From the March 2013 Shambhala Sun magazine: “Nothing Is Wasted”

If you use your difficulties to create art, says Ruth Ozeki in “Nothing Is Wasted,” it will give them meaning.

There’s no need to be a professional artist or writer to transform difficult situations into creative work. Poems, or journal writing, or quilts, or collages, or songs need never be made public. They can be utterly private, because in privacy is where the work is done, even for the so-called professional artists. Humans, all of us, are boundlessly creative beings, and as long as we recognize this and give ourselves permission to respond to our difficulties artistically and intuitively, not just medically or practically or rationally, then we can access this way of transforming suffering into something meaningful, which may benefit us all.

Read a longer excerpt of “Nothing Is Wasted” here. It’s one of four tales of trauma and transformation from our March magazine — Josh Korda, Margaret Roach and John Tarrant also share their inspiring stories. To see what else is in our March magazine, click here, and to subscribe, click here.


  1. says

    "Nothing is wasted" is a nice shortcut way of saying this. Easy to remember! It is really helpful to widen your view to think of all the difficulties, painful events, embarrassments, and mistakes as not being something to avoid and discard, but as something of potential value. Even if it takes a while to figure out how it fits in to the whole structure. Thanks.