7 Ways You Hold Yourself Back From Meditating


So here it is: I don’t always feel like meditating. There are other things I’d rather be doing. Sometimes it’s just an excuse, but sometimes the need to do something else is very real. Yet if I let this become a new daily habit, I find that the only thing holding me back from meditating is myself.

Here are some of the habits that I’ve found that can hold me back. By identifying them, I can stop them and hopefully you can as well.

#1. The Power Struggle

Instead of meditating, I could be watching Netflix. I could take a walk. I could go to the store. I could even clean the house. Instead of focusing on my breathing, I find myself thinking about many other things. Resisting this struggle makes it even worse. Try to acknowledge the thoughts and move on.

#2. I Give Myself an “F”

Do you grade your actions and decisions every day? I know I sure do. That includes grading my meditation time. If I feel like I’ve failed, then I give myself an “F.” The problem with this is that consistently bad grades make me feel like I should just give up. No one is perfect, so no meditation session will be completely perfect. Forgive and keep moving forward.

#3. Practice the Preaching

I’ve talked a lot about meditation to others over the years. Sometimes I feel like that is more important than actually meditating. Sometimes the best way to practice what is being preached is to just sit down and do it. Let others see you meditating and they can learn just as much as when you talk about meditating.

#4. That Moment of Awesomeness

That moment when I achieve total clarity is a feeling beyond compare. It’s also a dangerous trap. Not every meditation session brings clarity. If I compare those moments with my moments of complete success, it makes me feel like I’m inadequate in some way. Try to take every day as it comes and embrace what it provides to avoid the unhealthy comparisons.

#5. The Environment

The truth is that there isn’t a perfect environment for meditation. There will always be a distraction. I’ve found that purposely meditating in noisy, imperfect places can help me to avoid the distractions that can stop me when I’m in my preferred location.

#6. The Bandage

I’m feeling stressed out, so I’m going to meditate. Ever had that thought? I sure have. It’s that type of meditation that robs us of the real benefits we can achieve. Meditation is not designed to be 100% reactive. It’s a proactive stress reducing creativity enhancer.

 #7. Scheduling an Agenda

Because of the benefits that meditation can provide, it’s easy to approach my meditation time with a to-do list. I might want to plan out some new content here or schedule out my evening so I have an itinerary of fun. Yet, strangely enough, these checklists hinder what meditation can accomplish because it requires judgment. I’m telling my subconscious what I think is best instead of listening to what I’m actually trying to tell myself.

There’s nothing wrong with avoiding meditation for a day or two. You can meditate in whatever way best suits you. What I’ve found is more important to focus on are the ways I hold myself back from my full potential. These are the things I’ve identified in myself. What about you? I’d love to hear about how you hold yourself back during your times of meditation and what you do to solve that issue.

5 Ways You Can Make Meditation Easier Today


The problem I have with meditation is this: there always seems like I could be doing something better. I won’t lie. Meditation can be incredibly challenging for beginners, long-time practitioners, and even experts. I often wonder if I’m making things harder than they need to be, even if it’s unintentionally.

To counter this issue, I’ve been exploring ways to make meditation become a little easier. If the whole point of meditating is to find clarity and work on the various aspects of personal health, then there must be a few ways to stop the daily fighting I have with my mind to make that happen, right?

Maybe you’re feeling the same way and would like to find some ways to make meditation be a little easier to do on a daily basis. Here are 5 ways that I have found to be helpful and hopefully they will help you as well.

#1. Prioritize It

We make time for the most important things in our lives every day. Think about it. If you have time to check Facebook for 15 minutes every day, then there is time to make 10 minutes for meditation and save 5 minutes for social sites. I’ve found a few pockets of time where I felt like I was being productive, but what I was really doing was wasting my time doing next to nothing. Once I made meditation a priority, I found there was much more time for it.

#2. Take the Pressure Off

There’s a lot of meditation advice out there. I find a lot of it comes flooding back to me while I’m trying to meditate. It makes me feel inferior because I’m not meditating in the same way the advice is recommending. Once I decided to find my own road instead of trying to travel along the journey of another, the anxieties began to ease. Being yourself while meditating really takes the pressure off.

#3. Smile.

