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Four Simple Hacks That Can Help Liberate Anyone From Experiencing Stress

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This is an excerpt of a workshop coordinated by VÉRONIQUE BRASSELET and EMMA MILESI during the Heartfulness days at the Cité Internationale in Lyon in January 2016.

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The Heart’s Simplicity Reduces Stress

Stress is everywhere in our daily lives. When it is positive (eustress), it is considered beneficial; when it is negative (distress), it inhibits our potential and prevents us from accomplishing our objectives.

What is stress?

Stress is something that causes a state of strain or tension.

What hides behind stress?

Our fears. Fear is part of daily life, and it is present everywhere. According to its intensity, stress will be more or less severe, uncomfortable, challenging, or crippling.

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Various sources of stress

1. Daily worries — for example, missing the bus and arriving late, or being unable to finish all that was planned for the day.

2. Undergoing fear — for example, speaking in public, being interviewed for a job, not reaching our parents’ expectations, or required job performance.

3. Undergoing binding, sometimes crippling fear — for example, reliving an old wound that made us suffer. Examples include not being loved, being abandoned, failing, hurting others, or the fear of being judged by others.

4. The growing pace of life — for example, fear of anything new, of change, or of not adapting.

Fear/Stress is a film we create for ourselves, a mental scenario, which confines us to a narrow vision excluding reality. Our interpretation distorts reality into false beliefs about ourselves and others.

Stress, in particular distress, reveals that something is not quite right, and allows us to question ourselves: “What is causing me to feel stressed or frightened?”

Various Reactions Under Stress

Our survival instinct forces us to act in one of three ways: defend ourselves, flee, or stay dumbstruck on the spot!

Stress acts specifically at different levels

1. The Brain

spiritual-self-beingStress specifically targets the brain areas implicated in coordinating cognition and emotions:

a) The cognitive functions coordinated by the prefrontal cortex, such as language, memory, and the ability to reason, plan, and organize.

b) Adaptability — calmness, problem solving, and decision-making.

c) Emotions, such as aggression, fear, and pleasure, controlled by the limbic system.

According to the degree of stress, we more or less lose these faculties, and this can lead to lack of spontaneity, to depression, and even to psychomotor retardation.

The limbic system is the seat of our impulses, fears, and angers. It emotionally colours any information received and grades it as agreeable or disagreeable. Its main function is survival by suitable adaptation to the social environment. Under stress, it focuses on survival — fight or flight — and deprives us from thinking clearly, e.g. blank page syndrome.

Consequently, with stress (distress), we lose our capacity for reflection, and emotions take over. Take, for example, a job interview; some will have clammy hands while others will not turn up, the stress being too unbearable.

How Does the Brain Treat Information?

Imagine your brain as a multi-storey house.

First of all, information goes to the reptilian brain, the instinctive brain. If the body is in survival mode, as when you are hungry, for instance, the information will be slowed down, even completely blocked if the hunger is severe. If body survival is not threatened, the information moves to the second storey into the limbic system, the emotional brain.

Here the information is classified as agreeable or disagreeable. If it is agreeable, it passes through to the cortex and then you may have an answer to your mathematics problem! If it is considered disagreeable, failure is guaranteed! In the worst of cases, the limbic system will not allow the information to pass to the cortex.

How does the limbic system assess information? Like an arbitrator, it adds up the plusses and minuses.

For each disagreeable thought it allocates a minus, and for each agreeable thought it allocates a plus. Say you have a math problem. If you say, “I am hopeless at math,” or “This teacher is poor,” or “My family has never been good at math,” it is a minus. If, on the other hand, you are feeling positive, then you create a plus.

To continue the metaphor of the multi-storey house, let’s say there is a door to go from the limbic system to the cortex. The plusses try to open the door, while the minuses try to shut it. The team that has the most wins.

What does a team coach do before a football match? He talks positively to the players, saying, “We will win,” and “We are the best,” so the information passes directly to the cortex and the team can play at its best level.

In fact, when information is considered agreeable or very agreeable by the limbic system, the limbic system passes it to the cortex, and then the cortex deals with it as a priority.

2. The Hormones

The hormones adrenaline and noradrenalin are released in stressful situations, and they accelerate our heart rhythm and breathing to allow the organs linked to movement to increase their functions and thus to support defence or escape.

3. Behaviour and Emotions

Stress leads to:

  • Dependency, jealousy, withdrawal, and even submission,
  • Withdrawal due to fear of showing weaknesses and not meeting expectations
  • Difficulty in saying no, tendency to avoid conflicts,
  • Hindrance of all action and relations,
  • Withdrawal due to sadness and despondency,
  • Compensation, such as eating disorders, drinking, and smoking.

