How to hug a tree

When we do any activity, whether it is our job, dating, or hugging a tree, at some point we become aware we are doing the activity, asking ourselves "am I sure I want to be doing this?" It is most obvious in relationships as we look at each other, as if to say "is this over?" I call this moment "The Pause."

The Pause first happens five minutes after meeting someone but it is far from the only time. After five dates, we ask "does this have potential?" After five months "is this serious?" and after five years "is this forever?" The Pause represents the turning point into a new cycle of depth, understanding and appreciation of our partner or activity.

Picture a roller coaster we can stay on for as long as we want but every time we reach the station we must choose to keep going, knowing full well the ups and downs that lay ahead. That is The Pause and the awareness of what this choice means gives the choice meaning.

The Pause is a test. It is the moment we prove our intention. "What are your intentions with my daughter?" No matter what you say, we never know until you reach the Pause you look in her eyes and you decide to live with her forever.

The deeper you go in one area, the deeper you can go in all areas. Some people are deeper than others and they are rewarded. They carry a different energy. You can't put your finger on it but you want to be around them, to sleep with them, to get to know them.

If you want to live a happy, fulfilling life then learn to hug a tree.


At some point you will become aware "I'm hugging a tree. This is stupid. What are people thinking about me? Is that child laughing at me? Am I going to be arrested, shamed on YouTube? What if a bird shits on me? I like these clothes and it's going to take forever to clean off..."

Listen to these excuses. Hear them. Write them down. These excuses represent your neurotic fears, the thought-patterns that sabotage your growth and keep you stuck in low-energy, negative states. Overcome these patterns, prove to yourself that it is safe to move beyond it and you will enter a state of power that is as insurmountable as it is permanent.

After hearing the excuses, breath. Really breath.

You might be feeling The Pause for this article right now. Are you ready to commit and read to the end, to accept new experiences into your life? Take a deep breath. A real breath. Take a breath that brings your awareness to this moment, to your body and your internal world. Remove everything you have on your mind from work, school, life and be here now. Take. A. Deep. Breath.

Now, we continue.


As we breath we allow the emotion in that The Pause wants us to avoid. We feel the loneliness, the guilt and the ego-smashing reality that humbles us before a higher power. We must yield. Yield to the activity. Feel the feeling in its fullness. Don't name it. Most emotions can't be named. Feel it, follow the energy in your body whether it's in your stomach or legs and watch it move, morph, change and disappear. Then my friend you are relaxed.

Yesterday I had a social confidence client and we were out on the street pushing his comfort zone. I sent him into a perfume store to high-five a receptionist. He did it and ran out.

What's the problem here?

He ran.

Running out of the store is running away from the emotion and believe me as long as you are running away from emotion any progress we make is temporary. Long-term, permanent growth requires us to breath in and yield to the emotion we feel. This client is overly sensitive to other's judgement to the point it overwhelms his true desires and purpose in life. To overcome this state we must feel that judgement allow it to swirl in our belly until we almost throw-up. And after surrendering to this motion for thirty seconds, the swirling goes away. It is replaced by a deep feeling of satisfaction and contentment. We feel as if we could conquer the world but there's no rush. That my friends is true confidence. Always go two levels deeper than your mind says is possible. Yield through two pauses, take two extra loops on the roller coaster and prepare yourself for the thrill of your own potential.


Addendum 1. Safety

Safety is important and knowing that you are PHYSICALLY SAFE is key. I wouldn't yield to a pit of snakes without knowing there was a trained medical professional nearby. Before beginning an activity, do a safety check because then you will KNOW that any later excuses about safety are neurotic fears you will overcome. If performing an activity in which you are not sure of the safety, seek a professional guide or coach. Better yet, find a professional who has the emotional intelligence to guide you through The Pause which exponentially quickens results and is the secret to the success of my social confidence program.

Addendum 2. Messing Up

When you confront your Pauses and you open your life to new people, feelings and experiences and you will make mistakes. Having emotions, messing up, or challenging others does not make you invalid or illegitimate. It's how you deal with this conflict, this challenge, this emotion. If someone yields with the intention of crawling through the tunnel of darkness no matter what it brings, that person is brave and a healthy society will reward that person. Let's put this another way: you'll know which of your friends are healthy by who sticks with you at the end of the tunnel and the people you meet along the way are closer comrades than you could ever hope for. An entire movie-structure is based on a metaphor for this journey. It's called the Hero's Journey and you can see a young-me break it down here.


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