Vivianne Knebel details her journey From Rubble to Champagne in her memoir about gratitude, resilien
During these uncertain times, it can be difficult to find uplifting stories that underscore the resilient nature of the human spirit. However, it is now more important than ever to hold steadfast to gratitude and hope -- author Vivianne Knebel knows all too well that these hold the key to happiness. An inspiring example of the ‘American Dream,’ Vivianne has not always held the perspective on life she now possesses.
In an exclusive interview with Enspire, she opened up about the hardships she overcame in order to find joy, peace, and liberation through writing. Through her retelling, she provides inspiration and encouragement for anyone struggling during this unprecedented moment in history.
From Rubble to Champagne tells the story of your life. Can you explain how you came up with the title and how it reflects the arc of your life?
I was born when the world around me was falling apart. After my home city Berlin lay in a state of utter ruin, I grew up among rubble, constantly facing hunger and low self-esteem. My life has been one of both hardship and comfort, demoralization and fulfillment, searching and finding, and uncertainty and hope. Through hope, hard work, determination and perseverance I was able to make the best of what God gave me and awaken to my ultimate nature. The result was that I was able to have a life of prosperity and gratitude.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when you left Germany to start a new life?
I faced many big challenges when I left Germany. Since there was no work to be found, we went hungry in the first winter. My mother and I only knew of one place to ask for help. We explained our plight to a local priest in broken English. He handed us $35.00 and my mother immediately bought flour, rice, etc. At age 14 I dropped out of school and entered the workforce where I encountered serious sexual harassment. At age 17 I lost hope, I felt all my efforts were in vain. I spiraled into deep depression and attempted to commit suicide.
I closed the garage door and turned on the motor when miraculously a little girl about 6 years of age appeared and asked me what I was doing. I immediately opened the garage door and answered meekly that I was going to wash my car. She skipped away, blissfully unaware that she had just saved my life. She came in through a side door that I was unaware of.
What, would you consider, are some of your greatest accomplishments?
Being an illegitimate child and challenged in school I was the weakest link and constantly felt looked down upon. I think one of my greatest accomplishments is that I was able to embrace every opportunity to learn and grow. I am also self-taught. I learned to pilot a plane, I ran a marathon, and I helped my husband with his business.
I no longer waver from insecurities and doubt my abilities. I have become firm in my convictions and my sense of self.
How do you think writing the book changed you?
It was very liberating to write this book. While I was writing this book, I realized I can have a voice. When I reflected on the time when that little girl saved my life, I believed with all my heart that my purpose is to help others who feel defeated or suppressed; to let them know that they are not alone in their hardships.
During these unusual times, what are you most grateful for?
I am most grateful for the challenges I successfully overcame. They have been instructive. Challenges are great lessons if you are willing to receive them as such. The lessons may be painful, but they fortify us to better understand ourselves and the world around us. I have a positive outlook even though times are bleak for many people. We must all know that obstacles can be overcome, and times will get better. When we think we have so little, in reality we have so much. We need to be thankful for what we have. I have been through a lot and if I can succeed, I believe others can too.
If you could speak directly to the younger generations who might feel defeated right now, what would you say? What advice would you give?
When young people feel defeated my first advice is to have hope. One of the trappings of youth is that one has so little perspective. Life is not static; it will change even if you don’t want it to.
My advice is to have hope, set goals and have a purpose. Stay focused, be determined and persevere! Believe me, it works.
Are you working on any other creative projects right now? How are you keeping yourself busy these days?
I have always been a seeker and a searcher. I am devout in my practice of daily meditation and passionate about studying the works of great poets and philosophers. They give us values and help us make sense of the world. I also love working in my garden and surrounding myself with the beauty of nature. I also care for my husband who has always been so good to me. I have enjoyed preparing delicious meals as well. There is so much to be grateful for. After all, the meaning of life is generosity, gratitude and an awareness of service.
To learn more about Vivianne Knebel, you can visit her website here. You can also pick up a copy of her book through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.