I used to look at meditation as a “task” that needed to be completed. Instead of treating it like a fun activity. I decided to kick back and relax more during each meditation session. If a funny thought came my way, I’d smile. There is something beautiful about a world of silence if you give it half a chance. I’ve found a few moments of no emails, no texts, and no Facebook notifications is very refreshing.

#4. Take It Slow

I like good things to just happen for me. This is the nature of our world today. Like everyone else, I love instant gratification. If I want a snack, I get it. If I want to watch a movie, I stream it. This is the attitude I brought to meditation. I expected stress to melt away instantly… but that didn’t happen. Sometimes I felt even more stressed out after meditating then I did going into the session. Learning to take it slow took a lot of time for me, but it was an investment that has paid off well for me.

#5. Staple the Pants

Good intentions never helped me to meditate for a single minute. There must be some willpower behind the desire to meditate. This means you’ve got to ignore the other pressing engagement you might have and just staple your pants to the floor and do it. I fought this for a long time. Then I realized something one day: my negative thoughts were just thoughts. I was so focused on what was negative or what was positive that I lost sight of the fact that a thought doesn’t have to be acted upon. It can be recognized, categorized, and then filed away.

Meditation still isn’t easy for me some days. There are times I’d rather be outside enjoying a beautiful day, watching a favorite movie, or doing anything else but meditating. Yet with these 5 methods helping me out, I’ve found it has become a lot easier to focus on meditation and I hope they can help you as well.

How My Life Changed After 2 Months of Meditation


Meditation has always been a bit of a struggle for me. I can always find an excuse as to why I can’t meditate. There might be a project at work that is due. There are distractions outside which are ruining my focus. I might be hungry because I missed lunch. I guess I justified these excuses because I thought that everyone was doing the same thing as me.

One day I decided that I’d had enough of the excuses. I was going to knuckle-down, be consistent, and start justifying why I needed to meditate every day instead of figuring out ways to tamper down the guilt I was feeling about not meditating.

This helped me to successfully meditate every day for 2 months straight and here’s what I learned from that time.

#1. Meditation is about quality, not quantity. I used to think that you had to hit a 15-20 minute threshold for meditation for it to be beneficial. This was one of my main struggles. I’d feel like I had failed if I didn’t make it long enough. As I started meditating every day, however, I discovered that some days I could meditate for 5-10 minutes and feel just as good, if not better, than longer meditation sessions.

#2. My way is the best way. I also used to read a lot of meditation advice blogs. Many of them would talk about this way to meditate or that way and how those methods would provide the most benefits. After 2 months of meditation, I can safely say that my way to meditate is the best way. Your way to meditate is the best way. It is impossible to define a correct method of meditation because you and I may be very different people with different needs.

#3. Every reward matters. To encourage myself to make it each day, I started a good old-fashioned sticker chart. Every day I successfully meditated, I’d put a sticker on the calendar to indicate my success. Once I’d hit 3 days in a row, this type of reward started to having some meaning to it. After 14 successful days, I started feeling good about myself. Two straight months of stickers is better than any trophy I could have received. Find your motivation and reward yourself after every success and it will change everything.

#4. Clarity can be fleeting and that’s okay. There were days when I felt like the clarity I was receiving through meditation would never end. Then there were days when clarity might appear, but flirt deceptively just out of my reach. Not every meditation session is going to be perfect. I learned that the ability to forgive myself for my perceived meditation failures was one of the most important things I could do. Instead of giving up hope and feeling guilty about it, I could focus on finding my meditation groove once again.

#5. Habits are more important than I ever thought they were. Showing up to meditate every day became a habit. It’s a routine that I now feel empty without. I discovered that there is power in not giving up, in staying the course, no matter how challenging it may feel on any given day.

Meditating for 2 months straight when I first started seemed like a daunting task. Sometimes it felt like it would be impossible to complete successfully. I even contemplated about how I could write something about how I had failed and turn it into some kind of positive experience. Now I know that if you can get past the excuses, the guilt, and the negative self-talk, meditation can be very rewarding.

Did You Know That Mindfulness Actually Changes Your Brain?


Mindfulness has become more than just a buzz word in the business world. It is one of those things that busy managers and executives must do in order to keep their brains healthy and sharp. Not only does it help to purge toxic stress from the body, but mindfulness also helps to support self-regulation, promote decision-making capabilities, and provide better overall resilience.

