Saturday, March 15, 2008

Discardia: Better Than Festivus

If you've checked your calendar recently, you're probably aware of some rapidly approaching traditional holidays: St. Patrick's Day, Easter, April Fool's Day, Passover, even Earth Day. But are you aware of Discardia?

I first heard about this wonderful holiday through a post last December on pro organizer Jerri Dansky's delightful blog. Discardia is the brainchild of Metagrrrl, aka self-described web geek Dinah Sanders, who, in true Seinfeld spirit, states that the holiday is about nothing. However, she created it on December 25, 2002, which gives us a clue about her motivation. Here's a quote further explaining its purpose:

"Discardia is celebrated by getting rid of stuff and ideas you no longer need. It's about letting go, abdicating from obligation and guilt, being true to the self you are now. Discardia is the time to get rid of things that no longer add value to your life, shed bad habits, let go of emotional baggage and generally lighten your load."

Discardia holidays (yes, plural) are based on lunar cycles. To be precise, sort of:

"The exact days vary. It takes place in the time between the Solstices & Equinoxes and their following new moons. Sometimes it's short and sometimes it's long."

A calendar can be found here. As you can see, there are four opportunities during 2008 to celebrate. This coming Wednesday, March 19th is the beginning of the next Discardia holiday.

What to do to celebrate? Dinah offers this suggestion:

"[B]ear in mind that obligation is anti-discardian, so you can do whatever suits you - including celebrating Discardia when it isn't Discardia. However, one thing you might like to consider is the idea of culminating the Discardian season with a particular act of letting go. For example, on the Discardian new moon you might decide that you won't buy anything or bring anything into your home and that you will instead just enjoy the fact that you have enough. Or you might make that your night to be completely selfish, avoid all social commitments and do something you really enjoy, regardless of what anyone else thinks or expects of you."

The Discardia posts offer a wealth of information about parting with excess baggage, whether it's literal or psychological, including Dinah's own unburdening of her stuff and her gradual creation of a more satisfying life.

I love the idea of an ongoing, seasonal celebration of letting go. Getting rid of clutter this way doesn't seem like such a chore or a sacrifice, but instead is simply a preparation for a holiday. And if that holiday is celebrated regularly, more and more stuff will get out of our homes and more and more joy will be brought in.

I hope that on April 5th, the last day of this coming Discardia, you, too, will be able to celebrate by saying, "I have enough!"

© 2008 Cynthia Friedlob


Louise said...

I am an avid de-clutterer, but had never heard of Discardia. Thanks for sharing this!

Cynthia Friedlob said...

Thanks for your comment. Glad you enjoyed hearing about Discardia. Maybe we can get this holiday to catch on!

Jeri Dansky said...

Thank you for the kind words, and for spreading the word about Discardia - a lovely holiday that deserves to be more well known.

Cynthia Friedlob said...

My pleasure, Jeri.

By the way, readers, that's Jeri with one "r." I should have known better -- sorry!

But, Jeri, at least you're in good company. Not long ago I sent e-mail to Dr. Amie Ragan and spelled her name "Amy."

There's something about staring at a screen instead of paper that makes my brain prone to careless errors -- at least that's my excuse!