The Way of Joy Qigong and Tapping Into Your Energy With Vicki Dello Joio

Updated: Oct 17


Mark Hiddleson

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:

  • Vicki Dello Joio explains the concept of energy

  • How Vicki used martial arts to create the Way of Joy Qigong

  • How Mark Hiddleson embodies energy using the art of Qigong

  • The connection between Qigong, the body, and nature

  • Vicki talks about the benefits of rest

  • How to feel joy in seasons of sorrow

  • Vicki's advice on public speaking

  • The benefits of practicing energy in a community

  • How Vicki transformed her relationship with her father

In this episode…

How can you draw energy to live a better and happier life? How can energy help you connect better with others?


Qigong energy master Vicki Dello Joio says that tapping into your energy is elusive but very important and transformative. It is magnetic and, when combined with Qigong, it can help you understand your body better and build more meaningful relationships with others.


In this episode of The Tao of Pizza Podcast, Mark Hiddleson is joined by Vicki Dello Joio, a life-changing workshop leader and Qigong energy master, to talk about tapping into your energy. They also discuss the connection between Qigong, the body, and nature, the benefits of practicing energy in a community, and the art of public speaking.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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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 0:17

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 introducing today's guests, this episode is brought to you by specialized source solutions. But I've been in the logistics and storage industry for several decades. Now. I know I don't look that old, but it's true. We provide industry leading warehouse storage solutions nationwide. So basically, if you have a warehouse that needs rack, shelving carts, conveyors and mezzanines will help with design engineering installation inspections and repairs to help clients optimize their logistics operations. Hello, Vicki. It's funny sometimes people don't even realize we can actually help with permit acquisition services as well. We take a holistic look at your entire business eco system supply chain to develop the resources for continually improving your operation. To learn more, give me a call 707-732-3892. And I also get podcasters. My podcast listeners my personal email, which is markhiddleson@aol.com. So if you're ready to take your warehouse storage and retrieval systems to the next level, give me a call. Today I'd like to give a shout out to all of the gifted professionals I study with over the years at JFK University. I'm delighted to see their work in the world people like Christine Garvin case of hausky, Judy Schaefer, Donald Gerard and Selena Lee just to mention a few. And today's guest is one of the most gifted and inspiring master teachers that I've ever worked with over the years. And while most of our guests have been great clients, vendors or referral partners, we've also been lucky enough to host some of my best coaches best selling authors and mentors who really made a big impact for me personally, in my personal life and career. Now Vicki Dello Joio is a life changing workshop leader, Qigong energy master, teacher and an inspirational speaker since 1975. Her brand of brilliance has empowered wellness motivated and spiritually inclined seekers to infuse body mind spirit practices into their very cells, so that they can tap into their birthright of joy. Use it as fuel, not a goal for a lifetime. She's a popular host of the monthly program Qitalks, 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 since 1976. Vicki, I'm so thrilled to have you with us today on The Tao of Pizza.

Vicki Dello Joio 3:01

Mark, it's a true honor. And, you know, even if I didn't know you, and already so deeply respect to The Tao of Pizza would have been enough, was the podcast.

Mark Hiddleson 3:13

I'm glad you said that. Because your work is was one of the inspirations for the name. And And it's funny, there's a there's this verse in the Delta chain, I don't know, I think it's like 24 or something. But it says she teaches without speaking. And it's so true of you, because I've took your workshops back in early 2000s, part of my master's degree, and, you know, really felt the practice, but I never knew until 15 or 20 years later that it was called doubt, I was already practicing it with you. So I mean, I think the real treasure with the doubt a change in the verses is that there's a hidden step by step practices, to to do it. And I was lucky enough to practice it for 10 years before I even knew what it was. So I love it. Before we get started, talk a little about energy, what you mean by energy, because I thought, you know, that was one of the most transfer transformational things for me is how you talk with and work with the energy.

Vicki Dello Joio 4:18

Well, there's a lot of different ways to think about energy. Of course, it can be just that get up and go thing that we want to have. Sometimes we crave to have in early mornings. But I think that you know, basically Qigong which is the what you worked with, together with K all those years ago, is a practice that's works with with energy in the same way that acupuncture acupressure does. So this is based on a Chinese medicine, the meridian system where you can see that there's like basically lines of energy that are connected to organs to seasons to all kinds of different things. There's a lot of different things associated in both classical and traditional Chinese medicine, energy is basically an elusive thing. I think in terms of you know, it's something that's very difficult to measure or be tangible. So sometimes for the Western mind, it's a little hard for us to wrap our minds around it. But it's basically what helps us function what helps us you know what it is, you know, energy when you go to a party, and you see somebody and they walk into the room and you either go, oh, no, I'm not going to be anywhere near that person. Who is that? I'm really interested in hearing what they have to say. That's an energy. That's it's an energy field that gets called Wei chi or externalized. Energy. We know we respond to energy, whether we realize it or not, sometimes we just think, Oh, they're attractive or not attractive. But what is it that's actually behind that? What what is it that creates a charisma or that creates a sense of magnet magnetic interest? That's all energy. And then of course, how energy flows is what Chinese medicine is based on.

Mark Hiddleson 6:02

Thank you. And we'll get more into as we go, because there is energy is involved in that. And when I read your bio, it was it was one of those coincidences I'm I'm one of those people who believes in twin sentences, which means I don't believe in coincidences. A paradox or what do you mean? And I was thinking about 1975. And because for Jeff Kapur wrote another book, one of the reasons it's called The Tao of Pizza is because The Tao of Physics was too hard. I like the fridge.

Vicki Dello Joio 6:38

Nobody would listen, everybody wants to know about pizza.

