Sweeping the Staircase

In the intelligence tests given immigrants at Ellis Island, “they were asked how a staircase should be swept: Do you sweep from bottom to top, top to bottom, or toward the sides. A Polish girl answered, “I haven’t come to this country to sweep staircases.”
Eduardo Galeano

860678_origKathleen Nestor Owens

You get to decide what you have — and have not — come here to do. Where does skipping  breakfast fall?  How about running yellow lights. Failing to vote. The list is as personal as you’re willing to make it.

Practice: Chose something you don’t approve of but find yourself doing anyway. Then decide whether it’s something you “came here to do.”

Applying unfamiliar language to a familiar behavior can help you work with it more effectively.

Related practices: Trousers, Author’s Statement, Permission