Mastering the Art of Time Management

Here’s some questions for you: 

Are you always busy and have no time?

Do you find it hard to be productive?

Can’t seem to balance your work and life?

Do you control your day or do you simply react to it? Or to put it another way—how often do you feel like all you did was keep your head above water?

Nodding along right now? You’re not alone.

And how well do you set meaningful career goals (for yourself and others) AND execute on your plans effectively? Are you satisfied with the professional progress you make every year — or do you feel stuck in the “same old”?

Regardless if you are a business professional, college student or a stay-home parent, time management is an essential skill to learn. Not only does it makes you more productive and helps you get work done, it reduces your stress and makes you feel less overwhelmed.

In my own research for the ways to effectively manage time for continual felt sense of ease, calm, and joy and actual high productivity I looked far and wide. I read the works of successful CEO’s,  behavioural experts, Budhist monks, yogis, and even USA Army snipers!

I wanted to free up a lot of my time, so I could start to enjoy things I like to do, but had no time for, and do the projects which had to be postponed time and again, simply as it seemed there was not enough hours in a day, week or even a month to do it all.

Fascinating information poured from the book by Carl Honoré  In Praise of Slowness, a book that tries to bring back the artful style of “slowness” in our cult of speed. Honoré examines how we can channel our minds to a more productive path when confronted with information overload.

“These days, even instant gratification takes too long,” Carl Honoré joked to a roomful of TEDTalk audience.

We live in a time of information overload, but our brains simply haven’t evolved fast enough to take advantage of the avalanche of data, a problem all the more urgently relevant today. In his book, Honoré writes:

Evolution works on the principle of survival of the fittest, not the fastest. Remember who won the race between the tortoise and the hare. As we hurry through life, cramming more into every hour, we are stretching ourselves to the breaking point.

Do you work consistently on the two or three things that will help you advance in your career, or do you often find yourself “busy” or fighting unproductive behaviors?

If you are like most people (including myself), you’d probably admit that there is sometimes room for improvement in executing on your most important goals.

So I went to improve myself – and I studied this subject deeply, here are some of the masters who inspired and educated me – Call Newport, an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University, an expert and author of six books on effective time management; Brian Moran, an industrial ecologist and university lecturer who works inside organisations in the areas of culture, values and ethics, Tony Crabe, a business psychologist, author and consultant with companies including Microsoft, Disney, News Corporation; Greg McKeown, a public speaker, leadership and business consultant, and author…. To name a few…

So where do we start?

Sensory overload and poor management of time

We complain about the lack of time, yet we constantly seek stimulations that detract us from our main goals. Living in an age saturated with stimulation in all it’s forms – “media-drenched, data-rich, channel-surfing, computer-gaming age” — it becomes a chore to focus on anything longer than 30 seconds. 

Data from all sources confirms this, but the question remains – what to do with this apparent lack of time and the sense of overwhelm, and being constantly behind, never having enough?

Drop into the present moment

 I loved the SLLS tips from the ex-sniper turned office worker. In his former life, he was trained to go into a dangerous area, collect reconnaissance, and get out without ever being seen. This was the hardest part of the job, staying completely invisible while moving from point to point with 75+ pounds of gear in extreme weather, while being completely exhausted. It requires a tremendous amount of focus.

 And the fatigue, discomfort, and the racing thoughts are all distractions that can throw you off your focus and your projected cloak of invisibility that keeps you alive.

When the external stimuli would take over and he began to lose focus on his priorities, he’d practice

SLLS: Stop, Look, Listen and Smell

Stop what you are doing. Look around. Listen to your surroundings. Smell your environment.

The purpose of this practice is to take a time out and refocus. This allows you to stop reacting to the external stimuli, be mindful of your environment, and focus on what really matters.

Yes, it works. It helped him be invisible as a sniper. And later on, at his desk job, he discovered that it helped him regain control of his workday when all he was doing was reacting to emails and other people’s priorities.

One particular day, he was attempting to get down to business and accomplish several hours of important, but monotonous work. It was crucial he completed it that day, but his mind was struggling to stay focused, and his attention bounced around from other people’s conversations to his phone to anything but what he needed to do. Time for a SLLS break! After five minutes of stopping and refocusing with SLLS, he was able to sit down with resolve and accomplish his work.