Mark Hiddleson 6:41

So The Tao of Physics was a book that was written in 1975. It was a best seller by a really smart, Austrian. What's for Jeff Capra? He's like an astrophysicist or some, like super smart physicists. Yeah. And, and I really, in 1975, my first exposure I was thinking about, I was in the late 70s, we were one of my first exposure to Asian culture was, we had a Chinese New Year celebration, and we did this dragon thing with our class. And I was chosen to be the head of the dragon. And this because I was the biggest kid, and we had built this head, and I was the only one who could. And it reminds me of your practice, I mean, that that feeling of holding and being able to lift something, and be the leader. It was like that first point that was kind of embody leadership, they're like, well, you're going to be the leader, because you can get that. Yeah. So how did you get the idea to to really, you know, you've transformed a martial art into a way of joy. Practice? How did? How did you come up with the idea for that?

Vicki Dello Joio 7:50

Oh, wow, that's a great question. I don't think anyone's quite asked me in that way before. I think that I started doing martial arts way back in the in the early 70s. Because I wanted to, I think that originally, I wanted to learn how to defend myself and also how to kind of break through obstacles, like, you know, take that kind of thing that would take you know, how you break through a board or, you know, something with your bare hand or something like that. What does that mean, and what does that take is very interested in it. But I really, I think I really started because I wanted to know how to defend myself on the street. I'd had some place times that I had been attacked on the street. And, and so that's, I think, what originally drew me to martial arts, I had actually started with Tai Chi Chuan, which is, in some theories, so there's a lot of different beliefs about this, but basically, I agree that that that Tai Chi Chuan is one branch of Qigong because Qigong is actually a word like, like dance. There's a lot of Qigong is a right it's a people say they do Qigong, it could be, it could be well, do you do Alvin Ailey style dance? Are you a ballet dancer to tap dancer? What kind of dance do you do? So Qigong is a relatively new term that came up that they brought up in China in the 50s to encompass anything that any any of these these practices that included intention and breath and either external movement or internal movement. So it's really one of these broad things. So I studied Qigong with a lot of different master teachers, a lot of I had a lot of influences when and then what after I studied tai chi for a while I went and studied harder fighting arts and then came back to Qigong. Um, I have a lot of stories about why I came back to Qigong. But the briefest one is that I was walking down the street one day and I had been training in Kajukenbo, which is a pretty intensive fighting form. And I had been fighting a lot with my partner at the time. And our teacher for some reason, and her wisdom would have us pit against each other. So we were sparring at the school. And then I would, you know, we'd go home and we'd be yelling, it was horrible time in my life. Although since, you know, she was this ex partner was a beautiful martial artist. But in any case, I was walking home thinking I'm tired of kicking and hitting, I'm tired of hurting people, I'm tired of getting hurt, I want to find another way. And as I was walking down the street, and I, I, again, I, I think most women are a little can be a little bit weary at certain times of night, or they see certain people. And so somebody came around the corner, it was the same thing that I said, when you see somebody come into a party, and you know, you want to avoid them, or you're drawn to them. This was like, there was a little Oh, that happened in my mind. And I just sort of lengthened my spine, he reached out to grab me in his hand bounced about, I'd say six inches to a foot away from actual contact, and he walked away, looking at his hand and then looking at me and looking at his hand. So I knew he hadn't missed but that he had actually felt something. And I found that later from one of my Qigong teachers that there was this this field called Well, Wei chi and I hit instinct, actively activated it, that fascinated me to think that there was this actual palpable thing that you could actually feel. And for people who see auras, you know, you can see. And so so that's what got me into the Qigong. And then as I studied more and more Qigong, and thought about what I'd learned from that, and also what I've learned, because I'm also a theatre performer and director and what I'd learned from theater and performing and that kind of thing, which also is the energy behind it, right? That's like what makes you draw. What makes your audience lean forward is it has to do with a certain energy that the performer emits that I started to think about all of those things together. And then the way of joy was born out of that, but it was really born out of my study of my particular little corner of understanding of Taoism. Taoism is a very vast philosophy. And I, I just really loved it. And I began to think about these different concepts that are embedded in Qigong have called Shen chi and Jing, which is basically heaven, human and earth, three different I call them realms of consciousness. But there are basically three different ways in which we, we are great as humans, because in Qigong, they say, humans, our task is to bring Heaven down to Earth and Earth up to heaven, which means, take these ideas that we get, and I can talk more about this, but I can go on and on, I want to have your wish.

So the heaven realm has to do with our perspective, our ability to sort of see the whole picture to have a sense of inspiration connection to the divine, or to that higher power, or, or your own wise self. The human has to do with how we take that wisdom from above and what we meant, what we, how we start to work with that, how we create our boundaries, how we express ourselves, how we express ourselves, especially from the heart because the heart is the center of the human realm, center, actually everything. And then the earth realm has to do with what we manifest what we do with no, we've taken a great idea, then we start to filter it through our own personal life experience. And then what do we do? How do we walk our talk? So that that that those those concepts of these three different realms was how the way of joy was born? That and thinking about my name, because my name is Vicki Victoria della Joya, which means victory of joy. And so I started to ask myself, what kind of legacy is that? What What am I being asked here? What does it mean to be victorious? Enjoy? What what does that look like? It's a way of joy was born, partly to honor or respect what had been gifted to me, Oh,

