Cortona April 2020
With Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda
We are at the villa in Cortona used in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. We are sitting in the olive groves, visiting with Carmel D’Arienzo who has just wrapped up another one of her Bella Vita Living retreats. The air is warmed by the sun and the trees are in bloom. She invites us to taste a glass of wine and of course we agree. We are struck not only by her knowledge and passion but by her smile which lights up the entire valley. “How did you wind up here and what does it mean to have a mid-life Renaissance?.” we asked.
Carmel, dressed in casual yet classic pants with a cashmere sweater and leather boots sits back comfortably in her chair and begins. “It happened when my former business partner died. Lisa and I had met in Rockefeller Center one summer when I was working at the Italian Tourist Board. She was organizing weddings to Italy and I was arranging villa rentals. We decided to merge our businesses and did some incredible events together. Lisa got sick with MS and in November of 2017 passed away and I didn’t find out until January. That shook me and I realized that if I keep doing what I am doing I will be 60 years old still longing for love, impact and financial freedom. I didn’t want to live a life with regrets and waste one more precious day .”
Some people call this is a crisis of midlife. ( Carmel also explains to us that it is almost arrogant to consider it a mid-life crisis because we hardly know how long we have on this earth) . Many experiencing this “crisis” look to the external to fix the pain – new friendships, or material acquisitions.
“The midlife Renaissance is about going within and birthing a new chapter from the inside out..” Carmel states that it is not a crisis but rather a huge opportunity and rebirth. She shares that when she hit 50 and then decided to take a risk and embrace uncertainty by giving up her NYC apartment to be closer to the sea, everything began to change. The sound of the birds chirping in the morning was a welcome change from the cacophony of her upstairs neighbors stomping feet above her.
Cutting out a lot of noise and distractions, she got more connected with her true desires and not coincidentally was introduced to the Master Key System by two separate people within a period of 2 weeks. She decided to enroll in the mastermind and that’s where she started developing great habits and her life took on momentum by small consistent efforts over time.
Kathie Lee asked her what special diet she had done because “girl you look great for your age.” Carmel explained that after attending a wellness conference in Italy where she met the founder of the Blue Zones, she completely changed what she was doing and gave up processed food and shakes and went back to the Mediterranean diet. She began a yoga and weight training practice and completed her first triathlon. Her supplements and support for her health actually made her feel like she was getting younger!
Hoda asked Carmel what she wanted to happen on these retreats and Carmel shared how gratifying it was to see women not only discover their greatness but seem to be reborn before her eyes. Carmel passionately shared her deep desire to make a difference in the world and how grateful she was to find that the way to do that was to create an army of change agents to help her.
Carmel’s own Renaissance ignited when she took the Master Key Experience.
“I had accomplished a lot in my life, but I realized that I wasn’t utilizing all my God given gifts… that I was addicted to things not turning out. By developing good habits that served me and creating a new blueprint, was able to harness the power of the Divine, The Universe and be the impact I had always wanted to be. “
Carmel had always felt wealthy due to experiences, family, friends and wealth but this time she got to break through her inner glass ceiling of financial compensation. She was finally proud to want money because the more she earned the more she could give. Her commitments to education for young girls and research for Alzheimer’s was fueled by the prosperity she created.
She and her team had built a school in Lebanon and were ready for their second one.
As Carmel explained more about the Art of Bella Vita Living tears started to well up in her eyes. She spoke about so many people walking around numb, not living in full technicolor or dying way before their time. She talked about this precious present moment being all we have. She tried to describe the flow she has now discovered where work seems effortless and the right people are constantly showing up. A dream come true!
As the sun began to set in the hills and we were set to join Carmel for dinner, she chuckled and said “Well, there is one more thing to tell you. As in Under the Tuscan Sun, when I least expected it, I met my soulmate. He shared some of the same values like commitment to personal growth, Italy and making a difference and loved going back and forth with me.”
She beckoned beyond the hills and said “ we got married there in June. Think long tables, laughter and love. We are actually having a big party for our one year anniversary and of course you two are invited.” We smiled and accepted and our hearts were warmed with her joy – it was contagious. She sparked the hope in our hearts that love is available at any age.
Carmel is right: “La Vita e’ bella.” Life is beautiful. Even in the challenges. And, as she says, There is always something to be grateful for.
And in another Carmelism we say to you “ Ciao for now”
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Aloha Lorelei Sunshine and Remember: #youcreateyourdream