Magazine, Page 99-102
Journey Into Healing
intuition whispered to her over and over again to follow a spiritual path, to
let the unseen world guide her toward fulfillment.
intellect and her upbringing told her otherwise. Though religion and spirituality
were entrenched in her family, that family was built most of all on one foundation:
achievement. Her father made his mark as an entrepreneur in three different businesses.
Her mother, a diver, often told her children how she would have competed in the
Olympics had World War II not caused the Games' cancellation. There was stifling
pressure to learn languages and to study the Roman and Greek classics, to win
ribbons and trophies for athletic achievements. If she or her brothers came home
with anything but an "A" on a report card, the rest of the family would
not speak to that child. So Elizabeth Severino achieved. She became a computer
star at IBM, rose to become a vice president for Datapro/McGraw Hill, where she
earned more than $200,000 a year, then founded her own consulting firm. She learned
nine languages. She danced. She wrote poetry.
Then, on Labor Day in 1989, while aboard a 33-foot boat
on the Pacific ocean, she nearly found death as her sailing companion.
of sunlight twinkled in the waters of the Pacific, two hours from where she and
four friends had set sail at Alameda, California. A summer breeze blew strong,
cooling their bodies. This was sailing in all its serene glory.
The captain asked if she would play the role of crew mate
and help out in a maneuver to change course. She didn't have the experience, and
she didn't care. She said "yes" as the captain headed below deck.
to handle a rope, but instead it handled her. She lost her balance and her hand
got caught in the rope and the winch. The machinery crushed it and continued to
yank and contort her arm and shoulder. She screamed, helpless against the machine.
what the captain, a man with 27 years' experience, would later tell her was "a
boat froze in the water. The first mate said it was as if a giant hand had grabbed
the boat's bow.
churning winch stopped, and the captain raced to the deck and turned its crank,
freeing Elizabeth's arm and hand. But her hand was a grisly mess. To her, it looked
like "lifeless sticks, with bone exposed." Something told her or spoke
to her instructing her to piece the bone and skin back together, put a lost fingernail
back in place, place the hand in ice and never look at it again, visualizing it
only as it once was.
they headed back to port.
At a San Francisco hospital, the attending physician said
the ice had saved her hand but she would be scared for life. The fingernail that
had been ripped off would be lost. She would suffer permanent nerve damage.
voice in my head yelled, 'No!' " Elizabeth recalls. "And I'm looking
around the room, trying to figure out who's talking and there was nobody there
but [the physician] and me." That voice, or intuition, would lend detailed
instructions to Elizabeth, telling her how to heal her hand through massage and
energy techniques. It told her to listen when, back home in southern New Jersey,
her friend Jim Barr advised her to see his mother's doctor, not her own. It was
validated when the doctor having witnessed her rapid recovery from that Wednesday
to the following Monday asked her how she was healing her own hand so rapidly.
Today one can't decipher by looking at her hands, which was injured. If you didn't
know, you'd have to ask.
Elizabeth Severino, 52, is now an energy therapist who
uses Reiki, Prana, Feng Shui and other techniques. A six-figure-salaried life
as an independent computer consultant is but a memory. Yet her intuition leads
her on a life where fulfillment grows daily.
An energetic attitude
it's a business opportunity or a hobby or whatever, she goes at it full- bore,"
says Barr, who had met Elizabeth a couple of years prior to the accident at a
ballroom dancing class.
look at her today reveals just that. Within a couple of years after her accident,
Elizabeth found life in the corporate world incompatible with her gift for healing.
She bade farewell to the salary, lived off her savings and immersed herself into
a new career as an energy therapist. She bulldogged onward even during the months
when she didn't know where the mortgage money would come from. Finally, much like
Kevin Costner's character in Field of Dreams, she learned that if you build it,
they will come. She began to offer Reiki classes in her home.
is now a Reiki master, and is also certified in Qi Gong, Pranic Healing, Huna
and Neuro-Associative Conditioning. An animal lover throughout her life, she also
uses touch therapy on animals.
"I've found that touching opened the door for me
to know what was going on, and I found that bodies talk," she says. "Bodies
will tell you anything. And one of the aspects of bodies, in both humans and in
animals, is that they only know how to tell the truth."
Elizabeth had few opportunities to develop her own intuition
while growing up in Philadelphia's Main Line, an area glorified for its old money,
its many secluded mansions and for having been the childhood home of the late
Princess Grace of Monaco. One could call it an ivory tower, a term at which Elizabeth
bristles although for many years she had no idea there were families that didn't
have servants. Yet her strict, demanding father never, ever gave her an allowance.
