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Holistic Approaches To Spiritual Fitness With Vicki Dello Joio

Vicki Dello Joio

Vicki Dello Joio is a life-changing workshop leader, Qigong energy master, teacher, and inspirational speaker. Since 1975, her brand of brilliance has empowered wellness-motivated and spiritually inclined seekers to infuse body-mind-spirit practices into their cells so that they can tap into their birthright of joy — using it as fuel, not a goal— for a lifetime.

Vicki is the host of the monthly program Qi Talks and is a Hall of Fame recognized teacher of the Chinese Art of Qigong by the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors. Her spiritual fitness program and book, The Way of Joy, have transformed the lives of thousands of participants since 1976.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Why Vicki Dello Joio learned martial arts

  • How to manage stage fright

  • Vicki shares client success stories

  • How body movements can help you overcome limiting beliefs

  • How self-expression boosts your health

  • The connection between stagnation and stress

  • Vicki talks about the value of being grateful, meditating, and setting boundaries

  • How Qigong can help you to work with seasons

In this episode…

There are many ways to improve your fitness, whether physically, mentally, or spiritually. Understanding your body helps you to express yourself better and tap into your inner power.

Spiritual fitness involves paying attention to your body's energy. Expanding your energy field boosts your confidence and helps you manage stress and self-limiting beliefs. Your body has so much potential.

Vicki Dello Joio, a Qigong energy master and speaker, joins Mark Hiddleson in this episode of The Tao of Pizza Podcast to talk about spiritual fitness. They also discuss how to manage stage fright, how to overcome limiting beliefs, and why setting boundaries is important.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode...

This episode is brought to you by Specialized Storage Solutions Inc.


I have been in the logistics and storage industry for several decades. I know I don’t look that old, but it's true.

We provide industry-leading warehouse storage solutions nationwide.

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We take a holistic look at your entire business supply chain ecosystem to develop the resources for continually improving your operation.

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Episode Transcript:

Intro 0:01

Welcome to The Tao of Pizza where we feature top logistics leaders, entrepreneurs and supply chain innovators and share their inspiring stories with a holistic twist.

Mark Hiddleson 0:16

Mark Hiddleson here, host of The Tao of Pizza Podcast where I talk with top industry innovators in the warehousing, logistics, and supply chain business with a holistic twist. Before I introduce today's guest, Vicki Dello Joio, this episode is brought to you by Specialized Storage Solutions, Inc. Listen, I've been in the logistics and storage industry for several decades. I know I don't look that old, but it's true. We provide industry leading warehouse storage solutions nationwide. So basically we have a warehouse in the rack shelving, carts, conveyors, or mezzanine, we'll put the design engineering installations, inspections and repairs to help clients optimize their logistics operations. And Vicki, some sometimes people don't realize we actually help with permanent acquisition services as well. But we take a holistic look at your entire business supply chain to develop the resources for continuing improving your operation. To learn more, visit our website at, or give us a call 707-732-3892. And I have given my personal email for podcast listeners. It's So if you're ready to take your warehouse storage and retrieval systems to the next level, give us a call.

Today's guest is Vicki Dello Joio. She's a life-changing workshop leader, Qigong energy master teacher and inspirational speaker since 1975. Her brand of brilliance has empowered wellness motivated and spiritually inclined seekers to infuse body mind spirit practices to their very cells, so they can tap into their birthright of joy. Use it as a fuel not a goal for a lifetime. She's a popular host of the monthly program Qigong Talks and a hall of fame recognized teacher of the Chinese art of Qigong by the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors. Vicki's quote unquote spiritual fitness program and book The Way of Joy has transformed the lives of 1000s of participants. Vicki, welcome to The Tao of Pizza.

Vicki Dello Joio 2:17

So good to see you mark. My pleasure.

Mark Hiddleson 2:19

Yeah, you've been an inspiring teacher for 20 years, I applied what I learned in the classroom, several I did a couple of workshops when I was working on my master's degree at JFK. And we've connected recently this is actually our second episode. So I want to encourage check out the other episode because this we're going to get more into the spiritual fitness, which I love. I wish I would have invented that word. I know. You didn't. Doing spiritual fitness is a great way to describe your practice and those types of practices. So share a little bit with us about how you got started. How did you get into that field, in martial arts, into the field

Vicki Dello Joio 3:08

of martial arts. I started doing martial arts because I was trying to I was really needing to learn some self defense. I actually my original entry into Marcos martial arts was was was through Tai Chi Tijuana. And that was a Chinese master back when I was studying actor when acting when I was a kid when I was in my team. But over time I became it became more and more important for me to learn how to protect myself. And so I started martial arts in that way. And then after a certain point, I reverted back towards the more internal arts. So Chico and Tai Chi are more of the internal workings of how energy works as opposed to just the fighting. So I started in that in that way. And there's something I don't know if you know this about me, Mark, but I actually in terms of fitness. Did you know this I was for years, I was a aerobics instructor I taught aerobics forever. So that's I think probably part of what informed the fitness the spiritual fitness because I was a fitness instructor. And I all the people who came to me it was all sorted during the Jane Fonda era of aerobics and stuff. And I think a lot of people came to me who didn't like spandex but they wanted to move their bodies and get their heart rate going. And so I had all sorts of the outcasts of the spandex crowd.

