Circles of Change Book Club June

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Circles of Change Book Club June

For the first time this year we’re offering a book that even we haven’t read yet!

This Impossible Light” by Lily Myers will be published on June 6 and we’ll be reading it for the first time along with all of you this June.

Publisher’s Description:
From the YouTube slam poetry star of "Shrinking Women" (more than 5 million views!) comes a novel in verse about body image, eating disorders, self-worth, mothers and daughters, and the psychological scars we inherit from our parents.

Fifteen-year-old Ivy's world is in flux. Her dad has moved out, her mother is withdrawn, her brother is off at college, and her best friend, Anna, has grown distant. Worst of all, Ivy's body won’t stop expanding. She's getting taller and curvier, with no end in sight. Even her beloved math class offers no clear solution to the imbalanced equation that has become Ivy’s life.

Everything feels off-kilter until a skipped meal leads to a boost in confidence and reminds Ivy that her life is her own. If Ivy can just limit what she eats—the way her mother seems to—she can stop herself from growing, focus on the upcoming math competition, and reclaim control of her life. But when her disordered eating leads to missed opportunities and a devastating health scare, Ivy realizes that she must weigh her mother's issues against her own, and discover what it means to be a part of—and apart from—her family.

This Impossible Light explores the powerful reality that identity and self-worth must be taught before they are learned. Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins.

We will have discussion questions up on the blog on Wednesday June 14, and that evening there will be a live online discussion through Live Story on Instagram with @caseyrosereads at 6:30 PM EDT.

June will deliver another great publication with Roxane Gay’s “Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body” coming out on June 13, and that will be our July book pick, so feel free to start reading that early if you so choose!

As always if you have any questions or thoughts we’re happy to hear them, whether you want to email us at bookclub@circlesofchange.org, or on any of our social media.

Happy Reading!

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Circles of Change Book Club: May Discussion & Summer Selections

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Circles of Change Book Club: May Discussion & Summer Selections

Hello Brilliant, Brave, and Beautiful Readers!

We hope you've been enjoying reading "Dietland" by Sarai Walker, and that you'll be able to join us for either the online book discussion this evening starting at 7:00 PM EDT on Instagram with @caseyrosereads, or that you can join us in person at Cafe at 407 on May 25 at 5:00 PM for an in-person chat.

As Sarai Walker has provided book club discussion questions on her website we'll be working with her list as a starting point for this month's chats. As always, we look forward to the questions and thoughts that you bring to the table, so be sure to share them on our social media or during the chat!

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We also wanted to take the time to announce our June and July book selections!
we're really excited about getting to read more NEW books for the book club, and June is delivering two fantastic publications: This Impossible Light by Lily Myers on June 6, which will be our June book club pick, and Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay on June 13, which will be our July pick.

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Every Body Yoga Discussions

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Every Body Yoga Discussions

Our questions are generally framed to create some conversations around introspection, as opposed to discussing the stylistic elements (like the plot or characters of a fiction novel). These questions and points are just a starting point and with this book in particular we’d like to challenge you with taking some time at home to try out some of the practices explained in the book so that you might talk about that experience as well when talking about the book.

 

  • Jessamyn shares, “I enjoyed going to classes (when I could afford it), but like many other yoga students who look “different,” I always left the studios feeling a vague (at best) sense of discrimination at the hands of my teachers and fellow students.” 

    Have  you ever experienced this? Has anticipating this kind of experience kept you from doing yoga or other physical activities you might be interested in?
     

  • On writing the book: “Because all yoga bodies deserve to be represented in print, not just those that are slender, young, female, and white.”

    Has this been your impression of the yoga culture? Does the representation offered in this book help you feel more empowered to go practice yoga?
     

  • “I associated so much shame with my body, I didn’t think I deserved to wear clothing that actually made me feel good.”

    Aside from the context of exercise clothes, we want to bring up that one of the most simple and yet incredibly empowering things we encourage everyone in the Circles of Change community to do is to ditch the clothes that make you uncomfortable. Go through your closet this month and ditch the clothes that make you feel bad. There is no shame in buying clothes in a different size, even if that means a larger size. You are not defined by that number and you deserve to be comfortable. Wear what makes you feel good, and not what pinches or hurts, like too small jeans. You are not your jean size. And if you want to wear horizontal stripes or crop top, do it! Wear what you want on the awesome body you already have.
     

  • Early on in her initial encounters with yoga Jessamyn wonders “Why can they do it and I can’t?”

    Have you ever had this thought? How often do you think you make it a comparison game in various aspects of your life? Can you find ways to appreciate the value of your specific experience?
     

