The one with the waitressing ahisma

This weekend was a bit of an emotional rollarcoaster. I was more than slightly stressed about my two essays that were due (so excited that they are all finished now!) and I had an experience during my waitressing shift that shook me up a little.


To sum it up in a nutshell, some people’s food order didn’t come on time, which was partially my fault. Partially. But I don’t want to get too much into the details of it, because I don’t need to justify anything, and because that is not really the point. The way they reacted was got me thinking a lot about Ahisma. Ahisma is something that I first learnt about last year when I did my three month yoga course on Salt Spring Island in Canada, and it’s something that resonated with me very much.

From my best friend Wikipedia, Ahisma “is a term meaning ‘compassion’ and ‘not to injure’. The word is derived from the Sanskrit root hiṃs – to strike; hiṃsā is injury or harm, a-hiṃsā is the opposite of this, i.e. cause no injury, do no harm. Ahimsa is also referred to as nonviolence, and it applies to all living beings – including all animals (source).

While I can hope that people will always treat me with compassion/ahisma, it’s probably not going to happen that way (especially when people are hangry- hungry angry 😉 ). I can’t control this. What I can control, is practicing ahisma myself, in the form of trying to empathize with the person who is acting in a less-than-kind way to me. Having compassion for their experience, and whatever past history of theirs has brought them to this point of dealing with a situation by using meanness, makes me feel more understanding and more able to move on from the experience.


(From here)


And while this is important, so is practicing Ahisma towards myself. Not beating myself up for when my intentions are pure and I am trying my best. Mistakes happen. Learn from the mistake, be kind to myself, and continue to do my best. Keep my heart free from meanness (which I think can be easy to overlook when it is directed to oneself). Then move on.

From a great starting point article on the yamas and niyamas of yoga:

“The first yama is perhaps the most famous one: ahimsa, usually translated as “nonviolence.” This refers not only to physical violence, but also to the violence of words or thoughts. What we think about ourselves or others can be as powerful as any physical attempt to harm. To practice ahimsa is to be constantly vigilant, to observe ourselves in interaction with others and to notice our thoughts and intentions. Try practicing ahimsa by observing your thoughts when a smoker sits next to you. Your thoughts may be just as damaging to you as his cigarette is to him.”

To sum up:

light in others     kindess



What does ahimsa/non-violence mean to you?



About kiwiyogirunner

I'm a kiwi girl travelling the world and staying grounded through yoga and running! Come hang out and be besties with me while I attempt to navigate my crazy life :) For more details check out my About page!
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15 Responses to The one with the waitressing ahisma

  1. This was beautiful! Thank you for sharing this… Sorry for the experience, but very grateful that you took the time to share it 🙂


  2. Jessica @ VEGGIE RUNNING MOMMA says:

    omg I love this post.! you are so so sweet.! awe, I wish you were my friend. haha
    but for reals, I love that little quote. “there isn’t a person you wouldn’t love if you could read their story”. I totally agree with that. Everyone is different and the way they are because of several factors in their life. and everyone’s story is different 🙂


    • Aww me too Jessica! We are already name twins too 🙂 If you are ever down under… please come hang out and have a rant sesh/run with me! 🙂 It is such a beautiful quote right? I find it very helpful especially in terms of my work as a therapist too. Beautifully put girl 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Tess says:

    Your “Ahisma” reminds me of reciprocity. Seems we all have a word that says to the world…be kind to one another.

    Don’t you wish we all just would?

    I’m so sorry your day was not wonderful and your customers were not wonderful. Everyone’s story IS different, we do not know what their story is, though I am inclined to wonder why their story would cause them to not be kind. I question that. I hope you have a beautiful day.


    • So true Tess! I actually firmly believe that all these things are the same, we just use different language to describe them… I love the word reciprocity!
      I do wish we all would! That would make life so much easier 🙂
      Hope you are having a beautiful day too lovely lady!


  4. what a great post – thanks for sharing 🙂


  5. I’m so sorry that experience shook you up! I think some people forget that we’re all human and should give each other lots of grace since we all make mistakes…and it’s especially frustrating when we didn’t even make a mistake in the first place. Sending lots of love because I know waitressing is a demanding and tiring gig!


    • Awww thank you so much Liv, that is so sweet!! And that really made me feel a lot better! You are so right, it can be incredibly frustrating, but knowing that other people like you understand and are so lovely and kind rally makes up for it 🙂 xx


  6. Curtwood says:

    Beautiful yogi post! I love the quotes and analogy you used =) the term ‘hangry’ makes perfect sense as well haha


  7. babycrow says:

    nice post! just as well you didn’t go a bundle on satya (truthfulness) with the hangry diners! so true that we need to practice ahimsa towards ourselves, not just others. You live like a yogini! x


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