Message of Healing:
Local authors taking their word to the world

By Randy Southerland
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Thursday, August 9, 2001


n a meeting hall at the Cobb Galleria Centre, author, healer and budding guru Jill Kahn has taken the stage in front of a group of several hundred people.

They come seeking enlightenment on any number of life's issues — finances, career, health, interpersonal relationships.

She gives the appearance of a woman on a mission, speaking in short, fast clips as she presents her philosophy of taking care of "yourself first."

The compact bundle of dark-haired energy has found a receptive audience at the Life Forum. She's on a ticket with a dozen or so other New Age success and wellness "coaches" who have come from places as close as Marietta, Roswell and Stone Mountain, and as far as California.

The recent speaking engagement is the first stop on a cross-country tour that will take this east Cobb resident from Chattanooga to San Diego and two dozen stops in between.

Kahn is a far cry from the traditional gurus who gathered their followers at the local ashram. Today, it's about empowering people to heal themselves.

By way of her self-published book — which has sold almost 1,000 copies since being released less than a month ago — Kahn has joined an army of prophets who travel the New Age circuits, speaking to audiences.

While they may not be household names like Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer or Louise Hay, they are nevertheless tapping into a large market hungry for something they can't get in mainstream churches or from conventional medicine.

"Alternative healers range from the very esoteric — crystal healing — right through to close to medical stuff," explained Cobb resident Colin Tipping, author of "Radical Forgiveness" and founder of the Radical Forgiveness Institute.

Kahn's book, "The Gift of Taking," tells people how they can "mirror Mother Nature" by taking care of one's needs first and then giving out of abundance.

"Dr. Jill" — she's a chiropractor by education — says that, combined with visualizations and other holistic approaches, it can help cure all sorts of aliments. She's seen it work in her own family — her father survived cancer using it — and among her patients, one of whom was in the Cobb Galleria audience and has overcome breast cancer.

"I would go to her and I'd come home and I'd have all this energy," said Carmen Hering, a local store owner. "I'd go to work for a few hours. My family was not quite sure what I was doing. Little by little I learned how to take care of myself and how to take care of the cancer."

Kahn first became interested in this approach to dealing with cancer when she discovered a lump in her breast while she was a student in chiropractic school. It turned out to be nothing, but the experience spurred her to begin learning everything she could about natural approaches to dealing with the disease, from nutrition to visualization.

"I became so absorbed in it that I couldn't get enough of that kind of information," she recalled. "I started living that lifestyle as if I was treating myself for something that didn't even exist. It was just so in alignment to everything I believe in."

Years later she got to put everything she had learned into practice when her father got lung cancer.

Doctors gave him perhaps a year to live. Reaching back to her own experiences, Kahn told him there might be another way.

"He called me up and said, 'I'm going to postpone my surgery for two weeks if you'll fly in and help with this,' " she said. "I worked with him for two weeks straight. We did diet and nutrition, we did mind and body. Whatever flowed out naturally."

When the elder Kahn finally entered the hospital, surgeons found that the tumor was no longer even visible. Eleven years later he is still cancer free.

Success stories like that have drawn patients with cancer and other maladies to her care.

A former faculty member at London University in his native England, Tipping has built a worldwide following through his seminars on forgiveness as a means of healing.

"So, what radical forgiveness means is the willingness to be able to accept the possibility that everything happens for a reason," he explained.

Tipping began his work with cancer patients who, he maintains, share the common characteristic of being unable to forgive.

"It's well documented in a great deal of research, and very respectable research, that this is a factor," he said. "In fact it's a predictor of cancer in one study. People who tend to hold onto resentments in the end often create cancer because it's an energy block in the body. So that's got to go somewhere and often it ends up in the physical body as a tumor or some sort of illness."

Each year he gives 20 to 30 workshops, ranging from a single afternoon to five days, and has weekly speaking engagements throughout the country and around the world. In September he'll be traveling to Australia to kick off a three-month international tour.

"The biggest thing is seeing people's lives transformed," Tipping said. "They tell you a year later that their lives were changed and they haven't gone back to the way they were before."

Hering says that Kahn is like a coach. "She didn't do the work for me, but she gave me the tools to work to help myself."

"I think there's a hunger for knowledge and new ways to think," said Mardeene Mitchell, a local writer who co-authored Kahn's book. "People are learning from other people's stories and they don't want to hear from experts any more."

Tipping echoed those sentiments with the assertion that he's no more a healer than anyone else.

"We're all just sharing information."