2010 The year of pleasure

Metaphoric crossing

With pleasure

That’s what I’d really like to have had as the name for my new site, but I’m sure you can imagine the google searches I’d have turned up in had I done that.
I settled on ‘with integrity’ but really, I’m taking that as the minimum standard, almost a given and the very least I hope for.
Doing things with pleasure is what I aspire to and the reason that I have declared 2010 to be my year of pleasure.

Is it a pleasure?

You know, when a client or customer thanks you for what you did and you say “It was a pleasure” and you really mean it.
They’re a real pleasure to work with and you love doing what you do for them.
Or you review at the end of a project and looking back remember how much fun you had working on the project, even in the midst of challenging targets or deadlines, it was a pleasure.

A few things about pleasure as I see it.

It’s not an add on.

I don’t envisage pleasure as an add on, having a work life and adding pleasures on at the edges as a compensation or reward for working yourself to the bone.
I know countless people who wait for the evening for things to be a pleasure. Nothing during the work day constitutes pleasure.
Or wait for holidays. That’s when they’ll take their pleasure. A few times a year!
I’ve worked with some who are keeping their heads down and noses to the grindstone till they retire, then they’ll relax and enjoy themselves. When they’re 65. Eech.

I’m envisaging pleasure woven right in.

To everything.

Even if that makes you feel faint at the suggestion.
I am definitely suggesting you mix business with pleasure. More than that I’m suggesting it’s the only way I see you and business being sustainable.

It’s not hedonism

It’s not pleasure for pleasure’s sake. Not pleasure as the only aim.
It’s more like pleasure acts as your servant putting a serene smile on your face as you do what you do.
Like the pure burst of joy in your heart when you see on someone’s face or hear in their voice how grateful they are for what you did.
Or in the midst of a torrentially busy day, as you plough on with your brow furrowed and shoulders tensed, you catch the most divine smelling waft that makes your furrowed brow unfurl and your shoulders drop.

It’s for the good of our health

When I’m doing something that I don’t enjoy, or am worrying about thinking about things I still need to do whilst doing something I do enjoy, my stomach and jaw are the ones that know about it first.
They take up the load without me even being aware of it. My gentlemanfriend caught sight of me walking down the road the other day and said I looked very tense. I thought I was just having a pleasant wander and shop window browse. Well I was, but my body chemistry was not. It was working overtime. That’s not good. It also frightens children.
My dentist has told me I’m wearing away my teeth and need crowns and asked if I grind them at night….eeeee I had no idea, it’s the child frightening tight jaw.
So…… soft stomach, relaxed jaw, calm body chemistry, less dental appointments. There’s lots more about why it’s good for your health but that’ll do to be going along with.

It’s not only for the good times.

Not only for when the market picks up or when we’re out of recession. I don’t want to be holding my breath till then.
This is difficult. A fine line to tread with caution, but I can remember very difficult times, when my Dad was dying in a hospice in Scotland, with me living in England.
My Scottish cousin threw open her doors for me to come and stay whenever, and at a moments notice, she’s a true pleasure to be with. I’d spend the days in the hospice, glad I was able to be there, then have someone to come back to.
Reminiscing was a pleasure with her, or saying nothing and Ben, her dog would come and lie on my feet which was really comforting, that was a pleasure. He’s a big dog and could nearly cut my circulation off sometimes, but it is a pleasure to be with him, the gentle soul that he is.

This is an aspiration of mine.

I have not, by any shadow of the imagination, got this licked.  I’m a struggle queen.
I’m very, very good at it, being in very challenging situations and struggling and juggling and doing an amazing job of managing. All the while with my stomach clenched without me even really noticing.
I’m good at pleasure as an add on, less good when I do things I don’t enjoy doing but tell myself I have to or just do it blindly, without thought.
I’m 46 now and I think it’s time, slow learner that I am, to declare 2009 as the last year of accepting struggle as the way. That’s the symbolic bridge I’ve crossed.
And to declare 2010 as the year of pleasure.
I hope to become highly adept at pleasure and to take it as a given, like breath.
Or am I getting a bit dramatic or poetic or something now. Anyway…you get my drift.

And I invite you to join me.

If you’d like to drop the struggle, join me.

We’ll talk about how it’s going here at the blog and get help from each other.

By the end of the year, I’d like to be able to say  “It’s a pleasure” about everything I do.
Whenever I can’t say that as I go through the year, I will look for what it would take to make it a pleasure.
Change bits, do bits differently, get support, share the load, change the way I think about it…whatever might turn it around and make it feel genuinely a pleasure.
And if none of that works, and it really isn’t and cannot be a pleasure for me, I’ll cry drop it.
That feels faintly terrifying now I’ve written it down.
I’ve been wedded to the concept of dropping struggle for a while now but it’s a surprise to me that writing it down, here in public, is scaring the bejeezus out of me.
It would be less terrifying, I think, if you were to join me. If you’d like to join me, you can sign up to get the blog posts. You can leave messages of encouragement or your stories of pleasure in the comments.
Only if you want to though, only if it would be a pleasure.

