|Chances to Change
|THEORY U AND ‘GUEST HOUSE FACILITATION’
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|Author:||veerle [ Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:06 pm ]|
|Post subject:||THEORY U AND ‘GUEST HOUSE FACILITATION’|
A ‘GUEST HOUSE FACILITATION’: LEARNING FROM THE FUTURE AS IT EMERGES
What unfolds if we apply ‘Guest House Facilitation’ as a two-day-workshop? What if the group has a clear challenge and a view on how they want to proceed?
We have seen magic happen when we do a three hour session. How this amazing and effortless tool allows us to transcend and include our inner box is extensively described in a previous article on this forum (viewforum.php?f=5).
I invite you to accompany me on this new adventure.
‘Guest House Facilitation’ is a living process and emerges and affects the past and future. When you knit the moments ‘now’ together, this unique practice reveals the theoretical model ‘Theory U’. Otto Scharmer ingenuously describes this model in his work (http://www.ottoscharmer.com).
How can we describe this ‘Guest House Facilitation’ two-day workshop?
It is a new and refreshing practice. The basic idea is the welcoming of all inner and outer guests. The inner guests are all your thoughts, feelings, emotions and sensations. The outer guests are all the participants, everybody who is present has a role in the bigger whole. Also the whispers are important.
We use Rumi’s well-known poem as a metaphor (The Guest House The Essential Rumi. HarperCollins Publishers, USA: 1995).
The major roots of ‘Guest House Facilitation’ are ‘Dynamic Facilitation’ and ‘Focusing’. ‘Dynamic Facilitation’ is a meaningful conversation invented by Jim Rough, it is the glue in our ‘Guest House Facilitation’. Dynamic Facilitation is not a dialogue, each participant addresses the facilitator and is reflected back what he or she is sharing (http://www.tobe.net).
‘Focusing’ is the practicality of Gene Gendlin’s philosophy of the implicit. The facilitator who applies ‘Focusing’, creates a pause and invites the participant to go inside his or her body with open attention. The philosophy trusts that the body knows. The open attention allows new possibilities to be carried forward (http://www.focusing.org).
The practice in this workshop is further flavoured by ‘Circle Practice’, mindfulness walking, embodiment to name a few.
Are you ready to embark on this real lively experience?
The initiative of the workshop arose through the leader of a core group of people active in an amazing movement in the Netherlands to create energy neutral houses and buildings.
The core group is a specific initiative within this movement and offers process support to four cities who committed themselves to create more then thousand sustainable and energy neutral houses within the coming five years.
The woman who created the opportunity for this workshop is a precious example of a new type of leader, ready to co-inspire her team and prepare a fertile ground and soil.
The core group had seven members, two men and five women. They already work together in this amazing project for several months. They agreed to have this workshop to prepare them for the future as it emerges and they were at the same time hesitant towards the process.
We start the gathering with a check-in conform the ‘Circle Practice’. I honour Anna Linea and Christina Baldwin for their persistent effort to bring this ancient from of gathering back to modern life (You can connect with Christina Baldwin and Ann Linea on http://www.peerspirit.com).
The check-in allows the participants to transition into the space. The momentum is slowed down and each person brings him or herself into the group.
My invitation to the participants is to present themselves, share how they feel and transmit their unique gift to the project.
We make a clockwise round. The sharing is already profound and yet at this moment nobody is ready to name any personal feelings, emotions or physical sensations. They all focus outside of themselves on the meeting and the organization. In the ‘Theory U’ model this is ‘downloading’, viewing the world through our habits of thought. The current reality surfaces (the table at the end of this article summarizes all the steps of ‘Theory U’, this is step 1).
After the check-in, we circle up around our centre. When I prepared the space, I created a simple centre with a few meaningful objects.
We set our intention and commitment by aligning our soul channel. This soul channel is how we incarnate as spiritual beings into this sacred physical body. It is our connection deeply grounded and supported through the core of the Earth, and inspired through our unique star in the Sky.
We go inside and connect with our deepest longing, with the reason why we are here, with our common commitment. Although quite different the participants share a profound commitment towards their project, the creation of energy neutral houses and buildings.
This common ground creates the start of our ‘Guest House Facilitation’. our sacred space is opened.
I explain that our gathering is a living process, a ‘being’, a field.