It is a unique practice as it can merge spiritual or religious preferences into our regular daily life habits and all it takes is a commitment to the process. When you follow through with that commitment, research shows that you can literally change your bran thanks to mindfulness. Here’s what happens.

Your ACC Demonstrates Superior Performance Levels

Compared to people who do not regularly meditate, mindfulness provides the anterior cingulate cortex [ACC] with higher levels of control. It is this region of the brain, located just behind the frontal lobe, which controls impulsiveness, aggression, and decision-making. By having a superior performance in this area of the brain, people are able to stay more calm, more level-headed, and make consistent decisions.

The ACC is also believed to be associated with learning. When we make decisions, whether right or wrong, there are lessons that can be taken from the events which occur. With mindfulness, more knowledge about each event can be maintained, allowing for people to better adapt to conditions that may rapidly change. This is why managers and executives are adopting mindfulness more every day. It allows them to “think on their feet.”

Mindfulness Also Affects the Hippocampus

The issue we all face with the hippocampus is that it is literally covered in receptors for cortisol. That’s the stress hormone which is produced when there’s something that is really bothering us. Constant exposure to cortisol can lead to chronic stress, which can have a devastating effect on the body. Depression, PTSD, and other physical symptoms can all be present, which makes it difficult to continuing functioning in a high-demand environment.

Yet with mindfulness practiced on a regular basis, those cortisol receptors get a break. Because there is less of the stress hormone, there are fewer bothersome symptoms produced by the hippocampus. You’re able to regulate emotions better, have higher levels of pain tolerance, and even have a more developed sense of self.

Now here’s the good news: you can practice mindfulness wherever the day happens to take you. Being aware in the present moment in a non-judgmental way can help you be “you” when you’re at your very best. The evidence for this is quite strong.

Research still continues to occur within this field about mindfulness and the results continue to be compelling. As we understand more about the underlying functions of our brain, we’re discovering that mindfulness is a strong foundation to build our future upon. If you’re struggling at work, at home, or in other areas of life and have not tried mindfulness, then look into what it could do for you today.

The results may be quite surprising.

5 Reasons Why Perfection Is the Last Thing You Need While Meditating

What would your life be like if you were able to meditate consistently every day? Many often give up on meditation because they feel like they aren’t doing it right – or worse, feel like they have failed in some way. There is an expectation that everything should fit into place, provide results, and make life better.

Except meditation really isn’t that way. It is just as messy and imperfect as life tends to be. That’s why it is so important to remove the expectation of perfection when you’re trying to establish a habit of meditation. Give yourself a break and consider these options to help make your time more fulfilling.

#1. You can meditate in whatever way works for you.

People have different requirements for meditation. You don’t have to be in a lotus position chanting mantras. The key to having a great time meditating is to be authentic about it. Find what works for you and then just do it, no matter what others might say.

#2. You don’t have to do the same thing.

It’s important to have a routine which includes meditation, but it doesn’t have to be a perfect routine. You might get to meditate for 20 minutes one day and feel awesome afterward. The next day you might be lucky to get 15 minutes in because the kids are fighting, the dogs are constantly barking at people on the sidewalk, and jets keep flying right over your house for some reason. Sometimes if you can get 5 minutes of quiet behind a closed door, when there is chaos around, that is just as good as a peaceful 20 minutes.

#3. You can meditate anywhere.

Maybe meditation on the toilet is a little extreme for some people, but what about meditating while waiting for your dinner to arrive at a restaurant? Or what about sitting at your computer to meditate while a video is buffering? The fact is that you don’t have to be in a perfect place to achieve a calmer state of mind.

#4. A wandering mind can be a good thing.

A mind that has racing thoughts is a mind that is evaluating, forecasting, thinking, and processing. These are great things for it to be doing. Instead of trying to shut that process down, embrace it. Look at what is going on in the quiet of your mind. Focus on each key point that comes across. Acknowledge what is going on. Then try to focus on a single point, like your breathing or perhaps the light of a candle, to help focus those racing thoughts into something a little more cohesive.

#5. When it doubt, just breathe it out.

 If you feel like nothing is working, then just take a couple of minutes and give yourself a chance to breathe. Repeat the deep breaths for as long as you can. That can be just as beneficial as 15 minutes of proper meditation technique.

