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Hello Dear Readers!

I am pondering teaching a webinar on Working with the Polyvagal System. This is a topic I have been studying and practicing since 2010, and I have assisted Janet Evergreen in her teaching of these classes multiple times. Below you will find a poll to see who, if anyone, might be interested in signing up for an on-line teaching!

  • In this webinar, we will start to differentiate normal functions from stress responses (and why this is important).
  • We will cover a bit about the Autonomic Nervous system (ANS) including discussing the newer Social branch of the ANS, its role and how it fits in with the older Para- and Sympathetic branches.
  • We will cover the Functional Range and how to notice if clients are within it or if they are having stress responses and being activated or depressed.
  • Then we will go into actually Working with the Polyvagal System: starting with the Skin, gradually moving deeper into the Fascia, touching into the Gut and all the Vagus nerve connections within it and finally wrapping up with working with the kidneys.

What is the Autonomic Nervous System? This is the branch of the nervous system (to keep it simple for now) which controls involuntary functions in the body – heart rate, breathing, peristalsis of the digestive tract to name a few of its functions.

What is the Polyvagal System? The Vagus Nerve (the 10th Cranial Nerve) innervates many organs and systems in the body – including respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive and more. Previously, the Vagus nerve was said to control the Parasympathetic branch of the ANS – the “rest and rebuild” side of the ANS. Newer research is showing that the Vagus nerve also plays a role in some aspects of the Sympathetic and Social branches of the ANS as well. In the workshop, we will touch on techniques to up-regulate (or down-regulate as the client requires) the Vagus nerve to keep the client within their healthy Functional Range.

What is the Functional Range? As simply as possible, the Functional Range is the amount of adaptability the nervous system has to stressors. If we are very resilient, we can be confronted with changes and surprises and still be in our body and deal with the new situations with a clear head. If we have a history of trauma or unmet developmental needs, then the Functional Range can be quite narrow and we might become activated or overwhelmed with just a couple of new stressors. The way we react to overwhelm is also important and we will cover this in the webinar.

Why would anyone work with the Polyvagal system? There are at least two significant benefits to working with the Polyvagal System: we become more embodied (one) and two, we become more resilient. We can begin to increase our Functional Range and eventually we can benefit our clients in working with staying in their healthy range.

This is the second time I would be teaching something like this on my own, so the cost would not be too high. I am thinking something in the range of $120-$150 for 15 hours of material. I would need to teach it again to start the certification process with NCBTMB – which would eventually allow me to give Continuing Education credits (not this time around however). I would be happy to send Certificates to participants who complete the Webinar.

Thank you for participating and have a great week!

~km

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Hello again dear readers,

I have been busy with clients, practicing modalities and studying to complete a final assignment for massage school, hence my not writing on here much recently.

With that said though, I have gotten in about 35 practice treatments in the past four weeks! Which is so great! While many people ask for Swedish Massage, I have actually been very fortunate to be trying out a number of the techniques I learned and more. I have done a lot of Integrated treatments involving multiple modalities. So each session (Integrated) is pretty much unique and extremely creative! Therefore I am loving this work!

No, I’m not quite sure where I will take this bodywork down the road. But one thing I do know is if I have a choice, doing Hot Stones massage will be one of my specialties.

When I am working with someone sensitive to energy (or crystals or stones or Chi Kung or Yoga or Craniosacral work, etc), I can literally feel the stones getting excited to go to work. They love to warm up and work with people’s bodies – energy bodies, physical, emotional bodies, etc. I have only done a handful of Hot Stones treatments since being back and yet I get the feeling (backed up by some sensitive clients) that the stones love working with me! And the feeling is mutual!

Considering they were mainly sitting in an office previously (I’m not sure how often they were being cleaned), I think I know why the stones might love doing this work. Its because I do at least five types of clearing / cleaning of the stones (once a month at least):

  1. Soak the stones in Epsom salts (after each use)
  2. Clean the stones with light, mild soap (after each use)
  3. Smudge the stones with Blue Sage (smoke – once / month)
  4. add a few drops of Palo Santo essential oil to the stones (very purifying and sacred oil – once / month)
  5. put the stones in a mesh bag and put them in a Chi-rich mountain stream for a few hours (once or twice / month)
  6. finally I allow the stones to soak up the rays of the Full Moon (if it is not raining – obviously once / month)

If you have not read previous posts in the past few months, you might want to go back through and read about my time in Massage School – where I deepened my connection to nature, to the Stone people, with Plant spirits and with the sacredness of offering bodywork in general. Which is a good segue into what I am going to mention next.