Mark Hiddleson 13:49

that is beautiful. And then to embody it. And it does, you know, the practice for me. It gave me and it's hard to it's one of those things that you know, that that which can be called the Great Dallas now, not the true Tao. So when I start to talk about like it, but I felt like I had access to something that I knew was there. And then I really, it became part of me and part of me showing up. And part of that access that was was really being able to be more, I guess, fully present in hiding. You know less about myself, but just be more authentic authenticity is another way that these and I call them moving meditations. Who would you say that that act? Absolutely. Is that for me meditation it was I wanted to practice it and I do it but I'm like this go getter guy. And for me to start with something that was more movement based and even if it like you said, there's internal movements, and just being able to work with that. And, and then a lot of fear just drops I mean, those little low level fears of anxiety. Eat. And I've always been in sales. And so a lot of times, you know, either rejection, or you go into people and even no matter how great your energy is, or your people are like this. And so you're working with you was just so much was able to work with it. But now it was able to kind of transform that energy into something that's like, Okay, this is my body and my body is more of an ally, instead of Oh, my body's betraying me, because now my heart is going like this. I'm stuttering a little bit and I still stutter. I still get nervous. But I know. Okay, this is something my body is, is doing something great. And I'm, I can wait for my body to adjust. It's,

Vicki Dello Joio 15:46

I love what you're saying, Mark, it makes so much sense. I always sort of thought you were a brother in this because I also had that sense of learning some of these different practices over time was like coming home to myself, it was like, How do I match my internal with my external, and if you know, if I'm nervous, for example, I work a lot with performers. And so if there's, you know, stage fright by I'm a performer, myself, and I also direct shows and direct speakers and all of that kind of thing is just like it how do we transform this clogged energy, that stage fright, where we start to go off into our heads of the what ifs and get hijacked? outside of ourselves? You know, how do we pull ourselves back to center quickly and allow our bodies to kind of be a barometer of like, what what is needed right now to really stand in our power. And I think that you sort of recognize that really early on, I still remember you from you know, I mean, I had a lot of students at JFK, but you were a standout because you got it so quick. Lee, you got it so quickly.

Mark Hiddleson 16:49

If you're given You're gonna make me cry, we're gonna go back into combat. Thank you for playing that. It's a it brings up a lot of emotions. Like when when you do find that home there is this this emotional, it's a place. And I appreciate that. And it's funny it does. And also you sharing your story that you started out and fighting to defend yourself. Most of the practice martial arts practice, I've practiced Aikido, Wendy Palmer was another person I studied with a JFK. And it's the non violent art of protecting your attacker. You're just you're not just the defending yourself. But you're protecting and this this great place of home. And I also wanted to be able to break someone's sternum with three pounds of pressure. You feel safe, is that too, and I honored that you've you've had to protect yourself physically over the years as in, in cities, right? You've always lived in a in a city, urban place it was in San Francisco or Oakland, or

Vicki Dello Joio 18:02

I live in Oakland now. But I was in San Francisco before and I grew up in New York City. So yeah, very urban, very urban, based, although I have I do have a home now in the country. So I get to spend time in nature as well.

Mark Hiddleson 18:14

So yeah, nice. Nice. So I wanted to ask you what the early days of starting your practice were lie. And also, a big part of what you taught me is that is that to be in tune with the seasons. And because you know, every year has four seasons. And then I think, you know, in careers, I've seasons in life, have seasons. So it's kind of a big question, but how do you bring in the seasons into your work? And how does it relate to how you how you got started, and kind of how things evolved? Um,

Vicki Dello Joio 18:51

well, so if I would think about how I get started, I guess I would think about spring, right? Because that's the early, early part of it. I think the how I got started is like I said, I wanted to learn how to defend myself. And when I first when I first encountered Tai Chi Chuan, I was 17 years old. 16 or 17 years old, and I was in a theater program, actually in San Francisco. That was for high school students, or, Yes, high school students. And for some reason, and it was an Acting Program, and they brought in a Tai Chi teacher for actors on I was, you know, I had never heard of Tai Chi. I didn't know what it was. And this old old man, he probably was 50 or 60, which now we're looking back. It's not so bad. But

Mark Hiddleson 19:39

my books

Vicki Dello Joio 19:43

claim to fame was that his wife had just had a baby. And so this was, you know, Tai Chi was a proof of his brutality. And as a young lesbian, I could have cared less about his fertility or anybody's fertility at that point. But I I remember that that when we started doing the movement of It was like a what we said before it was really coming back it was I felt like, Oh, I know this, it was almost like I was remembering it as opposed to learning something new. Um, it felt so right. I don't know even how else to say it.

