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When the lightning strikes, listen

stood on the porch, eyes closed, breathing the metallic air.

The lightning flashed across the sky, foretelling the accompanying thunder and pelting rain.

I smiled and fist-bumped the heavens, acknowledging my relationship with the Divine.

Heaven responded with another zig-zagging sky blaze.

We’re old friends, lightning and me. You see, when I was 8, I was almost killed by a bolt of lightning.

My brother Ian and I had to walk up Stonecrest Road to catch the school bus. It was a cold spring morning, drizzly and gray.

As usual, we were running late, the bus honking its incessant last call.

Ian grabbed my hand, tugging me out the door. We were running up the driveway when — BOOM!

Less a flash of light, more a giant camera flash that blanketed the entire world at once, a bolt of lightning struck inches in front of me.

It was a wide screen of white hot flash moving not down from the sky as expected, but from the ground upward and then back down in a nanosecond, a heavenly magician raising and lowering the sheet in one fell swoop to reveal his assistant, holding a white rabbit.

The thunder soon followed, warning us too late. The strike blew me backward, where I lay dazed, legs splayed. My hair was a frizzy corona, my eyebrows singed, my face sunburnt, which isn’t surprising since the average temperature of a lightning bolt is three times hotter than the sun.

My brother had tears in his eyes. “Oh my god, Heather,” he said in wonder, using my middle name. “You almost died.”

His shaking voice made evident his fear.

Then, “Why are you smiling?”

I was relishing the power and energy. The world coalesced into hyper-focus. The air around me was charged, my body surrounded by a halo of light, the hairs on my arm standing straight up.

After all, chances of being struck by lightning are only about 1 in 12,000.

I had been chosen by the gods, deeply connected in that moment to some unfathomable power.

It’s the first time I ever remember being in a flow state and I was mesmerized and addicted to the feeling (though I am forever chagrined that I did not emerge from this tale with a Harry Potter-style tattoo on my forehead).

Most bolts contain millions of volts of electricity. As close as it came, I really should have died. But I didn’t.

Native Americans interpret lightning as a harbinger of a more evolved awareness.

In Greek mythology, the lightning bolt is a symbol of intuition. Consider how we say that something comes to us in a flash.

Fire is transmutative, alchemic, turning one thing into another.

I was forged in a cosmic fire that day, emerging with a deep understanding that flow is my preferred state of existence.

I believe all children have a certain amount of what Stephen King calls the shine, or extra sensory perception. Most of us grow out of our ability to perceive information beyond sight, sense, taste, smell and touch.

Whether it be clairvoyance, telepathy or precognition, children are just naturally intuitive, better at living in the flow than adults.

They willingly accept the miraculous and don’t rationalize themselves out of the miracle. They know without having to know.

I believe that bolt honed my innate intuition. Now, when a storm comes, I’m reminded to check in with my gut, let go and let flow.

Instinct is primal, focused solely on food and sex.

Intellect is rational, an understanding we attain from other people or books.

Intuition arises from within; it’s a bone-deep knowing that defies explanation, an internal voice that urges us to surrender to the cosmic flow.

When we honor our voice we make the right choice.

But it’s hard to live by intuition in a world that values raw facts. As we mature, we often set aside our natural perceptions for intellect.

But when we’re disconnected from our inner voice, it’s throwing our boat to the whim of the waves. Intuition is our rudder, steering us home.

Want to foster your own awareness? You don’t have to stand out in the rain with an umbrella, hoping the lightning bolt comes just close enough.

Download some binaural beats and grab your headphones. Binaural beats are rhythmic humming sounds that are created by playing two simple tones in the right and left ears (which is why they are best heard through headphones). These beats have been proven to alter brainwave frequencies, resulting in an altered state of intuitive consciousness called the alpha state, also known as flow. Alpha is the brain wave that occurs during light sleep, dreams, meditation, daydreams and creative visualization. It’s the state you need to be in to receive intuitive information.

Listen for 10 minutes each night before bed and wait for flashes of awareness to show up.

Erin Smith is the owner of the OM place in Winchester, the author of “Sensible Wellness for Women” and the online host of a yoga and mindfulness channel for Eppic Films.Send her a shout out at erin@theOMplace.net or play along at www.theOMplaceChannel.com.