Very akin to Buddhist mindfulness practise!

So, how do you use this trick to immediately make an impact and help you regain control of your workday and personal life?

Set a recurring alarm on your phone for every two hours, between 8 AM and 8 PM, that simply says “SLLS.” This is your cue to take a SLLS break. Stop whatever you’re doing, look around, listen to your surroundings, and smell your environment. Whether it’s for 30 seconds or five minutes, take as long as you need to regain clarity on the present moment.

By doing this you’ll stop the reaction cycle and be able to focus on the present—allowing your mind to breathe and enter a higher state of thinking where you decide what’s important and worthy of your time. You’ll regain mindfulness and purpose by taking back control of those elusive thoughts that usually escape you during stressful moments.

The every-two-hour alarm is just a starting point. Practice this until it’s a habit, then turn off the alarm. Use this trick whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, when you’re just reacting to the world around you, and when you want to take control of your day and your life.

How to plan your day and your week effectively

Ability to effectively plan your day, so that you are actually accomplishing what you set out to do, is one of THE MOST VALUABLE SKILLS you can have in life. In personal life and professional lives, as well as in our society. 

IF YOU MASTER THIS SKILL, YOU’LL ACHIEVE EXTRAORDINARY RESULTS, and you’ll feel amazing!

Join this amazing workshop and learn skills that will help you utilise time EFFECTIVELY and get the RESULTS you want and need.

  • Uncover your obstacles
  • Learn HOW not to fall prey to activities that drain your time resources
  • Learn exactly HOW TO CREATE EFFECTIVE PLANNING SYSTEM 

Register to join us in LIVE online call or to get the access to LIVE call recording which you can watch later if you can’t make it on a day.


All of the registered participants will have the access to the recording of the LIVE call, as well as tip sheets and bonus materials to help you plan your time effectively.

These tools will help you free up a lot of time, so that you can start to enjoy things you like to do, but currently have little or no time for, and do the projects which so far had to be postponed time and again!

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How to HEAL YOUR MIND with the 10 Habits of Yogis

 

“There is a great pain and anguish when you suffer in anxiety; a roller coaster of mood swings, all-pervasive fears, and deep shadowy heavy depression. Maybe that’s you, or you may recognize someone else who suffers this pain.

If you are in any way a progressive thinker, you’ve tried your utmost to make an improvement to ‘those days’. You are familiar with practices of mindfulness. You’ve tried recommended natural products.  You’ve talked to lots of people – heck you talked to the professionals too! You might have even taken big-boy pharmaceuticals promised to make a huge difference to your mental well-being.

Little has changed over the years. Most likely ‘those days’ are still a common feature of your life and you just cope, not allowing yourself to consider the possibility of genuinely enjoying this day.  The day seeps into your week, month, year, and the heart silently weeps, in spite of the smile on your face.

You wonder if this can EVER really change… if this mind of yours can ever become a true buddy on this journey of life, and not continue to trip you up, often when you least expect it.”

Read more here…….

 

 

 

Seasonal Detox Retreats

Photo by Daniel Holtzhouse on Unsplash

Seasons are marked by junctures – which are the moments of opportunity for your wellness evolution. Think about it: spring and autumn, the major junctures in weather changes, are the times when many people become ill with colds, flus and allergies.

Seasonal cleansing, or biannual detox, extends your life by taking out inner rubbish. The rubbish, in this case, is any seasonal build-up of doshas (doshas are three compounds that govern specific functions and energies in the body: movement, transformation and cohesion) and/or ama (the dirt in the grease of your engine; the gunky residue left over from a poorly digested food).

Ama leads to energy inefficiency, which leads to disease. If our daily habits are taking us out of our rhythm, over the time, the ama moves from your gut, into the blood and joints, rendering the body lethargic and stiff in the morning. This junk leads to the pessimism in your attitude. The stress leads to inflammation.

Ayurveda recommends a gentle supportive detox at the change of seasons, most important, spring and autumn, and a healthy balancing cleanse routine.

In the spring, at the end of the winter, you probably have a build-up of cold and stagnation in your lymph, lungs, excess mucus and fat accumulated during winter months, while in the autumn the body needs to expel heat from blood and liver accumulated during summer (and don’t kid yourself – even in our British summer, the position of the sun naturally ‘charges’ our body with heat, even if we haven’t had many hot days!).