So, in any case that if I just switch over to talking about the seasons for a moment, one of the things I love about Qigong is that it's based very much on nature on the study of nature, whether it's animals, insects, or mythic animals, or it's the seasons and how nature functions. So each season, it's actually there's five seasons in the in the five element theory or of Chinese medicine. And so that means that there's basically start spring, summer, end of summer as its own season, and then fall and then winter. And right now we're in the fall season, at least one we're recording this. And autumn is on my mind these days, because I'm about to teach a workshop, as we were talking about before, this weekend, a little 90 minute workshop that's working with people on some basic fall practices. So each season in Chinese medicine, and then Qigong has a bunch of associations. So for fall, it's associated with the, the organ of the lungs. When we go into winter, we move into the kidneys, spring is liver, and if summer is stomach, spleen, pancreas, and then so anyway, that I skip ones summers are heart, and summer is some extinct pancreas. But in the fall, we're working with the lungs and the associated associated organ, which is the large intestine. And these organs are all about being able to release particularly the large intestine, right, that's about releasing, letting go of the old matter. In the same way that trees drop their leaves and their energy goes down into the SAP during is it prepared as they prepare for winter that the same thing that happens to us on an energetic level, it's a time of contraction of pulling back in going back to the essence, the fall is connected to the elements of metal, which, you know, I grew up in New York City. So I always think of all bare bones of the buildings that are that are constantly under construction there, that there's that sense of what is the essence? Who are you at core, so you said yourself that, you know, you're you're this big, strapping guy, and if you had this core party that really resonated with this, these different types of practices that were more we could say spiritual, or more esoteric, that would, you know, people may not expect that from seeing you that you have this draw to that kind of work, that that draw that inner essence of who we are, in a way, it's almost irrelevant. What we look like, at that point, it's really about what is what is it the very core center of who you are? What is it that sustained, when I was a little kid, I used to spend a lot of time for some reason, looking in a mirror and looking just at my eyes. And I still do that sometimes I just check in and I look at my eyes, you know, they say that's the window of the soul. And even though the face around the eyes has definitely aged and changed a whole lot. There's still something that's consistent from those very, very early days when I would look. And I think that anybody who looks looks in their own eyes will see that, that that there's there's that that's what the what the metal element is all about is this, this current core, eternal part. And it's a it's a time, like I said, of contraction of preparing for the winter of pulling in because the summer is all about expansion. It's the heart, it's all about passion and, and, and being free and and producing. And then the end of summer is the, you know, time of harvesting. So there's a transition between summer end of summer into fall and the end of summer is a is a really transitional time where we're really working with expansion and contraction is a theme. And this is a theme that I think is super important to think about because because one of the things I think people often don't realize is that every expansion is followed by a contraction, right? So there's a sense that just like our lungs expand and then contract you know, are the flowers open and close or the ocean you know, this heights go in and come out and so it's the same kind of thing that that we as we are nature I just in a in a session with another Qigong teacher recently and she was talking about how there's not us and nature we are nature that we expand and contract and a lot of times particularly in a in the kind of culture here in the West in the US that says particularly in a business context, that businesses to be successful, have to expand and then expand and then expand and then expand. That's not a really the natural way of things. Everything comes back in and then expands further. So it's not that More expansion can't happen. But we don't allow ourselves that Yin that coming back in that sense of coming back home to ourselves. So there's, there's there, there's a form of Chico form called transition that really works with being able to expand and then contract with this sense of openness. Because for me, I mean, I'm a little bit of a, a type a type two, my mom used to bust me on that, right. I teach Qigong for listening to all this, but I have this pretty New York didn't really go go go part of me, right.

Mark Hiddleson 25:35

Yeah, you started out to be a good fighter.

Vicki Dello Joio 25:40

Exactly, yeah. Yeah. So So you know, and I used to do a lot of when I was a young performer I perform and then after every show, I would have this contraction. And I'd be like, you know, get back in the box, it would be this self punishing way of making myself small or things weren't a business was not going as well, as at one point it was in another. It's like, Oh, my God, what's wrong with me, I'm failing. There's a way that they we don't give ourselves room to just come back to that small self to that sense of rest of reevaluation, a time of just being kind of peaceful and listening in a time of really going into that inner wisdom. And fall is all about that I love this season for that reason, because I've really learned to embrace contraction. So that that I actually stopped performing for 10 years, because I felt like I was in this addictive mode of like, trying to be out there all the time. And then harsh contraction and then doing another show, and then Carson contraction, I was like, This has to stop. So now I know every time I do something big, I'm gonna need to put in some time that's really just about it's not just about rest. It's about listening in. What are the lessons? What is it that I want to shift? What is it is a time of like I said, reevaluation.

Mark Hiddleson 26:53

Yeah, I call it active arrests, it's active, your RES is proactive rest. And you have to, in order as one of the pair I call my paradigms, principles of peak performance. And one of the paradigms is, is it's not always peak performance. I mean, can't be there's offseason, there's postseason, there's preseason, and all those different and the, I'm only gonna say the rest is more, it's not that the rest is more important, but the rest is the one that we've we've ignore the need for rest, rejuvenation relaxation, in our culture is in the seems like it's getting more and more and more It's go go go. And

Vicki Dello Joio 27:35

really is. And it's it's so counterproductive in the long run, because I knows for sure, when I pushed myself when I'm at that time, where it's like my butthole body and my spirit is saying, Stop, you need to stop. But I pushed myself, I never get anything done well ever, never in my entire life. And when I do that time to stop and of course anxiety and fear, like some part of the part that says no, you can't do that you've got to keep going. Because that's sort of the soup, that sort of dysfunctional soup. That's, you know, that's connected to something that's that is a superimposed cultural norm. That I think is just it's it's counterproductive. And it doesn't allow, it doesn't allow it. First of all, it doesn't allow, you know, for us to really be at peak performance, like you said, we need to have these other times, but also it just steals the job joy out of it, right. It just robs us of what our essential what I believe is our essential birthright. Because the way of joy Qigong, I mean, my whole premise is that joy is a fuel, not a goal, that it's something where we it's a birthright that every baby is born with until something happens and gets taken away through neglect or abuse or different things that might happen to a child as they grow up. But every baby is born with this innate sense of joy. I've been to several births, I've been privileged to be asked to do several births, and as well as doula several deaths, but to see every baby I mean, I have one of my students once said he, his partner was a midwife. And he went to pick her up after a delivery and she was holding this baby and he looked at the baby and he said, that baby looks like a baby Buddha. And she said, All babies are baby Buddha's. So yeah, that that that sense of being able to really have a sense of coming back to essence is a real gift.

Mark Hiddleson 29:28

Yeah, and the joy of your choice. The joy goes through all of the seasons, too. I think for me, there's a difference. I love the word joy because it's different than happiness. I mean, to me, Happiness has a lot to do with external circumstances, we can be happy. And also having a joy is something that comes from within. It's a joy and it can be joy. Even in sorrowful times. It's in I've been in trouble for laughing at funerals before but when when you get to gather with people and you start sharing some of these stories and that, you know, it's the human. You know, it's the joy, there's laughter with those memories that you can still be in a state of sorrow and be experiencing joy. At the same time.

