I’m writing my first blog entry on the plane home from Louisiana. I spent a magical week participating in Habitat for Humanity with beloved friends from the Hendricks’ conscious community—and in four days it is officially Thanksgiving.

I believe that the magic of the week was the direct result of appreciation and gratitude. The first night, our roommate Audrey (one of the five of us sharing a room we started calling “the dormitory’) said, “I end every day with appreciation,” and proceeded to deliver a beautiful appreciation to each one of us as we lay there in the darkening room. That set the tone for the week. We had five days of pounding nails, sawing, putting in joists, decking and walls. That gave plenty of opportunities to be fully in the moment, available to be grateful for the blue skies; for having the right tool at the right time; for the warm, friendly and appreciative people we met; for the emerging frames of houses coming out of the surrounding rubble that Katrina left; for each other.

I listened to a religious station while driving around one day New Orleans. The announcer was talking about Thanksgiving and all there was to be grateful for. She included things like having a house to move back into, or maybe finally getting that insurance check, or, if those hadn’t happened yet, for friends and family. I realized (again) what I take for granted, and sent a big prayer out in thanks for my abundant life.

We went out for breakfast our last morning. After our waitress belted out a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” to two different patrons, Miriam decided we should return her gift. When she came back, we sang to her. She smiled a twinkly smile, stepped back, closed her eyes, and sang the most beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace” I’ve ever heard.

I’m so grateful to play with you all, and to have such incredible mates for this voyage of discovery of human magnificence.

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