Mark Hiddleson 4:33

Nice Vicki Jazzercise class.

Vicki Dello Joio 4:37

Like that. Yeah, it wasn't Jazzercise, but yeah, like, spirit. Awesome. No, I didn't make words leotards.

Mark Hiddleson 4:45

Yeah, I love I love the visual. Yeah, so that's awesome. And then the in the fighting part. Do you still practice any of the of those arts or just Qigong Do you

Vicki Dello Joio 5:00

says Qigong, yeah, um, no, I don't really practice any of the fighting arts anymore. It really stopped at some point, it became more and more convinced that the way to move energy will be at the root of all the fighting arts. So I feel like, I still feel pretty confident about taking care of myself if I need to. But I also feel like there's an energy field that I've sort of started to that I've cultivated over the years that that sort of took the place of the need to fight. I just didn't want to fight anymore. Yeah,

Mark Hiddleson 5:31

I love to say that I want to be a personally I want to be an instrument of peace, and I want to fight for it. It's a passion. So it's also curious you have you work with public speakers, what are some of the tips you have for managing stage fright?

Vicki Dello Joio 5:54

There's, there's a few different things that I like to do with stage fright. I mean, stage fright is such an interesting phenomenon. You know, I always think of that, Fritz Perls, quote, fear is excitement without breath. A lot of times, I find that particularly with clients who I'm working with who are about to go on stage, and we're nervous about it, that it's not just about taking a deep breath, it's about your direct thing, your breath in a way that you can start to transform that because when we go into fear, a lot of times, if you think about it, you know, you kind of hunched down and curl over, you stop your breath, it, everything compresses. And that, so it's a kind of stagnation. And of course, in Qigong, the whole purpose of the practice is to get energy moving, that you want to move what is stuck into flow. So breath is a really great first step to do that. So a lot of times, I'll work with people around how how to bring you Zen, it's not necessarily just what people think of as belly breathing or something like that. There's all different kinds of ways to breathe, where you start to expand your energy field. And once that happens, once you start to expand what's called your way chi field. And I know you know what that is, because I've talked to you about it a lot. But once you expand that field, which has to do with your externalize energy, there is a safety in that, that you can really let yourself rest in the authenticity of who you are. And then express from that makes a huge difference. When you kind of touch base into that. The only thing I really like to remind people when they're going to go on a stage or when they're going to have a maybe a high stakes conversation, something they feel nervous about, is to think about, not so much about what is that person or those people or that audience thinking about me, but how do I send love or heart energy out to them. So the one focus goes out in this way, that does also a lot to dissipate the kind of stagnation or deer in the headlights that people tend to have when they have stage fright. And it's not that I don't get stage fright myself, I still do. You know, I perform a lot I do a lot of shows and stuff in it. There's always that tickle of energy, but it doesn't. It's not that I you know, that's being completely immobilized. Yes, sometimes

Mark Hiddleson 8:09

it can have 30 candidates like paralysis where you know, the, what your next word is, but then there's just there's this and some of it is the breath of new your breathing gets all right, gets off. And then,

Vicki Dello Joio 8:21

by the way, it doesn't have anything to do with experience or expertise. I mean, I know that I grew up in my dad was a pretty well known composer when I was a kid and I grew up around a lot of luminaries, and one of them was a pianist, whose name was Vladimir Horowitz will adjust to his friends. And he used to he was a very distinguished pianist. And he used to, he used to basically vomit before he went on stage. And he was so nervous that he had to, you know, that's how he got energy moving. So, you know, and he was, he was a top pianist of his era,

Mark Hiddleson 8:56

really. So who are some of the water? Can you share some of the success stories of people you work with? Or presentations because I think of it you know, we it may not be public speaking but even just presenting like you said, a boardroom presentation are important meetings. Do you have any specific success stories that you can share with us?

Vicki Dello Joio 9:19

Oh, yeah, I'll Absolutely that's sort of what that's sort of what makes put slaps a smile on my face these days is when I see my client still, I just actually worked with a client just a couple of weeks ago who was entering a competition of storytelling for speakers. She came and worked with me for a half a day. And it was a big deal. There was a lot of competition it was and it was, you know, really important to her to get a message across really brilliant, brilliant message. And she just texted me a few days ago that she won the competition. So So we worked a lot of everything from the energy piece of it to the crafting of her story. So that's one person another person who I don't remember if I've told you about her or he she was a Afghan refugee. She came here when she was a kid as a young kid. She escaped from Afghanistan when she was five years old with her family walking across the desert Pakistan. And incredible story. I mean, amazing story that we, you know, unpacked together. But when I first met her, she hardly spoke. She was so shy and English was her second language. Although as a kid, as many immigrant kids do, she ended up being the translator for her entire family. So her English is is excellent. But she was still very shy and almost tongue tied. Even though lately she committed she convinced she admitted to me that she's an extrovert. So the SEC she's kind of found her way in. Anyway, she told her story. We she called me and she said, Oh, my gosh, I have to tell this story. I've been invited to tell the story for this women's march, there were 1000s of people. It was an online women's event. In I think it was out of Nevada. And so we, you know, reduced her story to three minutes, she had three minutes to speak, get her story. So that really went for the bones of the story so that she could she Inspire, Inspire people all over that crowd. I mean, she just did an amazing job. So and she's been a Qigong student, as well as a storytelling speaking student for a while. And man, she is just watching her. She's now he's all over the place. She's on Instagram. She's talking all the time. He's telling stories left and right. That's another success story that I feel especially proud of.