Through this ritual, we create coherence in the field. Coherence does not mean that everybody has to agree, long-standing differences can surface and co-exist once a deeper common purpose has been established.
I did not prepare the ‘Guest House Facilitation’. I am unable to make grand designs and plans for people who are not yet physically present with me in the workshop.
This prevents me from underestimating the amazing power, intelligence and leadership of this group.
Let us return to our workshop experience. The participants receive some basic guidelines about the ‘Guest House Facilitation’. I assure them, they are all guests. Any contribution is welcome and valid.
I explain some principles of Dynamic Facilitation. Any contribution is reflected and written on one of the flipcharts with as headings ‘data’, ‘concerns’, ‘solutions’. I pay attention to the flipchart with ‘how-questions’, which indicates a shift in the conversation. A shift can arise out of a contribution on any other sheet.
What is written is the responsibility of the participant, you own your contributions and how they are written. When it does not feel completely right on, you ask the facilitator to change.
I invite them all to speak to me and not to each other in order for the group to create safety for the unfolding process. You can speak when the other has completely finished. I explain that Dynamic Facilitation is not a dialogue, it is a we-flection creating space for the ‘unknown’ to unfold.
A participant phrases the first how-question is: “How can ‘we’ embark together, how can ‘we’ be together?”
This reflects what the group hopes to achieve, the general direction they want to head and why they embark on this journey. We have no idea where we will arrive, we board for a fascinating journey. The road will be build along the way.
One of the participants shares her concern: “I am afraid for to much structure in our chaos.”
She articulates our next how-statement: ‘How can we prevent to much structure to enter our chaos?”
This reflects a letting go of preconceived ideas and concepts, applying an open mind. This contribution reveals a desire to see reality in a fresh way. The field already affects the unfolding process. This is the phase of suspending in our ‘Theory U’ model (step 2 in our table).
Someone points out: “When we use the term ‘project’ that implies activities, responsibilities, timetables…. “
The group agrees to choose for the term ‘movement’.
A participant adds: “The bigger ‘movement’ contains many local tracks. Each of those tracks has its own DNA and they all contribute to the bigger whole.”
We arrive at: “What is the DNA of the whole?”
You can notice how the observed system is still seen as separate from ourselves. The participants describe the organization and the different tracks from a viewpoint outside of the whole system (still step 2).
And we shift into a deeper level: “How can ‘we’ allow transformation to unfold from our potential?”
One of the members says: “Discover who we really are, who the other really is, why the other is here? Why ‘we’ are here ‘now’?”
We effortlessly without any agenda reach a new level of perceiving.
The boundary between the observed organization and ‘us’ starts to vanish. We begin to see how ‘we’ are the organization. A deepening occurs and implies the redirection of the attention from the object of our attention, the organization to the process. This process is our field, the ‘being’ of our workshop.
In theory U this is a stage where we no longer only see, we also sense and begin to feel in our bodies, we open our heart, this is the redirecting phase (step 3). Dynamic Facilitation (DF) is a catalyst in allowing participants to share from there mind and heart.
A participant circles us back to our initial statement: “How can ‘we’ make the movement together, each with our unique identity?”
As a facilitator you can trust the circling back. Mostly this is a sign that the group needs a bit more time and will soon be ready to really embody the next phase of the process.
One of the participants accelerates the process: “Everybody needs to let go of his or her mask.”
This feels intuitively like a major contribution and one that requires a circle checking. I temporarily weaken the DF mode and switch to circle practice. I continue to take notes and to reflect what is said. We even create a how-statement: “How can ‘we’ invite the other to be flexible with their mask?”
And another how-statement shifts us back into DF mode: “How be authentic and take responsibility for ourselves?”
Someone says: “An organization often has a mask as well.”
Completed by someone else with: “You need both, personal and organisational development.”
Assembling in the how-statement: “How can ‘we’ facilitate the personal development of the many different individuals part of our ‘movement’?”
Evolving in: “When we want to move groups, we need to move ourselves!”
It is time for a break.
I use this time to make a summary.
We allow the abundance of things.
Personal process is a catalyst and an access to consciousness.
We embark on a journey bringing our uniquely coloured transformation.
We bring groups into movement, by being movement ourselves.