I’m going to start with things just as they come. Some examples of things big and small made pleasurable.

Small.

It had started to feel a bit of a drag to write a shopping list last week.  So I made it colour.
Soft brown heading, my (moan with pleasure when I see it) grey/green and pale grey.
And made it an elegant font. I know. It wouldn’t do it for everyone. It makes me happy.
It does no harm that I’m aware of. Pleasure woven in.

Bigger.

I struggled for four years to write the copy for my website. I read about someone who was also struggling and how she’d gone and got help to write hers and was berating herself for struggling for two weeks before getting help. OK I could laugh about that. Slow…very slow. Last year I did get help and now we’re here at my new site.

Bigger.

A client of mine was rarely leaving the office before 8pm because she felt the need to check there were no life and death issues in her e-mail before she left. (Sometimes there were). Every time she came back from a meeting there’d be a fresh batch of maybe 300 and to say it was wearing her down was an understatement. Pleasure was not in the building. She assumed she couldn’t get help because of the staffing budget being fixed. She re-arranged the staffing structure keeping the budget the same and now someone flags up where action is needed from her that day.
Now all she has to do is scan the list for a flagged item which takes thirty seconds and feels like a real pleasure. She’s also regularly at home on the sofa by 6.30pm. Or playing badminton…she likes that.

The blog.

This can be where I (and you if you join me) come on a Friday to close the week and take a look at;
What was pleasurable
What wasn’t pleasurable
Which things are up for change
What might make those things a pleasure and how that’s going.
What to drop.
I think this checking in needs a name. I’ve had plenty ideas but most involved cheesy alliteration which I promised myself I’d avoid. The pleasure and the pain, the pleasure pledge….I know. Painful, I’ll stop that.
Weekly review, reflections, check in, ….bit boring.  We won’t say chicken (check in), as that’s Havi’s.
OK, so it’s a check in looking for a name…all suggestions gratefully received.

I also plan to talk about other related things.

Like ease.
And equality. As in equality of needs, yours being of equal importance to those of the project or your partner.
There’ll be more.  All related to doing business and living life with integrity and with pleasure.
Later there could be podcasts.  Or phone calls to ask questions and help each other out.
For now I’ll start with a blogpost on Fridays.
So sign up for the blog posts if you’d like to hear that or to join in.

I’d love

For you to join me in the comments and share your stories of pleasure and the seeking of it, in legal ways.
To have you name the weekly pleasure check in.

What I’d rather not

Any version of events, comments and opinions where we do have to suffer. I’m sure there are other blogs for that.
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9 Comments

  1. Posted January 22, 2010 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    Hmmmm… pleasure. The word rolls around my mouth like a rich hollandaise sauce, or a fine chocolate drizzle. Silky, slippery, even sexy!

    Why do we call these pleasures ‘indulgences’? To be saved for special occasions or savoured secretively?

    I know the physical is only one aspect of pleasure, but still it seems a good place to start…

    I’m slowly learning how to *not* ‘save for best’. Save for best is not using the fine china everyday, or keeping that gorgeous dress only for ‘going out’. Instead I’m practicing using my best whenever I can – take pleasure in it!

    Wonderful new site Pauline – looking forward to seeing the pleasure unfold 🙂

    As for the weekly check in name, I like The Pleasure Report. A weekly assessment of global well-being measured by our pleasure ratio.

    [Reply]

    Pauline Reply:

    Oh Bec, that’s lovely. I like what happens when you roll words around….silky, slippery, even sexy.
    Now saying the word is even more pleasurable. Bonuses!
    And your name for the weekly check in….The Pleasure Report. I. like. that.
    Ladies and gentleman, we may have a winner. (I’ll be adorning the first round up next Friday with the winning name).

    [Reply]

  2. Posted January 22, 2010 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    I love you. I love this. I love every single thing about this post.

    Also may just have to tattoo “Pleasure is not an add on” somewhere. Because that is such a perfect, brilliant reminder of what is true.

    Wow.

    A year of feeling okay with the concept of things being … pleasurable (is that even how you spell it? I’m so weirded out by the concept that I’m not even sure).

    Anyway. Where do I sign up? I’m in!

    [Reply]

    Pauline Reply:

    Havi! Now that’s an idea! ‘Pleasure is not an add on’ as tattoos. I could make stick on/transfer style ones. Wear it till you ‘get’ it.
    OK let’s go…I’m beyond happy that you’re in for the year of pleasure.

    [Reply]

  3. Posted January 22, 2010 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Pleasure is not an add on…isn’t only for the good times…Business and pleasure intermingled…Pleasure woven right in. Lovely. Deep sigh. Can’t wait to read more.

