, they talk about creating your experience of life based on how you choose to interpret and respond to what comes at you. That’s even more important than the actual events. Yet, I know people who’ve gone through situations like you have and they say, “That’s crazy because I don’t have a place to sleep. I don’t have enough food. I’ve got somebody doing physical violence to me.” There’s no way to choose to be happy in that circumstance and yet you’re a living example that it can happen.

There are people like Roger McGowen who had been on death row for twenty-some years for a crime he didn’t commit. He chose joy and to choose love rather than hate and became a spiritual teacher to others in one of the most abusive circumstances he could. You’re alluding to something that one of my mentors, Dr. Michael Ryce, said in an early lecture that I attended. “I want everybody in the audience to think about some of the worst things that have happened in your life.”

Everybody groaned. He said, “Don’t worry. We’re not going to make you do true confessions. Pick one that’s at least five years or more in the past and then raise your hand if you can see how that’s led directly or indirectly to some of the best things in your life today.” Every hand in the audience went up. That’s what I think of when you talk about having gratitude for what you were able to create in your life from those experiences, the learnings you could take.

To extrapolate, I’m very curious and this is very subjective about why many of us, not all of us, don’t look at what we have. We look at what we don’t have. I feel very grateful for what I do have. The experiences that I went through that are noted in the book have allowed me to become a medical practitioner, do other things and start a company as an example. Yet, if I may allude to this, I’m humble about it. I am honored and gratified to have the ability to be able to do these things.

Many people have asked if I am religious or that I must have had God in my life to have survived. I’m transparently agnostic. I feel my response to them is, if we love ourselves without arrogance as an example, without any type of self-motivation for profit, I look at it in that sense, then by all means, why wouldn’t we want to do the best possible thing and reach our potential? All of us have potential. The book is meant as well as to express the potential that each and every one of us has if we choose to arrive at that potential.

OYM Kevin Meehan | Fallen Peppercorns

Fallen Peppercorns: Express the potential that every one of us has if we choose to arrive at those potentials.


I’m hoping that you write another book that talks a little bit more heavily about how your internal dynamics developed to allow you to get through that level of trauma, neglect, starvation, physical and other abuse and come out an optimist.

There is a book in the works to do that about philosophical endeavors as an example. I find it interesting and I know you’re well-endowed in this. It’s honorable that people gravitate towards external validation that we need from others or deities. For example, monotheism or polytheism. I’m fascinated. It’s not that I think it’s good or bad. I feel that it’s internal validation. With internal validation and love for who we are, like those quails, I vision the covey of quails in the orchard. We’re about, “Here we are. We’re self-acceptance.” From a personal dialogue, the reason why I was able to come through what I have and arrive at what I’m doing is internal validation of being okay with who I am.

That’s a big key. If I need external validation, it means I don’t feel very strong in my core. The more I work to get strong in my core as an adult, if I didn’t get it from my parents when I was young, the more I work to get strong as an adult, the more I realize I don’t crave that validation from others. I’m not as vulnerable to manipulation.

The ideal setting is that people are raised by loving parents who feel good and have a strong core in themselves and they’re able to gift that to their children as they’re growing. I would have to think that somewhere along the line, prior to your traumatic or turbulent thirteenth year, you had some people in your life that you were attracted to, that you modeled yourself after, that helped you get a stronger core than, let’s say some of your brothers who didn’t fare well through those turbulent times.

One of the aspects that we have to have is this mindset of looking toward and appreciating what is there. What’s there? There’s always something there. As long as I still have breath in my body, there’s something I could choose to be grateful for. I remember hearing someone saying, “I can’t find a way to be grateful for everything that happens in my life and yet I can always find something to be grateful for in each moment.”

We have to have a mindset of looking towards and appreciating what is there. Click To Tweet

I asked the universal question, “How do we define what is good or bad? What might be good for someone might be bad for another.” As an example, getting back to the book in reference, a lot of people feel what happened to me was bad but yet that definition seems to fade away when there’s an expression of what I do and I realize that what happened to me was good due to the fact it propelled me to become an individual that enjoys helping other people medically, as an example or to at least entertain people’s eyes, perhaps with my artwork if they enjoy it.