When you use the change of seasons to dump off imbalance doshas through a detox, you upgrade your body’s operating system.

Getting rid of stuff is something the body is good at. Practices like eating simply, reducing types of foods that feed the accumulation of the past season, and having a bit of rest combined with plenty of body-breath practice and meditation, gently ensure that the body has an opportunity to recalibrate and head into the next half of year in top form.

You can release physical as well as emotional ama. Season by season, you can wake up wiser. With your senses alert, refreshed, you perceive the world more accurately, and on a subtler plane.

Eyesight improves, hearing improves, skin and sense of touch improves, the tongue can taste more accurately, the nose becomes alert like a canine.

Renewed and rejuvenated, you make better choices.

The message here is simple. If you don’t discover the power of seasonal detox you’ll wear and tear your senses faster.

Even with the season-by-season aging process, you have the opportunity to advance your wellness. Ritucharya, the seasonal regime, teaches us to respect the beautiful intersections where time and space open to help us heal and begin anew.

What do Balance and Imbalance look like?

Keep in mind, we are not all on the same axis to begin with, and some of the points here may never be in balance for you all the time. Just recognise these signs as the heads-up, to help you recognise early symptoms of imbalance that can be sorted with diet and lifestyle awareness.

Watch out for:

  • Constipation (not having a bowel movement every day)
  • Foul smelling stools which may be sticky, heavy and sink.
  • Gas and bloating after meals
  • Skin is dull and lustreless with blemishes, acne etc.
  • Excessively dry skin, burning or itching sensations
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Frequent burping, acid indigestion
  • Hot flushes or profuse sweating
  • Swelling
  • Irregular appetite or reduced appetite, or excessive hunger
  • Congestion
  • Insomnia
  • One wakes up tired even after a good night’s sleep
  • Heaviness
  • Lethargy
  • Generalized body and joint pains. This is noticed the day after eating certain heavy foods, like meat, cheeses, desserts and fried foods.
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • White coating on the tongue
  • Foul smelling breath and sweat
  • Lack of mental clarity and energy
  • A sense of heaviness in the abdomen, legs or body as a whole
  • Weary and unenthusiastic feeling
  • Blocked feeling anywhere in the body, including constipation, sinus congestion and difficulty in breathing

In a state of relative balance, you can expect to enjoy:

  • A daily bowel movement first thing in the morning, one that is well formed, floating, and about the size, shape, and texture of a ripe banana
  • No bloating after meals
  • Consistent, hearty appetite
  • Sound sleep, so you wake up feeling refreshed
  • Clear complexion
  • Comfortable body temperature
  • Easy breathing

Are you ready to join us?!

The next online guided home retreat – starts September 6th.
Health is Wealth.
Invest wisely into yourself.

Learn more by contacting me directly!

Or sign up for updates and the Early Bird price offer coming soon!

Yoga for Seasonal Changes

How often do we stop to reflect on Seasons, and their effect on our bodies and minds?

In this fast world that we live in, more often than not, our awareness is limited to the official weather forecast and not much beyond that – making sure that we are appropriately dressed in both cold and warm weather, and that we do not get drenched in rain. Perhaps we take measures to stay well hydrated in warmer months too. And that’s as far as we usually go.

Even in temperate climate like here in the UK, there are noticeable and defined seasons; even if our thermometers may not indicate much change between them. 😉

But there is much more to change of seasons than initially meets the eye.
And the seasons have a much deeper impact on our wellbeing, both body and mind, than just feeling a bit hot, or quite cold.

What is really important for us all, is to stay well and healthy, both body and mind, through all of the Seasons. We can support and maintain a better balance of our body and our mind throughout the year, by making a conscious effort to live in harmony with the cycles of nature, and by regularly adjusting our lifestyle and habits to accommodate the arrival of each new season, and this includes our dietary choices as well as the practice of our yoga.

So what is it about seasons that we should know about then?