Vicki Dello Joio 30:17

I think that point, absolutely mark that I think of joy as being the container for all the emotions, that all emotions are in relationship to joy. And I often in my book, I actually talk about being at memorials and funerals where people start talking, telling stories, and then all of a sudden, there's this joy that bubbles up through laughter, or even anger, you know, that sometimes being able to really recognize anger is as a, maybe a warrior for social justice or, or something that or something that matters to you. Because it's about protecting joy, that it's all has to do ultimately, with this birthright that we that is a fuel. That is what we can draw on. Instead of thinking, if I have the right partner, if I have the right job, if I have the right, you know, circumstances, then I get to feel too if we think about it as a bottomless Wellspring that we can draw on at any time, it really changes the perspective of how we make our choices, what we're discerning is is going to help us or feed us or, or stop us, you know, when we can start to discern that when we start to think about joy as being the the, the initial impulse. Yeah, so yeah, that's, that's truly the birth of the way of joy was that thinking? Even more than my name was that thinking was like, What is something that we really thought of that we were entitled to every being is entitled to? That it's that it's part of what we can draw on? And it's really about how do we get there? How do we how do we remember what we knew when we were baby boomers

Mark Hiddleson 31:50

is baby and it's in those it's in their bodies, as babies are so great at communicating with their bodies in what they need, or their voices or their their tone of voice, voice, inflection, body language, they're these great communicators and that I was a young parent when I first started learning, the way of joy. And I took I'm lucky because I think about it to two different we had to do 12 of these for JFK for our master's degree. And I did two with you and I did two with Wendy but one of them was blossom. In the spring. Yes. And then the other one, I only know it was it was in January or February. And the only reason I know that is because and this is hard for me but I missed the Super Bowl to practice with you. I'm a huge

Vicki Dello Joio 32:47

bow you're saying something honored.

Mark Hiddleson 32:51

I remember I was I was on the phone was a Friday because our your workshops for JFK was always like all day Friday, like from three in the afternoon till nine o'clock at night. And I lived about an hour away. So you know, still 10 or 11 on processing and stuff that was all day Saturday, all day Sunday, and I was on the way home from the Friday. And my best friend's like, Hey, bud, what's your plan for the Superbowl? What are you bringing? What's gonna be your dish? I was trying to explain to him what what I was doing and Qigong. And I've been saying or I say Qigong now talking to you. I'm gonna call it Qigong because you're Hall of Fame. Change it to Qigong with the UN.

Vicki Dello Joio 33:31

You're good. It's loose.

Mark Hiddleson 33:34

It's gone or done. So I was like, Qigong like, why don't you just like, What are you talking about? Like it's Tai Chi, or it means like, I've got this master don't like I'm the graduate. And I need this for my graduation. And he's like, man, he goes tell me when my friend Mark gets back. Because you're doing then he called it he goes you're doing who flung poo on Super Bowl Sunday. I'll never forget that. So it must have been a winter practice. I think it was mud and loaded. The Crystal generator

Vicki Dello Joio 34:08

and three gates of enlightenment those are the ones that I love to do for the for the new year the turning of and accessing the kidney chi of winter. Being able to with the inner what's going on underneath the surface, right? Because a lot of times winter has a lot to do with what's in the unconscious and how do we bring it up? And it's also what do we manifest How do we create a field of manifestation so yeah, yeah, I

Mark Hiddleson 34:36

remember you taught us something about reaching back and pulling the crap from from and kind of reintegrating this, the past into the future like all the mud and the muck and the in making it's actually nourishing what was going on.

Vicki Dello Joio 34:56

That was in the blossom in the spring right because a lot of Boston In the spring based on well, basically, it's not the lotus, necessarily, but if you think of a flower, bringing up everything from below the surface, the unconscious is basically turning, like you said, the poop into fertilizer, right? It's, it's what are we have? What are the life lessons? You know what how do we move forward as opposed to being stuck in the past or stuck with what was how do we use it as something that helps us, you know, better, smarter, wiser. And and it's also part of who you are because the difficulties and challenges that we've had in our lives are ultimately part of who we are. And so what do we want to be with that? Do we want to stay victims? Or do we want to say, this is where this is what I'm going to move? This is how I'm going to move out of a victim mindset into something that really owns power.

Mark Hiddleson 35:50

Yeah, without into transform the victim without becoming a bully. That's one thing that works with is this the shadow aspect of the victim is become a bully. And it's interesting in my life, I'm always a little embarrassing. And with all that comes up, it's like I can really be a bully.

Vicki Dello Joio 36:13

Human Condition we all can we all have it. We all have an inner bully. Yeah. And that and that bully, usually bullies, the main theme for them is that they are feeling like victims, they're feeling victimized, and you're not doing it right. Or they're feeling victimized by whatever, you know, whatever their history is telling them. They're still victims.

Mark Hiddleson 36:33

I'm excited. I want to know, what is the best way for people to engage your work, if someone and we're going to have links, I'm gonna have a link to your book on my show notes that anything talked about and like in reference, but what can you share this? What was the what do you think, right now? And what's the best way to connect with your work?