  • This sentiment is amazing: “It’s possible that I hadn’t given myself the chance to try in such a carefree way since childhood.”

    There is great power in embracing your mistakes, missteps, and falls as part of the learning experience. What would it look like or feel like to bring this approach to the yoga mat, to a dance class, or to any other activity?
     

  • Jessamyn talks about working against toxic language and its prevalence in the fitness world. What kind of conversations and language have you noticed at the gym, at barre class, or wherever you exercise? How many conversations center around praising weight loss? How much talk is there of following specific diets or restricting food? Do people talk about food or eating in terms of “being good” and “being bad”? How would you steer these conversations in a different direction?
     

  • “In many ways, finding self-love has been the greatest pursuit of my life.”

    Does Jessamyn’s path and the stories that she has shared help you feel like you’re more capable turning your words and actions into those that support self-love?
    Do you feel more confident in engaging in activities that may have previously felt scary because of how you feel about your body?

     

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COC Book Club: Every Body Yoga

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COC Book Club: Every Body Yoga

It’s here! A brand new book for us to talk about in the Circles of Change Book Club!

As you may have read in our last blog post, we selected this "Every Body Yoga" first and foremost because of Jessamyn Stanley’s combination of personal storytelling and the empowerment aspect of encouraging readers to engage in their own at-home practice, and secondly, because we want to invite everyone to not just talk the talk when it comes to body positivity, but to walk the walk in how we live our daily lives.

I’ll be hosting a Live Story on Instagram on Wednesday, April 12 at 7:00 PM EDT. We’re going to try starting at this slightly later time to see if we can accommodate the widest range of time zones.

On that same day we will also publish a short list of starter questions that you and/or your in-person book club can use to start a conversation about the content of the book.

For those who are in the Syracuse, NY area, we will be hosting our in-person book club at Cafe at 407, in the community room, on April 20 starting at 5:30 PM. We understand that with work, traffic, and the various end-of-day minutiae that it can be difficult to arrive right at 5:30, so please feel free to stop at any point in the evening. We try to start on the early side because the cafe closes at 7:00.

In conjunction with our book club goals for putting our words into practice this month, we’ll be carrying the theme over to all of our Circles of Change messaging, encouraging the community to try new things. Keep an eye out on our social media for a challenges throughout the month.

And we'll be hosting a giveaway of a copy of the book as well as some Circles of Change merch, so stay tuned for that as well!

Are you excited for the new book?
 

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Book Club April Selection

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Book Club April Selection

Hello, readers!

The 21st is when we reveal our book choice for the next month, usually with the intent of allowing every reader enough time to get their hands on a copy of the book before the first of the month rolls around and we begin reading.

For April, however, the book we will be working through doesn’t come out until April 4. Some libraries have the capability to pre-request books, and pre-ordering from your preferred book supplier should be an option as well.

The book we will be reading is “Every Body Yoga” by Jessamyn Stanley.

While a yoga book isn’t the traditional style of book for a book club, I’d like to think that non-traditional is right in our wheelhouse.

And across of all of Circles of Change, not just the book club, the theme for the month of April will be “Don’t Just Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk.”

Many of us have arrived at a place in our lives where we’ve grown comfortable talking about self-love and accepting our bodies as they are, and to be grateful for what they do, but sometimes, as time speeds up, our days get busier, we find that we’ve become all thought/talk and no action.

Which is why we want to invite everyone to put more of what we talk about into practice, and one of the best ways to make that happen is to practice yoga.
 

I’ve had the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the book and loved that it was full of helpful tools for understanding the origins of yoga and how to create at home sequences, while also connecting the need for yoga in conjunction with stories from Stanley’s life.

This is a women with a distinct voice, who believes that everyone, of all ages, sizes, and abilities can benefit from practice, and that all of those different kinds of bodies deserve to be represented in print.

For me- someone who essentially halted all physical exercise while trying to unpack my feelings about exercise in the wake of finding ways to love my body (what forms of exercise had effectively been self-punishment for me, and what forms actually made me and my body feel good) this book is a wonderful reminder of daring to try what scares us in the hope of finding what heals us.

On April 1 we’ll have more information about our goals for book club for the month, as well as some new challenges to build along side your reading.


What do you think of the book choice? Are you excited for a new adventure?

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COC Book Club: Shrill Discussion

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COC Book Club: Shrill Discussion

Hello, readers, and thank you for joining us for the March discussion. 

