I Finally Figured Out How to Meditate

I’ve tried to meditate lots of times.

I’ve gotten into the groove once or twice, but it just never stuck.  I’ve done countless stories at work as a senior health producer about all the benefits and it sounds great.

One of those benefits is better focus and increased productivity.  And you KNOW I want that. But I just couldn’t figure it out.

I always struggle to switch my brain off and so I’ve never had the “enlightening moment” everyone always talks about.

Well it turns out I was doing it wrong.

My intentions were all screwed up.

But thanks to Oprah (of course) and an all day meditation retreat with world renowned meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg I figured it out.

If you know me personally or have read my book Listful Thinking, you know  I have a generally positive and sunny outlook on the world. It’s the thing that many people tell me is one of my best qualities.

However, even I fall into a slump and I’ll be perfectly honest that’s what’s been happening lately.

I envisioned 2017 being the “Great Restart” after the difficult time I had with my health in 2016 (See appendix bursting drama.)

I figured THIS was the year that everything would be rosy and fabulous. Sadly it was not to be my friends. Right after the new year there were all kinds of changes to my team at work. A team I’ve been on for nearly 10 years. To say the least it was a jolt.

Then my husband’s job completely changed his hours to the overnight shift! So now we only see each other for about a half hour everyday. It’s a real bummer.

And there’s been other stuff but I won’t bore you with the details.

So I’ve had this kind of irritating grey cloud over my head since the start of the year. And I just couldn’t shake the feeling of hopelessness and sadness.  These are not emotions I usually keep around long, so it was frustrating.

I told my mother “I just need to do something to pull myself out of it.” And she suggested I do the 21 Day Meditation Challenge that was coming up in a few days with Oprah and Deepak Chopra. 

I’ve interviewed Deepak about meditation and I like him a lot but I often find myself lost in his words and not totally grasping what I should be doing.

But I said sure, I’ll try it.

Paula with meditation mastermind Sharon Salzberg.

At the same time – a meditation company for busy professionals in NYC was running an all day meditation retreat with author and teacher Sharon Salzberg. So I signed up.

I was able to ask Sharon a question during the retreat: “I’ve noticed that people who meditate a lot often say when they’re having a problem or challenge that they “meditate” on it and the answer comes to them. That never happens to me. What am I doing wrong?”

She said, “Nothing. It doesn’t work like that”

And just like that I was freed by the idea that I had to get an immediate result from meditation. It was my ‘Ohhh now I get it’ moment. It’s not as simple as just doing this thing and having all the answer to my dilemma. Got it.

Once I made that very big realization a huge weight was lifted.

I encourage you to check out Sharon’s upcoming book, Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection. I loved her approach which was very tactical and practical.

By the time you read this I would have done 14 straight days of mediation for 10 minutes per day! 

I have to say that I’m feeling so much more hopeful and happy that I did before. I don’t understand why – but now I know I don’t have to and I feel much more like things will fall into place however they need to.

If I’ve inspired you to get more into meditation you can download the 21 day meditation app here.

4 replies
  1. Jacques Lepage
    Jacques Lepage says:

    Hi Paula, I feel happy about you joining Sharon Salzberg meditation class. I had, for a few years, the intention to meditate, this intention turned into action right after the reading of “Real Happiness, the power of meditation” by Sharon Salzberg. I have not had the chance to join one of her meditation class and she is my first recommandation for anyone who wants to start meditation.

    Be kind to yourself.


    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Jacques – thanks for your kind words! I’m really excited about it too. Sharon was fantastic, I have to say she really helped me understand this so much better. Do you have a daily mediation practice now?

      • Jacques Lepage
        Jacques Lepage says:

        Hi Paula, yes I do have a 30 minutes daily meditation since April 2014. It is a real exploration of the beautiful and amazing human nature. I have the feeling that it is an endless deeper discovery of myself and a deeper connection to the world . For example, little by little , I became in a better relation with myself so it lead to the better relation with others, then it bring something new in my life, this lead to explore other aspect of the life and so on. Is this the only way to evolve in life? Of course not, I wish you a long life of meditation, but if it does not resonate with yourself then dont’t worry something else will if needed. You are already a great person, thanks for everything I have learn from you.


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