    [Reply]

    Pauline Reply:

    Deep sigh with you Janet….ahhh
    Some say I’m only in it for the deep sigh’s.

    [Reply]

  4. Posted January 22, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful post 🙂 hmmmmm, pleasure. And 2010 as a whole year of it! I’m in!

    [Reply]

    Pauline Reply:

    Yay. Mike! You’re in…..excellent news.

    [Reply]

  5. Posted January 22, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Hi Pauline,

    I just joined the KT, and heard about your new site. Big congratulations — It’s lovely! And this post is lovely!

    Today what was not pleasurable: forgetting that my boys did not have school today (argh!)

    What is pleasurable: I’m on my 4th day of 40 days of yoga! mmmm, very in-my-body delicious!

    Which things are up for change : where do I start?

    What to drop: My shoulders, down my back, aaahhh

    [Reply]

    Pauline Reply:

    Hi Lauren, thanks for coming to visit, I’m so glad you like my new home. Agh…sudden surprise day with boys. I love your basic goodness site ….so gorgeous.

    [Reply]

  6. Kim Wood
    Posted January 23, 2010 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Hi Pauline,

    Love your site, your blog and The Pleasure Report. I keep forgetting that pleasure is meant to be an intrinsic part of each day – the weekly Pleasure Report could be just the thing I need to remind me. I’m in!
    This week:
    Pleasurable: eating lettuce that I grew from seed (tastes SO good).
    Not pleasurable: sore back caused by too many hours with my macbook on the couch.
    Up for change: dust off the Shiva Nata and Non-sucky yoga DVDs – feel pleasure in moving and stretching….and bonus epiphanies!

    [Reply]

    Pauline Reply:

    Kim, So easy to forget, or so hard to remember maybe. Me too. So…the pleasure report it is. Oh and by the way…lettuce you grew from seed…so impressed and I can almost taste its freshness from here.

    [Reply]

  7. Posted January 25, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Pauline!!! Your site is Gorgeous!!! OMG, it’s so lovely. It’s so you!

    And pleasure, um yeah, why does that word feel so foreign to my life? Something I definitely need to focus more on this year. I’ll be following your blog closely for more about this.

    [Reply]

    Pauline Reply:

    Yes. Feels so foreign. Doesn’t it! Oh….you just gave me a thought….how long does it take to learn a foreign language? A thousand words of active vocabulary?
    Hmmm…might play with that notion. With non violent communication it’s referred to as like learning a new language, you get enough words to get by fairly quickly but fluency only comes over time and practises. Maybe this will be a bit like that.

    [Reply]

  8. Posted January 25, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Oh Pauline:

    I love love love this concept of pleasure. I had forgotten that this word even existed in the English language.

    For me, pleasure is when I do something that is helpful to someone else – it’s “my pleasure” to be helpful.

    As for what feels pleasurable to me – the first thing that comes to mind are Heidi’s creams from Aardvark Essentials. That’s pleausrable.

    I’d like to expand that definition though to encompass more about my whole life- particularly in terms of relationships.

    Thank you for helping me identify this as a great focus to add meaning to my life.

    Beautiful beautiful job and much needed in this world!!!

    [Reply]

    Pauline Reply:

    I know what you mean about forgetting it even existed in the English language. I wonder if there’s a cultural, rush and hurry and do more with less, link to what feels to me like the squeezing out of pleasure in English speaking countries.
    And your looking to where it is in relationships and in your whole life….oh yes I’m so keen to look at where pleasure is woven in to everyone’s whole lives….not an add on, as the new tattoo to be seen with goes.
    I was talking to someone the other day about how it’s different in eastern European countries. How there seems to be more of a value on relationships and people generally and more quality of attention, maybe not more attention but the quality of it seems better, deeper, less distracted maybe. So there’s stuff in there about how to keep the distractions at bay and some other stuff about how maybe the pleasure is there all along but we don’t notice in our rush.
    I’m so glad you’ll be in on the exploration.

    [Reply]

  9. Posted January 28, 2010 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    Instead of the perils…the Pleasures of Pauline, and to share it with us! Yay! I have a friend who sets a theme for his life each year, it’s challenged me to think in that way, an overarching something that I would want to focus on at work, home, volunteering, etc. I am still pondering but today I am considering “Authenticity” as my theme for this year. For me, I need to get in touch with what gives me pleasure, not just what’s expected to be a pleasure, but where I truly need to be in mind, body and spirit so that I can please and be pleased. Looking forward to reconnect again, keep up the great work!

    [Reply]

    Pauline Reply:

    Hi Carla, Oh that sounds gooood. The authentic pleasures not what’s expected to be. I’d love to hear them as they let themselves be known to you.

    [Reply]

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