Retreat 2020 - OC87 Recovery Diaries

Women Writers’ Retreat: Write on the Ocean

March 26 – 29, 2020 – The Grand Hotel, Cape May, New Jersey

At the 2nd Annual OC87 Recovery Diaries Women’s Write on the Ocean Retreat, we will welcome the ocean in as more than just a beautiful backdrop. From beginning to end, the weekend will be infused with chances to play with writing prompts both individually and as a community that focus on how we can use the ocean and nature not only as muse, but as a way of finding deeper understanding and connection in our journeys.

Facilitated by Xandra O’Neill and assistant-facilitator, Ruth Clark, there will be opening and closing ceremonies that help the time together feel contained and sacred, two writing sessions each day (one a deep dive and one that will invite more play), time to explore other ways to be creative with your words, and of course, time to connect with an incredible group of women.

Opportunities for yoga, meditation, walks on the beach, an open mic, and a workshop geared towards re-entry round out the weekend, giving everyone who attends a complete retreat experience. Most importantly, this is your weekend and can be whatever you need it to be. Attendance at any or all of the offerings is optional, and you are encouraged to be mindful of what you need, dip in and step out as you need to.

The retreat will take place at the charming Grand Hotel where the ocean will provide the backdrop for a weekend of relaxation, personal growth, and inspiration.




The Grand Hotel, Cape May, NJ

The Grand Hotel in Historic Victorian Cape May is the perfect oceanfront hideaway from the real world. Discover our paradise of an unhurried beachside lifestyle anytime of the year.

Offering a variety of lodging accommodations just steps away from our powdery white sandy shore complimented with an array of creature comforts, guest amenities and genuinely friendly professional service.

This stunning venue will set the scene for an unforgettable weekend of peace and relaxation.

1045 Beach Avenue
Cape May, New Jersey, 08204






The Weekend


It’s Your Time

OC87 Recovery Diaries exists to tell stories about how people with mental health challenges have created paths to meaningful lives. Now, it is time to tell the most important story of all: yours.

Whether you are living with a mental illness, or have a friend or family member who does, are a mental health practitioner or advocate, this weekend is for any woman who is looking for a supportive environment of positive thinking, like-minded individuals to share her unique and valuable perspective on mental health.


Relax in Historic Victorian Cape May

The Write on the Ocean Retreat will gather a group of minded women writers from diverse backgrounds for an inspiring weekend focused on storytelling, personal reflection, and open discussions on how those living with mental health challenges are viewed, how we view ourselves, and how we can affect positive change in our communities.

Whether you have never written before or have published your eighth novel, OC87 Recovery Diaries believes what makes you a writer is having a story to tell. That’s why we host this women writers’ retreat: to provide a tranquil space to write on your own, workshop something new or something you’ve been working on previously, and share your story in a supportive, welcoming environment.

It’s also about treating yourself to a wonderful, relaxing weekend while exploring Historic Cape May. That’s why OC87 Recovery Diaries has planned everything. The all-inclusive weekend will cover every meal, and the workshops are included in the retreat. All you have to do is bring your fabulous self and an eager mind.




Your Facilitators

Xandra O’Neill is a writer, retreat leader, and owner of Sacred Becoming. She believes in the power of story to heal and grow connection, and she incorporates meditation, writing, and gratitude through the work that she shares in the world. She has always believed in the power of taking care of ourselves in order to best take care of others and the world, and she teaches practices of ritual and wellness in workshops, retreats, and in one-on-one work with her coaching clients. In addition to teaching, practicing, and immersing herself in writing and meditation, Xandra creates malas, gets to the ocean whenever she can, and spends time with her family just outside of Philadelphia.
Ruth Clark is a solo world traveler, writer, teacher, and communications extraordinaire. Her work focuses on travel, mental health, and authentic living. Her most recent essays have been featured in HelloGiggles, Modern Trekker, and Women’s Agenda, as well as within her own business, Ruth Clark Creative. She currently calls Denver home and finds joy in world travel, wandering the woods, hanging with her siblings, and social justice.


How was your overall experience at #writeontheocean?


“The entire experience was FANTASTIC and I felt so grateful to be there each moment. You created a safe space where we all connected quickly on the deepest level of our humanity, which is no easy task. I’m honestly getting goosebumps again just writing this.”



“The amount of love and support I felt this week was overwhelming. I think the activities were brilliantly planned and being right on the ocean made for an inspirational weekend.”



“Everything was so great I can’t just check off one thing — the ancient Greeks prescribed watching plays for emotional issues. Maybe now the American cure for emotional imbalance will be retreats like these.”



“To be given the space and time to write in such a beautiful setting was such a gift.”



“Incredible. Inspiring. I LOVED it.”



“The element of the ocean during the off season was perfect. There is something mind-opening and safe about the ocean. It made for the right location to dig into some difficult topics. The sea air was cleansing for the mind, body, and soul.”






What did you take away from this event?


“I don’t even know where to start, but this retreat soothed and filled my soul! I was able to connect with so many wonderful women (and Gabe [OC87 Recovery Diaries’ Editor in Chief] of course!) and really focus on writing which I have so little time to do in day to day life. I loved the opportunity to present at the open mic and to hear everyone’s stories. This event felt miraculous and so much needed in my life at this point in time. I walked away with extreme gratitude in my heart.”



“I left with a little more courage in talking about my mental health and a little more confidence in my writing. Also I got some pretty amazing connections and friends and I was able to think about mental health and my own life in a different way, both good and bad.”



“This weekend was transformative. In many senses I feel like I have found my ‘tribe’. I never felt judged, i felt like I had the freedom to take some risks with my writing, and I met people who I hope to be friends with forever.”



“I am taking away several new friendships, a renewed enthusiasm for writing and a feeling of rejuvenation in my life.”



“The ocean is an amazing place to spark deep thought. Water connects us all in such a beautiful way, all our landmasses connected in our oceans…”



“I am so grateful for #writeontheocean. It was exactly what I needed at this moment at my life and I couldn’t have done it without Bud [OC87 Recovery Diaries’ Publisher], obviously, and without the donor. I’m excited to write more and see where it takes me.”






This retreat is all inclusive and covers three nights at the Grand Hotel, all meals, and group activities. 

Participants are asked to contribute $100 for registration and all other costs are covered by OC87 Recovery Diaries.




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