 

A LITTLE DETOUR TO EXPLAIN WHAT IS WHAT

The ancient science of Ayurveda – translated as the “knowledge of life” (ayus: life, veda: knowledge), the mother of all physical as well as spiritual yoga practice, and the fundamental basis for healing any discord in both our physical and mental being, views seasons through the lens of five governing elements.

The Indian philosophy first mentioned Ayurveda (holistic medical system) and yoga in the Vedas around 3,500 years ago. Both strive to help us stay connected to our true nature.

Ayurveda views the world around us as comprised of 5 basic governing elements (mahabhutas) – Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Ayurveda also includes ourselves into this ecosystem, observing that we are also comprised of these same 5 elements.

The Charaka Samhita, the ancient Ayurvedic text dating back to 6th century BC goes on to explain how our human body is shaped by the interplay of these elements, and defines those governing energies as doshas, of which there are three in total – Vata (air + ether), Pitta (fire + water) and Kapha (water + earth). Each of us has a unique proportion of these three doshas.

Both Ayurveda and Yoga further recognise the three predominant states which affect all mater around us, as well as our bodies and minds. These universal subtle qualities of nature are known as gunas, and there are three –  sattva, rajas and tamas. Sattva is the basic state of our existence, it is our wholesomeness, balance, serenity, confidence, creativity, positivity, goodness, and peacefulness. Rajas is innate tendency or quality that drives motion, energy, and activity. Tamas is the quality of imbalance, disorder, chaos, anxiety, destruction, negativity, dullness or inactivity, apathy, inertia or lethargy, and violence.

 

SO WHAT ABOUT THE SEASONS THEN, YOU ASK?

The atmospheric changes through the changing of the seasons create a disturbance in the equilibrium of the mahabhutas (five elements), doshas and gunas.

In ancient Ayurvedic system, there are in fact the 6 seasons (rtus), calculated on the Moon and the Sun trajectory, known as:  Shishira (Late Winter – mid Jan to mid March), Vasanta (Spring – mid March to mid May), Grishma (Summer – mid May to mid July), Varsha (Rainy season – mid July to mid September) Sharad (Autumn – mid September to mid November) and Hemanta (Early Winter – mid November to mid January).

But let’s keep it simple, we can stick to our 4 seasons here, for ease of understanding.

Autumn and early Winter are considered a Vata predominant season. Vata is a quality incorporating elements of Air and Ether, having the qualities of being cold, dry, light, and mobile. Vata (air and ether relate to movement function) in our bodies accumulates in early summer, aggravates in late summer and calms down in autumn.
(Please note: our Vata can get aggravated in winter when we skip meals, eat erratically, eat on the go. Dieting is not recommended in cold seasons. Eating cold food or having chilled drinks further irritates Vata – one common symptom of this is restricted blood flow through capillaries, leading to continually cold hands and feet, as well as the aggravation of symptoms in joints, as Vata governs not only our colon, but also the empty spaces, and the bones.)

Pitta season is Summer. It incorporates elements of Fire and Water, and the qualities of being hot, wet, light, and mobile. Pitta (fire and water relate to metabolism) in our bodies accumulates in ‘late’ summer, aggravates in autumn and calms down with the cold in early winter.

Kapha season is late Winter and Spring, and being associated with Water and Earth elements, has the qualities of heaviness, coolness, wetness, and stability. Kapha (earth and water relate to structure and secretions) in our bodies accumulates in late winter, aggravates in spring and calms down in summer.

 

WHAT ABOUT THE FOOD WE EAT?

In Ayurveda we differentiate foods in six separate categories – Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, Pungent, and Astringent. While the first four tastes are probably recognizable, the last two may not seem familiar.

Taste Primary Actions Common Sources Primary Elements
Sweet Builds tissues, calms nerves Fruit, grains, natural sugars, milk Water and Earth – heavy, moist, and cooling
Sour Cleanses tissues, increases absorption of minerals Sour fruits, yogurt, fermented foods Earth and Fire – hot, light, and moist
Salty Improves taste to food, lubricates tissues, stimulates digestion Natural salts, sea vegetables Fire and Water – hot, heavy, and moist
Bitter Detoxifies and lightens tissues Dark leafy greens, herbs and spices Air and Ether –  light, cooling, and dry
Pungent Stimulates digestion and metabolism Chili peppers, garlic, herbs and spices  Fire and Air – hot, dry, and light
Astringent Absorbs water, tightens tissues, dries fats Legumes, raw fruits and vegetables, herbs Air and Earth – dry, cooling, and heavy

 

Ayurveda recommends always including all the 6 tastes in our meals daily.