Mark Hiddleson 11:37

So this question I have, I'm trying to think of the best way to phrase it, but But why do you believe it's important to find embodied tools? Or I would say, you know, using your body to move around limiting core beliefs?

Vicki Dello Joio 11:56

Oh, that's such a great question. Mark. I almost want to ask you that question, too, because I mean, you have some ideas about it, itself. So I'd like to hear the dialogue here. But I think particularly in the last few years, when we've been in these little boxes on Zoom, that it's been that it's really easy to fall into the north of neck, right, we're just speaking all the time north of neck and so it becomes very heavy. And when we get just very heavy. There's a whole piece of power that's missing. I think that when we can bring our message down through our bodies and into our hearts, we can have the kind of impact that I think many people feel like they they need to make or even were born to make. So I think that being to letting things speak from the ground up, come up through you, through your heart through something that Southam neck starts to make a real difference. It makes a difference in terms of how you deliver it also makes a difference in terms of what you're emanating in terms of how people receive you. What do you think?

Mark Hiddleson 12:56

Well, I was thinking and the reason I love this question, I've always thought that people think of North I live north of the neck, their territories is that that's where your intelligence but intelligence is. But I found that a lot of intelligence, especially memory, or or there's, there's just you can learn from your body, your body is much more of a source of intelligence. And even I call them energy, vortexes or blockages, you know, where things when I think of self limiting beliefs, I think of if I just react if I'm in the situation, and I just react, I'm not really choosing to respond skillfully, then it's usually it it's not in my head, it's usually in my body, it's a feeling and then then that feeling trigger something my mind is just a pattern and it goes into repeat. So I've found where does

Vicki Dello Joio 13:52

that where does that feeling resonate in your body mark?

Mark Hiddleson 13:54

So the feeling of knowing

Vicki Dello Joio 14:00

or the feeling either of knowing or whatever it is it stops the vortexes.

Mark Hiddleson 14:03

I think it sits close to the heart. I think for me a lot of times it's I get stuck and it's a most of survival instinct, but I would say you know, it's somewhere you know, close to my heart and you fill it in, it's a pain or it's in or even being out of breath. This is like the speaking on stage is get to a point to say something that's there's no air to push to push out. So for being grounded more in the call the lower dantian or Hara gut. I think I've found a lot of if I can breathe from there and that there isn't until there's a piece there. There's a solidness that isn't fear isn't as fear based, or reaction, just like I said, gives me a place to pause. It's just space. It's a gap between between. And

Vicki Dello Joio 15:05

I think, was Wayne Dyer who used to talk about the gap between the notes, which is where wisdom is right, that sense of really being able to listen more deeply that takes us right out of that fear fight flight place when we can go there.

Mark Hiddleson 15:19

Yeah, and I think order limiting beliefs, it's also it's kind of the tapes. They're, you know, thoughts, that's what a lot of meditation is, for me is kind of noticing that those thoughts and instead of getting caught up in it, and off to the races, I find my bodies are much more stable place the give to start from and then, you know, have a little bit more of the embodied. That's what I loved about what you taught in the just moving your body like in this, putting your hands like this? Yes, changes. Jesus was single for like, touchdown. Well, yeah, that's still more freedom already just bought it.

Vicki Dello Joio 16:02

Yes, I love that. I love that. I mean, I think that there's something about that, where we can feel that when we can tune into these parts of our body to be able to really open up flow. It allows us to go into that full potential, which I heard a quote earlier today that, you know, we all have, are born with so much potential that we'll never achieve all of it in our lifetime. And so I think we have more access to more potential, when we allow that opening. And that's what I love about Qigong, as you know, there's different types of Qigong, there's internal Qigong, or Nagel, which internal meditation pieces. And then there's other that's movement. And when I first started, particularly as a kid, you know, in my teens, the movement was really important because I felt like it was so hard to sit still, the idea of meditating just felt like it was anathema to me now in vitamin pills, or I can, I can sit on, I can do meditation, but there's something about the Tai Chi and Qigong world where you're moving and meditating at the same time, where you're focusing so much on the turn of a hand or on the energy that you feel between your shoulder blades, or whatever that might be that allows us to continually bring ourselves back to center even though those temptations to go off to the races, as you put it is always there, right? There's always things that can pull us but it's, you know, when we're focusing on how we're moving our body in particular ways that it can be very calming and very centering, and very empowering.

Mark Hiddleson 17:32

And I noticed myself doing it involuntarily. The doing going through, start doing something just to get without really thinking about it. So just and that's another thing I think about in the body is something that you can train your body to relax your mind or body is. It's a beautiful instrument.

Vicki Dello Joio 17:51

Really? Yeah. We're so lucky.