Giving the stones a chance is extremely important. They have much potent medicine in them. They can help to free up stuck energy (because the particular technique I was taught uses special tapping sequences along certain Acupressure / Acupuncture meridians), they can soak up tension and malaise as you lie on them and they can rub out worry and fear as we use various strokes with the stones.

What I mean by giving them a chance is that they can and will communicate with us if we are open to it. And fake it until it actually starts to happen if it doesn’t seem to be working! Rarely I will have an idea of where I want to put a stone – for instance tucking it under a thigh or foot, but then the stone will tell me it prefers to be somewhere else! (Rarely does this occur.)

So if you live in or near Charlottesville or Central Virginia, look me up, leave a comment here about setting up a Hot Stones treatment! I am offering discounted sessions for another few weeks – I need to get in another five practice sessions at least – help me out please! ūüôā

Thank you for reading!

~gratefully, KM

Donation to Kirby‚Äôs blogging efforts

Hi dear Readers, Help me buy tea so I can continue blogging. So if you enjoy what you are reading, please make a little donation. Thank you very much!

$10.00

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I received this incredible Hot Stones massage / treatment two nights ago and it moved me, seriously, I definitely felt a strong connection to those stones! This technique was created by a shaman here in Colorado. Although there are a number of similarities to the La Stones treatment (as all Hot Stone massages would be).

The shaman’s name is Christopher Beaver. He is very reclusive and keeps his shamanic work out of the mainstream media and off-line. But when he was a child, I think the story goes something like 5-years-old, he started speaking in a strange dialect. His parents had no clue what he was saying. After taking him (their child) to many linguistic professors and speech therapists, eventually someone said what he was speaking sounded like it was Native American (which could be one of several hundred languages!).

The story continues by saying that his parents took him to dozens of tribes and councils with no luck – no one knew what language this child was speaking. Eventually (a couple years later), they took him to a Choctaw council. Christopher spoke and none of the chiefs or elders present knew what he was saying. But apparently another elder showed up the next day and listened to the child speak in his rare dialect. The elder said that what he was speaking was not today’s version of the language but that the elder recognized that Christopher was speaking a dialect of Choctaw from 300 years ago.

It was eventually determined that Christopher was the reincarnation of a well-known Choctaw medicine man from 300 years ago or more. And it was eventually discovered that he could go into trance and discover answers to people’s questions that he had no reason to know.

Therefore, early in his 20’s, Christopher started taking on students. He teaches in many varied manners and he is interested in many things – artwork, jewelry-making, philosophy, shamanism (obviously), Buddhism, etc.

One such teaching that he gave was to one of the teachers here at the Massage School I am attending. In fact, she is the main teacher of this method now – Christopher sends people to her if they want to learn this technique.

The technique involves the use of Hot Stones, Swedish Massage techniques, Essential Oils and Acupressure knowledge – working with the meridians from Chinese Medicine and the Chakras.

She gave me this treatment two nights ago. And it rocked my world – I had visions, I stayed awake the entire time, I had an amazing array of dreams that night (I somehow remembered six dreams and wrote them all down – a high number for me) and I felt so so clear that night and following day. The treatment only lasted 75 minutes or so from the time she put hands on to hands off – 90 minutes including in-take and brief chat afterward.

Oh – and I had treated a client earlier that day who has Parkinson’s and it drained me a bit to work with him for 90 minutes. Great guy – I am just very sensitive and at times I am a bit of an empath, so I took on a bit of what may not have been mine. After the Hot Stones treatment, I felt completely rejuvenated and clear!

