Feeling Stressed? Consider All the Free Things

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Lentils and Romanesco, charred broccolini and Marcona almonds, butternut squash and mushrooms, pork tenderloin and smoked heirloom tomatoes… the beautiful, savory dishes kept coming to our big table at Handle in Park City.

Mmm.

Mmm.

Mmm mmm mmm.

“This is so good,” I kept saying. “Wow. This is so good.”

We were a table of big gestures and big belly laughs and big love. It was a big beautiful birthday dinner for my friend Sara.

And then, after several hours of savoring, I waited for the bill that never came. I was told to put on my coat because we were leaving. Reaching for my wallet, my friend Betsy said not to worry. What?? My eyes were wide. Really?? She laughed her amazing extended hahaha laugh and said it was wonderful to see me, and she would text me later.

It turns out a man I had just met that night paid for our whole table. And my other friend bought several bottles of tequila for the kitchen staff. And I was the beneficiary of so much generosity and kindness.

santa-claus-1819933__340A free meal.

We all love a free meal. We love friendship and joy and laughter and beautiful, mmm mmm mmm food.

I texted Betsy frantically that I was so grateful. She replied, “I wasn’t expecting it either, but it made for a magical end to a fun night of laughter and friendship.”

Well said, I wrote. So well said.

Ever since then, I have felt so happy about the kindness of strangers. And I have contemplated all the free meals I have been gifted with. Some of my favorites were free pizza or a free bagel. Last week, I bought my class free pizza and it was so fun.

It’s fun to get a free meal, and it’s fun to give one too.

Have you ever gotten something for free? Something wonderful and unexpected?

card-1835447__340Take a moment and remember: What have you received for free? Look around you: How many wonderful things are free?

I sat down this morning and started making a list of all the amazing things I get for free. All the resources in my community that are free to everyone. All the things going on at my university that are free to everyone. All the beauty in nature that we all marvel at that is free free free free free.

Of course, cynics will say that there is a cost to someone. But how often do you give thanks for all your benefits? How frequently do you acknowledge all the gifts that people are giving or trying to give you?

What are the gifts that people give to you? Are you receiving them? Are you appreciating them? Can you see them everywhere?

Beautiful, gorgeous, holiday reader: ‘Tis the season for gift giving… but it doesn’t have to be contained to a holiday and a time of year or even a special occasion. People are giving you gifts every day: Do you accept them? The world has resources to offer you: Are you finding them? Your community is reaching out to you to join them: Are you listening?

Look for the gifts in your life. Surprise! They are everywhere. Some are delectably and deliciously generous, and some are small and subtle.

Open your heart to the gifts that people want to give. Accept them. You are worthy.

Loving you out there. Mmm mmm mmm. XO

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