Mark Hiddleson 17:55

Are we are and it's, yeah, it increases my gratitude, I guess to is that I'm grateful for you know, that I can that I can move the way I did, that I'm as healthy as I am. Yeah. Yeah. All of that kind of ties into the question I have about how can self expression? How can you actually boost your health? Well, if

Vicki Dello Joio 18:24

you think about, I mean, there's so many answers to that question. But I think that if you think about health, that there's mental health, mental health, spiritual health, physical health, all of those types of health, in Chinese medicine, at least all disease, whether it's mental, emotional, physical, etc, is is coming from stagnation, a lack of flow in our bodies, or in our system. So when we can induce flow, then all of a sudden, our bodies have amazing capacities to really heal themselves. Which is why I think, you know, there's that Qigong clinic in China that I don't know the name of, but I know that that it's a one of those places that people who have cancer go to and they've sort of exhausted some of the allopathic approaches, chemo, radiation, etc, on they go to these clinics and they, they start practicing Qigong, and they are having a pretty amazing rate of, of healing there. And it could be the kind of feeling of coming to peace around whatever is happening and releasing life. Or it could be literal, the getting better, and walking out without cancer. No, I'm not trying to make Qigong a cure all or anything like that. But there is something very powerful around when we start to open up channels in our body so that energy can flow. Our body has an amazing capacity to heal itself. Just you know, when you think about it, when you cut your hand or you cut your finger or paper cut even and it heals quickly, you know, our body that regeneration process the skin can do or that the liver can do speaking of your hair in the spring, so of course, I've got liver on my mind, and the liver has that capacity to regenerate itself. You know, it's just kind of an extraordinary thing, what our bodies can do to adapt and change. But it does require that we really look at what where the stagnation lies and how to start to open up some flow there.

Mark Hiddleson 20:25

So in in Chinese medicine, I'm glad you brought that up, because it's I'm not an expert in it. But I've learned enough about it. If I could talk with most people about Chinese medicine, that would seem like an expert. But would it would the stagnation? Would it be similar? Because I think for me, it's one thing I learned really young, is that stress causes a tons of like a lot of the inflammation or disease or your immune system. As

Vicki Dello Joio 20:53

I said, I read once a statistic statistic that said that stress is responsible for 90% of diseases.

Mark Hiddleson 21:01

And would you think stress is same as stagnation? Is it a similar? Is it a word, I know that it's a translation,

Vicki Dello Joio 21:07

I will believe that it is, I believe stress is, is is a big part, whether it's stressors that come from physical sources, or stressors that come from emotional place, or whatever. Yes, I think that stressors are a big piece of what stops us, right. It's the same thing as when I said about fear, when we sort of crunch down and we hold our breath are these curved forward are our shoulders come forward to protect our heart or when we do any of these types of things, that that that that is putting a stop in flow, whether it has to do with blood flow, energy, throat flow through the meridians, which kind of electrical system or whether it's, you know, we've fatik flow, all the different types of, we need to have these systems moving and then check in when when we're stressed, that's when it starts to coagulate. And that I do know I on an allopathic side that 90% of all diseases on the bottom, if we look, you know, you have a disease that you've got symptoms on the top of the iceberg on the bottom of the iceberg has to do with microcirculation. So those little tiny vessels, not the not so much the veins and arteries, but the micro vessels that are really, those can get stagnant very, very quickly through stressors. Again, it could be anything from posture to getting bad news or reading the newspaper were those then those those those little tiny vessels shut down so the bloods not moving through it that she's not moving through. And that's where we start to create accumulate, just like a pond, right? That's not doesn't have any flow and it starts to accumulate mosquitoes, right, we're getting stung by

Mark Hiddleson 22:48

a word. It's called autophagy. And I'm getting above my a level of, but that's auto autophagy in the in your DNA, your cells, your mitochondria, in the cell membrane, like things are exchanging freely and

Vicki Dello Joio 23:06

right because the mitochondria start to slow down, right, and this mitochondria in order to produce ATP, which is the source of energy, they explain they need to spin fairly quickly. And when they start to slow down, then all of a sudden we lose our momentum. So we slow down to

Mark Hiddleson 23:25

Yeah, it's amazing. And, and to me, it's not just overlooked it is avoiding stress or the self expression in the human the way. And the question I asked is a lot. You can't really avoid stress like this one, too. We don't. It's hard. You can't just say well, this, I'm not going to do anything. But the work I've done with you and and what I consider spiritual fitness is really developing a capacity to work with stress, to handle stress where and how

Vicki Dello Joio 23:59

to use it. I used to think about stress moving into surge, like, let me open it, there's that surge of energy. One of the I forgot that you were talking also about self expression. That's important piece of it to me because I like like, the other night, I was feeling really like I was having one of those nights where all of the self doubts and all of these things were kind of nattering away at my brain and was like, you know, and I was just feeling like, oh, life is hard, everything's hot. I was just in this really downer place. And so I just started to act it out, made my my wife laugh a bunch of just like, you know, kind of speaking, speaking loudly and letting these voices all have voices so that I could just start to discharge them so that then they weren't just being hidden that I wasn't in a state of shame that I felt the way I felt I let it come out, which is one of the things that you know, it's one of the reasons I've taught improv for so long because it's so helpful to be able to give voice to the different aspects of ourselves, and then get that energy moving again. So it's because so many times, you know, we're expected to be strong or keep it together, have a good face, face, and you know, put best foot forward and stick yourself on straps, and all of these messages that we get, that are just so tiresome and inhumane that when but when we can actually allow that humanity to come through, and for me, it's through performance and character and acting things out and improv for somebody else that might be just scribbling furiously on a sketch pad or writing in their journal or painting or whatever it might be. There's all different types of ways we can express ourselves, whether we think of ourselves as artists or not, it's still something where we can just let that energy come forward. That to me is the same thing as spontaneous Qigong. That's what I think of as spontaneous Qigong, which is basically, energy moving through it. So there's Chinese masters, right, who do specialize specifically in, in spontaneous Qigong. And then, you know, people start to shake and tremble and do all of this stuff. It's probably similar to people who feel the spirit in Christian traditions and who go get, you know, captured by the Spirit, whatever, whatever, you know, whatever tradition that is that but there's something about letting this come out come through, we also then are able to tap not just into the flow of our bodies, but we can tap into whatever needs to come through in terms of our wisdom in terms of our sense of purpose, a sense of heart, a sense of power, even when we can let this expression come through. So for me that that is, that is another style of Qigong. I love it,

