Julie Chimes - OBE from attack by a knife carrying schizophrenic
Type of Spiritual Experience
In the eighties Julie Chimes-Laws worked in the media based London's Fleet Street. Company director, businesswoman and part-time racing driver her world underwent a dramatic change when an out-of-the-blue attempt on her life left her for dead. Viciously stabbed repeatedly within millimeters of her life her subsequent survival was considered to be something of a miracle. She wrote a profound yet humorous autobiographical account of her experiences, both in and out of body, A Stranger in Paradise, which was first published by Bloomsbury, London. The book was distributed on three continents and translated into five further languages creating a wave of positive media attention around the world. The extraordinary story was also the subject of a critically acclaimed BBC documentary, which she scripted and co-directed.
Leaving the world of convention behind Julie has spent the last seventeen years living abroad. She has travelled extensively during this time whilst encountering the weird and wonderful. Stepdaughter of the great comedian Max Wall, daughter of one of world's most beautiful women, and sister to a wonderful soul with autism, her unconventional upbringing gave her a love of finding mirth in the midst of the mundane, and a passion for storytelling. A gifted speaker, she has addressed and entertained diverse audiences around the world sharing the experiences of her many adventures and fresh insights on life and death.
After facing her own mortality she vowed to 'try on' as many lives as possible. Olive farmer, cleaner, facilitator of international retreats and workshops on meditation, garden designer, chief cook, host and bottle washer for an restaurant located in her own Andalusian patio, property and pet sitter, painter, decorator and life counselor to name a few, whilst receiving an unorthodox training as a singer in the basement of a brothel and performing as a soloist in some equally unlikely venues.
Having gathered a wealth of original material over the last seventeen years, Julie is now dedicated to full time writing. Passionate about projects that have the power to uplift, amuse and inspire humanity, she is currently working on a book about forgiveness, with a feature film script, children's stories, a drama and a comedy series for television and a second book about her adventures planned for the future. She shares her time between Spain and France, where she lives with her editor husband Richard in hidden places away from the marauding British investors.
A description of the experience
Julie Chimes (England)
Published on March 29, 2010 | Country: England | Topics: Crime, Victim / Survivor
In 1986 Julie Chimes agreed to let an emotionally distressed acquaintance wait in her cottage until her busy doctor boyfriend was able to make the time to get home in order to assess his patient. No one, not even the woman’s psychiatrist or family, knew that she had recently taken herself off all medication for paranoid schizophrenia. Helping herself to a carving knife, she then set about attacking Julie in a mission to save the world in the name of Jesus.
I think of myself as fortunate because I have never felt a victim. When the knife entered me, something exploded in my awareness and a part of me became detached from my body, calmly observing the mayhem with total understanding and even a sense of humour. I can remember shouting out that I loved my assailant, which, given the circumstances was as much of a surprise to me as was being stabbed.
The physical pain was excruciating but a phenomenal strength and focus arose within me, which guided me out of the cottage. Eventually a courageous passer-by managed to disarm my attacker, as she was trying to hack off my head. When the Police eventually arrived they thought I was dead, but I was aware of everything, including the unhelpful onlookers who were discussing the ambulance strike, and the businessman who wouldn’t cover me with his jacket because he didn’t want it “ruined” by my blood. The exsanguinated pile of flesh and bones slumped in the drive seemed to have little to do with who I was. I cheered when my partner Tony arrived on the scene. His courage and certainty pulled me back. There was serendipity in the way my rescue unfolded and I knew I would live. My loved ones were not so certain.
The main topics of conversation over my mummified body were blame and retribution. Tony became the scapegoat as he had sent the woman patient to our cottage. From my perspective, the sequence of events that had led up to her arrival in our kitchen were so bizarre I knew there was no one to blame. I felt certain the attack was part of a much bigger picture. I believed on some level that it had had to happen and that it was not the tragic accident that most people thought. I was determined to understand and a quest for truth began to unfold within me.
My rapid recovery from the five main stab wounds was considered something of a miracle but there were difficult repercussions in every aspect of my life. My mother, having lost her brother tragically, remained inconsolable and had a breakdown. My stepfather blamed “my injuries” for her ensuing illness and in a misguided effort to protect her from further upset he banished me from their lives. After her premature death he asked for my forgiveness. I am not religious but Christ’s words, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”, is the closest way to describe how I felt. This expansive feeling of understanding and compassion even allowed me to take a call from my assailant’s sister, who wanted me to know her sister was desperately sorry and asked my forgiveness. As I blamed no one, there was nothing to forgive, but there was still a lot for me to learn and understand. I hadn’t become evangelical, walking around with a beatific smile on my face but I went in search of teachings and people who had touched on the same loving perspective. I wanted to know if it was possible to reach this place of peace without some horrific trauma.
I wrote “A Stranger in Paradise” to offer back my insights and understandings of the entire experience. The book attracted worldwide media attention because it made people cry as much with laughter as outrage and it explained how I was able to forgive. I refused to be pigeonholed as a grim faced victim, although this was the angle many photographers and journalists wanted. The unprecedented coverage sparked positive debate and discussion and I was invited to share my story with thousands of people around the world. I have learnt that this inner place of forgiveness and peace is available to everyone, everywhere, and in any circumstance. I now know when there is understanding there can be compassion. When compassion arises there can be forgiveness. Where there is forgiveness there is peace