Playing in the Dark - A Three Day Retreat of Connection and Eros

Playing in the Dark - A Three Day Retreat of Connection and Eros

October 3 - 6, 2024

Red River Gorge, Kentucky

We warmly invite you to join us for a three day experience of transforming the stuck places in your intimate life by learning how to make love with your shadows, while nestled in a spacious lodge in the heart of the Red River Gorge. Through the skilled and loving facilitation of Adam Chacksfield and the support Lauren Higdon, Sarah Belzile and a circle of brave new friends, you will be guided through practices to alchemize the shame that has you playing small.

Release Shame

What happens if we dare to embrace the shadow parts of ourselves that we've been taught to reject and shame? Would you like to meet the confident, self assured version of yourself that is no longer held captive by these denied parts of yourself? When we give ourselves permission to play with supposedly “bad” feelings such as anger, jealousy, humiliation, domination, fear, or neediness, we can discover how to enjoy the arousal within them.  

Eroticize Fear

Have you ever noticed how make-up sex is so hot? That's because the feelings we normally resist are finally surfacing. This retreat offers a loving container to tap the erotic vitality of the parts of us that have been shut down. This is an invitation to use the pleasure of play and eros to bring your shadow parts out of exile and back into consciousness and connection. 

Befriend Jealousy

This is not about fixing you, but it is profoundly transformative. Imagine ending the struggle against yourself (and/or your partner) and relaxing into the vast natural wholeness of who you really are. 

This type of exploration can be both exciting and scary. This retreat will support you to discover the safety that you need to really attune to yourself and others. We will honor your choices, and won’t push you to do anything you’re not ready for.

What's Possible

  • Transform relational friction into juicy sex.
  • Alchemize the shame that has you playing small.
  • Release the fear, anxiety, and confusion that comes from avoiding your own shadows.
  • Develop the sense of self-trust and confidence that comes with getting to know all parts of yourself.
  • Access a wider range of the possibilities within you.
  • Express and unleash the censored parts of you. 
  • Learn a new playful modality to get free and clear in the places you feel stuck and uncertain.
  • Reconnect with deep sources of vitality and arousal that have been shut down.
  • Take pleasure in the erotic heat of jealousy. 
  • Savor forbidden feelings of control, domination, and power.
  • Deepen intimacy with yourself and others. 

What to expect

  • Three nights of accommodations in a beautiful, natural setting.
  • Nine fresh and lovingly prepared meals in accordance with dietary preferences.
  • A container that offers love and witnessing to all parts of you.
  • The development of a field saturated with love and presence.
  • Clearly guided exercises for embodied play and exploration by yourself, with partners, and in groups during the retreat hours.
  • Unstructured play or rejuvenation time "after hours".
  • Support in identifying and playfully embodying the energy, movement, and words of your shadow parts.
  • Ongoing invitation to honor your desires, choices, and boundaries throughout the retreat.
  • An eros friendly space and opportunities for touch.

Who this retreat is for

  • Individuals and couples of all genders and sexual preferences who want to heal and grow through the experience erotic enjoyment.
  • People who are willing to stretch into unknown states of being and awareness.
  • People who are curious about parts of themselves they’ve been taught to hide, fear, or reject or currently find hard to love.
  • Experienced explorers who are wanting to explore a new modality for transformation, learning and pleasure.

Who this retreat is not for

  • People with acute, unprocessed trauma around sexuality.
  • People who are not able to clearly identify their internal "yes" or "no" in social situations.
  • People who are unable or unwilling to respect the boundaries and preferences of others.

Workshop Boundaries

  • During retreat practices we will always keep our clothes on, and refrain from open mouth kissing or touching genitals towards orgasm.
  • In the evenings, outside of the formal retreat hours, there will be some clothing-optional spaces with different boundaries.

Your Facilitator: Adam Chacksfield

A note from Sarah: I met Adam through my training with the Somatica Institute. I fell in love with him and his facilitation during a peer-led retreat for Somatica practitioners that we organized early in February. I realized immediately that I loved Adam's facilitation style AND the kind of erotic shadow work that interests him is quite precisely aligned with my passions. I feel deeply safe in working with Adam and I really resonate with his embodied spiritual approach to transformative and healing play. It's a joy to bring this work to our Kentucky community.

Adam is devoted to empowering people to live inside consciousness, love, and desire rather than shame and fear. He leads transformative retreats and workshops in North America and Europe, and coaches individuals and couples. Adam facilitates with embodied authenticity, love, and clarity. His teaching has been deeply informed by his work with the Light Dark Institute, The Somatica Institute, and Jeannie Zandi.

Retreat Assistants: Sarah Belzile & Lauren Higdon

Lauren and Sarah are both skilled facilitators and intimacy coaches who love to create transformational experiences for others. Lauren is an owner, director and co-founder at Centered Holistic Health in Lexington; learn more about her here. You can learn more about Sarah and her offerings here.

Registration Details

The retreat begins on Thursday October 3rd at 5 pm and ends on Sunday October 6th at 5 pm. We will be sharing freshly prepared meals together, by an on-premises chef, starting with dinner on Thursday and ending with lunch on Sunday.

Your registration fee includes a range of accommodation options (ranging from camping to a private room with your own bed), three days worth of experiential programming, nine freshly prepared meals.

There is an earlybird discount of $200 per ticket that is available until Thursday, August 15th - enter "EARLYSHADOW" at checkout.

The cancellation policy for this retreat is a full refund minus 10% if cancelled on or before September 3rd. We will issue a 50% refund for cancellations on or before September 26th. There are no refunds within a week of the event.


What if I have never done shadow work before?

It's not necessary to be an experienced shadow work practitioner, but it is necessary to be willing to delve into unknown areas of your psyche with a sense of curiosity and even playfulness.

Is this appropriate for people who are new to erotic exploration?

If you are completely new to this area of exploration, then most likely this retreat is not for you. Although, it is possible that you may be the exception to that statement, especially if you have done a lot of personal growth work. If you are unsure, we invite you to fill out the application form so that we can gather more information about your situation and help you decide.

Can I come to this retreat alone? What if I don't know anyone?

This experience is designed for single participants as well as couples. While it's likely that there will be people in the room who do already know one another, we will be facilitating social connection exercises to make it easy for you to connect with other people in the circle.

What People Are Saying

“This work has not been easy for me. It is challenging, though it has gotten easier. Adam meets me each week – no matter what state I’m in – with consistent love, care, and acceptance. He embraces parts of me that I’ve kept in the darkness. I’ve noticed that as these hidden parts get more light and exposure (a chance to express themselves), some real magic starts to happen… I feel more free, powerful, and playful. Working with Adam feels right. I think I’m growing. I feel like I’m coming to life. I’m finally living the life I’ve always wanted.” – Asa, New York City, NY

Retreat Location in the Red River Gorge

This is a gorgeous location - a huge house with an open space for our play time, two kitchens, multiple bathrooms, and plenty of sleeping spaces. There is a hot tub, outdoor shower and eating areas. The house is nestled in a forested "holler" and the "yard" has plenty of trees and nature space for grounding and soothing. There's also room for camping out back.