Cleo Wade On Replenishment, Ritual, and Mama Lessons
DISCOVER OUR FAVORITE HEARTFELT INSIGHTS FROM THE POET OF HER GENERATION
“Motherhood has reminded me that curiosity is our most natural state.” —Cleo Wade
Cleo Wade is a Renaissance woman, exploring her heart’s curiosities as a celebrated poet, activist, best-selling author, and new mama. Her warmth and candor transcend time, space, and Instagram as her words (and iconic handwriting) uplift on billboards and even tea mugs. Now, she’s released her latest heart-channeling manifestation—a children’s book, What the Road Said. The messages feel poignant for adults too, which was intentional on Cleo’s part: “I wrote it as much for myself as a child who often felt alone and confused, as I did for my adult self who often feels overwhelmed and anxious about so many different things.” To squeeze even more juice out of its lessons, we’ve also been following along on her virtual book tour, where she’s been chatting with inspiring thought-leaders like Alex Elle and Sade Lythcott about bravery, honesty, and motherhood—and often where these intersect.
That’s where we found kinship; Cleo and Sakara are deeply passionate about the layers of self-love and nourishment involved on the journey of motherhood, especially when it comes to equitable maternal care. We collaborated together, in partnership with Every Mother Counts, to further the mission of birthwork justice this month.*
As we chatted with Cleo about being a new mother, she spouted potent gems regarding self-love, alleviating loneliness, the simple joys of rest, and alchemizing anxiety into creativity. Though these ideas appear unrelated, her thoughts weave a richer story about the lessons she’s learning (or unlearning, or re-learning) through her daughter’s eyes. Below, discover some of our favorite insights from the poet of her generation—may her words strike a chord in your heart.
On Joyful Rituals: “Self-care has actually never left any part of how human beings have existed. It's just that we used to call it rituals. Rituals have always been about how people have stayed sane, stayed married, stayed in community, built an understanding with each other, and healed alongside one another. For me, I find replenishment, joy, and self-care through stillness, walking in nature, watching really bad romantic comedies, and having long FaceTimes with my best girlfriends.”
On Spiritual Investigation: “I think it’s really helpful any time you move anything—like grief or stress— out of your body; whether it’s through exercise, writing something down or yelling into a pillow. What distinguishes writing from the other practices is that you can look at it after. We're able to have this ability to investigate our spiritual and emotional selves within us on paper. In that way, poetry has always been a source of my own healing before I could even afford therapy.”
If self-love says, ‘I love you,’ then self-care says, ‘Prove it.’
On the Power of Being Seen: “I wake up every morning and wonder how to make the world a less lonely place. I feel like when I'm writing my books I just think of how to make even just one person feel less alone. And even in my personal life, whether that's one friend who I just remember to reach out to, or send flowers for no reason, or making sure my daughter feels seen and heard. I think that acknowledging other people and making them feel important is definitely something that drives my life.”
On Love As a Verb: “Something I often say is that if self-love says, ‘I love you,’ then self-care says, ‘Prove it.’ Self-care is how we prove that we love ourselves, because love is an action word. There's not a lack of love because negative self-talk or chatter comes up; there's a lack of love if there's not a voice within you that says, ‘I know where you came from, and I'm not buying it because I know who sold it to me. That’s not who I really am.’"
On child-like curiosity: “Motherhood has really reminded me that curiosity is our most natural state. I watch my daughter wondering about everything; there are so many problems we have in this world because we have stopped being curious. We are so busy judging the way people think we don’t wonder why. We don’t wonder how they may have gotten to these conclusions and if there is any empathy to offer. I am not sure when we cut off our connection with curiosity but the more time I spend with my daughter, the more I see how important it is that grownups act more like children.”
When I'm writing my books, I think of how to make even one person feel less alone.
On Filling Your Cup First: “Remember that your motherhood is only as powerful as your personhood. In the first months, I felt so guilty if I took time for myself. Then I realized [when I do], I am so much more available to my daughter in the ways she really needs. We laugh more when I am not run down and exhausted.”
On Healing Young Cleo: “It was important to me to share that being brave means being afraid and doing it anyway. Sometimes you're going the wrong way and leaving the right way. ‘What if I fall, but something's there to catch me.’ The book is about reassurance in so many ways. So I started on the journey of writing the book, and when I was about halfway through, I got pregnant and later found out I was having a girl. It started out as something that was for little girl me and ended up being for my actual daughter, which is so beautiful.”
On Maternal Equity: “One of the moral pillars of my belief system is that I truly believe that every single person deserves to be kept safe in our world. I can’t think of a time where safety is more critical than during childbirth. That’s why the entirety of Every Mother Counts and their mission connects with me. I hope for a world where women can walk into their labor delivery space without fear.”
*With your purchase of The Foundation: Prenatal, you will receive a complimentary copy of What the Road Said, the new children's book from Cleo Wade, until April 12 or while supplies last. In support of maternal equity, Sakara will also donate $5 to Every Mother Counts on behalf of every purchase as you nourish yourself and growing babe. Learn more here.