Even the interpretation of bad or good becomes this dialogue that becomes to me a little foggy at times. This is where the universal concepts of yin and yang are. It’s a matter of balance. They’re opposite ends of the spectrum. We need both to have life and that’s how I view things as a definition. How do we define something bad or good?

OYM Kevin Meehan | Fallen Peppercorns

Fallen Peppercorns: “Good” and “bad” are just opposite ends of the spectrum. We need both to have life.


As different stories have come down to us, whether it’s Nelson Mandela in prison for years, being actively abused and choosing love over hate, Roger McGowen’s story that I was mentioning, being actively abused and choosing love over hate or back in World War II in the concentration or the prisoner camps. There’s a story of a gentleman when they liberated the camps. He was so vibrant in health that they assumed he had just gotten there.

When they were doing the interviews, they found out that he’d been there for years but everybody else around him was emaciated and failing health. He had vitality, vigor and strength. They couldn’t figure it out. They said, “What’s the story?” The story was that he was a lawyer in Poland in the ghettos and he was fluent in a number of different languages. When they came in, they shot his family in front of him but wouldn’t kill him. If he begged to be killed, they wouldn’t kill him.

He said, “At that moment, I had to make a choice,” but because he’d been a lawyer, he knew the damage that hatred did to people’s lives. He said he made a choice. Whether he lived another day, hour, minute or decade, he was going to choose love over hate. That’s what he did. That’s the only thing he can think of that would make the difference in his vigor and vitality. The choice of how to interpret and respond to the life events that meet me or come to me is far more important than the actual events themselves. Your story demonstrates that in spades.

The choice of how to interpret and respond to the life events that we meet is far more important than the actual events themselves. Click To Tweet

Being able to know from you that I conveyed the message adequately is rewarding for me. If I may extrapolate on when I teach classes in Biochemistry, I’m going to give this analogy. It’s a summary of how I feel more or less about life. If we extract a drop of water from a lake and take that drop of water home with us, we identify it, look at it and name it. For the sake of the conversation, evaporation doesn’t occur here. Surface tension is what keeps the drop. It’s a drop.

It’s made of the same material as that large body of water. We keep the drop. We put it on our windowsill. We associate it with a friend, let’s say. We recognize it and its location. We take it with us. We put it in the seat of the cars as an example. After a week, we decide to take that drop back to the lake. We hold the drop in a dropper, as an example, over the body of water and then we let it go. What happens when that drop strikes the surface of the water?

That’s the best analogy that I can express. There is, “I choose personally not to keep that surface tension in my body. I’m a human. I’m identifiable as a male, name and everything else,” but the idea of letting that surface tension go and becoming one because of that drop is essentially made of the same material as that entire body of water. When that drop strikes the surface of the lake, it immediately touches the shorelines, the bottom of the lake. There is no hesitation.

That’s how I think of an analogy of how I like to live of thinking in that process of saying, “Let’s let the boundaries go. Let’s understand that we’re all interrelated to each other.” It comes down to quantum entanglement, physics and things like that. In a sense, Tim and I are not separated, even our ideas, which are defined as particles, like alpha waves, that are not our thoughts. This gets intriguing.

OYM Kevin Meehan | Fallen Peppercorns

Fallen Peppercorns: Let the boundaries go, and understand that we’re interrelated to each other.


That drop of water becomes one immediately. Once we relax and let our attention go, let the surface tension of being harbored up as individuals, we’re separate identities and we more elaborate on taking care of ourselves, which I’m not saying that’s a bad thing but I wanted to express that analogy of the water, because for me, that suits it perfectly.

You’re letting go of the negative thoughts about yourself or how you might have negative thoughts about somebody else and settling back into the realization that we’re all human beings doing the best we can in each moment with whatever resources we have. You didn’t say that explicitly in the book but I kept thinking that there is a filter that I can use to look at the world that says, “Every human being is doing the best that he or she can with whatever resources they have in that moment.” I’ve heard it for years.

Brené Brown is a very popular speaker and teacher. She would talk about it and say every time she would mention that, her husband would groan or say, “How do you know that’s true,” and give her some flack for it. She tells the story about how one day they were having a conversation and he said, “Do you know how you keep saying that?” She said, “Here we go again. He’s going to push back.”

