On Supporting Creative Growth | Pollinate Journal 2.0

meredith_xinalani_ocean (1 of 1).jpg

It’s necessary to take a step back sometimes. To pause and review, reflect, adopt a bird’s eye view. To notice the ways in which evolution has occurred. To question whether your present approaches, structures or habits are working. To be thoughtful about what you might be able to shift to help yourself continue to show up, to do the work, to grow.

This December will be four years of Pollinate Journal. In those nearly four years, this blog has undergone a slow and rather significant transformation. If I’m being honest, I think this journal, this ever-evolving work of art, this digital collection of my thoughts and creations finally is what I wanted it to be all along—but didn’t know how to create, when I began it. Didn’t have the confidence to write what my spirit wanted to. Didn’t trust that I knew what to say; that the words would come. Didn’t have the courage to express with unbridled vulnerability. The wisdom to know my thoughts were worth sharing even though I didn’t always feel wise. (Note to you: your thoughts, your art, your work is always worth sharing, even if you don’t feel “enough”—credible enough, educated enough, acknowledged enough, skilled enough, ready enough, whatever enough.)

So, I started with food. My passion and my comfort zone. And I slowly but surely began to pepper in the heart stuff. The “self-help” stuff. The “how can I do this whole life thing better” stuff.

Writing vulnerably in this space, when I first began doing that, was absolutely fucking terrifying. And. There was a persistent truth that I couldn’t shake, which kept stoking the fire of courage within me. Seeing how perpetually we are bombarded with curated, false and perfected projections of “reality” across the many forms of social media with which we engage, the more important it felt to me to disrupt that norm—and the expectation we put on ourselves to adhere to it—with an authentic voice. I kept sinking ever more deeply into the belief that the more we show up in ways that feel vital to our spirits—no matter how terrifying they initially may be—the more we grow a safe space for others to do the same. So I pushed myself to write. To write about fear, about grief, about emotional eating, about grasping and surrender, about self-worth, about standing behind creativity in a time of political chaos, about what it might mean and look like to really show up in this world.

The deeper I got into this type of writing, the further I got from writing about food, and the more difficulty I had reconciling—or interweaving—the two.

But I kept at it. When I could. Over time, the “when I could” kept growing smaller and smaller. Part of that was due to my beginning to work full-time two years ago; part of it was due to the structure I had eventually—inadvertently—set up for myself. As the focus of my writing shifted, I continued to create recipes. But sooner than later, that led to the debilitating self-imposed expectation that every post must have a recipe, beautiful photos, a thoughtful short essay, and a bit of writing about the food, too. It became so much work that I stopped engaging, almost entirely. And Pollinate, its content, its continuous growth, has basically stagnated.

At a certain point, I had to get real with myself: My process wasn’t working.


I think, for many of us, it is easy to get stuck in a structure, process or expectation we’ve created for ourselves (even if the expectation is about needing to stick to what we imagine others expect from us—of which I am certainly guilty). When you’re in art school, you make work and then you have critiques. You talk about your creations, your concepts, your inspirations and the processes with which you’re engaging that get you there. You have opportunities to contemplate, receive constructive feedback, and revise if needed. When you’re creating in isolation, it can be more difficult to pause. To step outside of yourself and reflect. To see alternate routes. This is also true if you’re just plain stubborn. For the longest time, I succumbed to this structure of content that I had created. Told myself I had to share a recipe in every blog post because that’s why people on Instagram follow me—to see photos of food. But if that’s not what is sparking my interest right now, if that’s not what I feel inspired to share, then what’s the point? Especially if it means I hardly post at all?

So, a few months ago, I finally decided to change. To create a new structure—and with it, a new expectation—for this blog, based on the transformation that has been bubbling up with greater force over time. To own it. To reorient the content in a way that highlights what Pollinate has become, while also making it easier for you to navigate and easier for me to create. I have gone through every post on this blog and separated out the writings from the recipes—henceforth allowing myself to sometimes just write and sometimes just post a recipe. And allowing you to more easily focus your attention on what brings you here.  


You will now find the content organized as such: an index just for recipes and an index just for writings. Some of the recipes have writing about the ingredients, nutrition or how the recipe came to be that are extensive; others have writing that is super brief. And the writings are, now, just that. Essays. Musings on life, on mental health, on creativity, on spirituality, on wellbeing. On our relationships with our own precious selves and how to make those relationships more compassionate, more present and more full of love.

I suppose, in all of this, the difficult truth I’ve come to is that just because you have historically done something one way doesn’t mean it’s the way you have to continue doing it. It’s quite simple in theory, but much harder to implement. As creatures of habit. As creatures with egos. As creatures who can be stubbornly invested in what we’ve built. But here is another difficult truth: Sometimes undoing is required to move forward. Sometimes you need to fuck what you think people expect of you and dive head and heart-first into what you want for yourself instead. And to get clear about what you can do to help yourself get there. And then, step by step, simply do it.


At this moment of pause, of looking back and moving forward, I’d like to share with you five of my favorite recipes and five of my favorite essays to date:


Black Sesame Tahini Banana Bread
(Best Ever) Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Asparagus, Caper & Toasted Almond Tartine
Roasted Cauliflower, Dates & Almonds with Herbed Moroccan Saffron Sauce
SQIRL’s “The Sprouty Pod”


On Self-Doubt, Success & Creating a Meaningful Life
On Coming Home to Yourself
On Turning 30 | Wisdom, Ritual & Grief
On Mindful Eating
On Filling Your Cracks with Gold

Welcome to Pollinate Journal, 2.0. I hope you find softness and stimulation here. Find inspiration. Find activation. Find openings for growth.

// . // . // . // . // . // . // . // . // . // . // . // . // . // . // . // . // . // . //


I am very exited to announce that I will be leading a workshop in the Bay Area this month for the first time in THREE YEARS!

If you’re in the area, please join me on Sept. 14 from 10a-1p in south SF for Astrology 101.

I realize this workshop topic may feel like a bit of a non-sequitur from my work here. It is ultimately both a reflection and extension of the ways my interests have shifted in the past few years. I’ve been studying astrology both formally and informally for two and a half years and have found it to be a profound tool for increased self-awareness, self-compassion, recalibration and acceptance of both myself and others.

In the workshop, I’ll be breaking down the structure of a full natal birth chart (we all have one! Our sun sign only scratches the surface of our personal astrology). We’ll go over all the signs, the planets and the houses - and learn how to read our own charts within that context. So fun. I promise.

The workshop is being hosted by Open Windows Cooperative in their stunning space in the Bayview. If you are a sucker for natural light, printmaking or creative industrial spaces, the venue alone is reason enough to come ;). Read more about Open Windows Cooperative here.

You can snag your (donation-based) tickets for the workshop HERE !

Hope to see you there <3.

astro3 (2).jpg