The Pleasure Manifesto

is your life a pleasure? that's quite a question, let's take a minute for that

Photo by Jessica Fadel on Unsplash

The Pleasure Manifesto



my name is Pauline Esson

and this is my question to the world

well, let’s make that a bit more personal

my question to you


is your life a pleasure?

that’s quite a question, let’s take a minute for that



and if it’s not a pleasure……., do you want it to be?

another question asking for a minute?



and if you don’t want it to be a pleasure, what do you want it to be?

aaand again…..



I am here to declare

I do


I do want my life to be a pleasure

and I want your life to be a pleasure

(only if that’s what you want for yourself. I’m not into prescribing anything, let alone ways of life)

I have taken….., what have I taken….. a vow of pleasure? a pledge, a promise?

well. whatever we call it, it’s quite clear.


I have come to this point of declaration after decades of working with managers who were working themselves sick. we would find ways of working that were sustainable and which didn’t make them sick.



no more working ourselves sick


so that’s good. ‘Not getting sick’, it’s better than getting sick. Yes. Definitely worth doing.

good work Pauline.


and then I caught myself. Oh my goodness me. Is that really what I want?

it’s quite hilarious. As an aim.


well it’s better than nothing, better than getting sick, I’ll give you that.

but blinkin’ heck.



and when I asked myself what I did want, this is what I discovered.


I want life to be a pleasure

I want work to be a pleasure


just so we’re clear……


It’s not hedonism


not a hedonistic, life of leisure.

not a do nothing, life with no purpose or meaning. That wouldn’t do it, not for very long anyway.


I mean a deeply satisfying life of pleasure

when what you do with your life and the way you do it is a pleasure.


It’s not frivolous either


when you say yes to life and work as a pleasure,

you start looking at what you do with your time and whether it’s a pleasure,

you start questioning things that grate, things that go against your values

you start looking for ways to do what you do, that are a pleasure

you start to say no to things that aren’t a pleasure


like the manager who wouldn’t run the credit card campaign designed to get customers into more debt, but just the right amount so as not to tip them over the edge. the most amount of interest and least amount of default


and the house repossession workers who wouldn’t evict when they arrived to find a confused and bewildered 104 year old and her 84 year old daughter were the people to be evicted today.


and the more that happens, the more we look for and only adopt ways of working that we can say, and feel in our bodies, to be a pleasure, maybe even despite orders to the contrary,

the more we do that, the better a world we’ll make for ourselves.


and the more times in a day, that what you’re doing is a pleasure, the more good chemicals you send coursing round your body.

and that is good for your health*

this is not frivolous pleasure


this is pleasure for the good of your health

and pleasure for the good of the world



and pleasure is not an add on


It’s not about after work treats we give ourselves for getting through another day, or to distract ourselves from the pain

It’s not about a glass or five of wine having spent a gruelling day doing things that are miles away from being a pleasure.

It’s not about ‘making it through to the evening, or to the weekend, or the next holiday.

or, oh dear, I kind of deflate when I think about this one…… about slogging through the next few, or ten, years to take our pleasure when we retire.


I want pleasure every day, all the way through.


It might be frivolous as well. *smiles*

I love gorgeous bath oil and biscuity champagne.

and body lotion and scented candles and flowers in my office. And the best balsamic vinegar and Viognier wine.

just not only as a diversion.


pleasure for the good of your health

pleasure for the good of the world


The question then


do you want your life to be a pleasure?


and if not, what do you want it to be?


I made a video too.    The Pleasure Manifesto 7 minutes. with tea maybe.


come and say what you want in the comments.


*more about good chemicals coursing round your body from William Bloom. The Endorphin Effect


  1. Chloe Walker

    Lovely. I feel so soothed reading your words.

  2. Pauline

    Thank you Chloe, I’m so glad 🙂


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