Mark Hiddleson 26:40

I love the acting, the acting out of it, because I love I love to laugh. And sometimes I get those voices. And I've been like, I know, it's not true. It's always very rare. And then right, just to act it out in a way that is childlike in playing with it, and just sort of letting it go and then seeing it, that it's, yeah, the laughter to me, I think there's there's medicine and laughter and that that movement. It spent, you taught me a practice recently about, I was talking about my mom. And it was the process of acting as my mom being my mom, and my mom's body. And when he asked conky when I did it, at first, I started playing with it during the week, and I was like, this is pretty fun, you know, her voice and her just had so much more respect and more intimacy. And it's not like I was making fun of her, but I was trying to be that. And I've learned that I've taken a few acting classes in Will you work with a partner and kind of look at their body language. And then then you get to be that person, you know, and it'd be all are bigger guy. And then I get to act like somebody who's a smaller, you know, woman or you can be the teacher. So if there's an era using your body and releasing all that energy, and the laughter and the fun, so that

Vicki Dello Joio 28:15

laughter is such a big part of it. Right? That's, you know, that's the gift of things like laughing yoga, there's actually laughing Qigong practice, yeah, that when we can act stuff out, it's true. We all of a sudden, it lightens it, we become bigger than our narrative, like what may be happening in my life right now and is like, how am I going to pay that bill? Or how am I going to do this or that, instead of there, and that narrative was like, Oh, my God, blah, blah, it allows us to become the energetic beings that we really are, which is really meant to just transmit energy, constantly transmit energy and Qigong, they say, we're bringing heaven down to earth up birth up to heaven, we're a vessel. But you know, this sense of that, that energy coming through us, which I think that even when people don't have a particular, you know, belief in so called an energy, whatever, you know, however, they think of that, there's still something that we all know. But I think, I think that's it's pretty universal, that that, that when we're in the zone, when we really like an athlete running in the zone, or somebody who is speaking in there, or an actor or a virtuoso violinist, or anybody who's, you know, kind of hits that place of the zone. And we all hit it in different times in our lives in different ways, then that's, I think that's where we can really understand that something's moving through us. It's not just about my will. It's not just about my experience. It's not just about my brain. It's not just about any of that, but it's something tapping into something larger, and that's where things start to get pretty magical.

Mark Hiddleson 29:45

Yeah, there's a lot of talk about flow flow states right now and there. Yeah. Follow that. He's, I can't think of as Jamie I'll think of it his book was called stealing fire. But he works. It's on the flow Genome Project and they're looking for the, you know, the gene for flow. For me, that's counter intuitive from a site we don't want. It's the total Western pathology, I don't think you'd like if you could take a meditative meditation pill, I have a piece that I wrote this kind of 30 of a meditation pill. Like, if you could take him it's one even after I wrote it, I wrote it to make fun of like, we turn everything into a pill, when it's really it's the beauty practice of being in flow, naturally. But even when I wrote the piece, I was like, man, if there was a meditation pill I would probably take it's our culture,

Vicki Dello Joio 30:45

what would you take it for? Mark, if you have a meditation, the reason

Mark Hiddleson 30:49

isn't to take a pill. You know, when I, when I meditate. And I've met I mean, meditate almost every day. So it's hard to the days I don't is really when I noticed that I am so much more quick to judge other people or think that something's thoughts. Or say things about, you know, the dry rehearsal, there's just a calmness, a confidence, boost, I would take it for the just the calmness and to be at ease in the world.

Vicki Dello Joio 31:20

And this is what I'm also hearing is some trust, right, that there's a trust that can be present.

Mark Hiddleson 31:27

And that things are that everything that's happening is really a gift and an attitude. Like I have my so my, my big proactive speech is that I choose an attitude of gratitude. Because you can choose and you can choose to be a grump. You can choose whatever happens, you can choose an attitude of gratitude. And I love that because that's the pull yourself up by the bootstraps, Mark.

Vicki Dello Joio 31:53

When we're not exactly, I don't think that's, I don't I don't know that, that that developing an attitude of gratitude, because that's really about practice and a way of showing up in your life pulling up, I think when I think about pulling up by the bootstraps, I think of sort of a stiff upper stiff upper lip, it's not what it's called, where you're just getting, getting your way through, you know, you just do it because you have to, and it's a hustle on a grind and just keep slogging forward, no matter what occurs when you have an attitude of gratitude. It feels like dancing or a lightness of being as opposed to, you know, push through the mud. Yeah. It's more of a practice more of a practice than then.