I am SO looking forward to learning this method. A friend has said she will gift me some hot stones when I get back to Virginia in a month plus. And I am very excited to practice this technique once I get the stones! ūüôā

Let me know if you live in Virginia and are interested in having me practice on you. I will charge a reduced rate for the first 10 sessions I give. After that, I will be charging at least $150 for a 90 minute treatment because we have to wash the stones after each treatment and then soak them in Epson Salts. Plus these sessions also use expensive Essential Oils and Oil Blends. But even at $200, I would pay this in a heart beat to receive this treatment again!

Thank you for reading,

~km

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It is quite amazing how little adjustments can make a huge difference.

Since I returned from Canada, I have gone through my nursing school books and notes and I recycled hundreds of pages which were just sitting on my shelf gathering dust. By moving all of those nursing books further away (because I am heavily leaning towards not going back to finish nursing), I felt a massive burden lift off my chest and shoulders. It was wild. I had been sitting with the dilemma of whether or not to go back and attempt nursing school again, for 8 months! And by sorting through that stuff, I made the decision on a somatic level. My head is still is a little wonky about it – I suspect a double bind is rearing its ugly head saying, “If you aren’t successful, people won’t respect you.” Or some such garbage – who cares about other people’s respect? I want for me to be content first and foremost. Then I might concern myself with other people’s reactions.

And I have been avoiding (consciously) an old acquaintance who, in the past, when I spent time with him, I always felt something was off. Turns out that his boundaries are not the greatest. The I Ching occasionally points out that spending time around people who are too resistant to change or to learning is a massive energetic drain. Any good psychology teacher would say this too. And that is what was happening with this person. I care about him and his family, but I am no longer going to spend one-on-one time with him and bring myself back to an earlier pattern of superficiality in the pretense of an authentic relationship. I am done twisting myself up into a pretzel to fit in with a tension field which I have no control over. In other words, when I feel certain somatic signals, it is time to get myself out of Dodge. I realize this paragraph might not make the greatest amount of sense if you don’t have a somatic background, but feel free to leave a comment if you need clarification.

Nonetheless, by clearing out stagnating energy or people from my life, I have made room for ease and grace and abundance. Nothing to force, nothing to make, nothing to tees into existence. I am (mostly) content with the way things are. Yes some days I still want things a certain way, but eventually I remember this simple practice:

Body rests like a mountain.

Breath like the ocean.

Heart like the sky.

(from Julie Henderson, PhD)

Thanks for reading!

May all beings know ease and grace.

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A friend just asked me, what is going on in the astrological skies?  At first I thought to myself, not much.  Pluto is not aspecting other major planets, neither is Uranus.  But then I realized that Neptune is indeed not quiet.  It is making a square to Saturn and has been off and on for at least the past 6 months.  It is strong again now as Saturn prepares to push past the square, until it comes to make a conjunction in late Pisces, 8 to 9 years from now.

So what does Saturn square Neptune mean?  And we could go even more subtle and ask what does the 2nd square mean (when Saturn starts to travel toward the conjunction)?

We can also peek at the signs and qualities involved. ¬†Sagittarius and Pisces, both mutable signs. ¬† For now however, let’s stick with the first question.

Saturn square Neptune: nuances flavors essences. ¬†Saturn is the disciplinarian and “he” gets a bad rap at times. ¬†But as I have mentioned in previous posts and articles, Saturn is vital for our society and vital for our inner growth. ¬†It is the structure around which the other energies of the chart flow. ¬†Saturn rules the bones and hard structures in the body and likewise without Saturn, the astrology chart might rapidly collapse. ¬†And then there is Neptune.

Neptune rules the swirling, churning, tidal oceans of emotion and creativity. ¬†He indicates mystical or psychic ability when positively aspects certain planets, and Neptune will indicate deception, delusion or illusion when making hard aspects with other planets. ¬†Some astrologers even say that Neptune symbolizes the entirety of the unconscious and therefore Neptune will play some role in all aspects of the mind – thinking, intuition, feeling, etc. ¬†Therefore Neptune goes really really deep. ¬†Things emerge out of the oceanic collective unconscious and disappear back into it. ¬†Therefore Neptune may even play a part in life and death myths. ¬†(To keep this post close to 1,000 words, I won’t say too much here.)

Saturn wants to build up a personality.  And if the individual has to have more alone time, then so be it.  You rarely find a CEO or General Manager who has a lot of friends on equal footing.  More like a social butterfly who has learned to smile whenever it is needed.  The ambition (Saturn) is far more important than the substance of their relationships.