Activity: How to Liberate Stress in Four Stages

spiritual-self-beingAsk a friend to guide you through the steps.

Step 1: Observe it

Put yourself at ease, breathe calmly, and close your eyes. Observe any current stress that you feel.

Identify the emotions that take place inside you when you are aware of that stress.

Identify the physical symptoms that appear, such as sweating, breathing, clammy hands, etc.

Identify how you react to this stress: Do you run away, stand up to it, or become inert?

Note the stress level on a scale from 1 to 10.

Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose, and breathe out through your mouth.

Step 2: Feel it

Recognize it, expressing inwardly, “I feel stressed because…”

Inhale slowly through your nose, and exhale through your mouth.

Feel this stress as deeply as possible, so as to integrate it.

Feel the emotions that surface. We are often afraid to feel these emotions because we think they are bad and we will become like that.

Inhale slowly through your nose, and exhale through your mouth.

Step 3: Accept it

Welcome your stress without judging and with benevolence, as it is part of you.

Inhale slowly through your nose, and exhale through your mouth.

Accept it. What feelings occur when you do? What physical changes do you observe?

Welcome this new sensation, explore it, appreciate it, amplify it while breathing naturally, let it spread throughout your body, and feel the energy circulating.

Step 4: Integrate it

Do you feel that something has changed or loosened?

Be ready to listen to a new understanding.

Bring your attention again to the same stress: How do you feel now with it? If there is no improvement, wait some time and if necessary, try again.

Note the stress level that you feel now on a scale of 1 to 10.

Thank yourself that you took care of yourself.

When we take the time to welcome what happens inside us and acknowledge it, we digest it better. We give ourselves permission to live in the present. Then, slowly, we will accept it, integrate it, and then transcend it.

This is our personal work.

When we cut ourselves off from our feelings, we try to stand back and intellectualize, and then our emotions take over. To free ourselves from our stresses is a proof of maturity and wisdom.



Article and activity by VÉRONIQUE BRASSELET and EMMA MILESI

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Consciousness

Full Moon In Aries: Addressing Wounds & Limitations

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We are having a Full Moon in Aries on September 24th/25th, depending on where you’re located in the world. This marks the peak of the Lunar Cycle that began on September 9th with a New Moon in Virgo. The energies of a Full Moon gradually build up earlier in the Moon cycle and become more noticeable on the day of and days surrounding it. It is also a part of the backdrop of the other astrological energies over the following 2 weeks.

The Sun entered Libra a few days prior which is always at the Equinox as per the Tropical Zodiac. The Equinoxes and Solstices are powerful points of transition which are the beginning of the next quarter/season of the astronomical year. Considering that the Full Moon is so close to this Equinox, it amplifies the transitional energy of this period.

At every Full Moon we experience a push-pull between two opposing signs, in this case it is the Sun in Libra opposing the Moon in Aries. As mentioned, Libra season just began and will last until October 23rd. Ruled by Venus, it is about relating/relationships, aesthetics/beauty, creativity, balance, diplomacy, equality, cooperation, and consideration. It can also be indecisive, superficial, vain, lack action, and can be overly co-dependant in many ways yet emotionally detached at the same time. As an Air sign, it is socially and intellectually oriented.

Aries, ruled by Mars, is about self-initiation, action, assertiveness, boldness, independence, self-interests, and taking the lead. It is also a ‘quick’ energy. Negatively, it can be hot-tempered, aggressive, restless, impatient, and lack consideration. As a Fire sign, it is energetic and instinctual. During this time we should see the energies of both of these opposing signs playing out either through us and/or around us.

Full Moon Conjunct Chiron, Square Saturn, and Opposing Mercury With The Sun

This Full Moon is really close to Chiron (also in Aries) while moving towards a square with Saturn in Capricorn and an opposition to Mercury (also in Libra). This period may highlight anything connected to our wounds, blockages, negative patterns, traumas, and/or it may also bring up our gifts in relation to those.

Chiron has a holistically healing quality, and perhaps this period can reflect taking action towards healing. It is also a ‘bridge’ energy, especially between the physical and the spiritual, but can also bridge other things as well. Chiron is also currently retrograde and is changing signs (to Pisces) less than 24 hours after this Full Moon. This reinforces how Chiron themes can be coming up strongly at this time, and perhaps it could be connected to our wounds and issues that have come up sometime in the last 7-8 years.