Even meditation masters admit that when they meditate consistently for 30-60 minutes, they typically achieve 2-5 minutes of total clarity. That means even the best in the world are experiencing up to 55 minutes of imperfection. That’s why you should cut yourself a break and embrace the imperfection. Who knows what you might discover!

Problems with Negative Thoughts? Think Meditation!


How effective can meditation be in preventing negative thoughts? In young adults with a depression diagnosis, when meditation was combined with aerobic exercise just 2x per week, there was a 40% reduction in negative thinking patterns and other symptoms related to their diagnosis.

What the findings show is that when mental and physical training is given to people with depression or those who suffer from depression-like symptoms, the skills they learn allow them to prevent negative thinking from overwhelming their consciousness.

It has been widely known that both meditation and exercise on their own have been able to provide people with these benefits. By combining them, researchers have discovered that not only does brain activity begin to synchronize, but there is a striking improvement in their symptoms. These results are even seen with individuals who have been diagnosed with a major depressive disorder.

What Happens When Meditation and Exercise Are Combined?

Participants in the study started with 30 minutes of focused meditation. This was then followed by 30 minutes of exercise. To maintain their focus, participants were instructed to focus on their breathing only if they felt like their mind was drifting to either the past or the future. When practiced over a lifetime, these therapies can therefore improve a person’s mental and cognitive health.

And here’s the best part: it doesn’t cost you anything to meditate or get some exercise.

On a practical level, you won’t be having someone in your ear directing you to refocus your attention. When your mind begins to wander, you’ll have to consciously direct it back to the present so it registers your breathing. If you’ve just started to meditate, you’ll quickly realize this can be difficult to do.

The mind is a rebellious thing. It doesn’t like change. It craves distraction. You will hear sounds, smell things, and even visualize things when you first start meditating when there are no other distractions present. This happens because you are tuning into the rest of the world around you – perhaps for the first time. It’s a lot of information and the mind can refuse.

How To Stay Focused On Your Breathing

If you feel like your mind is wandering, the first thing to do is acknowledge this fact. Give your mind permission to be looking toward the past or the future. Understand that memories or forecasting is a natural part of the human experience. Then direct your attention back to your breathing.

Over a period of 2-3 weeks, you’ll find that it becomes easier to direct your attention back to the present. The mind begins to accept its environment and doesn’t look for distractions. You’ll begin to experience moments of clarity. As the research shows, when you can follow up meditation with aerobic exercise, you’ll be able to take control instead of letting your negative symptoms take control of you.

How To Make Meditation More Fun

7 ways to increase happiness

 Here’s an undeniable fact: we were born to meditate. Just look at all of the different positions a toddler utilizes as they play and you’ll see this is true. Through their giggles and innocence, there is a moment of perfection that can still provide us with clarity to use in our own meditation sessions we attempt as adults.

We can bring the fun back to meditation so it becomes easier and more effortless than ever before. These are the 7 ways you can make that happen starting today.

#1. Think about what you have instead of what you want.

We’re always focused on things that we want. It’d be nice to have some extra cash or to have a better job, right? Yet so many of us already have so much and we never even think about it. A loving home, food on the table, clothes on your back, and a chance to earn a paycheck are some things that not everyone has the chance to have. Try to find a way to be more content in what you have.

#2. Don’t force yourself into a specific meditation position.

The Lotus position is just one way you can meditate. It is important for you to be comfortable and in an environment that limits distractions above anything else. Close your eyes when you’re in the shower. Sit back in your office chair and take some deep breaths. Any inward attention is a form of beneficial meditation.

#3. Identify thoughts instead of trying to suppress them.

The brain doesn’t just shut down as you start to meditate. It continues to flood thoughts to your consciousness, eager for some attention. Ignoring those thoughts just causes them to become louder. Identify each thought, label them if necessary, and then go back to seeking clarity. In time, those racing thoughts do slow down.

#4. Don’t force it.

Meditation just happens, but we must be willing to allow it. So often we find that meditation isn’t fun because we’re trying to create a specific outcome. Let the experience flow naturally and do your best to remove any personal expectations about your experience. Be at peace with whatever happens and you may find more moments of clarity start coming your way when you’re not trying to force yourself into a specific model of meditation.

#5. Get into a rhythm.