Vicki Dello Joio 36:54

Well, it depends on what you want. If you're interested in the Qigong part of what I do, probably going to my website, which is my name, Vickidellojoio.com. Um, but I'm also looking a lot of my work, you know, over the last 50 years of doing this for 50 plus years on hate to say, is really been morphing. And what I'm looking at these days is what I'm calling your power presence. How do we stand in our power communicate from our a true place of power, and I'm talking about power within as opposed to power over. And whether you're speaking on a stage live or virtual, or you're speaking to a colleague or referral partner to a potential client or customer, or if you're speaking to a kid or a grandkid, or to somebody else who is pushing back and you're having needing to really reclaim your own grounding. That's what's really interesting to me right now. So Qigong classes, I love teaching Qigong, I'll always be teaching Qigong, but Qigong has informed me a lot. And so within the context of power presence, I'm really looking at the principles that I've drawn from Qigong, but I'm really looking at how do we bring ourselves back to center, no matter what the challenge is, no matter what it is that you're facing? How do you continue to ride find, find where flow is look for not where you're getting stopped, but where can you flow and come back to that center place, so that you can really show up as your true self as your most authentic self, because when we're defended, or push, you know, pushing back or feeling anxious and scared, that's not your true self, right. And again, there's this I'm thinking about this a lot because of autumn being about coming back to that essential self. And so I have just written the one, it's an E guide called your path, and it's called the ethic. So Let's Get Real About Charisma: 3 Keys To Inspire and Motivate Your Audience Every Time You Speak. And so it's geared towards speakers and performers. But even if you're not that, and you have zero interest in it, I think there's a lot of information in that guide that really is about that you can use even if you're about to have a conversation with somebody who intimidates you, or your or even if they don't intimidate you, but you want to show up as your most powerful and radiant and magnetic self. These are some basically and some of them are the Qigong exercises and other types of techniques that helps us come back to our own grounding. So that for people to get that that's a free ebook that I've just put out, called it so that's your power presence.com Your power presence.com People can go right there and download that free guide and it's my passion right now. It's like just hot off the presses. I just finished it a couple of weeks ago.

Mark Hiddleson 39:46

Awesome. So anyone who listens to this, I'm going to put it right in the show notes. So when the episode is released, and there'll be right in the show notes, there'll be able to go to that ebook that guide and I'll be the I'm gonna challenge everyone. I'm going to be the first I'll be The first to, to get that because I love it. A part of my career is being a public speaker. And that's one of the difference. The ways that I set myself apart from other people is it's nerve wracking no matter how much you do it. And even a lot of the times I've spoken to a group of 40 or 50, or 60 people, and I know, two thirds of them, I already know, it's still there's this energy, that right, it stops about right here where you don't need it to. And it's just nice to have, you know, practice of lengthening the spine or coming back to center. And, or even well, you

Vicki Dello Joio 40:42

know, it's interesting that you said Mark that you said, it comes up to here and you pointed your throat, because the throat of course, is what that's that's the energy center where we project our voice and where we speak our truth. And we're, you know, who we are coming from the heart, the heart feeds the throat. And so when we allow that energy to come up and then move out from there, it might be okay to not be necessarily accessing all of the confusing thoughts that are happening up in their head. We, of course, we want all the channels to be open. But you know, it's good when it's coming from below and like you said, like you gestured, you know that energy when we're on a stage or when we're when the stakes are high or higher than just ordinary day to day life, that it does come from below, we can feel it building up. And when we can really open and relax the ways in which we can have influence or impact, especially for sales. You know, I work a lot with business people, I work a lot with lawyers, I recently worked with a lawyer who did did a Supreme Court, she did a case in front of the Supreme Court. And we had worked a lot on her story. Because I'm a storytelling coach as well, as well as the energy in meditation to prepare herself because she did get a tremendous amount of pushback, I was able to watch the stream, the Supreme Court of Canada streams live. So I was able to watch her stand and utter grace and power in a very, very confrontational type of environment. Really powerful, powerful to see her work, work these skills. And I think he's I think she was surprised by how much pushback she got there. And there's a lot that I can say about why and what that was, but, but she had a huge success with that was really amazing. So it was really like, again, letting that throat chakra habits habits have really send energy out that way, which you know, is the speaker. And and even if you're just in a sales conversation, it's really important to be able to know how to move that energy in order to have true connection. Because when we're in sales, it's really, you know, to me, it's still about service, right? Unless it's not

Mark Hiddleson 42:52

theirs, which is the wrong kind of sale. Yeah.

Vicki Dello Joio 42:55

Right. But But to me, the most effective sales is when we really want to raise the energy of the people that we're wanting to serve. So being able to be in touch with how you're moving your energy in your body is key. Yeah, and you know, how Mark, you told me, you do it is

Mark Hiddleson 43:15

it isn't you brought up when the stakes are high, because I think one of the most, you know, the really the most profound things, and it's simple is that the practice, you can practice when the stakes aren't high. And that if you just wait until the stakes are high, and you think whoa, I'm gonna, I'm gonna be I'm gonna be fully present, I'm going to be fully authentic, if you haven't practiced in a, that's another container, I call them the safety of the dojo or in the safety of your own practice, all that practice is when the stakes are high, because sometimes we don't know when the stakes are going to be high. So that's one of the things I learned from you is that I'm practicing these things, and I don't do it every day. And I do a water series. And I'm trying to think if I learned that from you, or I picked it up from somewhere else, but like a drilling for water series. And then it's sort of they're all have to do with water, like pumping water, and then a fountain and energy found that you reach down. And it's just and then you shoot the energy from the side. And then the last part is a rolling. I do I don't do it. I try to do about five or six times a week and never go a week without it. But it's not like I do it every day. But it's a practice. And then there's some times when I do it, and it's just kind of going through the motions and there's some times where it's like man, I'm really glad I have this. I know the demand Yes. And then I've also I noticed I went back and I watched some of your work and other practitioners. And I got really rigid with how I was doing it like the way I'm drooling the water. It's not really the dowel or the way of nature. Everything is like I'm the one instead kind of moving with flow and the rolling was the one thing like the roll is supposed to be this just with the water. And I was doing this like rolling somewhere. Right? Was this funny to practice with somebody? And I think the so kind of saying all this that I think it's important a lot of this stuff. I'm really glad I practice it in community and not just by myself, because if you're by yourself, you do get these weird things like, like, oh, yeah, moving my energy. Yeah. And then practicing the group. So what what do you think?