You can reflect on the questions on your own, or by tuning in for the live online discussion tonight at 6:30 pm EDT on Instagram. At that time I will start a live story over on @caseyrosereads and you can hang out and listen, or you can type your questions or thoughts into the feed at the bottom of the screen. The reason why we picked this time is to try to be available across as many time zones as possible as we do have book club members across the globe. 

For those of you who have expressed an interest in attending an in-person book club, or hosting one, in your area, we are still working on getting some tools in place to make that as easy an experience as possible. 

For those who are in the Syracuse, NY area, we will be meeting on Wednesday March 22 at 5:30 PM at Cafe at 407. We meet on the early side because the cafe closes at 7. If you are interested in attending please RSVP at bookclub@circlesofchange.org so we know how many treats to share!

The Questions:

Page 12
“So, what do you do when you’re too big, in a world where bigness is cast not only as aesthetically objectionable, but also as a moral failing?...you make yourself smaller in other ways...you try to buy back your humanity with pounds of flesh.”

Why do you think that there is a moral aspect attached to how larger bodies are perceived? Have you made those kinds of judgements about strangers? If so, how do you plan to address those thoughts in the future?

 

Page 17
“..but they tell you that if you hate yourself hard enough, you can grab just a tail feather or two of perfection. Chasing perfection was your duty and your birthright, as a woman, and I would never know what that was like…”

What would it look like to teach our young girls to chase something else, what would you want to keep sharing with girls outside of the idea of physical “perfection”?

 

Page 34
“Don’t trust anyone who promises you a new life...If their products lived up to their promise, they’d be out of a job”

Not that West is attacking anyone who is sincerely helping people achieve a better life, but something worth talking about: When it comes to the culture of Circles of Change, we are encouraging people on a path to a new life, one where you don’t have to be at war with yourself and your body. So are we trustworthy?

I think the difference comes from the fact that those of us who support body positivity, who sell merchandise that provides funding for a non-profit that serves to treat and prevent eating disorders, we’d love to be out of a job. We’d love to no longer be needed because everyone had found peace and balance in their health, both mentally and physically.

How do the other kinds of products/programs make you feel?

 

Page 35
“Real change is slow, hard, and imperceptible.”

How does it make you feel to contemplate the idea that the changes required to truly believe that you are enough just as you are takes time, and that it will always be a journey and not destination?

 

Page 68
“I wasn't intrinsically without value, I was just doomed to live in a culture that hated me.”

What does it look like to completely know your personal value outside of other people’s comments and opinions?

 

Page 69
“Look at pictures of fat women on the internet until they don’t make you uncomfortable anymore.”
Page 78
“Studies have shown that visual exposure to certain body types actually changes people’s perceptions of those bodies...eternal reminder: Representation matters.”

We’ve found that many of the people we talk to have had their opinions changed about what makes a person beautiful and what it means to fully live in your body. Many of our conversations have been initiated by watching the documentary “Embrace.” 
We encourage all our readers to experience this documentary as well, and to see all the different kinds of women who are embracing their bodies.

Here are just a few of the other places we recommend checking out in order to see what all kinds of awesome lives women are living outside the limits of cultural standards:

The Anti Diet Project
Refinery 29 is also the force behind #seethe67 
An article listing athletes of all sizes
Ashley Graham- showing that fashion can be for every body

 

Page 75
“The level of restriction that I was told, by professionals, was necessary for me to ‘fix’ my body essentially precluded any semblance of joyous, fulfilling human life.”

If you’re new to Circles of Change, or to engaging in a positive relationship with food, what former “no” foods would you feel joy in saying “yes” to? And what would it feel like to say "yes"?
If you already find nourishment and joy in what you eat what would you like other people to know about that experience?

 

Page 147/148
“...I’m sorry, but I’m not constraining and rearranging my life just because no one cares enough to make flying accessible to all bodies. Airlines have no incentive to fix this problem until we, collectively, as a society, demand it.”

What other areas of life could we all do better as a society to get better access for bodies, including disabled bodies?

 

Page 162
“...I thought about all the people in the audience who were plastering smiles over their feelings of shame, or being tainted and ruined forever, in that moment.”
Page 168
“...lazy comics who still think it’s cool to fetishize ‘offensiveness’”

One of the Circles of Change team pointed out that in a time when the average person doesn’t feel comfortable making jokes about disabled people, gay people, or minorities, they still feel comfortable making jokes about fat people. Why is that?

And if you hear a joke about fat people, or a joke about eating disorders, or any joke that demeans a person’s appearance, how do you react, or wish you could react in the moment? (Sometimes imagining your response makes it easier to respond in the future.)

 

Page 245
“I think my anger towards you stems from your happiness with you own being. It offended me because it served to highlight my unhappiness with my own self.”