The point of focusing on our breathing during meditation is to establish a metronome for the experience. Once the rhythm is established, it becomes easier to focus on connecting the conscious and subconscious mind so they can talk to one another. Take a few gentle breaths, let the distractions fade away, and then listen to what your body has to say.

#6. Take care of yourself.

If you’re not treating your body with respect, then it isn’t going to respect you when you’re trying to meditate. Simple things, like brushing your teeth 2x per day or getting a little extra exercise, can really help your mind to maintain its focus during a meditation session.

#7. Make sure there is a purpose to what you are doing.

Meditating for the sake of doing meditation isn’t really a purpose, but that’s what so many people are doing today and that’s why they’re not having any fun. Think about a specific goal you’d like to achieve by meditating. It could be lower stress levels, better clarity, or a chance to ponder thoughts you normally don’t get a chance to think about. Find your purpose and you’ll find your fun.

Meditation can be difficult. There may be days when you don’t want to meditate at all. This is going to happen. Yet when you’re following these 7 methods to make meditation more fun, you’ll find that there is a desire to make more time for it. Get started today and you’ll be able to open up brand new worlds within your mind.

7 Proven Ways to Still a Racing Mind


One of the most frustrating aspects of meditation is trying to calm down a mind that prefers to stay active. It is the main reason why many choose to just give up on meditating altogether. Before you call it quits, you might be surprised at how fast your mind adapts to a calmer experience by incorporating these tips into each meditation session.

#1. Be consistent with your timing. Your mind likes a routine. It starts to complain if you do something outside of that routine. If you can meditate at the same time every day for 7-10 days, you’ll find that the complaints will begin to subside.

#2. Create a space that is yours. When your mind is in an unfamiliar environment, it wants to analyze it. This curiosity then creates racing thoughts and observations about what is going on. The opposite happens in a space that is inherently familiar. By creating a space for meditation that is yours, your mind is able to rest.

#3. Write down your thoughts before you start. The mind likes to worry a lot. It begins to think of other ways it could be productive besides meditation. It will start creating lists in your head of what you should be doing. If you can write down these things before you start to meditate, you’ll find that your mind becomes much more clear.

#4. Cut yourself some slack. Why do people stop meditating when their minds want to continuously race? Because they think they’re doing something wrong. The fact is that almost everyone experiences a racing mind at some point during a meditation session. Your goal is to experience moments of clarity instead of 20 straight minutes of pure bliss.

#5. Try something new. There are literally hundreds of different meditation styles that can be tried today. Don’t assume that you have to be in the lotus position chanting mantras because that’s what you’ve always pictured meditation as. You can meditate in any way that is comfortable to you.

#6. Take a moment after each session to be thankful. Review the insights you were able to glean from each meditation session. Look for periods of time that you would describe as being successful. Allow yourself to linger in whatever peacefulness you’re able to experience so that your mind will want to come back to these feelings once again. Most importantly, being thankful for the chance to renew your body, spirit, and heart in addition to the mind will help you to appreciate these moments of peace even more.

#7. Hold yourself accountable. Skipping one meditation session means you could be on the journey toward stopping it altogether. By holding yourself accountable, meditation becomes something you’ll do even on the days when you feel like skipping it. If you can do so through your own willpower, then great! If not, seek the counsel of trusted family and friends for the gentle reminders you may need.

If meditation was super easy to do, then everyone would be doing it every day without hesitation. Some days, it almost feels like torture to spend 20 minutes trying to meditate. If you can work to keep your mind comfortable and calm, then those racing thoughts will begin to disappear over time. You’ll then be able to discover more about yourself than you ever thought possible.

6 Ways To Make Mindfulness a Higher Priority

Woman sitting on floor at home doing yoga meditation

Mindfulness allows us to really wake up and experience our lives. Instead of coasting through each day, looking forward to a point that we think might bring us happiness, mindfulness gives us a different perspective. It allows us to find what happiness exists in each moment that we experience. Making mindfulness a higher priority can be difficult when you first get started, so here are a few ways you can reach your goals.

#1. Be patient with yourself.

When society says that you deserve everything right now, it becomes an unconscious expectation that you reach your goals rapidly. Some goals, like making mindfulness a higher priority, can take months or years to reach their maximum potential. Allow yourself the gift of patience, take one day at a time, and look for the small successes that come your way.

#2. Get to know yourself once again.

