Obstacles and Possibility


Something has been holding me back from better health for awhile now and it has been caffeine. My coffee.

I love it, I love it too much. Been drinking a few cups a day for over half my life and not one day goes by that I have it in my system.

I would love to do a juice fast some time soon, but what is the point of cleaning out my system if I still drink coffee? It’s like bathing in dirty water, but from the inside. I long for the opportunity to go on a yoga or meditation retreat. When worrying if coffee would be available at such a retreat, I knew something had to change.

Caffeine addiction

Why the big deal? People quit caffeine every day. And it is not harmful – it is even good for you! Yes, but anything that causes nausea, migraines, the shakes, and extreme fatigue if you don’t get it is NOT good for you. Sounds like withdrawal symptoms from some hard-core drug, right? Nope, for me it is caffeine.

I want to be free of my caffeine bondage, but never quite had enough enthusiasm to take action. Because, like all addicts, once I had my fix, I felt NORMAL.

Bhava Ram

One morning I was listening to Coast to Coast on the radio and George Noory was interviewing a man named Bhava Ram, AKA Brad Willis. I missed most of the interview, but in essence, Willis was a foreign war correspondent who severely injured his back, became addicted to pain killers for years, ended up breaking his back, had failed spinal surgery, ended up with stage 4 cancer of the throat.

The love of his son got him on his path, and yoga saved his life. Here is his Ted Talk, then if you are truly inspired, do a search for Bhava Ram on YouTube and he’s got some more really really good talks.

After hearing the interview and seeing this talk, I immediately got his book, Warrior Pose: How Yoga (Literally) Saved My Life that is Bhava Ram’s memoir from his times abroad as a news correspondent, to his fall into disability and depression and his discovery and immersion into yoga and how it saved his life.


I thought my god I have no problems compared with what this man had to go through. As Brad Willis, he spent time in rehab to get off the drugs and alcohol and he had demons clawing at him. It was his “dark night of the soul”. And when that was out of his system, he began to see clearly and it was then that yoga made an appearance in his life.

The obstacle in my path is simply some caffeine, but it is holding back so much possibility. Obstacles and possibility. I mostly wonder what my body would feel like with NO intoxicants in it. No caffeine, no nicotine. I’m also working on the sugar intake as well. I imagine how I would feel if I could do a juice cleanse. Imagine how light and free!

Brad Willis became Bhava Ram because the man who evolved from this experience was new person, another identity. He had embraced all of yoga, not just the postures. Inspired again, I’ve got a list of books I’m anxious to get started on, namely:

  • The Four Desires by Rod Stryker
  • The other two books by Bhava Ram – Deep Yoga and The Eight Limbs of Yoga
  • In the meantime, I got BKS Iyengar’s Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Excited about possibilities

My health adviser said that your outlook on the world depends on what you eat, because of your body’s reaction to the toxins or nutrients in that food. Food is your destiny, she passionately proclaims.

I understand that, and wonder how my creativity will be impacted. What will my paintings look like? Will my meditations be more powerful? Will this affect how I see the world and therefore express it in my art? Will inspiration and ideas come to me easier?

Taking it slow

I’m not like Brad Willis who went cold turkey and suffered severe withdrawals all at once. I’ve chosen to taper off slowly, replacing one cup of coffee with caffeinated green or black tea, each over the course of a week (3 cups of coffee per day, pared down right now to 1 1/2 cups and some half caff iced tea during our heat wave!)

Once I’m on caffeinated tea, I will replace those cups gradually with decaf or herbal tea.

At this time, or earlier, I will eliminate the two cigarettes I smoke per day. I make excuses like “they are American Spirits NATURAL cigarettes” but it is still poison. I like them more for the break they give me in the evenings. I quit when I was pregnant and it should be no problem at all.

Besides, making this change causes me to want to be healthier and my cravings for the nicotine are almost nil.

And lastly, throughout this time I have been taking yoga classes two or three times per week and incorporating some favorite asanas at home to stretch out on non-yoga days. I intend to do more every day.

If I am an “Artist Painting Our Awakening” I have to be that, all in 100%. Let’s see what kinds of art emerges from that! I’m excited about this. 🙂


2 Responses to Obstacles and Possibility

  1. Lani May 14, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

    I’d recommend Teecino. It’s a little expensive, but I used that when I was weening myself off of coffee. No headaches!!!!!!!!! Works great – under the same principle as you are thinking, a gradual process.

    Quitting smoking was easy for me. I think it’s all about the folks you surround yourself with. For me, it was a break and a social thing. Now, I don’t even think about it. Honestly, I think it’s something you do when you’re bored.

    Good luck 🙂 Don’t try to do everything at once. Give yourself small achievable goals that will help you build confidence and strengthen your resolve!

    But don’t listen to me, I’ve quit coffee so many times before I was like, screw it! I love coffee, why am I quitting? I usually drink just one cup in the morning. No sugar, just honey and no milk. So I think I’m just fine. I’m going for moderation.


    • Amy Tanathorn May 15, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

      Teecino! I will look that up on Amazon and give it a try; thanks for the recommendation. Yeah, the smoking – my husband smokes, but we don’t do it together. I think the social situations might make it more difficult, but here in California, the smokers are becoming fewer and fewer, so many of my peers are no longer smoking. I need to join in their ranks!
      Slow and steady, that will do it for me. Your coffee habit sounds perfectly reasonable and delicious. Once I’m off coffee, I may have to completely quit or I might get addicted again, if this habit is anything like my nail biting habit. I have to keep my nails manicured and kept up all the time or else I chew them til they are unsightly.

Leave a Reply