We connect the individual, the group and the society.
I offer this summary to the group after the break. A teaching naturally unfolds in the moment.
We allow the abundance of things. We have an inner box containing our pain, our defences, our patterns, our beliefs. This inner box also incorporates our impulses and instincts. Around this inner box is a whole field of endless possibilities.
Personal process is a catalyst. We often try to suppress our impulses and instincts, we create a split between our body and our mind.
We can discern four quadrants in our box. The upper left quadrant is ‘it’, how we objectively describe our reality, our body and behaviour. We identify a split between our body and our mind, how we objectify our body. The upper right quadrant is ‘its’, how we objectively describe our organizations and our systems, our society. We become aware of a split between ‘us’ and our organizations, systems, society, we objectify them.
The lower right quadrant is ‘we, our shared cultural values, in our stories we seem to hold the split and objectify the others. The lower left quadrant is ‘I’, our sense of self, our personal meaning. We acknowledge how easily we give our mind power over our body.
The access to consciousness is allowing us to embark on a journey transcending and incorporating our inner box, healing the split. Continuously allowing essence from the field of endless possibilities to nourish our inner box. The quadrant model is originally described by Ken Wilber, he describes the different quadrants as perspectives of truth. The exterior quadrants are as important as the interior ones, the personal quadrants as valuable as the group perspective.
(You can read more about the quadrant model in Ken Wilbers work: A Theory of Everything. An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science and Spirituality. Shambala. Boston: 2000).
Another teaching arises. Movement has been mentioned. Movement is created through the life pulse. The life pulse is a cosmic principle governed by alternating waves of stasis, expansion, stasis, contraction and back to stasis. A moment of stasis gathers momentum from the field of endless possibilities and embarks for an expansion through the exterior upper quadrants. It completes this wave in another moment of stasis preparing for the inward movement through the interior lower quadrants. This life pulse gives substance and movement into the quadrants (for more reading about the principle of the life pulse you can consult the Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 55: The Cosmic Expanding, Retracting and Static principles. http://www.pathwork.org).
The whole graphical representation connects the individual, the group and society.
We access the how-statement: “How do ‘we’ handle our impulses and instincts?” This generates an engaged sharing around the roles they take on, how they choose a role, they touch into authenticity and honesty.
We perform a check-out before our lunch.
There is curiosity, fascination and wonder. A feeling of being pregnant of potential.
Several participants experience connection. Someone feels ‘lost’ in transition. One of the participants experiences separateness, as we still all have our own thoughts.
We restart after our lunch with this feeling of separation. It feels for this participant as if the DF mode is accentuating this feeling. Because all the participants address the facilitator and not each other.
A how-statement arises: “How do ‘we’ allow the surfacing of transformation through language?”
A participant shares: “I feel distancing through words.”
Someone else adds: “Some words nail down, other words enlighten.”
One of the participants states: “We already discussed the same issues so many times.”
We have arrived at the next phase, there is doubt if something will actually happen, if the pieces are going to come together.
This moment is crucial to notice, it is the ‘groan’ zone, There is a huge tendency to jump into premature conclusions. It is primordial as a facilitator to hold space for this uneasiness, for the ‘unknown’, for the boiling potential, for the uncertainty.
In our ‘Theory U’ model we arrive at the letting-go of the old; of how we think, things should happen, how we need to act. Otto Scharmer names this the opening of the will. It is letting-go of action and listen to a deeper calling (step 4).
In our workshop, I name the stuckness, the uneasiness, the irritation. I invite each individual to sustain this as long as possible and wait until ‘something’ is ready to surface. They are all summoned to stay silent and find a place to be alone and wait, come back to the group when they are ready.
This ‘something’ is the ‘presencing’ in our ‘Theory U’ model, this is the bottom of the U. We are ready for the ‘presencing’, the connection with source, with something that is bigger than we are.
Allow the field of the future to come through, to emerge (step 5).
When everybody is ready we continue our experience in a circle way with DF flavours. I still take notes of everything that is shared, I continue as a facilitator to ask clarifying questions if appropriate and at the same time I allow the participants to find their own way of sharing, drawing, exploring what has come through. This is the ‘letting-come’ of the new in our ‘Theory U’ model (step 6).