Mark Hiddleson 32:39

Than an imperative. Yeah. And so that's why that's why I would take the meditation pills is to have that. And then to me, I'm not even talking. I don't meditate for long periods of time. I mean, it could be seven minutes, 11 minutes, I just slow down, breathe. And then I'm more likely to go into like I said, involuntarily, just go into those states, if I'm in a line, or something stressful happens, or metal light, and there's all this traffic and all the reasons I could get really, you know, thinking, Well, this guy from he's a knucklehead, because he doesn't take off and the light turns great. So that's why that's why we take it. And I think it's funny, because, you know, I'm talking about five to seven minutes a day, 11 minutes, it's not a huge, one of the Think of how much time I take to comb my hair, or get dressed or do any other thing to prepare the, you know, taking the pills for something you could do in 10 minutes on your own. It's really a reward. I mean, it's a really funny part of the job. It's a reward. I mean, to me, it's almost like a mini vacation to meditate now, and I look forward to

Vicki Dello Joio 33:47

that. Yeah, I love that. Yeah. Yeah, cuz you don't have to do anything but just sit still and listen.

Mark Hiddleson 33:56

Yeah, sometimes. I love I'm like you I don't know if the first meditation I really learned in practice was a spiral breathing technique. Because it was it gave me something to focus on. And centering technique. You call it six really is your energy field the same in the front, as it is in the back to the left and the right above and below, a centering practice. And so that is, that's my home base. Practice, that would be that would be the pill would do. Whatever six way right six, we've got to you've got

Vicki Dello Joio 34:36

to have the bill, you've had it all along.

Mark Hiddleson 34:40

I learned it from you and I learned it from Wendy Palmer who teaches Aikido as a communication style of another martial art where you Aikido training yourself. Yeah. Yeah. is protecting your attacker. So there's a there's a love of blending there too. do so with energy and even the acting out. So the acting out reminded me of. And we've talked a little bit about this, but not a lot, share how boundaries energetic boundaries can be important.

Vicki Dello Joio 35:17

Boundaries is one of my favorite topics. And it's really, you know, I, as you know, I've created in the way of joy spiritual fitness program, I've created a whole system and the center of the system, the heart of this system is boundaries because I believe that boundaries are essential for intimacy and connection. And I'm not just talking about Robin Thicke enters intimacy or sexual intimacy, I'm talking about intimacy, in terms of just love. And I think that we'll have boundaries we can i that we basically have two choices. One is that we merge we lose ourselves. And that's sort of where you know, codependence or that kind of thing comes in, you know, it's like, I don't know, what, what do you want for dinner? Or where do you want to go? Well, we don't have an opinion, or we don't know what we think. And we give that power over to somebody else, or we, you know, take need to take space, and I need my space, I need to be able to think for myself and where we've putting up what I call barriers. Because when the chapter the central chapter of my book I call boundaries dissolve barriers, because I'm really looking at ways when we have boundaries, then we know we are tapping into what we think, what we feel, what we believe, what we choose what we do all these different things, what we like don't like all of those things are what constitute our boundaries. And so when we don't have them, we're either merging, or we're protecting our space, or defending it. When we do have boundaries, were able to stand in the center of who we are. And it's when your boundaries touch my boundaries that we are when we're our boundaries are interconnected, that's when we can really have a true sense of, of connection and what I think of as intimacy. And when we don't have it, then there's no there there, right? If you've lost yourself, there's no there there. Or if you're not, if I can't reach you, because that my walls are so thick, then there's no there there. So, so I think of boundaries as being essential. And Jake Ballard, who has been essential for ways in which we can be live the type of interbeing that tick, not Han used to talk about so beautifully, you know, that you breathe in, breathe out, and the trees get fed, trees spread out, and you breathe in their oxygen, that that reciprocity that we can have with the whole world around us requires that we have the sense of the containment of who we are and how we function.

Mark Hiddleson 37:51

So I share a little bit more about the merging. I'm trying to think of an example because I can visualize the walls.

Vicki Dello Joio 38:04

I can visualize the urgings we're good match for each other.

Mark Hiddleson 38:11

Yeah, do you mind saying

Vicki Dello Joio 38:13

two sides of the same coin, the two sides of the same coin, which is sort of ineffective, have boundaries, emerging boundaries that aren't working?

Mark Hiddleson 38:23

Emerging is just you've kind of is no boundaries at all, lose yourself.

Vicki Dello Joio 38:28

You lose yourself. It's, you know, it's that that's Yeah, it's like I don't I, I, I'm so focused on you and what you need and who you are, are so disempowered around, right? That's so judgmental, but I feel so disconnected to what I want, or who I am, that I just give that over. And it's like, okay, you take over, then that, you know, and that's, I don't know if there's a gender thing that happens in this because I, you know, I don't I definitely don't want to generalize about gender. But I do see that a lot of times, at least, you know, in my generation, let's put it that way. Women would often give over what they thought you know, that they were there is the helpmate and my father, I tell you this story, my father, I remember one time going to visit him in Florida. And he, we had been estranged for a long time. But we were starting to get connect again. And it got to a point where every time his wife wanted to take a vacation, he was I was the only person who would he would want to come and take care of him. He needed a fair amount of caretaking at that time in his life towards the end of his life. Because he said I was the only person he could trust although, you know, in retrospect, you know, it's like I was a lesbian. I didn't have any kids so I didn't have anything better to do. Um, but anyway, I would go I would go home take care of him. And his. His wife, I remember came back at the end of her vacation and she was just started asking Any questions at the dinner table about things that I did. So I was telling her about I was running a school, a Qigong school at the time, and she was asking me about what I did. And I was telling her about that, and the theater work and stuff. And she said, This is amazing stuff that you should talk about this, you should tell people about it. As I told you this, and my father turned to me, my father turned to me and he said, No, you don't what I love about her, she never talks about herself.

