The author of Heart Talk, Cleo Wade, shares the inspiration for her powerful, relatable writing and the most important words you can say to others—and yourself.
“I don’t need to know you to love you,” the millennial poet and artist Cleo Wade writes in her first book Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life. “You are my tribe, and I am yours.” With a growing fan-base of over 340,000 followers on Instagram, her messages of positivity have extended even further with a recent Times Square display, TEDWomen talk, along with being named among most influential and most creative people lists. So what has Wade learned along her journey?
Be open to inspiration anytime, anywhere.
“A few years ago, I was sitting at The Standard hotel [in NYC], waiting on a friend of mine who was staying there. She had left a book she was reading. I was just kind of skimming through it. Then I sat and stared out the window and had this thought that popped into my head: Could I be doing this better? I was like, I don’t think I know how to be a better person, but I think I know how to be a better daughter. I think I know how to be a better friend. And the biggest ‘Aha!’ question that I asked myself that day was, Could I be better to other women? And I knew that I could. In that moment, I decided that I would live really deliberately with how I behaved with other people.”
Spark change with a single thought.
“I don’t want anyone to feel like I’m selling them the answer or the cure-all that will change your whole life. Because I don’t think there is. The only thing I can say, ‘The journey may be really hard, and this will help you along the way.’ I never say, ‘This is the one big thing to do.’ I say, ‘Here’s a shift. Here’s what you can do with that thought.’ I think that’s a lot more practical.”
Find your mantra.
“When I have really bad anxiety, I have this mantra I say to myself every time: ‘I’m struggling, and this is not you. It is something moving through you.’ I just say it over and over again. Because the power of a mantra is to take you out of that spiral, right? We can’t help what comes up, but we have so much control over how we direct what comes up.
Relax and renew yourself every day.
“I’m the person who needs to make a tea in the morning and just sit with my ideas, skim the news if I want to. It’s so important for me to feel calm and steady before I move through [the world]. Morning rituals are so important because we really harness the energy we want for the rest of the day and replenish and feed ourselves. When you have moments to yourself, you can say to yourself, ‘I want to work on being more patient. I want to work on being more loving. ‘ I think that’s such an amazing time for choosing who you want to be that day.”
Start with hope.
“Our thoughts become our energy, our energy become our words, our words become our actions. Having hope and belief that we can change the world is where everything starts because when you embody that energy, that’s when we start to see real shifts, even if the shifts are just in conversation. Take a step back and remember that changing the world doesn’t just look one way, and it can vary from day to day. And just because you know that you can’t do everything doesn’t mean you can’t do something. There’s something you can do every day, whether that just means smiling at your neighbor and really asking them how they’re doing, whether that is the day you wanted to give $20 to this organization or that one, or the day that you apologized to someone and gave them and yourself that healing experience.”
“I was riding my bike in my neighborhood in New Orleans [where I’m from], and I saw this sign that said, ‘Until further notice, celebrate everything.’ It was such a good reminder that gratitude doesn’t have to feel like a heavy idea. It’s simply being thankful for everything that allows you to be. So you could start with, ‘Thank you, body, for breathing. I’m going to celebrate you today!’ And it could extend as far as, ‘Thank you, Mom.'”
Finally, remember these three powerful words to say to someone you care about.
“I see you.”
Read more on oprah.com.