In the group at this time a wonderful intense sharing surfaces. I continuously invite people to keep their mind, heart and will open. To share from within their bodies. To speak with each other from a space where body and mind are one.
One of the participants starts to draw her vision: “! discern a unique part of each individual that is not shared with the whole. This unique part consists of the capabilities, the insights, the unique vibration of that individual.
At the same time many seeds are planted, each seed will have its own wave, its own unique movement and will be nurtured and nourished through the unique not shared part of the individual.
The connection has to touch your ‘being’, very personally.”
Another participant adds: “We need a safe container. And what we need, the world needs.”
This inspires someone else: “I feel excitement. Finally I can be big. And I perceive fear for the responsibility.”
The sharing continues: “This whole movement gives me life force.”
“The dynamic is unpredictable, we need ongoing reflection, accepting all that is.”
“We embark on a new way of doing things, there are not yet words available.”
“What personally affects us, will also affect the bigger whole.”
“Allowing the vulnerability and make real contact.”
One of the participants continues: “Feels I am on another wavelength. As if we have to stretch time and space, hold the tension. Creating a container to allow a process of growth, taking into regard the natural principle of the life pulse.”
We already discovered the importance of the life pulse. There is a life pulse in all that lives. Each organization, system, group, gathering, workshop has a life pulse and all the different components are equally important. The stasis is needed, we gather momentum for our coming expansion out of the field of endless possibilities, we gather essence or life force. In the expansion we go out toward the other, we exchange, we relate. The next stasis prepares us to go inward. The contraction phase is the introspection and reflection on what happened in the expansion. We often have a preference for one of the phases through our unique personality mix.
The same participant continues: “Maybe we need a tropic climate, a continuum with ongoing movements and a more steady progress.”
Another participant recycles it to the individual person: “Are we charged enough ourselves to hold the whole ‘movement’?”
We perform a check-out for dinner and decide to let everything ferment during the evening and the night.
The participants feel satisfied and full, filled with life force, joy and curiosity.
As the facilitator I look through all the harvest of the day after dinner and take this with me during the night.
In the morning I have digested the whole first day and I am ready to produce a summary.
In ‘Theory U’ this is the phase of ‘enacting’, redirecting the inner attention from the inner vision to the exterior action. Crystallizing the intention and vision. New thinking and principles are coming into being (step 7).
We achieve a common vision and intention comprising the power of each individual contribution and the strong connection with the bigger whole.
We cultivate many seeds and nourish those with ‘us’.
We need a safe container and so does the bigger whole.
We are allowed to become ‘big’ and be part of something that is much bigger.
We extend the objective description of ourselves and our ‘movement’ and allow the ‘unknown’, the friction in the moment ‘now’.
Trust in ourselves and in the bigger whole, trust all the others who are touched by this bigger whole. We create a ‘we, the people’ and extend our social perspective, we give every single person a voice.
We want to be included and we want to acknowledge all those on whose efforts we stand. We rewrite the stories op the past, we play with language, use other words, new words.
Connecting with ourselves in order to connect with the bigger whole. Honesty, authenticity, unconditional responsibility to broaden our ‘I’ perspective.
We feel ourselves at the edge of what is unfolding and we want to stretch time and space and realize how we as individuals are the limiting factor in this movement.
We incorporate at this moment a silent mindful walk. We allow the harvest of yesterday to deeply sink into our individual potential in order to take it from there.
Mindful walking is shift our attention to the walking, the way how you put one step after another. Drop everything else and simply notice what is happening in your mind and your body. Is there any tightness, how do you walk, what are your thoughts, how do you feel. It is loving all the details in the moment ‘now’.
This is the next step in our ‘Theory U’ model, the ‘embodying’. This is the phase of prototyping, we explore the future by doing, enacting the new by being in dialogue with the Universe. Mindful walking seems the ideal way to achieve this (step 8).
When we return from our walk, this feels as a huge acceleration. We are ready for the next round, creating new core activities and processes.
I shift from writing on the flipcharts to typing on a word document that is displayed on a screen. I continue to use the same columns ‘data’, ‘concerns’ and ‘ideas/solutions’. The how-statements change into ‘palpabilities’. The participants still address me when they share. We need a safe container, we have reached a deep level of personal process.