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Saturn in a T-square with this Full Moon can bring up themes around limitations, challenges, responsibility, or discipline. These can be in connection with the Libra-Aries opposition as well as Chiron themes mentioned above. In some cases, we may need to get real and put effort towards fixing our blockages. Mercury in the equation could have to do with issues around the way we think or communicate.

The Sun is Aligned with The Super Galactic Center

The Sun is aligned with the ‘Super Galactic Center’ which is what our galaxy rotates around along with other galaxies. The SGC, along with the GC (our galaxy’s center) are points in the sky that have to do with higher consciousness, spiritual evolution, and tapping into new ideas and concepts that help to push humanity forward.

This SGC amplifies some of the Libras qualities around relationship and creativity, but has deeper meaning around them. It can also be connected to soul retrieval and healing, similarly to Chiron. These themes may also be connected to some of the other stuff mentioned throughout this article.

Aries Ruler Mars In Aspect With Full Moon While At The South Node, Returning From Being ‘Out Of Bounds’

The ruler of this Full Moon, Mars, is aligned with the South Node and a trine/sextile with the Sun and Moon. It is still in its post-retrograde period for the next two weeks as it begins to pick up speed. On the day of this Full Moon, Mars also returns from being ‘Out of Bounds’ which isn’t a common occurrence. This is when a planet orbits outside of a space of where it normally is from our Earth based perspective, outside of the ‘Ecliptic and Celestial Equator’. This began on July 7th during its retrograde.

When a planet is ‘out of bounds’, it is generally a time when a planet explores new territory beyond the normal constructs of how it usually expresses itself. It can be in unusual, unique, independent, unconventional, innovative, and even creative ways. Mars has to do with how we use our willpower, our actions/assertiveness, our motivations, our desires, sexuality, and how we deal with aggression and anger. With the ‘out of bounds’ ending now, it can be a time of integrating more of what we learned or experienced over the last 2.5 months.

This combined with the Mars retrograde indicates a re-orientation of how we apply Mars. Being near the South Node, it also brings themes in relation to the past (perhaps karmic) and could also be connected to Aquarian areas of friendships, ideals, and collective efforts. Perhaps a need to release something in terms of how we apply our Mars energy and/or in relation to Aquarian areas. The South Node connection also reinforces some of the Chiron and Super Galactic Center themes mentioned above.

Libra Ruler, Venus, Going Retrograde Soon

Venus is currently slowing down and will go retrograde on October 5th while in Scorpio. Since early September, we have been in a period in which shifts and new developments around Venus areas of love, relationships, sex, values, beauty, creativity, and even financially can start to play out. Or certain things that have been going since then may lead to changes and adjustments to these areas which will occur during and after the retrograde from October to December.

Prior to and during the retrograde, Venus interacts with Mars in a square. This could be about our recent Mars lessons and re-orientations having an effect on Venus related areas which will undergo its own recalibration process of its own.

Things To Consider During This Period

What are your self-interests at this time and how can you balance this with the consideration of others? What areas of your life require healing and what has been coming up to show you this? How can you apply better effort and discipline towards dealing with your blockages, limitations, and wounds? How can you take on more of a holistic approach? What aspects or relationships of your past do you need to address? What behaviors do you need to release from? What did you realize or explore in the last 2.5 months and how can you incorporate this to achieve greater harmony and fulfillment in your life.

These are just some examples of what may be coming up for you, however, there may be other variations of this energy playing out as well.  If you wish to do any sort of intentional release connected to what has come up at this Full Moon, it is best to do so anytime over the two weeks following, when it is waning. The exact moment of this Full Moon is on September 25th at 2:52am Universal Time. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

Follow me on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, and YOUTUBE for more astrology related content.

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Looking for insight on how this period is affecting you? Or perhaps looking to better understand your life and its potentials? Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order.

 

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Consciousness

Your Life Is Not Limited To One Path

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In life, we often get stuck telling ourselves stories about what the 'best' path in life to take is. It's often based on chasing others' or societies dreams and aspirations, without looking at our own.

  • Reflect On:

    Do we tell ourselves what the 'right choice' or 'wrong choice' is on our own path? What is it based on? Where does our programming come from? Can we not let go of limiting programming? Is our programming our TRUE path?

It is no secret that life can sometimes feel like a limited paved road laid out before us that we feel the need to stick to. Look at how we are brought up. Most of the time we come into the world and begin gaining our perceptions from those closest to us –our parents. As time goes on we find ourselves in school. Throughout that time we also begin watching what others do around us, what we see on TV and in movies.