He said, “I don’t know if that’s true or not but I can tell you this. The more I pretend that’s true, the better my life gets.” That’s how you got through. Whether you realized it or not, that’s how you were able to give grace to your mother and father through those times when their inability to be nurturing, supportive and protective of you laid the foundation for a whole series of events that none of us would choose willingly.

If I may elaborate on something that you might find interesting that two years before my father passed away, my younger brother with his wife and I were there having dinner. I found myself either consciously or subconsciously always trying to seek approval from someone who dismissed me. I remember dinner specifically, him getting up from the table and telling my brother and me, “You kids ruined my life. I’m sorry I had you.”

What age were you when you heard that?

I was probably 55. This is even more phenomenal. At his wake, there was a bulletin board, a summary of the life that his current wife had displayed. All five of us were in attendance. We noted a picture. He was standing behind a podium. On the podium was a sign that said, “For the children.” My father had started an organization to help underprivileged children that were homeless and abused. He started in Lincoln City, Oregon. He started an organization specifically to help underprivileged children. Many people would come to us in the wake and ask us, “You kids must be proud of your father,” who knew nothing about what happened to us in the past. I found that fascinating.

What’s the time lag between him telling you as an adult that you ruined his life and his passing away and you seeing that at the wake?

He died when I was 57. it was a two-year period.

How do you make sense of that? Here’s my point, rather than putting you on the spot. I can only make sense of someone saying that and having been someone who was trying to help underprivileged children when I apply that filter that says, “He was doing the best he could in each moment with whatever resources he had.” There was something about the circumstances and his woundedness and what was getting resonated between your mother, him and his life situation at that time that he could simply not bring himself to help his children when they were in need and underprivileged.

I agree 100% with you. He was only capable of doing what he was capable of. We can’t expect a four-year-old to drive an automobile. He was not able to achieve that state of being a parent as we recognize it in society. Maybe it was self-guilt that he started an association. Regardless, he was trying to help. I look at it more like he was trying to help kids that were underprivileged, where some of my brothers were a little different and it’s understandable. You hit it right on the head that he was only capable of doing what he was capable of.

When you take that interpretation of his choices and actions and then you choose your response based on that interpretation, you get the kind of impact that has allowed you to be grateful about life and to view these situations as launching pads and life lessons for you and things that without those things happening, you wouldn’t have met people like Beatrice and some other real gifts in your life.

If I choose a filter that says, “Why that rotten so-and-so and how dare he present himself as caring for the children when he abandoned his own children,” and I act from that negative interpretation, I download the tension, anger, resentment and the buildings and I get to live with that. I don’t see the blessings and the opportunities for growth. I don’t choose joy, aliveness and love.

You summarized it great. Even as an example, when I’m in a relationship, I’ll mention to my partner that if she wants to leave or finds something else to go. The reason I’m bringing this up is I want her to be happy because I care. What happens generally is I receive from the other end, “You don’t care about me,” rather than, “No, that’s complete care and admiration for you because I want you to do what you want to do.”

To me, it’s interesting that in society, we attribute external validation like, “You should love me. Loving me is interpreted that you’re going to own me or attached to me.” No, that’s not it at all. Pure compassion and acceptance are allowing people to do what they want to do and accept them and support them for such.

Pure compassion and acceptance allow people to do what they want and to accept and support them for such. Click To Tweet

That’s a big stretch from what we’re taught by most in this culture. Yet, if it’s yielding good results for you and so many people who have the core strength to accept that, to know they’re going to be okay, whether their partner stays or leaves, they report, “That is the most loving thing I can do.” Those of us who have had the blessing of having healthy parents and then we’ve been good parents ourselves, that’s what we do with our children. We don’t demand our children live their lives the way we want them to and stick around and take care of us because we took care of them. We think of ourselves as the launching pad for that person. We hope that they find a way to choose happiness in their life, whatever path they choose.