One of the participants shares: “The walk revealed the different roles for me. One of us took the lead, some changed positions, some stayed in the middle, I felt more an explorer. There is happening a great deal in the world. We need to become a team, a team that moves inside and outside. In order to achieve this we need a physical space to reside. We also need to relate with the other core groups within the same ‘movement’.”
The metaphor of the roles taken while walking brings us from the ‘embodying’ into the ‘performing’ stage. We move from process back to content by bringing in the practicality of changing roles (step 9).
One of the participants sets the scenery for this rich amazing sequence of our workshop.
She relates: “I always need a navigator next to me, somebody who creates the safety and the container for me to do my thing…… “
There is a silence.
She continues: “How can I create this safety for others?”
“I am scared, I know I am ready and I am scared.”
“I see how I have always avoided to do what I long to do, create a safe and nourishing container.”
I ask her: “How do you make that concrete?”
“I give recognition, set my energy.”
As a facilitator I include process work in my DF-ing. I use sensing, ‘focusing’, embodying, reflecting, mirroring, curious asking. I bring in all of who I am.
We start an amazing round where every participant finds a new aspect of him or herself and brings this into the group.
Every participant is summoned to make this new aspect of themselves as concrete as possible. Contributions of other participants are welcomed in the moment and add to the beautiful inspiring mix we are creating.
As a facilitator you hold all the different threads. You trust that nothing is lost, what needs to be more attention, will surface again.
What follows gives you a flavour of what unfolded in reality. It is impossible to give a report of all the details.
The next participant shares: “My life long, I have always filled a room with ‘me’. Recently I choose to be behind. I noticed on our walk how one of us walked really sloppy. From behind I still control. I want people to be obedient….”
The woman who is described as walking sloppy, feels attacked. I give her space.
This is a beautiful example of the welcoming of all the inner guest in ‘Guest House Facilitation’.
She shares: “I feel rejected when how I physically move is criticised.”
We pause and I ask her to go inside: “What is happening inside of you?”
She speaks from this inside place: “I see myself as pure, authentic and sometimes stumbling on my unique path. From this place I am a gift to others.”
And: “I get triggered when he asks me to be obedient. It feels as if I have to listen to the head of somebody else.”
I ask her: “Are you ready to understand what he means with ‘be obedient’?”
This is another major aspect in ‘Guest House Facilitation’, try to really get each other, to really understand the other and to not take your own interpretations for granted.
This invites another teaching. Listening has many layers. Mostly we only ‘download’, we assume that what we hear is what we already know. We do not listen. Sometimes we are able to hear new aspects and are able to complete what we assume already to know around what is shared. An even deeper layer in listening is being completely open and receive the other, listen with an open mind and open heart, be receptive.
We return to the man who was sharing. He says: “Being obedient is listening to something that is bigger then I am. It is coming home, it is my answer to being homeless.”
The woman replies: “That makes such a difference, I am naturally connected with a source that is bigger then I am. This is my gift to others. Obedience in this sense is so easy.”
So amazing how things are different when we really get the other. When we connect with each other from our bigger ‘us’.
The man continues: “I realize I still control the group, now from behind…..”
A silence unfolds….
I ask him: “Where do you feel that in your body? Can you speak with us from that place?”
He goes on: “I need to go and stand in the middle and make connection. This is unknown territory for me and still I need to go and take my place in the middle.”
I inquire: “Can you make this more concrete for us?”
He continues: “I stand in the middle and create space. I listen…
I want to be ‘all heart’.”
I inquire: “Do you have any concrete plans?”
He says: “I will let go of my agenda’s. Allow to go in contraction without experiencing this as depression. Stand in the middle and not exerting control.”
We return to the woman who already shared her confusion.
She says: “My role is in the middle, in the front and in the back. I will no longer apologize myself. I am ready to be concrete. I can give space for many perspectives. Allowing all that ‘is’ to be okay. I mirror trust and love for all the people engaged in our movement.”
We continue this process for everybody.
Another participant realizes: “I see how things are, how they can become. It is my challenge to transmit what I see.”
A silence occurs….
I ask her: “How can you use your brilliant mind and not be trapped by it?”
There is a pause…..
She replies: “When I open my heart, I perceive softness and fluidity…. and there is layer above my heart where there is panic…. “
Then she continues: “This panic is my protection and my despair.”