Mark Hiddleson 40:24

I thought, Oh, thank you so much.

Vicki Dello Joio 40:26

That's where this came from this tendency and me to think talking about myself in any to any capacity was somehow damaging to other people, somehow was not welcome. So, you know, that sense of accommodating being there, as a caretaker, it just kind of fed the whole, the whole mythology of what it was supposed to be to be a good daughter to be a good wife or to be a good anything was, you know, also was all about? sublimation. So, so, yeah. So so so for me, you know, so So sometimes I think of it in terms of gender, gender roles, or gender indoctrination. But But I think that that, I mean, it's not that I don't know, women who have been on the opposite end of the point more like what you were saying, it makes sense to you, putting up walls needing your space needing to have your own, you know, don't don't don't mess with me, and this is where I stand. This is the man cave. Man Cave. Yeah.

Mark Hiddleson 41:33

As you were talking about it, and in the parent child, I could see merging that with my kids, because, you know, they're so important to me and really wanting to be accepted by them, I could see them merging most in that in that relationship with them. Like I'm gonna be, too I want to be because I want to be close to my kids. And I think and I work you know, well with boundaries and not living vicariously through them, but I could see if there was merging, it would be they would probably be with my kids where I would just lose myself in that there's a potential for that I could see my kids and their my youngest is going away to school. And so it's, it's I'm glad that we do have those boundaries because it's a healthier place that there's things you know, obviously I'm gonna miss my son's but I'm still and my daughter has been gone for a few years too. So there's this you know, the boundaries are nice because I'm not just there's things I'm going to look forward to that I'll be able to do that I haven't been doing because I wanted to be home whenever they're home like that's the thing for for kids are home they're gonna hang out this like working together. We did all of our hobbies

Vicki Dello Joio 42:44

yesterday, number one number one over hobbies we did

Mark Hiddleson 42:47

just because we wanted to do thing one of the boat why? Because kids want to hang out on the boat. We got a motorhome we got, you know, quads and toys, it's it's to be is to hang out with them. Because that's the number one

Vicki Dello Joio 43:00

thing so well, and that's kind of that's a beautiful thing. That's the beautiful thing. Yeah, yeah.

Mark Hiddleson 43:05

Thank you for sharing more about the boundaries. And

Vicki Dello Joio 43:10

oh, yeah, boundaries is a big, big deal. To me. I mean, that's, that's really, I think a lot of what I understand about boundaries came from my Qigong practice, and really starting to look into what wei qi was. And it's also what led me to the powerful non defensive communication. You know, I practice that I'm a trainer in which is, you know, how to how to communicate in a way that doesn't either stimulate defensiveness or get you stuck in your own defensiveness so that every conversation, every confrontation can become a conversation, that so that it's, it's really, this whole concept of, of boundaries, and how we can live from the inside out, and how we can make connections in that way. It's all interrelated. In my, in my mind, I can kind of circle through all these different systems that I practice that all feed one another.

Mark Hiddleson 43:59

It's a big topic. Yeah. And this is I'm gonna bring up another big topic. And we're, we're running close to time. But I definitely want to talk to you about seasons because well, that was one of the things I'm working with you in that. I've always really loved the idea of four seasons and I've been in sports so my grandfather used to say there's four seasons like there's the preseason the season, the offseason, it's like you're but but the seasons in Chinese medicine, share how Qigong can can kind of help in working with the seasons or just coming out of winter into spring. What are what are some of the things How can she go out?