Something that happened about many years ago, there was some mismanagement of funds by a bookkeeper that I had hired. It was not something that was above the table and it cost me to lose a house that I owned, which is over on the other side. I heard the news from the bank that they were foreclosing. When I slept that night and I woke up feeling good, I realized that no longer was I externally thinking this but rather it was internal. I was living it.

There is so much gratification for me when we live it. If a curtain opens, you breathe the fresh air. You honor walking in the woods as an example and enjoying the trees, the wildlife and everything else. To me, it is a new insight about honoring the life, people and everything for what we are. It’s gratifying that it continues to grow. It’s like when you put too much yeast in the bread batter. It starts to grow above the rim of the bowl. It’s similar to that. It continues to grow. I can describe it as an internal wealth and it feels great.

I’m very happy for you that you have that seemingly growing out of you, like the yeast in dough, yet a lot of people don’t have it. That’s why it’s my pleasure to know about people like Journey’s Dream, the Optimal Being program and Dr. Michael Ryce and his set of tools that he offers to people so that people can step into a process to get rid of the pain, fear, sadness, hurt and resentment and let that yeast rise. Let that gratitude become their inner substance.

Another analogy I want to bring up if I may is in Chinese philosophy, there are five elements of Earth, like water. What’s interesting is each element has an emotion, joy, worry, grief, sorrow, sadness or anger. The emphasis of this is to be able to experience all emotions but not to hang on to one. I’m glad I feel pain and that might be hard for some individuals to conceive.

I choose not to let go of the pain but rather have it move through experience or sorrow. I’m glad I feel anger when I do but the ability to allow it feels like sunshine hitting your neck. It allows the feeling of the heat. The photons hit your neck. You allow it to move through you. What I enjoy is being able to experience. I wouldn’t want life any different to not be able to feel pain, anger or sorrow. Those are the gratitudes I have of living in life to be able to feel these sensory pleasures and experiences.

Experience all emotions, but don't hang unto one. Be glad to feel pain and sorrow and let it move through you. Click To Tweet

As you say, “Feel them. Allow them to feel fully and let them move through you.” That’s one of the phrases that I appreciate so much with the EFT tapping and the faster EFT tapping. I’m not using an acupressure technique to get rid of this sensation or pain. I’m using it to open my energy system to feel it fully and allow it to flow through me.

It’s a sense of Buddhist tradition, even though Buddhism, which I’ve studied, has the idea of reincarnation. I’ll be quite transparent here. I’m ignorant of Buddhist philosophy in depth, as many Buddhist teachers are well-informed. Even the idea of reincarnation, to me, is holding onto something. I don’t feel that because reincarnation is an identity. You will be reincarnated.

If I personally don’t feel that, that doesn’t mean it’s not right or wrong but to me, it’s to accept everything for what it is, not holding on to regret or consequential things we do. Karma’s definition is action. We associate karma with everything bad. “That’s bad karma. It’s coming back.” Rather than it is defined as action. That’s all it is. Even the sense that if we do something like run over a rabbit in the car, let’s not hold ourselves guilty for it. It’s an experience in life. That’s how I see it.

There’s another Buddhist practice that fits more with this feeling and letting it flow through you, which is called Tonglen. It’s the idea of tapping into your perfect wholeness, the center, being and connectedness that you were talking about before, the loving center and then breathing in the pain and suffering of anybody around you, then breathing out the joy and sending it out to them.

It’s this flow of the full felt sense of all the emotions, whether they’re intense or mild and whether you would judge them as positive or negative. In that process, many people find that holding on to what they were doing, which was intensifying the discomfort eases and they feel different in a way they have no words to describe.

Do you remember the old Twilight Zone series? There was one episode that stuck with me. This gentleman wakes up. He was hit by a car. He’s a businessman. He was known in business to be very shrewd and took advantage of a lot of people to gain the upper hand. He was hit by a car in New York. He wakes up on a bed in a suite in New York, on the top floor. He has servants waiting on him. He has attractive women bringing him cocktails and this type of thing. He’s in a smoking jacket. To make this short, he goes through a life that is unbelievable. His personal assistant comes to him and says, “What would you need? Do you want this food?”