She was selling seeds in sixth grade, making doll clothes in seventh grade, and
the entrepreneurial foundation just grew from there.
Her father, John Girard-diCarlo, made his fortune in chemical
manufacturing, exterminating and remodeling companies. Her mother, too, was an
accomplished woman. Elizabeth recalls her grace as a diver and the way she spoke
wistfully of that Olympic dream. It was while standing with her mother on a platform
diving board, at the age of 3, that a guiding philosophy of Elizabeth's life was
knew that I was scared," Elizabeth recalls. "She said, 'Pretend that
you're a bird.' She got me completely beyond being afraid of being up there and
gave me a way of looking at the situation where . . . I would basically conquer
the fear. She spread her arms for me and went into a bird shape, knowing full
well that the nature of the body being pulled in the water would keep me safe
if I did what she did. It was really a beautiful experience for me. I live my
whole life that way now. I just acknowledge that I'm afraid, and then I do it
time went on, chances availed themselves for Elizabeth to follow her intuition
and develop her mind-body-spirit connection. She always backed away. But looking
back, she feels that something otherworldly led her into the computer industry.
In her senior year at Vassar College (where she earned a degree in Latin with
concentrations in classical languages and clinical psychology), she was planning
to pursue a master's in classical literature at Yale University. Elizabeth needed
to go through a 28-volume lexicon for those graduate studies, only to have a wildly
was wandering around the library, just in tears," she recalls. "I was
looking for any space in the library that wasn't going to make me sneeze."
She found it in the computer section, where the air conditioning and relatively
dust-free environment soothed her. There, the head of the math and computer science
department noticed her and encouraged her in a new direction, one that led to
an IBM-sponsored master's. Not even realizing there was a glass ceiling supposedly
holding women back, she went on to become an award-winning competitive analyst
and authored a book on the field. In 1979 she became vice president of McGraw
Hill's Datapro. She left two years later to start her own computer consulting
firm, where she continued to earn $165,00 to $200,000 annually.
Then in 1989, in the blue waters of the Pacific, her entire
that she dove into her new work in energy therapy, overcoming the fear in one
leap from the platform dive as that 3-year-old child did. She had been groomed
on numbers, in a world where square roots and logarithms never lied. But her new-found
intuition contradicted everything she's ever known and she knew darned well not
to tell anyone she was hearing a voice in her head; she was frightened that the
world would write her off as mentally ill.
"(It wasn't sitting) entirely well with me,"
she says. "I'm a trained scientist. I've been in computers all my life. I've
been a researcher, a competitive analyst. Now I'm working with stuff where [I'm
getting] 100 percent results, and I don't understand how and why. Honestly, I'm
not entirely comfortable with that because I'm used to having the answers."
the turmoil in which Elizabeth was embroiled. He saw how this new outlook on life
or life's outlook on her was spinning a web around her in ways she never imagined.
He says he took that voice she spoke about to be a metaphorical one at the time,
but he never doubted her truthfulness.
"Liz has always been very honest and up-front with
me," he says. "Like a lot of very successful people, she's very concerned
about her reputation. She's not going to say anything that's going to cause her
to be viewed skeptically. For her to say what she said, I think she had to really
believe it did happen to her."
And he finds that Elizabeth's life journey might well
have been fateful.
of her background working at IBM and then McGraw-Hill, she's investigated these
[bodywork] modalities very passionately and very aggressively," he says.
"Now I think her previous experience, particularly as a competitive analyst
for IBM, may have been the preparation she needed, or the preparation that was
intended for her, to allow her to look at these different healing techniques and
to be able to compare and contrast and integrate [them]. The same thing she did
with computers she can now do with these techniques."
intuition carried her well beyond the short-term healing of her hand. She began
doing Reiki, yet had never been trained in that technique. In 1993 a Reiki master
observed her and recognized her doing the touches after she'd injured herself
on an obstacle course in Cancun, Mexico.
"After the [boating] accident, I just had a lot of
things that I suddenly knew," says Elizabeth, who in 1995 authored Reiki:
The Healer's Touch. "I still know things that I don't have a vocabulary for."
journey continues to cascade onward, through an intuition she might well have
continued to deny if not for that fateful Labor Day off the California coast.
now realize looking back that the Creator of the universe gave me a lot of opportunities
to follow the call of what I'm doing now, and I ignored them all," she says.
"They got increasingly more dramatic and I continued to ignore them. Then
in 1989, there was no way I could ignore that. It was like a wake-up call [of]
the greatest order."
Hanover has worked as a newspaper reporter for 11 years, the last eight as a staff
writer for The Times of Trenton. Reproduced
with permission. Original article printed on Sunday, August 24, 1997
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