madeunder: how and why

[originally posted May, 26th 2009]


Welcome back! I’ve taken a few much needed days to rest and recuperate. I hope you had a great few days of relaxation and are now ready to get back in the swing of things as well. This week I am detailing how to create your very own makeunder, step by step. The process is free, and can be applied to almost every area of our lives, but I specialize in space and stuff – because it is the quickest place to make an impact and because I love design.

Before I get into the nitty gritty steps and examples, let me first frame how this whole idea came about. The idea was hatched in a 12′x12′ dorm room in January of 2006. At that point in my life I was incredibly unsure of my future career and identity and I desperately wanted to be perfect and happy- in that order. So how does one become perfect? At the time, “new luxury” marketing and an infamous hit tv show, Extreme Makeover, made me believe that if I added a bunch of awesome clothes, bags, makeup, and semi-invasive surgical procedures to my life, I might just be closer to my personal nirvana.

Needless to say, this paradigm left me a disgruntled co-ed, considering I had no means to obtain any of those illusive products or procedures.

That is until I heard a quote from Michelangelo regarding the statue of David. When asked how he created such a beautiful figure from a massive stone he responded that he could see the statue beneath the layers of rock and he simply needed to remove the excess stone.

And then it clicked.

Like David, my best self, the one that I was searching so desperately for in the bottom of a shopping bag or a Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough carton, was underneath that “stuff.” The person I wanted to be was ever-present, but hidden behind a cloud of physical and emotional crap. At that moment I realized the path to contentment and my best self was found by removing the unnecessary stuff in my life. By making under.

First I headed straight to my closet and practiced the makeunder steps I will elaborate more on the rest of the week. I tackled the closet right away because there was a whole wardrobe of expectation and disappointment which could be changed in just a few hours. The more psychological shifts that needed to happen took a bit longer to develop.

I also feel that our space and well-being are tied to one another. If our space is peaceful and clean we in turn feel calm and focused. If our space is cluttered or ill-suited for our lifestyle, then a feeling of dissatisfaction buzzes in our ear like a hovering mosquito. Changing our environment to reflect our intentions provides a space for our best self to develop. And it doesn’t cost a dime.

Tonight’s homework:

Reflect on what kind of change is (or isn’t) needed in your own life. Generally speaking, the bigger the disconnect between our vision of our best selves and our reality relates to the amount of making under we need to do in our lives. What do you really, really want for yourself?

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  1. Valerie

    Thanks for sharing what inspired your Makeunder concept. The Michelangelo quote helps it come to life. I only starting reading your blog the last few months and so I appreciate you sharing a refresher on it for peeps like me.

  2. Marie

    I’m so happy I found your site! It’s exactly what I needed, right now. I also strongly believe that our space and well-being are tied to one another. Hence the reason why I attacked my walk-in last Saturday night! I ended up with a garbage bag full, feeling calmer with a clearer mind 🙂 Can’t wait to work on today’s homework! Need to think about this…

  3. Thanks for reposting some of your old posts. I like the homework you’ve added to this one. I think more of us need to take stock of what we really really want for ourselves. What are we missing out on by not pursuing our dreams?

  4. Tumor

    I thrive off chaos in a totally non-emo way but you make me reconsider some of it.

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