She ponders: “It will be different to sit in my heart and take action from this place. I need more time to sit with this perspective.”
Another participant receives feedback from the group: “You are like quicksilver!”
He reflects back: “How can I make use of this fluidity, this power inside of me?..... How do I define myself with regard to the others? I want to be in the middle, be open and vulnerable and still be seen.”
We include an experiential and allow this participant to make contact with us from this place of vulnerability. I allow him all the time and space he needs and invite him to start with me and progress step by step.
This experience is very profound, I decide to come back to him at the end for his ‘palpabilities’. Sometimes somebody shares and then needs space in order to continue and make the sharing more concrete, more palpable.
A participant is ready to process, she shares: “If it was up to me, I would fly away. I want to know where I am, I do not want to know where I am heading to.”
I introduce a pause.
I wonder: “Why are you so quick?”
We include an experiential to allow this participant to feel completely filled with herself. All the other participants are invited to connect with their own bodies and join the experience. We start at her toes and allow her to feel her energy fill herself step by step until her whole body is filled with vibrations and allow her to sustain this energy and not discharge.
She reflects: “I naturally receive a great deal of energy from the Earth. When I allow the charge in my body, I am so much more present…… I need time, I do not want to receive any feedback at this moment.”
The last participant is ready to be seen, she expresses: “I am so stuck in fulfilling the assumed expectations of others….. As if this is my reason to exist….. “
I invite her to pause.
I wonder: “What if you drop the expectations?”
She replies: “I am more present, I have more space.”
The other participants reflect her the core values they see in her.
After this intense sequence the group receives a break. I use this time as a facilitator to make a summary to come to completion.
When they return to the session, I offer each participant a short reflection of their process work.
I point to the amazing amount of work that has been achieved in this workshop. How this is not an end, though a beginning, an ongoing invitation to own more of themselves, to let go of the old and allow the new to come in. This will continue to carry on, in each moment the past is changed and the future emerges in ever widening circles
As is made visible in our graphic, we went through the whole ‘Theory U’ model, step by step, effortlessly, without any agenda.
The group held space by opening their mind and let go of preconceived ideas of how the space needs to unfold. They saw with fresh eyes.
They opened their heart and senses. They brought all of them into the process and held space for all what was present in the moment. They perceived in their body what unfolded.
Opening their will allowed the calling to happen and they connected with source. Inspiration flowed through their knowledge and allowed them to find new and refreshing paths.
As a facilitator you hold space for uncertainty, a radical uncertainty in which the rules and even the game itself are transforming in surprising ways.
The Universe contains every possible version of existence and history simultaneously in what is called quantum superposition. When we give our attention, the superposition becomes our reality and the wave of possibilities collapses in the moment we experience as ‘now’. (Steven Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow The Grand Design, New Answers to the Ultimate Questions of Life Bantam Books: London: 2011).
This is the theoretical explanation of the connection between ‘Guest House Facilitation’ and the ‘Theory U’ model. The different steps are superpositions that become our reality.
While this unfolds, the facilitator continuously takes into account the many other superpositions that are equally valuable. Those other superpositions co-exist in the space that is created during the workshop, and can become a superposition that becomes a reality as a piece of theory, an experiential, a moment of deep process work.
‘Guest House Facilitation’ is the practicality of ‘Theory U’ in an amazing new and exciting way. What can unfold is beyond our imagination.
We are much more miraculous and astonishing than we imagine and so is each living ‘being’ we create through our meetings, workshops, events, gatherings, organizations, systems. A model can only assist us to grasp a glimpse of endless possibilities of what is happening in ‘Guest House Facilitation’.
The magic is realizing that we all have an amazing multivibrational potential this includes our power of authenticity, our own nature which is present and always available within.
Through being completely present you are able to hold space for all the inner and outer guests.
You heal yourself, you own your unconscious existing frames and forces and transcend those frames and forces in an including way.
You reconnect matter and mind instantaneously and connect with a wholeness that has always been available.
When you heal yourself, you heal your larger context, you create a fertile common ground and soil.
‘Guest House Facilitation’ allows all of who we are to coalesce in the moment ‘now’, we rewrite our past experiences and build on a future that emerges.
I hope this article inspires you and I look forward to how that crystallizes in you.
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