“Love must be learned, and learned again and again; there is no end to it. Hate needs no instruction, but only waits to be provoked.” Katherine Anne Porter

Feeling the love yet? I’m not. At least not yet. I should never look at the news first thing in the morning; there’s nothing but war and bloodshed, and seniors getting ripped off by con artists… The drive in to work isn’t much better as I’m battling it out with all the morons on the road. I was late getting to the office, but I managed to slip in unnoticed, trying to keep a low profile.

I was feeling resentful, irritable and stressed; this is a good indication that I’ve drifted off into an illusion, a place that exists only in my head. Once again, I came to the realization that I am not present, in the moment, here and now. I was in a place where I feel powerless… and the only response for an addict who’s feeling powerless is to ‘act out.’ (Not a good place.)

There is always a void when I slip into the fantasy of fear and hate. And there is only one way to fill the void: Love and gratitude.

The fear and hate (resentment, irritability and stress) don’t need any instruction. Hate is like a default setting that kicks in when I’ve failed to choose another setting. Fear seems to be hardwired into our brains; every time we face a challenge or a change fear kicks in so effortlessly. I don’t think I have to explain…

But love – which is our true and authentic self – requires teaching and training, encouragement and support. Call it what you will, fear and hate seems easier than love and gratitude. Recognizing this reality (and accepting it, as well) frees me up so I can make a free choice to love and be grateful.

I don’t have to remain in the ‘default setting’ of fear and hate when I can freely choose to be in the moment – full of acceptance and gratitude. These two words help to define my concept of love. I can fill the empty void of fear with a different kind of energy: Gratitude. This is something my partner (thank you, Evi) has demonstrated to me over the many years we have been together.

I have enlisted in the “Gratitude Training Program” offered by my Higher Power. It requires at least 10 minutes a day of being perfectly present and fully engaged in the practice of gratitude. It is difficult to do, but each subsequent day gets easier. And it is making a huge difference – especially when it comes to my addiction.

Gratitude is a practice that helps fill the spiritual void in my heart with the positive energy of love. This ‘present moment’ is where I can find my authentic self and enjoy Love’s energy.

You can learn to love by practicing gratitude in this present moment.