Vicki Dello Joio 44:39

Well, yeah, so in in the Chinese medicine, medical practices, there's basically five seasons or they call the five element theory. So that you know, this is this is a big topic, but we're just coming out of winter which is connected to the kidneys and and has to do with Since of cold, wet temperature, and in the winter, we're coming out of the the emotion that's associated with kidneys is fear. And different systems say different things about the kidneys. But essentially, when you move energy through the kidneys, you're bringing in gentleness now we're moving into the, into the time of Spring is the time of liver. And liver is warm and moist. It's all about new growth, right? It's the wood element. So whereas kidneys is the water element, where the water and water feeds the trees, right, so each of the elements feeds the next or counter balances the ones across the chart of the five elements. But bottom line is on the, in the spring, when we're here in the spring, this is all about the wood element, which is all about emergency, right. And I use double meaning that in terms of like, oh my god, emergency, and emergence of something is emerging. It's a time of fertility of birthing of birthing new projects, new ways of being new relationships, new concepts, new creative projects, whatever it might be something new coming forth. And there's this time, particularly, you know, by the time this airs, we'll be well past the equinox. But we're right in the equinox, right now, as you and I are speaking, which is a kind of turnaround. And in Chinese medicine, the equinox is not considered to be the beginning of spring, it's considered to be the peak of spring. And so it's this peak of spring, where we're starting to move into something new where labor becomes has become very intense. And so a lot of people that I've talked to, particularly students and friends and colleagues, find themselves a little bit worn down, kind of beaten down these days tired of feeling of, of just exhaustion or feeling things are hard. And I think about, you know, I've attended three births. And it's this transition time, there's that transition time when a woman is laboring, where every single time actually, it's for births, but every single time, the woman would say I can't I have to give up, I can't keep going as though that was an option. Right? And it's this it and it's very, very intense, right, the transition part of labor is super intense. And that's where we are right now as we're sort of bringing forth new energy, you think about little flowers, a little weeds moving up through the concrete, I have a bunch of those in the sidewalk in front of my house. And just the sense of finding where's the opening and going for it. That's what's happening in our on our energetic field right now is that there's new things looking for where are the openings to come forward. So whatever it's been just stated, over winter starts to be born in the spring. So it's a time of a real treat creativity, but it's also can be kind of hard work of the emotion that's associated with the liver is anger. And they say when you bring energy through the liver, bringing in kindness and forgiveness, which I always interpret as being particularly forgiveness of self, I don't necessarily like the the pose that everything has to be forgiven. But I do think that we do need to forgive ourselves for being in situations, for example, that were not good for us, or whatever that might be. I don't know if I've ever told you this story. But a few years ago, I was driving down the freeway, right, and I'm going at the speed limit, happily driving along at 65 or 70. And the sky is behind me, and he's tailgating and he's like pushing up. And you know, almost touching my bumper. He's like, really, really close. And finally he passes me and as he passes me, he flips me the bird. And I remember thinking to myself, Oh, there's a liver out of balance, because it was right at the peak of spring. It was completely, you know, it didn't bother me at all. It's just like, oh, that's what that feels like. Yeah, I know.

Mark Hiddleson 48:58

The context, we need

Vicki Dello Joio 48:59

to take care of his liver, he needs to maybe drink a little bit of sour, you know, lemon juice or something like

Mark Hiddleson 49:06

that would help in the dandelion, right? And dandelion root is something

Vicki Dello Joio 49:11

we rely on for good, right, what are the kinds of herbs and flowers that come up this time of year, you couldn't be sure good, even oxalis, which a lot of people think of as a weed and you never want to eat it in quantity, but you can throw some Oxalic there's little yellow flowers in your salad. That's a really good liver cleanse. You know, again, it can be toxic if you take lots and lots of it, but a little bit of time is very, very good. So yeah, sour foods are one of the things that they recommend for liver health during this time of year and a lot of people of course, do liver cleanses, right where they're, you know, really reducing what they what they take into their body, giving their livers a chance to relax and really, you know, kind of reset.

Mark Hiddleson 49:51

I've done those I haven't done one recently, but it can be a lot of fun. And I still really even after to eliminate a lot of the toxins that you just find into Every day stuff anyway, yeah, we

Vicki Dello Joio 50:02

we do live, we do live in pollution and all kinds of things that we don't even have control over. So giving a liver arrest is really, really helpful. Yeah.

Mark Hiddleson 50:13

Well, thank you. So

Vicki Dello Joio 50:14

now we're talking about the iris like, it's not that we're talking about that I realized, I just got some, some publicity from a friend of mine who's a nutritionist saying, I have a liver cleanse happening. And I like, oh, I guess I better pay attention to that email and sign up for it.

Mark Hiddleson 50:30

So is this the right is the time of year this is the time of year spring is the is the time to do it. Yeah,

Vicki Dello Joio 50:38

it is good time to do it.

Mark Hiddleson 50:39

So what is the best way for people to get in touch with you if they want to learn more, or take one of your workshops, I know you're doing a spring equinox this year, I don't know if this is going to come out. Right? It might come out right after right after. So what's the best way to learn? Better, I mean, what's the best way to stay in touch or get in touch or learn more,

Vicki Dello Joio 51:02

There's a couple different ways, you can go to, my name then .com. And that'll tell you what, I have a spring to summer. So we'll be doing a lot of the spring practices. That's a series that's coming up at the beginning of April, that helped to bring a sort of robustness to this season and since of sustainability as we move towards the summer. And the other part of it and if you want to talk to me directly, probably the best best place to go is There you can download a book that I wrote a short book about. It's really about speaking and being on stage in terms of the energies that we can utilize to become more effective speakers or storytellers. So whether whether you're interested in that or not, if you download it, you'll also get a link to be able to talk to me directly. If you're with me directly. I'd be happy to have a conversation with you. So either my name .com or are both good.

Mark Hiddleson 52:03

Awesome. And I will put both those I'll put them in the show notes. I've read that book. It is it's shorter, but it's a great book for speakers or just anyone to get your energy to. What is it called? Power?

Vicki Dello Joio 52:16

Your Power Presence.

Mark Hiddleson 52:18

your power presence? Yes. Yeah. Awesome. Yeah. So Vicki, this has been so awesome. I always I could feel my energy level is up spending time with me. So my way chi feels and I'm, I feel like I've had my meditation. Space. Thank you so much for for sharing so generously.

Vicki Dello Joio 52:42

Always a joy. Thank you.

Outro 52:46

Thanks for listening to The Tao of Pizza Podcast. We'll see you again next time and be sure to click Subscribe to get future episodes.


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