However, each season will have the two or three chief tastes that should predominate in our diet, and each meal should be based on those chief taste combinations, with a minimum of foods from other groups included too.

Winter

Winter is the dryer time of the year than Autumn. It is actually the best season to improve immunity. It’s not a weakening season if you know how to use it to strengthen immunity. Winter is the season when nature is ready to nurture us. As our digestive strength is still very high at this time of the year, people naturally feel hungrier, and can actually digest heavy food better, providing the best nourishment for our bodies.

Foods that nourish and balance the body in the cold, dry, winter season are the Sweet (grains – wheat, rice, and barley; legumes – beans and lentils; root vegetables – beets, carrots, asparagus and sweet potatoes; nuts –  cashews, almonds, and pistachios, sesame seeds; and natural sugars – like butter, ghee, and cream, bananas and mangos), Sour (lemons and lime, yogurt, cheese, and sour cream, fermented foods – wine, vinegar, pickles, sauerkraut, and soy sauce) and Salty (natural sea salt or rock salt, sea vegetables – seaweed and kelp) taste foods. If you are keen on some animal produce, including eggs and meat, this is the best season to partake in such. Avoid raw salads and raw vegetables.

Spring

Spring is the best time to cleanse the channels of the body, as toxins which accumulated during the Winter season can interrupt body’s delicate biochemical balance, and create a fertile ground for allergies, flu, and other infections, or disturb the normal functioning of the liver and kidneys. As we already mentioned, this is a Kapha season, starting in the late Winter and into Spring itself.

The foods favoured at this time of the year are Pungent (chili peppers, garlic, herbs and spices – black pepper, ginger, and cayenne), Bitter (dark leafy greens – spinach, kale, and green cabbage; herbs and spices – turmeric, fenugreek, and dandelion root; and some fruits – grapefruits, olives, and bitter melon), and Astringent (legumes – beans and lentils; raw fruits – cranberries, pomegranates, pears, and dried fruit; and vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke, asparagus and turnip; grains – rye, buckwheat, and quinoa; herbs & spices – like turmeric and marjoram, coriander, cumin).

Summer

The Summer season is the Pitta season, and here we concentrate on foods that cool us down, keep us hydrated and also build our immune system. Although it is tempting to reach for iced drinks, such habit should be avoided – the liquids should be served at a room temperature, or even slightly hotter, so that the body can continue to adequately deal with external heat.

Sweet (fruits – apples, berries, cherries, apricots, coconut, dates, figs, grapes; vegetables – artichoke, beets – cooked, carrots raw and cooked, cauliflower, green beans, lettuces, celery, cucumber, peppers, potatoes; grains – barley, rice, wheat; legumes – beans and lentils) and Bitter (vegetables – spinach, kale, and green cabbage, broccoli, zucchini, aubergine; spices and herbs – turmeric, fenugreek, coriander, dill, fennel, cardamom and dandelion root; fruits – grapefruits, olives, and bitter melon) foods are favoured at this time of year.

Autumn

Autumn is characterised with wetness, and we are encouraged to use the high energy of our digestive power to eat foods that are heavier and nourishing.

Sweet, Bitter, Astringent foods are favoured as we transition to Autumn, the beginning of our Vata Season. We’ve already listed some of the preferred Sweet (we can add some pumpkins and sweet potatoes, all nuts and seeds, oats, amaranth, quinoa) and Bitter foods above. The Astringent quality can be found legumes (such as beans and lentils), fruits (cranberries, pomegranates, pears, and dried fruit), vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke, asparagus and turnip), grains (rye, buckwheat, and quinoa), spices and herbs (including turmeric and marjoram).
We are beginning to re-build our body, and continue to build our immune system.

 

WHAT ABOUT OUR YOGA POSTURE/ASANA PRACTICE THEN?

