The Rossiter Report – Volume 3; Number 2
By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS
“Brown Grass – How I Came to See the Light”
“There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.” – Old Proverb –
Gazing out upon the nearly-full tidal pool at the Plum Island Wildlife Refuge in Newburyport, Massachusetts on this unseasonably warm, early April day, I see brown. The parking lot in which I sit, writing, is at a slightly higher elevation than the tidal pool and the adjoining fields of marsh grasses. This vantage point affords enough of an aerial view to see partially over the hillocks in the near distance, across the harbor to the towns of Essex and Ipswich on the horizon. This bird’s-eye view (albeit that of a bird perched on a very low tree branch or a parking sign) places my vision above the fields of newly mown marsh grasses to see dozens of acres of brown. Even the tidal pool is cast with brown in the harsh light of the noon sun.
Very few people stop here for more than thirty seconds. To them, it is just a brown and lifeless landscape; boring. The only people who stay for any length of time beyond the thirty second mark are those birdwatchers who stay only long enough to spot (then consequently check-off) a new bird on their list, with no intention of actually observing the bird and getting to know it. What astounds me is the wealth of beauty that this spot possesses and is missed by those who come in search of a pre-determined idea of what is worthy of notice.
A few years ago (wink, wink) when I was eight years old, I ventured into the kitchen after viewing my Saturday morning cartoons and stood next to my mother at the kitchen sink. “Mumma, I’m bored,” I announced. In her characteristic, gentle firmness, yet in an uncharacteristically direct tone, my mother looked down at me (without skipping a beat in the washing of the breakfast dishes) and said, “Cathleen. The only people who get bored are boring people,” returning her gaze to the garden while continuing with the dishes. Not only was I NEVER bored again, but also this experience taught me to seek out continually something new. A treasure or lesson could be waiting for me in the haphazard pattern of a first coat of paint on the front of a dresser; or the way a reed bends and sings in the midst of a storm yet never breaks; or the fact that the overriding expanse of brown before me is, in point of fact, made up of greens, reds, purples, yellows, and blues in myriad variations on a theme.
The same thing is true of the people we hire and the customers who purchase from us. Without the individual talents, viewpoints, and insights each one brings to the table (the painter’s palette, as it were), then the work of art we call our company or team would lack the depth, luster, and uniqueness that makes our work a masterpiece.
Consciousness is a choice. Simply wanting to be aware does not make it happen. One must choose to open one’s eyes and mind. One must choose to see everything, not only what is pleasant or comfortable.
The thing that changed for me on that Saturday morning so many years ago is that I decided to stop refusing to see the world in front of me. I became determined to remain blind no longer. This choice of consciousness has brought a depth, richness, and joy to my life and work that I have carried with me to every aspect of my life, particularly in relation to the people I encounter. I choose to uncover the layers of wealth and richness buried in each person in front of me at any given time so as to bring the very best to the relationship, project, team, or circumstance. In doing so I find no need for the all-too-standard jealousy, defensiveness, and subsequent subterfuge that plagues Cubicle Farms around the world. Allowing for the enrichment of the team with the free-flow of each other’s talents, insights, and experience (as opposed to the general practice of trying to control and suppress it all) creates an infectious dynamic among the team members that creates a pride in the work and an enthusiasm to produce the best; to be a part of the best. I, for one, would much rather spend the 10+ hours each day that I am at work in the quest to produce the best, to be part of the best in a lively, dynamic environment. When one ponders the alternative, which is what one has become all-too-used-to in the working environment, one wonders why one hasn’t seen the light sooner.
Copyright © 2014 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS
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