Neptune is actually quite the opposite.  Neptune says, let me sacrifice my own desires and personal achievement for the good of the collective whole.  Neptune would rather set himself on fire than cause a lot of harm to the people around him (say by laying off a whole bunch of employees as a CEO).  Neptune and Saturn are basically opposites in a number of ways.

Saturn’s shadow is workaholism and too much structure and rigidity. ¬†Think of the shadow aspects of Capricorn and Aquarius (Saturn is basically a co-ruler here, after Uranus of course). ¬†Cold, harsh efficiency. ¬†A machine as far as optimal function and productivity are concerned. ¬†The empirical scientist who turns and runs as soon as certain emotions are brought up or displayed. ¬†Saturn loves the cold, hard facts. ¬†Research and realism are Saturn’s domain. ¬†He must learn to build in some heart and warmth and loving and kindness – and relaxing ease. ¬†Take a vacation, no structure to the days and do some art when the urge strikes you (Saturn might have a difficult time with this at first).

Neptune on the other hand, his shadow is escapism. ¬†Plain and simple. ¬†Escaping from the fact that drugs were used at the person’s birth (this might show up as Neptune conjunct the Ascendant or Moon). ¬†If this was the case, it could lead to the individual being really really good at dissociating from their body. ¬†Neptune loves colorful romance and idealized rose-colored-glasses wearing fairy tales. ¬†Neptune inspires the poets and the lovers and the artists and the playwrights. ¬†Just make sure that deceit and delusion do not follow along with those artistic endeavors (substance abuse anyone – Neptune’s calling card).

So what can happen when Saturn’s realism confronts Neptune’s desire for escaping into the collective unconscious? ¬†Sacrifice is one possible outcome. ¬†Honestly it depends on what this configuration is falling on in an individual’s chart. ¬†If Saturn is making a square aspect to Neptune in the sky above, but in your personal birth horoscope it is not actually touching anything (not in orb with any aspects to your personal planets) then you might not notice much at all.

However, if Saturn is making the square to Neptune above and in your personal astrology chart it is (the transit of these two planets) aspecting your Mars – maybe Neptune is conjunct your Mars by transit and therefore Saturn is also making a square to Mars, then you are bound to feel this energy. ¬†In this case you might temporarily sacrifice your ability to stand up for your needs and your desires. ¬†As the Saturn / Neptune square basically can last for 2 to 3 years, this might indicate that initially, you are making sacrifices and chewing on some old deep piece (subconsciously) and then once this aspect has been going a while you learn to stand up for yourself. ¬†You do the healing indicated by Mar’s position and sign and aspects in your chart. ¬†Maybe you overcome some self-doubt (if your natal Mars is making a hard aspect to Saturn or Neptune) or you overcome some early developmental piece through further learning and emotional process work.

Sometimes Saturn / Neptune hard aspects can indicate that Saturn is supplying Neptune’s active imagination with grist for self-doubt and worst-case-scenarios type of thinking. ¬†If this is happening, I might suggest yoga or bodywork or mindful exercise (Tai Chi, Chi Kung, martial arts, swimming perhaps) to come back into your body. ¬†This might especially be the case if this Saturn / Neptune aspect falls on or near Mercury or the Moon.

From a medical astrology standpoint (and I must make the disclaimer here that if you have a health issue, please take it right away to your nearest trusted licensed health care provider! *** seriously, I’m not a doctor ***), Neptune and Saturn can indicate a fascinating series of events as well. ¬†Neptune can cloud health issues – you might go to the doctor with Neptune conjunct your Sun or Moon and the doctor doesn’t understand you correctly or shrugs your issue off as not being that serious (or if Mercury is also retrograde) reads your test results wrong – which can either be a disaster or an error that leads to your eventually getting good news after a bout of worrying. Neptune can throw a wrench in the medical astrology works. ¬†And then there is Saturn.