At the end of the show, he mentioned to his assistant, “I never would have thought I would’ve ended up here the way I treated people. I thought I was going to hell.” The assistant said, “What makes you think this is heaven?” That sums it up perfectly. I remember that episode. What we define as good or bad is only in our concepts and minds. We can even extrapolate this, in my opinion, to things that we see in theists or philosophical endeavors and things like that, where humans always seem to strive to good rather than to say, “It’s okay to experience. Why don’t we strive to bad? Why do we always define one as being better than the other when it’s merely an experience of life?”

One of my other favorite teachers is Guy Finley and he says it this way, “All good things come for whom the good is all things.” It’s just the flow of life. It’s only what I call bad when I label it bad. The wisdom is in that exercise I mentioned. Think of the worst things that have happened in my life. I was in that audience and I thought about some things that I would never wish on anybody that would consider them tragic and catastrophic.

Every one of them, that was five years or more in the past, I could see how they led directly or indirectly to some of the best things in my life at that moment. I recognized my labeling this as bad, wrong or catastrophic was pure silliness because, without it, I wouldn’t have had some of the best things in my life at that time.

Look at you. You’re participating and influencing those around you that come to see you as an example and even at the market perhaps or how you influence people by introducing yourself or a casual, “How are you today?” Look at that influence. It’s like a ripple on the pond. It influences the shore.

The other thing that I learned from that experience was I had spent a lot of time in my life angry about negatively judging, upset and depressed about some of those things that had happened in my past. That wasn’t necessary because they ended up leading to some of the best things in my life. I made a conscious effort at that point to start looking at whatever happened in a questioning position that says, “I wonder how this is going to work out better than I ever imagined. I wonder how this holds a life lesson that I need to learn to move forward. I wonder how this might lead me to meet people I would never have met in any other way that might be a blessing in my life.” Those active questionings about everything that happens in my life have served me better than words can describe.

OYM Kevin Meehan | Fallen Peppercorns

Fallen Peppercorns: Overcoming Child Abandonment, Abuse, Starvation & Drug Addiction to Become a Humble Optimist

That’s honorable. That’s great. In summary of your question, that was the message from the book. The inspiration to write the book is to express that it’s only a matter of how we define it and what we define as good or bad. It was time for me to introduce this to the public. What happened to me was even more harrowing than what was written in the book. It can be considered pretty traumatic. It’s on legal records and things like that but regardless, I wanted to give a basic summary of why the book was able to come to fruition. I’m very glad that people are reading it, recognizing it and perhaps it touches something within them.

I’ve already loaned my copy to one of the people I know who had a very traumatic childhood as a way of offering some hope. You’ve mentioned that a couple of times. That’s what you’re hoping. Your intention is that people take a hopeful message from this. It is a difficult read. If some people aren’t comfortable reading about children being neglected and abused at some level, they may not want to pick it up but if you’ve had a rough time and you’re looking for some evidence that this doesn’t have to define you, Fallen Peppercorns by Kevin Meehan is a book you might want to get your hands on.

Thank you very much, Tim. It’s an honor.

Blessing. Thanks for talking to me. I appreciate your time.

You keep in touch, please.

I will.

Be good.


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About Kevin Meehan

OYM Kevin Meehan | Fallen PeppercornsKevin Meehan is a licensed integrative health practitioner/acupuncturist – as a teenager Kevin was faced with emotional trauma, abuse, addiction, and homelessness. To inspire others to overcome their challenges just as he was able to do, he has written of these experiences in his memoir, Fallen Peppercorns. Kevin also authored and illustrated a children’s book around his beloved black lab he rescued from an abusive, neglectful situation called Isoscles’ Day.

Kevin Meehan has long since recognized the importance of compassion in helping others, both animals and people. That commitment to helping others, coupled with his passion for biochemistry, led him to become an integrative practitioner and design and produce the unique, patented, Meehan Formulations line of supplements that restore health naturally by addressing the root causes of health challenges instead of treating the symptoms. Kevin is the owner and founder of the Teton Valley Health Clinic, which has served Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for 31 years with healing therapies drawn from alternative and mainstream health sciences that foster the body’s inherent ability to heal. The Meehan Health Line is a compilation of online instruction/cooking courses that comprehensively examine the root causes of diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, MS, depression, cancers, and heart disease.


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