THE BLOG
03/21/2011 07:17 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Reversing the Irreversible

Fitness issues, whether it's an injury, an illness or a genetic predisposition, are just like speed bumps. They make you slow down and pay attention. Usually injuries get better or go away altogether. But sometimes, these issues offer no easy resolution.

As a fitness coach, I feel bad throwing my hands in the air and saying I have no clue, but it happens. In the end we are all responsible for finding our own way, and often it feels like groping around in a dark closet for something you know is there, if only you could just see. For example, I faced a situation of immobility and pain with my hip dysplasia. I had a few options. I could continue to suffer and leave the only job I've ever adored, or I could have it surgically repaired and resume my now-more-joyous (due to freedom from pain) life.

The only caveat is that I hope to live several more decades, and hip replacements tend to last a bit less than two decades. So now I could be spending my time worrying about what I will do at 60 when my titanium joint wears out, or I can focus on the pleasure that I now have on a daily basis, waking up to the lovely, humming silence of no pain. I've also asked my surgeon, whom I idolize, to delay retirement until I get my re-replacement parts installed.

My main point is that no one could resolve my health issue but me. I had to make some hard decisions and live with whatever consequences resulted. So I say that to people when they ask for my advice. It's not always easy to get an answer, but you have to dig around, inside and out.

Other health situations are less clear-cut. How many people hear the tick-tock of the clock? Or do we just plod along day after day, moaning about minutiae? But what if all woke up to the fact that our health, our fortune and even our lives will end someday, that tsunamis do hit, and that a foreclosure notice could be posted tomorrow? If we remembered this, then we might start living each day, each hour, each moment as they come to us, in their sparkling (or perhaps mundane) uniqueness.

Buddhists speak of the Noble Truths. The First Noble Truth is that there is suffering in the world. That we know; read the newspaper. The second Noble Truth is cessation from suffering, meaning that there is hope! So the idea of suffering is not necessarily what the situation is that you find yourself in, but, more importantly, how you relate to it. This means to me that life can be fabulous, yet you can still be miserable. And on the flip side, life can suck and you can still be happy. Pick one.