Saturn can indicate a lowering of the immune system for a number of reasons Рover-work, too much stress (may be you have been the primary caretaker for your aging parent for 6 months now and you are starting to get exhausted), etc.  When Saturn crosses the Ascendant, this is usually when we get a longer bout with a flu virus or other disease that comes from the immune system dropping temporarily.  This is especially true with Saturn conjunct the Ascendant, Sun or Moon (or making a square).  And if Neptune gets involved with these three planets / influences as well, there is sure to be an interesting few months of health ups and downs.

So to conclude this piece, Saturn and Neptune make for very interesting (and basically polar opposite) bedfellows.  Saturn is the solitary leader, the one blazing a new trail or climbing the career ladder.  Neptune is the delicate artist who is sensitive to very subtle layers of emotion and energy.  Neptune can sometimes indicate healing abilities Рat least energetically (especially with a well-placed and well-aspected Chiron).  They both have interesting and varied forms of shadow sides.  And when they get together, growth and insight are likely Рbut it is through some suffering or sacrifice or suppression for a time.

Many things are possible when these two get together.  And thankfully, they have been close to each other for close to a year and now are starting to go their separate ways.  Astrology is a complicated subject and it is good to have a qualified astrologer look at your chart to take into consideration all the nuances and aspects.

Thanks for reading!

~km

 

 

 

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So I have been setting the intention to work with infants for a solid week.  Not a lot of time.  But already a precious baby manifested.  A friend at work was shaking as she described her 3-week-old niece nearly suffocating on her own thick mucous Рwhich she and the mother had to pump out to get her breathing easy again.  So I discovered an infant in need and I offered my services.

What services are those you might ask?  Emotional and physiological process work for babies.  Bodywork for infants Рjust listening and offering a safe space for the babies to show you what they need to release birth difficulties.  That is what.  I am not an expert, but I have been doing this work with adults for over 10 years now.  So fortunately it is not a huge step to translate that work to infants.  And I have a solid, skillful mentor.

I did hit one snag, one obstacle.  The mother does not speak English and my Spanish is poor at best.  Although I certainly learned a bit today!  There was a translator, but this presented a definite issue.  The mother was able to detach from me (and considering she did not know me prior to today) and focus on the translator.  I would have rather her stay more present to the baby and to my questions.  But I was flexible and I worked with the baby as best I could under the circumstances and she was very open to seeing what might transpire during the session.  Plus she gave me permission to discuss the session here on my blog (without any names being mentioned).

It went pretty well. ¬†I checked the baby’s diaphragms (energetic vortices around the babies chest and tummy), checked the baby’s cerebral spinal pump – the action of pumping its cerebrospinal fluid, tracked its CS fluid as it flowed from cranium to sacrum and finally did a brief little unwinding as the baby showed me the spirals it had to make during its birth.

There was definite evidence that positive changes were happening. ¬†The babies eyes seem to be brighter by the end of the session – maybe every clearer. ¬†And during the unwinding and spiraling portion, the baby’s skin tone changed colors which I pointed out to the mother.

Unlike my mentor, I do not fully understand everything that the baby is trying to communicate with me.  And keep in mind, a 3-week-old cannot communicate verbally.  When you have laid your healing hands on 1,000 bodies, those bodies start to speak to you and you are able to listen and intuit the meaning.  That is what happened with this baby.  You can tell when it is in distress due to pupil dilation or fists clenched.  I did not have to deal with much of that today.  But I do need to ask questions of my teacher regarding the mother РI think she may have been dealing with her own psychological stuff (whether her own birth issues or developmentals, I do not know).  I would like to find some resources for her however to make her motherhood journey easier.

I did schedule another free well-baby check up for two weeks from now.

I love working with babies!  By the way, if you know any babies under the age of 18 months in the Central Virginia area that might benefit from a wellness baby treatment, let me know!

Thank you for reading!

~K

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For some reason, I have been avoiding this topic in principle for years.  That would be the topic of giving treatments to babies.

I’m not sure why – perhaps because babies seem so fragile, or because I would not want to have the parents asking me all sorts of questions when my mind is in intuitive bodywork mode. ¬†It could also be because I have or had some unprocessed psychological stuff around my own birth and early upbringing (this is most likely the case).

