Poet Cleo Wade’s book en­cour­ages a ‘healthy soul diet’

Windsor Star - - YOU - ALI­CIA RANCILIO

Cleo Wade is known for not only her po­etry, but also her pos­i­tive, up­lift­ing In­sta­gram mantras that have earned a fol­low­ing that in­cludes Yara Shahidi and Jes­sica Alba.

So it’s not sur­pris­ing that on a day when she’s run­ning around like crazy pro­mot­ing her new book, she doesn’t com­plain about be­ing tired, but has an­other af­fir­ma­tion that fu­els her eter­nally op­ti­mistic out­look.

“I (re­cently) went on a com­plaint cleanse,” said the poet and ac­tivist, whose rea­son­ing was sim­ple: “‘Your dream book is com­ing out into the world, it’s ex­actly the book you wanted tomake.

“You can find a way to not com­plain about the lo­gis­tics, work and peo­ple and things that come with it.’” Heart Talk: Po­etic Wis­dom for a Bet­ter Life isn’t a self-help book, but it con­tains plenty of verses from Wade that are aimed to feed the soul — she calls it a “healthy soul diet.” Her in­spi­ra­tional slant has led her to be be­ing called the Oprah for mil­len­ni­als. The book cov­ers ev­ery­thing from self­worth to re­la­tion­ships.

“What is the op­po­site of self-care? Self-aban­don­ment. We’re also in this state of not be­ing able to prac­tise self­care in our dy­nam­ics with our neigh­bour, our part­ner, our boss, our col­league, the world,” she said. “There’s so much nour­ish­ment that is needed for that space, in or­der for us to feel re­ally cared for so we can rec­og­nize how to care for other peo­ple.”

Wade chat­ted with The As­so­ci­ated Press about her new book.

Q You spend hours with fans at book sign­ings. Why is it so im­por­tant for you to give peo­ple your full at­ten­tion?

A There is a de­sire for peo­ple to be seen and heard. We can’t pos­si­bly learn how to love our neigh­bour un­less we find com­mon ground with them. But also we can’t un­der­stand how to lis­ten to oth­ers if we don’t lis­ten to our­selves. When­ever young peo­ple email me about heart­break I tell them, this is the most divine point in which to lis­ten to your­self be­cause there’s such an ed­u­ca­tion as far as your learn­ing, your needs and de­sires.

Q You must find wher­ever you go peo­ple want deep con­ver­sa­tion and en­cour­age­ment.

A I’m def­i­nitely the per­son that if I am in a space, I’m look­ing for the macro­con­nec­tion and if I feel like I can’t take that on, I just stay home. For me, I def­i­nitely have that bound­ary of if I don’t feel like I could re­ally be in that space, hear about your life, show up for you, and of­fer the best of me to you, then I know that’s a day that I need to stay home.

Q Where does your out­look on the world come from?

A (Laughs) I def­i­nitely think a lot of it comes from grow­ing up in a place like New Or­leans be­cause it’s a deeply ex­pres­sive cul­ture. Also my dad is an artist, my mom is a chef. Hav­ing these peo­ple with such clear man­i­fes­ta­tions of what they like to do with their time, it def­i­nitely fu­elled me to un­der­stand that there is a very in­di­vid­u­al­ized thing you can do in the world.

Q So­cial me­dia has re­ally helped you spread your mes­sage, but do you find it can be toxic some­times?

A It can ei­ther be used as a tool or a weapon. I al­ways en­cour­age peo­ple to re­ally mon­i­tor their me­dia di­ets. I don’t think food is the only thing we di­gest. We also in­gest in­for­ma­tion and if you’re find­ing your me­dia feels re­ally divi­sive or if it’s mak­ing you judge or covet in a way that doesn’t make you feel good, then it’s time to maybe switch up your me­dia.


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