How 20 Minutes Changes Her Life – Terri’s Story of Journal Writing

Following up on this Monday’s post, it’s our pleasure to share you with the story of Terri Wingham. Terri had a life-changing experience after being diagnosed with breast cancer, and it was through her journal writing that she connected with the first hints of a new-found dream, which has since developed from international volunteering to building a foundation that helps cancer survivors reconnect with life and its wonders. But we’ll let her relate the story herself. This portion of Terri’s post has been reblogged from her own writing with The Fresh Chapter Alliance Foundation, an organization founded and powered by Terri that aspires to “provide opportunities for cancer survivors to create connections, experience bucket-list adventures, and find new meaning and purpose in their lives by giving back.” (

Thank you to Terri for letting us share her journal writing experiences. It’s such an honour to have her here at Sister Leadership! Read on and see why she’s kicking up inspiration and using her journal writing as a essential tool.

How 20 Minutes Can Change Everything, by Terri Wingham

“Bearded men draped in white seem to float past me while Caucasian girls wearing wrinkled Indian style tunics over their dusty jeans bend under the weight of overstuffed backpacks. The sound of bangles jingle as the woman beside me answers an email and across the expansive carpeted corridor a small child writhes out of his mother’s embrace. He screams at what I can imagine is the injustice of his early wake-up call, the long line he endured through customs and immigration and, the restricted 5×5 square foot area his parents continue to chase him back to.

With the already unfamiliar bitterness of a Starbucks latte on my tongue and a fresh page in front of me, I crouch over my journal and capture the world as it passes me. Six weeks in India and 8 gloriously unplugged days on a tiny little beach in Goa and it’s already time to board my flight and circumvent the globe. As I wait for the first of my 3 flights to be called, I can’t help but reflect on the difference a year makes.

Last March, I sipped chai in the Cross-Cultural Solutions flat in New Delhi and wrote the following entry into my journal, “Next year, I should bring a group of 8-12 survivors to India for a 2 week program that includes volunteering and a trip to the Taj.”

Then in August of 2012, I took deep breaths and published this post: The Time For Big and Hairy Is Now. A few hours later, my good friend and fellow dreamer Gary Thompson of CLOUD sent me a message that said, “I see you’re writing the future again. Good for you.”

Writing the future? I had never thought about it that way. Maybe he was right. Maybe simply by putting my dream in black and white, I could change the course of my life. With no idea how or if this big hairy audacious dream could become real, I kept writing and kept believing that somehow my “morning pages” and this blog would show me the way. . .”

. . .  click on to read her full post at A Fresh Chapter, and learn how Terri once wrestled with journal writing, but came to eventually turn her morning page entries into an amazing reality.

  1. twingham 8 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing my story. It’s a privilege to be featured and I love that re-reading this post brought me right back to India. I will always be grateful to the Artist’s Way and the introduction of Morning Pages into my life.

  2. MC Lessard 8 years ago

    Beginning with the end in mind is indeed magic! Kudos to Terri for sharing this inspiring adventure!

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