Autumn/Winter

In the winter, we are at our strongest. Our immune system is well nourished, we are increasing the amount of body building foods and our energy levels are high. This is the time to up our practice. Our asana practice can be exerting, but there should not be overexertion or excessive sweat. Ayurveda advises against such practices which strain our body – although in the short to medium term we may not notice the bad impact of such practices, the negative effect will become apparent once we are a bit older, in more rapid decline of our health and wellbeing.

Grounding, strengthening, warming routine with focused warming breath; bringing our gaze inward; cultivating routine and steadiness in the practice; cultivating inner stillness; ease through strength; toning the kidney meridian.

 

Spring

Spring is the time for detox and dispelling of accumulated excess water. Our body is still energetic, but like the season itself, it needs a natural creative expression.

Stimulating, energising, expressive, heating, variation in movement, toning the digestive system and liver meridian; gaze skyward.

 

Summer

Although we habitually associate this time of year with activity and exertion, this is the time of year when we are at our weakest. The heat and the Sun drain our resources, the stored energy from Winter months.

Cooling, calming through open expressiveness, moderate, easeful, cultivating softness. Easing the structure of the practice; finding lightness, spaciousness.
A disclaimer:
This article is for general guidance only. Each one of us, as already discussed, is comprised of combination of Doshas – Vatta, Pita and Kapha. Sometimes one of them can be out of balance, so we need to attempt to bring it into balance by prescribing a specific diet and lifestyle, including the practice of asana, at each turn of the season, which will then work synergistically to bring that dosha back into balance. Please seek a full consultation with a qualified practitioner before attempting to do such correction by yourself, as further unbalancing one or more doshas can be quite devastating for both you physical and mental wellbeing.

 

Recommended Further Reading:

The Complete Book Of Ayurvedic Home Remedies: A comprehensive guide to the ancient healing of India, by Dr Vasant Lad B.A.M.S., M.A.Sc, Piatkus (1999)
Yoga and Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realization, by Dr David Frawley, Lotus Press (1999)

 

References:

Charaka Samhita, Volume 1- 4, translated by P.V Sharma, Chaukhambha Orientalia Publishers, 2000.
ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF AYURVEDA: (A BRIEF HISTORY), V. Narayanaswamy, Anc Sci Life. 1981 Jul-Sep; 1(1): 1–7., NCBI PMCID: PMC3336651

Ayurveda: a historical perspective and principles of the traditional healthcare system in India., Mishra L, Singh BB, Dagenais S. Altern Ther Health Med. 2001 Mar; 7(2):36-42.; NCBI PMID: 11253415 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

 

Photo by Austin Neill on Unsplash

 

A Resonance between Two Models – Ramesh Balsekar & Leonard Cohen: Part Two

janeadamsart

A lesson with Owl

In my previous post, I abridged the full transcript of Ramesh Balsekar’s conversation with Leonard Cohen in early 1999, because it was very long.  Here are the missing bits, including Ramesh’s teaching on Satori.  For the dialogue to run smoothly, I have retained some of the exchanges in Part One.

Ramesh namaste

.. 

Ramesh Balsekar:  But you used the word “resonance”.

Leonard Cohen:  Yes Sir.

RB – Can you explain that a little bit, Leonard?

LC – I found that during some of the rigorous retreats that we’re subjected to, I would find myself opening one of your books, specifically The Final Truth;  and I would find that your writing would illuminate the discourses of our Master, and vice versa.  That resonance became very discernible.  It became urgent that I

RB – A similar thing happened to me.

LC -Yes?

RB – You know Wei Wu Wei?  Have you heard of…

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A Resonance between Two Models – Leonard Cohen & Ramesh Balsekar

janeadamsart

Ramesh 1

Read more of this conversation Part Two

During my visit to Ramesh in Mumbai, in early 1999, I witnessed the following conversation with Leonard Cohen, and bought the tape.
After I got home, I made this transcript:

Ramesh – You live in a Zen monastery, I am told?

Leonard – That’s correct, yes.

For how long, three or four years?

I’ve been associated with this institution for about thirty years – and about four and a half years ago, I was ordained as a monk.

I see. I see. Would you say it is a pretty stiff discipline?

It’s – very rigorous.

But you like it?

Not particularly, no.

Well that is honest. So what I would like to ask is this: the understanding before you came here, and what I talk about – how does it compare?

It was the resonance between the two models, yours and my teachers’, that led me…

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