Not many unhappy people are able to articulate their feelings the way that this man who trolled West did. How does this knowledge make you feel? How would you react to this kind of candor?
 

Overall, how did this book make you feel?

 

A PDF of these questions is available for download HERE.

 

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Circles of Change Speakers Series: Brad Zehring

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Circles of Change Speakers Series: Brad Zehring

Meet Brad Zehring, one of our speakers at the Circles of Change Conference on March 18th in Phoenix, AZ. 

The Circles of Change Conference is an invitation to come together and change the conversation and culture around health, beauty, and body image, and our speakers live that out in action.

ONCE WE HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING OF OUR NEEDS - LET'S GO TO WORK AND DELIVER SELF-CARE THAT CAN BE DIFFERENT FOR EACH PERSON. | Brad Zehring

Brad Zehring: Psychiatry Resident and Associate Clinical Instructor of Psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine

What are you most inspired by at the moment? 

Neuroscience. It used to be thought that once neurons (cells in the brain) were damaged they could not regrow, but we now know that they do come back and can flourish. It is a very exciting time to be in Psychiatry because we are learning ways to heal the brain. Examples of this is the research being done on the gut-brain and the role of nutrition, movement, stress, and inflammation can have on being parts of the healing formula for mental illness and eating disorders. It is fascinating to be reminded that the body works in concert and is dependent on each part to function optimally.

When did you first know you wanted to do this work? 

Having had a personal connection to eating disorders kept my eyes open when I entered medical school. From that point it was hard to “un-see” what I had seen. I saw a population of patients who were marginalized because their disorders were misunderstood or not understood altogether. I saw a population that was suffering and, conversely, I met professionals that were inspiring because I saw the impact they were having and the unbelievable response from patients. I knew the impact that I wanted to make and the rest has been history.

We think it’s so important to encourage women and girls to speak up and be heard, to move beyond the fear. How have you been able to move beyond it? 

I think it is important for everyone to speak up – girls, women, boys, and men. As we know, loving your body is difficult for males and females. I think when we begin to engage men in this discussion they begin to develop empathy for females and they begin to recognize their own shortcomings. Once they have insight into themselves they have the power to speak up against the objectification and sexualization that has been a part of female world for so long. They begin to see the negative impact that it has had. By engaging both sides we empower a society that has been sold a lie of what it means to be beautiful and healthy. My hope would be that everyone comes together and pushes back on societal ideals of beauty and health.

What do you most embrace about yourself? 

Having a wife and two children are a perfect reflection for me. I want them to love their bodies and to be confident in who they are and what they want to be. I embrace, and consciously embrace daily, believing about myself what I tell them to believe about themselves. In other words, I try and practice what I preach.

What does it mean to you to reclaim health?

Mindfulness. I know that is a common word these days, but for each person to slow down, take measure of their surroundings, and work on developing an understanding of their needs. Once we have an understanding of our needs – let’s go to work and deliver self-care that can be different for each person.

To redefine beauty?

It is unique to each person and should be defined by that individual. Self-love, empowerment, and being able to embrace who you are at any given moment is beautiful.

To restore your relationship to your body? 

I find that through purposeful movement I gain the most useful knowledge. Squat cleans (i.e. whole body movement, Olympic lifting) is my new favorite way to have purposeful movement. At the beginning of the session, they let me know where all my aches and pains are located. However, throughout the duration of the movements they go away and I am able to feel each part of my body work as one unit and become free. Through activity I am reminded how amazing the body I have is and I am reminded to be thankful for the capabilities that my body provides for me on a daily, minute-to-minute basis.

 

For more information on the conference and a full speaker line up, click the button below!

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CIRCLES OF CHANGE CONFERENCE SPEAKERS SERIES: JON JORGENSON

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CIRCLES OF CHANGE CONFERENCE SPEAKERS SERIES: JON JORGENSON

The Circles of Change Conference is about celebrating and inspiring Warriors.  So we feature the voices and stories of many, including one brave 8 year old girl who are transforming the culture and conversation in their own lives, their schools, their workplaces, and throughout the world. We are honored to share their wisdom, their art, and their stories with you. 

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Circles of Change Conference Speakers Series: Carolyn Hodges Chaffee

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Circles of Change Conference Speakers Series: Carolyn Hodges Chaffee

The Circles of Change Conference is about celebrating and inspiring Warriors.  So we feature the voices and stories of many, including one brave 8 year old girl who are transforming the culture and conversation in their own lives, their schools, their workplaces, and throughout the world. We are honored to share their wisdom, their art, and their stories with you. 