What is happening is we are observing and creating an idea of how life should be; the best way to play the game. But what is ‘best?’

How many times have we heard “That’s not the best decision” or “That’s not the best decision for the whole family.” When you look at either statement you realize that “best” is subjective. What the “best” is to one person may not be the “best” to another. Even further, both of the perceptions of “best” are created from whatever belief systems each have created in their own lives. This is the key factor to realize.

We Get Trapped in Belief Systems

In either case, both scenarios have one thing in common, a belief system of what the “best” choice or decision is. When we create a belief system like this, we limit how we view things. We no longer feel what is “best,” but instead we analyze and define “best” based on a story; often a story from the past, based on entirely different times than the present moment.

Let’s take the example of a child coming out of high school today.  9 times out of 10, that child will be told, and may even believe, that the “best” decision they can make for their life is to continue their education at university or college. It does not matter that they do not know what they want to study, or that the education system will potentially cost them $100,000+, many will state that is best -and even have pride about it.

Next, they would be told to get a job so they can buy a house, as owning and buying a house is a smart decision. Should this child begin their life based on these belief systems, more often than not they will take this idea of what is “BEST” throughout the rest of their life. They will judge their decisions by this, express emotions based on this, develop self-esteem based on this and so forth. From then on, every decision they make will be based on this belief system handed down and taught to them.

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Even getting specific, what to study in school, what type of job to get, what type of car to buy, how to spend and save money, what type of house to buy and so on. What is really happening with all of this? We are defining the ideal life or what’s “best” and then we limit our life to a small scope of how things should be.

The Deep Truth

Here is the absolute truth, ready? None of it has any real truth to it. It’s just all a belief system. Perception, ideas! But we often live by this and it becomes so real in our minds that we become stuck thinking this is the way to do it. Then when depression and anxiety follow, as we may believe we are stuck, we forget to look back on the belief system that is often caging us and our reality into a small tight space we often don’t deeply resonate with.

Look at our world. We often all chase the same thing, the same stuff because that is what we have been sold as the ideal life. Each area of the world has its own version of this. Who’s life are you really living? Whose dreams are you chasing and carrying out? We take on these beliefs and we begin to sacrifice ourselves, our health, and our soul desires so we can carry out someone else’s idea of “best” that we grabbed onto.

Back to the child from the example above. Now they have grown into a young man or woman and are in a job they don’t truly like. But it pays the bills and lives up to the idea of “best” that has been given to them. Most of the time, people around them will all reinforce that their decisions are the “best” because they have all been sold on the same belief system. “You have to make sacrifices, you have to work really hard to have a good life!” is what we are told. But who says what is “good?” Even when that grown up child is expressing their sadness or frustration for the reality they are in, we continue to reinforce it to protect the idea of ‘the best.’

We take this entirely expansive creative individual playing in an expansive playground called Earth and we confine them to this tiny little narrow path of what the “best” is. Instead of spending their life being able to make any choice they choose, they stay limited to what they have been sold as the “best” even if they don’t truly love it.

Even Deeper

Then you have the even deeper part, we then look upon and judge others when they make “the wrong decisions.” Look at how we view those who change their minds about what they want to play with all the time. What do we say about those people? “They need to make up their mind and get their life on track.” What track? There is a track? Says who? “They didn’t make a smart decision with their money or their house so they are going to pay for it later.” Who says some decisions are better than others? Is it not an experience either way?

You are the creator of your life and reality. You can choose to play and create whatever type of life you choose. And guess what? If you make a decision and start creating a particular life then you realize you want to create something new, you are free to do this!

No matter what story we tell ourselves like: “it’s too late, I can’t change this now, it’s too costly” etc. know that these are all egoic illusions. You are never limited to whatever life you have created even if you have been doing it for 30 years. Remember to ask yourself: the life you are chasing, the goals you have set, who’s goals are they really? Where did you first hear of them? Are they from your heart? Or are they what you have been sold?

Look inside yourself at what YOU TRULY want and how you wish to express yourself and create. Start there, and create from that space. You will see very quickly that you can create anything you choose.

Remember, there is no right or wrong path here. It’s about looking back on what we choose, where we are at and saying “Is this where I want to be? Am I feeling peace? Expressing my deepest self? Am I inspired about where I am at?” and if you aren’t, you create a new path and see how that feels. Follow how you FEEL, not what you seek as right or wrong. Our life reflects our state of consciousness.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Consciousness

The Hero’s Adventure: What Movies Can Teach Us About Facing Our Shadow

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The Hero's Journey is a multi-staged adventure whereby the 'hero' grows to become a new version of themselves, one that is evolved and at a 'higher level' per se.