Vicki Dello Joio 45:40

I think that there's an amazing synergy in working in community. And I think, you know, that's one of the reasons I didn't know when I when the pandemic started. And I started doing more online classes. Because I was relieved in a way because I had been traveling so much before that I had been to Europe and teaching in Europe, and then in East Coast, and Canada, I mean, I've been traveling a lot the previous months, and so it was good to stop. But then I was able to stay in touch with all of these people through doing these online classes. And what I saw was that this, this energy that I call the Chi field, we're living in the Chi field, was able to, we could still do it, even if people were watching the recording, they could tap into something that was bigger than just ourselves. And I think there's something about that, we, you know, we are not meant to go alone, we are meant, you know, we you know, if you want to go far, go with others for the African proverb, we want to really be able to have that sense of connection. And I think that, you know, also to be reminded that the that the idea behind at least behind Qigong is effortless Ness, right. So when we're in a place of trying really hard to get it right and get these details and this than that, we are moving out of the spirit of why to do it in the first place, which is to really allow ourselves to know as the saying goes, go with the flow to allow flow to happen. And not to feel like we have to make things grow by pulling up the chutes, right, you know, give them the right environment to flourish. And Qigong is doing that these energy practices, whatever it is not just Qigong, I mean, any energy practice does I have a particular affinity for Qigong. But there's many different ways yoga and other types of energy work.

Mark Hiddleson 47:21

Yeah, effortlessness is wu wei, right? Is that are non action are non force.

Vicki Dello Joio 47:26

Exactly right.

Mark Hiddleson 47:27

This is one way and way chi or the other, the two that we call to do with

Vicki Dello Joio 47:33

your externalized energy, Nate Qi has to do with your internal energy. So when we can start to work with the two together in conjunction, that's when we're really at a place where we can be very peaceful, because we don't have to hide, or we don't have to project that. You're just in a meeting. You're just who you are, and you're emitting.

Mark Hiddleson 47:54

And when, when I mentioned, the stakes are high. It's, it's another thing that I've trained a lot of people in this and that the stakes in business, it's always it's always great. I've practice relationships and building great relationships. I've had a lot of great mentors. But it's so much easier to do in business than it is with your family of origin or your family, because the stakes are higher. And there's a story and and I hope you're willing to share, but I've read on your some of the work, you've talked about your relationship with your father, and how that relationship transformed and how you use this energy. Would you mind sharing some of that because I've had important relationships that that were healed? I still have some I'm working on. But I would love it if you could share something about how you transform your relationship with your father.

Vicki Dello Joio 48:49

Yeah, well, I'd be happy to Well, what I was, I've actually, I think I mentioned to you before, we actually started the recording that I actually did a whole solo show about the so called What's wrong with the mouse, about my relationship with my dad, which was a huge, huge influence in my life. When we were when I was a little kid. Um, you know, I felt like we had this really special connection and he doted on me I was kind of a favorite child. I have two younger brothers, but I was definitely, you know, his little girl. And as I got into adolescence that became fraught. And it and when I came out as a lesbian, then basically, you know, the fan

Mark Hiddleson 49:36

of fertilizer hit the ventilator,

Vicki Dello Joio 49:38

or fertilizer hit the dispersals system. And he disowned me. He actually disowned me twice first. The first is only because I told him I was going to move in with my boyfriend back when I was in my late teens, and then he disowned me and we didn't speak for 10 years and then 10 years later, we started to reconnect. And he found out I was a lesbian and so he disowned me again. So the, you know, the thing is with an Italian patriarch of a father is, you know, you're either a virgin or a mother, but there should be nothing in between the two most states and no Hanky Panky. So anyway. And then And so basically, when I, when he disowned me as a lesbian, because I was a lesbian, he, you know, he basically said he didn't ever want to see me again, you don't have anything to do with me. And that was very difficult. You know, and I did a lot of work, you know, sending letters and, you know, trying to, you know, how come you can't see me, you know, I love you the way you are, can't you love me the way all kinds of, you know, pretty defensive letters, and pleading and angry and all kinds of ways that I responded. And then finally, I just thought, well, I have to let them go. But the thing is, is that then, my dad had been actually very, very critical. He always thought women shouldn't you know, women were there to support men and their genius. They weren't supposed to have any particular talents of their own. So anytime I performed or spoke or did something that was public, and really out there, it was like, I could see his face, frowning at me on top of every face in the audience, it was like I projected that out. So it was, you know, it was, it was kind of an awful, awful internalization that I did. And then I met somebody who changed my life. Her name is Sharon Strand Ellison and she teaches something called Powerful Non-defensive Communication, which for me, when I first learned it was like, Oh, this is the language of Wei, chi, Wei chi being that externalized positive energy, what I think of as I am, as opposed to you can't, it's, it's that sense of, you know, how we how we can admit, and her she had language for how to break down what defensiveness is, what are the different modes of defensiveness? And rather than thinking of being defensive, or defense less, what if we could come up with something else that was non defensive, which would, which was absolutely in alignment with everything that I was teaching and thinking about in terms of energetics and Qigong. And so I began, I was talking, she became a very dear friend, and I was talking with her one day about my dad and said, You know, I just have to let him go. He said, You know, I think you have to write him one more letter. So I spent a year writing a letter and bringing it to her saying, you know, here's what she says, she say, No, this is still defensive. And that's defensive. And I'd go back, and I'd stick it in a drawer, and then I pull it out, again, I write it again, this big process, it's a year long process. But eventually I sent it to him. And the boundary that I put at the end was if you know, if you're willing to read this in and connect with me, I'd love to see you. But if you're not, I'm going to do everything I can to let go of the influence that your objection has had on me. He wrote back two days later, I mean, immediately, after 20 years of silence, he wrote back and said, Well, you you're the one that's, you're the one that's a problem, not me, you know, and so I've talked that, you know, show that to my friend sharing, you know, see, he's right all along.

