Cleo Wade understands the power of words to transform lives.
The artist and poet started sharing her poems and inspirational mantras on Instagram in 2015 and quickly amassed more than 349,000 followers. Since then, she has been named one of America’s 50 Most Influential Women by Marie Claire and 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company. Now she is releasing her first book, Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life, which features poetic wisdom about love, self-care, fear, and ambition.
“I don’t just want this book to be beautiful, I want it to be useful,” Wade told AOL BUILD Series. “When I see people being able to apply the mantras and the affirmations or the poetry to their lives, that really was my intention behind the book.”
Wade says she writes so many mantras because they actually work. Mantras originated in Hinduism and Buddhism, and consist of repeating a word or phrase to calm your mind and body. Sprinkled in with the poems, Heart Talk includes motivating mantras like “You are ok more than you think” and “Love yourself enough,” intended to help readers cope with life’s obstacles.
“You can’t help these thoughts of fear or negativity or anxiety from popping up, but you can control what you do with them. And one tool to start changing the thought flow is by using a mantra,” said Wade.
This practice is something the Louisiana native uses in her own life. Before a big speech, Wade admits, she still gets nervous about forgetting her words or messing up. Mantras help her to focus in on her true intention.
“I say, ‘This is your story, and you’re here to tell it,’ and it takes me from the fear space into the place of faith that I wouldn’t be speaking if I wasn’t meant to,” she said.
In addition to helping readers find tools to get through hard times, Wade dedicated the book to everyone who looks, feels, or thinks differently. She admits that she was a horrible classroom learner and has dealt with insecurities in the past. Today, she wants others to know that a full life can be lived outside of the box.
“I really wanted to dedicate this book to the people who are maybe struggling within a box they didn’t choose. I really wanted them to know that they can create their own free space,” said Wade.
Watch the full interview on BUILD Series.