  • Reflect On:

    Movies can be viewed in many ways. Some see it as programming others as inspiration. How can we use what we see in movies in our own lives? To grow and evolve as people? To recognize our true callings vs those of Hollywood?

The hero’s adventure is a term popularised by Joseph Campbell based upon his 1949 work “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”. The late Campbell was an American Professor of Literature and a philosopher who described the adventure one must embark upon to fully realise who he/she is.

A simple explanation from Campbell:

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

Campbell uses the word monomyth to describe this adventure which was taken from James Joyce’s book Finnegans Wake.

According to Campbell the monomyth contains 3 stages, with 17 subsections. Not all journeys contain all sections and no two adventures are the same, yet the hero’s adventure follows a surprisingly similar pattern. The 3 stages are 1. A call to seek out some kind of adventure. 2. A trial or initiatory period where the hero must face an obstacle or series of obstacles. 3. The return back home with that which you were seeking to find. This often repeats in a number of ways, with various steps being repeated, but this is the idea.

The 17 Steps Of The Heroes Adventure:

The Call:

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  1. The call to adventure
  2. Refusal of the call
  3. Supernatural aid
  4. Crossing the threshold
  5. Belly of the whale

The Initiation:

  1. The road of trials
  2. The meeting with the goddess
  3. Woman as temptress
  4. Atonement with the father
  5. Apotheosis
  6. The ultimate boon

The Return:

  1. Refusal of the return
  2. The magic flight
  3. Rescue from without
  4. The crossing of the return threshold
  5. Master of two worlds
  6. Freedom to live

When you look to Hollywood movies and best selling fiction books they all follow the same pattern. Star Wars writer, George Lucas, was a friend of Joseph Campbell and famously said that without Campbell there would have been no Star Wars.

Star Wars

If you take Star Wars, it is the perfect example of the Hero’s Journey:

The Call: Luke Skywalker is living a mundane existence, and then while cleaning R2D2 he is shown a holographic recording seeking help from Princess Leia.

The Initiation: Obi-Wan becomes a mentor to Luke, and teaches him to “use the force”. Along the way he meets Han Solo, Chewbacca and other unsuspecting helpers until he completes his apprentice (which he does not know is taking place). Finally after much fighting, Luke is able to rescue Princess Leia and destroy the death star.

The Return: Then he returns home a new man where Leia awards Luke with medals for his heroism.

The Matrix

The Matrix is another example.

The Call: Thomas Anderson is fed up with life at a dead end job and knows there is more to his existence. He has a dream in which his computer types “follow the white rabbit” when someone comes to buy illegal computer programmes from him they ask him to join them on a night out. He declines, but when one of the group turns, she has a tattoo of a white rabbit, so he decides to follow.

The Initiation: Thomas Anderson becomes his computer alias Neo. He meets Trinity, and later Morpheus and is offered to be shown the truth in the form of the red pill (truth) or blue pill (fantasy). He opts for the truth pill and is initiated into a mysterious world where reality as he knew it is actually a computer programme. He gets to download multiple skills, thinks he is The One, but then realises he is not The One. Morpheus gets taken by the agents and he decides to save him.

The Return: Upon trying to save Morpheus he realises he is The One, saves him and defeats the agents. This is him returning with the realisation he is The One, although the return and initiation cross over a little.

This is the same structure you see in Harry Potter, The Wizard Of Oz, Alice In Wonderland, The Alchemist and just about every story based movie there is.

But how is this helpful?

This is the same story we can use as a metaphorical representation of who and where we are in our lives.

If you think life is meaningless and mundane, this means you should be on the lookout for synchronicities and clues of how to break free.

If you have just had a strong urge to go and do something very far removed from your comfort zone that has the potential to change your circumstances, then you probably should.

If you are stuck in a painful situation that seems to have no end, this means you are in an initiation. Being in an initiation does not guarantee you will pass “the test” but at some point you will be given an opportunity to break a cycle or take an opportunity.

If you have just been through an ordeal and conquered your inner (and sometimes outer) demons, bask in the glory, but remember there was 9 Star Wars movies, 4 Matrix movies and 8 Harry Potter books. Your Heroes Adventure may have many chapters, so strap in and try to enjoy the journey.

Much love, Luke.


If you would like to download my free eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control YOU CAN DO SO HERE

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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