The modern life has many demands. The amount of information that we share and absorb from others is astronomical. It can be easy to lose yourself in all of this data. Sometimes spending some time unplugged from the rest of the world to get to know yourself once again can make mindfulness easier to find.

#3. Be brave.

Prioritizing mindfulness can be very difficult sometimes because it forces you to face your darkest demons. We all have hidden recesses in our minds that we don’t like to access because there is guilt, regret, and pain lurking there. Mindfulness will eventually help you be able to heal from these difficult emotions, but it takes bravery to confront it head-on during the early days of mindfulness. Remember: three steps forward, but two steps back is still one net step forward.

#4. It’s not just about yourself.

One of the most unique aspects of mindfulness comes when it is combined with loving-kindness meditation. As you focus on the small moments that exist around you, think about how those moments affect others. Send blessings to family and friends as you ponder these moments and you’ll find that your emotional intelligence will dramatically increase over the coming weeks.

#5. Join a community for accountability.

We can justify our lack of mindfulness in many different ways when we practice it on our own. Maybe there wasn’t enough time in the day. Maybe the kids were sick. Maybe there is a project at work with a tight deadline that requires all of your attention. Pretty soon mindfulness takes a permanent spot on the back burner. By joining a community which focuses on daily mindfulness, your new friends will help to keep you accountable to its daily practice.

#6. Give yourself space.

Although mindfulness can be practiced virtually anywhere, it is still important to have a peaceful spot that is all your own. By creating a dedicated space for mindfulness and other forms of meditation, you’ll be naturally prioritizing it each day. Look for a space that will minimize distractions so you can maximize your results.

Making mindfulness a higher priority can seem like an insurmountable task sometimes, but with a little proactive work it can be easy to accomplish. Consider these ideas, add them to your routine as appropriate, and you may just find the path of least resistance to happiness.

Having Trouble Meditating? Here Are 5 Tips To Get You Started



You sit down in a quiet room, anticipating the joy that will come from a good meditation session. You settle into place, close your eyes, and begin to focus on your breathing. Then your stomach rumbles, telling you about the lunch you forgot to eat. The kids start arguing about who gets to be the first player today. Your phone rings somewhere. The neighbors start yelling at their dogs, who just found a squirrel to bark at.

Yeah. It’s going to be one of those days.

Everyone has trouble meditating every now and then. Distractions just enhance this trouble. Yet with these tips, you can get started on your next session no matter how much trouble you’re having right now to achieve your meditation goals.

#1. Give It Time

Set realistic goals that will help you build up some endurance against the distractions that threaten your meditation time. Give yourself a goal of 5 minutes of actual meditation each day when you first get started and then slowly build up the amount of time you allow yourself. Do your very best to meet this time even if the distractions are tough.

#2. The 10 Second Rule

It’s not about food that hits the ground. It’s about how long you allow yourself to feel guilty or experience regret as you begin to meditate. Everyone makes mistakes that they’d like a “do over” on. When the mind begins to calm down, these emotions surface because we’ve suppressed them for so long. Don’t ignore these difficult feelings. You also don’t want them to dominate your meditation session. The 10 second rule for each specific emotion will help you find some balance.

#3. It’s Not a Task

Meditation often fails because it’s something that gets put on a checklist of chores that need to get done. This is why so many feel like they can skip a meditation session. When meditating is put up against a deadline at work, cooking dinner for the family, and the other responsibilities that fill up a day, it will lose almost every time. Think of meditation as a source of contentment instead of a job and you’ll find that you can get much more out of each session.

#4. Priorities

People often make themselves become busy so they don’t have to think about the problems that are going on in their lives. Work becomes a distraction. Social sites like Facebook and Instagram, TV shows, or doing Netflix and chill for an evening are distractions. Meditation eliminates that distraction. If you are spending 45 minutes per day on Facebook, you’ve got time to meditate.

#5. Stay Motivated

There are times when people need to rest. There are also times when people need to find something that motivates them to keep going. Why do you want to meditate in the first place? What are the advantages you expect to receive when this habit becomes part of your life? When you can stay motivated and keep your focus on what meditation means to you, then it will one day become a habit that you’ll feel awkward without.

It’s easy to be skeptical about meditation when there are distractions aplenty in today’s world that split your mental focus. If you can commit to a specific time each day and practice these 5 tips, then the troubles you’re having with meditation today can begin to fade.

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