Behind the Mask: Developing Authentic Connections


Behind the Mask: Developing Authentic Connections

Led by Nirodha and Tathagata

Sundays, from 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. MST (Colorado Time), 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. CEST (Italy Time)

September 13, September 20, September 27, October 4

All are welcome (no previous  participation in Path Retreats groups required).


“I became so aware of the different masks I take on and was able to find a place were I could talk to others about them. I was also able to explore being vulnerable and open. This course has definitely opened my eyes to the way our masks can keep us disconnected and how to connect more authentically. Tatha and Nirodha were so warm and such fantastic leaders.”  

– Lokita Zarate, Behind the Mask 2020, Teacher, United States


We all have a deep longing for authentic connection with ourselves and with others. 


We long to:

  • Embrace a life free from pretense and masks.
  • Be in open, honest, and loving relationships.
  • To find the courage to speak our truth, and share freely from our hearts and soul.
  • To wake up the denied parts of ourselves, and experience the joy of waking up to all of who we are and can be.



To follow this call of our being, we need to tune into our willingness to expose the inner layers that we keep hidden behind a mask. And often we need the loving support of others to be able to do this.

In this 4-week workshop we will take this journey using meditation, inquiry, sharing, and experiential exercises. We will be meeting weekly online for 2 1/2 hours to explore and peel the masks we so often habitually hold between ourselves and the authenticity and freedom we crave.  In addition we will offer journaling and exercises to explore through homework between sessions.

Session 1:  Longing to Live and Connect from the True Self

In this first session we will tune into the longing to know and live from a deep sense of true self. Early in life we had to find strategies to hide or deny authentic self-expression. Developing a healthy and fluid sense of who we are may have been in conflict with seeking safety, nourishing connection, and attention and approval.

We  will look at how these strategies solidify into patterns that stand in the way of genuine self-expression and interfere with open intimate relationship with yourself and with others. These patterns subtly turn into masks to manage when feelings of unworthiness arise.  Over time it can be difficult to know when you are wearing a mask and when you are free to be.

We will explore:

  • Where do you find a place of deep relaxation and trust inside?
  • What strategies do you use to be liked, get attention, or prove that you are worthy?
  • What unspoken contracts did you need to enter into to keep yourself safe and accepted?
  • How can you source a truly connected and grounded sense of safety?


Session 2: Our Natural Intelligence: Keeping Safe from Shame and the Pain of Rejection 

In session two we will look into the ways we protect ourselves from being judged, rejected, and abandoned. These protections are often strategies learned early and throughout life as we encounter criticism, humiliation, and abandonment. Your natural intelligence found ways to deal with or to avoid the pain of such experiences. You may have created masks of appearing indifferent, superior, grandiose, perfect, acquiescent, obedient, helpless etc. when encountering conflict and shaming.

In this session we will explore how these masks served us, and how they affect us. Resentment, depression, anxiety, and loneliness easily build up within these protective masks, and we feel isolated and confined.  You will learn resources  to step out of old strategies of avoiding pain into new self- affirming ways of dealing with shame, rejection, and criticism.


Session 3: Beyond Self-Imposed “Shoulds” – Who am I? 

It can be difficult to meet yourself outside of the safety zones you created to succeed in life, in relationships, in survival and work pressures, in becoming the person you think you should be. Secrets and hiding may have been masks to deny your own truth.  In this session we will explore beyond ideas of who you should be.

We will explore:

  • Who are you beyond the ideas of who you’ve learned you  should, ought, or even must be?
  • What does it feel like in the body, in your being, in those moments when you truly allow yourself such spaciousness?

We will experiment with how it feels to safely take risks with your self-expression, discovering your own ground and voice, and a deeper connection to your innate inner knowing, feeling, and being. We will create a safety zone within the group to meet yourself anew, and to affirm your authentic and genuine sense of self.

Session 4: Without the Mask – Relating in Openness and Acceptance

In this session we will look at how keeping on a mask with others interferes with deep intimate relationships and the joy of genuine connection.

We will explore:

  • How can you live a life of being gentle, open, and accepting of yourself?
  • How can you let your uniqueness shine for yourself and with others?

We discover how the self-acceptance that comes with letting go of masks creates a richer and more intimate relationship with ourselves, and with others. We will explore the fullness of being here as you are, as you want to live and play in the world celebrating your unique sense of who you are, celebrating the unique expressions of others in relationship.


Our on-line courses have been designed as unique, one-time live offerings from our Leaders, and recordings of modules will not be available. Thank you for understanding, and enjoy the live course!


If you are ready to move into authentic connections with yourself and others – join Nirodha and Tatha and experience the essence of who you truly are.



Tatha Gabrielle Viethen has been involved in the Path of Love since 2000. She has worked as an individual, family and couple therapist, group leader and transformational coach over three decades and is a licensed therapist in the US. She has worked in domestic and sexual abuse programs, addiction rehabilitation, and trauma recovery and has been on the faculty of a master program in transformational counseling . She has trained extensively in psychodynamic therapy, Ericksonian hypnosis, NLP, EMDR, Gestalt therapy, family therapy models, Hakomi, and integral somatic psychology.

In working with people she is committed to work with our full human experience: facing the edge of pain and trauma that shut down our life force as much as inviting the courage and passion to follow our longing for awakening and deep loving connection. She believes “The way is through,” lovingly inviting each person to be authentically present in the challenges of their lives and to let go of the pain created by avoiding and defending. In Path of Love she found the most complete and authentic way to bring fully alive our passion for awakening and conscious living in this life journey.


Nirodha first dove into the human potential movement in 1982. He become involved in group process work in 1991 and worked extensively with tantra, Primal, the man/woman relational field, trauma, attachment, and substance abuse.

Nirodha leads Awakening of Love around the States and facilitates the Path Retreat processes in America. He holds a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology, leads his own group workshops nationally, and has a private practice in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

“This work has given me a medium, support, and the inspiration for my personal inner journey. It’s awakened my passion for the healing that is possible, for myself, for each of us, and for this planet.”

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