Path to happiness

Happiness is the way

By Ainsworth Thompson | Community Contributor

AinsFor many years I battled with myself about what makes me really happy and exactly what happiness is.  To me it seemed that happiness is the main objective of our existence on earth.

When I experience happiness it’s like I am achieving my purpose for being here. A bright and humble energy is emitted from my being, and I gravitate toward situations of peace, love and deeper understanding. My thoughts are clear and I feel balance in all facets of my life.  I envision my future with great optimism – free from fear and worry – and I view my life as glorious, successful, and free. As long as I maintain this state of existence, it seems as if I am achieving my life objective.

For many years I thought that I needed an external stimulus such as a great job, a fancy car or lots of friends to achieve this state of mind. Now I realize that happiness exists within me and I can feel happy all the time by changing the way I think about life.

It became clear to me that whatever I emitted from the inside would manifest itself on the outside. It was not the external stimulus that made me happy. Therefore, I try to maintain a happy state of mind by feeling good about myself and showing compassion to others.

Happiness is a state of existence that can be maintained by simply removing negative thoughts, words and actions from your life and replacing them with positive ones. Practice this and you will live a happy, prosperous, loving and fulfilling life.  In the words of the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn, “There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.”

The dangers of crossing Lake Shore Drive on foot

By Jon Cohn | Community Contributor

When you try to cross Lake Shore Drive (LSD) on foot at Monroe St., Jackson Blvd. or Congress Pkwy., the long wait at the light for your turn makes you feel a combination of anxious excitement and breathless anticipation.

Finally when it is your turn, the nerves and the rapid heartbeat of excitement while traversing LSD lies somewhere between jumping from an airplane at 10,000 feet and riding a motorcycle.  Weaving in and out of impatient pedestrians, while battling through crowds, makes the relief and exhilaration of finally getting to the other side almost tangible. It’s like a feeling of true accomplishment.

I spent some time at a few of these busy intersections recently on a particularly crowded weekend. Here is a sampling of what I saw, which many of our New Eastside residents are all too familiar with:


What I miss about the New Eastside

By Ophelia Dodds | IMG_1189Community Contributor

Having recently moved back to England after a very happy four years in the New Eastside, my editor asked me to describe what I missed most about our wonderful neighborhood. My first thought was the easy access to wonderful theatres and restaurants. My second was Mariano’s, Millennium Park, the Crown Fountain, and the beautiful Lakeshore East Park.

However, when I paused to think, I realized that what really miss are the people of Lakeshore East. There is a well-known saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” believed to be an old African proverb. Nowhere is this more obvious than in New Eastside.

I trusted our doormen to look after my daughter while I was collecting a bike or bringing a car round or hailing a cab. I trusted the other mothers in the park to make sure she was behaving and to hug her if she was hurt. We knew the people (and dogs) in the elevator that we met each day, and these meetings taught my daughter how to interact politely with adults. This village of ours has educated and nurtured my daughter, and for that I will be forever grateful.

Much of Chicago doesn’t even know that the New Eastside exists as a neighborhood as we know it. For those who choose to live here, there are a variety of reasons for that choice such as the convenient downtown location with access to restaurants, theaters and shopping in addition to its proximity to Lake Michigan and all its beauty. But why do we stay? All of those reasons still count, but we stay for the people and the community.

We were all outraged at the theft of the pumpkins from the pumpkin patch. We all come together to bemoan drag racing around the park, noise pollution from parties and other community issues. We stick together and we care about where we live.

So what do I miss most? I miss the glint of sun on the lake in the morning. I miss chatting to my doormen. I miss Mariano’s grocery store and their amazing selection of fresh fruit and vegetables. I miss the fireworks over the lake. I miss chatting to my neighbors in the elevator. I miss petting dogs in the park. I miss the beautiful sunsets. I miss Sunday movie morning at the AMC River East with friends. I miss our community.

I miss the extraordinary things about Lakeshore East. But most of all… I miss the ordinary things.

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