No, he's actually just telling you what his position is, where he's coming from. And then, over time, I started to go visit him. And bit by bit, you know, it was hard at first, you know, but but we started to slowly come back together, which was, was amazing thing. And I remember one day, I was his wife, we know, every now and then his wife would take a break. And I was the only person he trusted to come and take care of him. He needed caretaking at that point, other than his wife, and so I would go and be with him is either that or I saw so you know, he thought of me as a spinster who didn't have anything better to do. But, but anyway, I would, I would go and take care of him. And, and we got we started to have bigger and bigger conversations. And one of the lessons I visited him before going to and being with him as he died because I was with him in his dying process. And then as he took his last breath was was, you know, that he was like, you know, we actually had conversations about you know, what happened? How did you become a lesbian? And I was able to tell him a little bit about the journey and what it was and then all of a sudden, he started telling me about a young man he knew when he was at Juilliard, who is gay and had committed suicide. We started having these really deep conversations on camera or the fight that the reason I call my show, what's wrong with a mouth mouse is because one of the conversations after we talked about my being queer was he said, You know, I've been thinking about this and, you know, I like to pet a cat. It's really nice to pet a cat but I never would want to pet a mouse as a mouse. I mean, oh, you don't want to do that. That's natural, but a cat you know, cat Feels good. But now I think about it, what's wrong with the mouse story.

Mark Hiddleson 55:08

That's the title of the show is what's wrong with the mouse is beautiful.

Vicki Dello Joio 55:14

And then by when he died, I mean, when he was dying, we had some amazing conversations as he was dying. And one of the last things he said to me, really, I think it was about three days or two days before he died, he looked at me said, you know, Vic, I haven't really liked you for most of your life. I realize now, you're an angel. And I know, I know, I'm no angel. But there was the level of transformation that happened between he didn't want to ever see or talk to me again, to a place of absolute connection, and just nothing there. But, but love and recognition that that's all that mattered. I attribute that a lot to my practice, because I remember him saying at one point, you know, you didn't get into Juilliard, that must have taught you something. And in the past, I would have felt defensive and like scared or angry or having to prove something. But I remember the sensation of this energy traveling up my spine, and it felt like there was a breeze blowing through my hair. And I just felt utterly relaxed and energized at the same time. And I was able to talk to him about Yeah, when he told me, you know, he was saying, when you were rejected from Juilliard, you must have that must have told you, you didn't have talent. And I said, Yeah, that's exactly what I thought. And this is what I, this is what I did in my life, and how I've drawn these things together. And I've created this way of joy, which I think is based a lot on how you think. And he's like, Why me, has told him why I thought it was connected to him and his creativity. So it was this Congress series of conversations that kept just turning, shifting, using the way chi concepts and this Powerful Non-defensive Communication, which if people want to know about it, pndc.com, can't recommend highly enough, which transformed my relationship with my father from being disowned into a place where I truly feel at peace he is now you know, I when I did this show for years, and did for many years, and I performed it, I don't know, hundreds of times, it always felt like a ritual of gratitude, which I didn't know I would be able to get to, because I had to work on my own defensiveness so much to get there. It was my, you know, is such a beautiful story. And

Mark Hiddleson 57:28

I really, thank you for sharing that. Because there's, you know, people that's closest one of the things I see people I've been in that I've had relationships that were important to me, that I've had to and you know, and gone 10 years with without, you know, you don't have to be right or wrong or right to make a difference, you know, that somebody and I have so much respect for you and hanging the letter that you wrote. And I mean, I think all the things about the stories you stayed with it, even that that final letter took a year back and then and we will have a link to the communication. What is the Powerful Non-defensive Communication Yeah, p nbc.com. And we'll have that on the on the show notes. And it's such a beautiful story. I think that's the thing that in my container of joy, that's the thing I have the most sorrow for is relationships that I see with people and his parents and siblings. It's a lot I think, and I think we all share as human as part of the human connection that there's this thing with our parents that there's Well what's wrong with the mouse? Which is so beautiful. Well, Vicki, this has been so awesome. You are such a great teacher, such a great master, I have taken your online Shingon classes. I'm going to take more I'm going to read the eBook. Thank you, thank you, thank you for joining us.

Vicki Dello Joio 59:03

Thank you so much for having The Tao of Pizza and also for the work that you do in the world because I what I know about you is that you're you know you're you're doing the work that you do with your business but that there's what's driving you behind that business is so rich and so multi layered and I know that that is you know, that's also sending energy out to people so I really you know, I bow and respect to who you are and how you integrate and it's just the beauty that you bring to the world so thank you so much. It's been an honor to connect with you it's always lifts my heart to see

Mark Hiddleson 59:35

Oh, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. The pleasure is all my I can't say the pleasures all mine because we're sharing but so yeah, and it reminds me of 20 years like nothing has changed in 20 years when I see your face and so

Vicki Dello Joio 59:55

I don't think I was quite as white and gray as 20 years ago, but, yeah.

Mark Hiddleson 1:00:01

And we are I have looked at you like a sister to that but you said before with the practice. Yes, yes, much much love

Vicki Dello Joio 1:00:09

your fellow journeyer and I love that. I love that. Having that with you. It's very rich.

Outro 1:00:17

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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