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Circles of Change Conference Speakers Series: Natalie Patterson

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Circles of Change Conference Speakers Series: Natalie Patterson

The Circles of Change Conference is about celebrating and inspiring Warriors.  So we feature the voices and stories of many, including one brave 8 year old girl who are transforming the culture and conversation in their own lives, their schools, their workplaces, and throughout the world. We are honored to share their wisdom, their art, and their stories with you. 

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Circles of Change Book Club: Shrill

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Circles of Change Book Club: Shrill

Hello, readers and welcome to the month of March!

As with any good project you learn things along the way- what works, what doesn’t, and hopefully how to improve the experience as time goes on.

One of the small changes we’ll be making is that while we will remind you on the 1st of the awesome book adventure that you’re embarking on for the month, we’ll be waiting to post our discussion questions until either the day of the first live online discussion, or around the midpoint of the month, whichever comes first.

The reason for this change is two-fold. First, most people won’t have finished the book, or even gotten halfway through the book until that first discussion, meaning that discussion questions posted on the 1st potentially serve as either spoilers, or as something that’s just not helpful at the time.

Second- we want to invite you to share your question and to potentially have them included in our list of questions and downloadable PDF. Everyone of you has had the unique experience of being you, which means you bring a unique perspective to every book and conversation, a perspective that we would love to hear. So as you read “Shrill” over the next week or two and you find things that particularly jump out at you, let us know!

Email your thoughts and questions to bookclub@circlesofchange.org and you may see your questions included in our post.


We’ll also be hosting only one Instagram Live Story discussion each month. This change comes from a desire to make sure that when we have that interactive discussion we don’t feel like we have to “save” anything for next time. We want everyone who tunes in to listen and to chat to feel that we’re exploring the book and the conversation as richly as possible.

In addition we'll pick one or two questions as conversation starters on the Circles of Change Instagram account where everyone can comment whenever they like.

 

The schedule for March:

March 1- Celebrate the start of a new month, and if you haven’t started reading “Shrill” by Lindy West yet pour yourself a cozy bev and get started.

March 15- Book club discussion questions go live!
There will also be an Instagram Live Story chat over at @caseyrosereads at 7:00 pm EDT (Don’t forget that many of us switch to EDT on March 12)

March 22- There will be an in-person meeting for Syracuse readers from 5:30-7:00 at Cafe at 407. Treats will be provided, please RSVP at bookclub@circlesofchange.org, and bring a friend!

 

For those of you who are interested in hosting your own in-person book club we’re working on a helpful how-to guide for you!
We appreciate your interest and we’ll have more information about this soon.

Thanks for reading with us and we look forward to hearing from you!

 

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COC Book Club: March Book

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COC Book Club: March Book

Hello, Readers!

We hope that you've been enjoying the book club so far. Now that we're entering into our third month and we've conversed about two wonderful YA books we thought it was time to switch over to something a little different, while still getting at the heart of why self-love and representation of all body types matter.

For March we'll be exploring where body image meets feminism all with a welcome dose of comedy in Lindy West's collection of essays "Shrill".

We want to make sure that our book club readers know that the topics of rape culture and women's reproductive rights are explored in this book in conjunction with all the amazing stories of finding acceptance and enjoyment in one's body, no matter the size. 

 

Publisher's Description:
Coming of age in a culture that demands women be as small, quiet, and compliant as possible--like a porcelain dove that will also have sex with you--writer and humorist Lindy West quickly discovered that she was anything but. 

From a painfully shy childhood in which she tried, unsuccessfully, to hide her big body and even bigger opinions; to her public war with stand-up comedians over rape jokes; to her struggle to convince herself, and then the world, that fat people have value; to her accidental activism and never-ending battle royale with Internet trolls, Lindy narrates her life with a blend of humor and pathos that manages to make a trip to the abortion clinic funny and wring tears out of a story about diarrhea.

With inimitable good humor, vulnerability, and boundless charm, Lindy boldly shares how to survive in a world where not all stories are created equal and not all bodies are treated with equal respect, and how to weather hatred, loneliness, harassment, and loss--and walk away laughing. Shrillprovocatively dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps.

 

A full list of discussion questions will be available on the first for you to include along side your reading or to hang on to for future discussions.
A Live Story chat will be hosted on the 15th and the Syracuse in-person book club will be meeting on March 22nd at Cafe at 407 at 5:30 PM. 

 

We also ask that if you have questions, concerns, suggestions about our book club thus far, or what you'd like to see added to our roster of books in the future, please email us at bookclub@circlesofchange.org. We genuinely want to hear from you!

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