My main bodywork teacher, Janet Evergreen, gives free treatments to newborns and any babies under 2 years of age.  She is possibly one of the most gifted spiritual healers on the East Coast of the United States.  And I do not say that lightly РI have had many teachers.  I have taken numerous empowerments and numerous Dharma teachings from many legitimate Tibetan lamas and yet Janet offers something unique, something a little bit different.  She is Buddhist, but she follows her heart.  She has a powerful root lama and yet she forges her own path at times.  She does not go by the book.  I do not quite know what to make of her.  But as far as teaching bodywork, there is no one else I would rather learn from.  (I have witnessed her work miracles with her clients in the most empowering way possible Рwe all have the ability to heal ourselves, and she does not want her students putting her on a high pedestal.)

She has been treating babies for years, and I have been taking her classes for years.  I have taken nearly all of her classes at least twice each РCraniosacral I, II, III, Supervision; Zapchen Somatics, Zapchen retreats, Advanced Zapchen 10-day retreats; Organs (visceral manipulation); Working with the Vagus system I, II.  I even joined a support group that she hosted for artists and bodyworkers and yogis and I was a part of that radically advanced and dynamic group for close to 3 years.  And this exhaustive list does not include the dozen of advanced Buddhist retreats that we were a part of together.  But I have never taken her Babies class.

Maybe I thought that I did not need to work with babies.  Maybe I thought that I would only be good at working with teenagers or adults (the populations I have had success with up to this point).

I have only worked with 3 or 4 babies with her – in 11 years of taking classes from her!

Yes, I fear that I have subconsciously been avoiding this topic.  Until today.

Today, I was blessed to be a part of treating two babies Рtwo 6-week old baby boys.  The fact that they were baby boys resonates with me.  I was a baby boy once.  There is a baby boy part of me.  I, like other baby boys, do not wish, did not wish to hurt my mother during my long birth process.

Today we treated 2 babies in under 3 hours and I was a part of it! ¬†I held the second baby’s occiput and helped with its rebirth process (where the baby is going through a re-do of its birth, how it spiraled its way out of the birth canal, pushing against the top of the womb with its legs). ¬†They were miraculous treatments. ¬†She did re-births with both babies. ¬†She checks the dura tubes of the babies, the diaphragms, the vault holds, the vomer bone (because this has a lot to do with their ability to suck on a nipple), and the craniosacral pump – she listens for the spiral dynamics still in the birth memory of the cells and she follows the baby as they unwind any birth trauma that their bodies are willing to reveal at the time. ¬†And she has many skills and knowledge (and wisdom) from working with Myrna Martin and pre- and perinatal psychology workshops.

It is a lot.  But babies are more flexible, more plastic, more able to change traumatic patterns within a few minutes.  Therefore they might be able to do a ton of releasing work in under an hour!

It is not a simple process.  Years of preparation and personal growth work have gone into her ability to do this.  She is not an ordinary human being.  Janet Evergreen is a dakini.  And (at the same time) she has a few human foibles (which she is working on).  But she is constantly working on herself and working to improve her classes and her teaching skills.

Somehow she combines the transcendent wisdom of the Buddha Dharma with the embodied wisdom of Zapchen and Continuum dynamics and Somatic Experiencing.  It is an amazing process which I am blessed to be a senior student of.

After working with babies today, I feel like I have discovered a new way to taking refuge (in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha).  I do not say that lightly.  Taking refuge in the 3 Jewels is a sacred and rare path toward enlightenment and joyful bliss.  I loved working with babies.  I loved having my hands on babies.  I want to learn more.  I have much to learn.  But I am eager to get started.

I fear that I have been wasting much valuable time.  It is time to get an office space going.  To attract new clients and to put out the willingness to help new babies unwind their birth trauma (and generational trauma).  Babies are the future.  Babies are extremely pliable.  If I can hold self-care and wisdom and compassion and wide, spacious awareness; then the babies will respond positively and reveal how to unwind them into the health that is never lost.

I am excited and nervous and worried about this promise to my heart.  Walking my talk, removing all that is harmful from my path, living in embodied visceral wisdom is not easy, nor is it comfortable.  But that is why I have taken this incarnation.  I seek to have a meaningful life.

I wish for all sentient beings to know happiness and its causes.  I wish for all beings to never experience suffering.  I wish for all babies to be free from suffering and its causes.

May it be so.

(Thanks for reading!)

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