By Pauline Evora
ATHO has a peaceful and serene aura as we sit in Sunny Side Café to start chatting after our yoga class. He always has that vibration. His smile is warm and comforting. It is not surprising to learn that Atho studied psychology with a focus on social development.
His is a Love Coach.
“Counselor is the usual name. But in the Philippines, if you go to see a psychiatrist or counselor, you are judged. There is a stigma around Mental Health,” affirms Atho. So, the professionals hide behind names for people to reach out to them without the fear of being pointed at. I had the pleasure of meeting a few people he worked with and their stories are heartwarming and inspirational.
Atho generously opened up and shared with us more about his practice.
The smiling love coach explains that his focus is on the emotional process and Body Emotional Healing Therapy or BEHT. “I combine Reiki and touch therapy like The Bars energy work. I also do card reading to guide my recipients who are in a deeper suffering,” Atho says. He is truly a holistic therapist.
For his patients or recipients to sustain their healing and change their perception on life, Atho organizes weekly meetings in a group. “I am guiding them to walk from a place of fear to a place of love,” he smiles warmly. To support his work, Atho is working with a self-study program called “A Course In Miracles” that helps people to learn how to love and accept themselves in order to heal.
When asked for his advice on love, Atho sips his cappuccino and starts talking.
“People say we have to love ourselves, but we cannot as long as we don’t know ourselves. We are programmed, and if we don’t truly learn who we are, we might get it wrong, and this self-love becomes love for our ego.” For him, self-love comes from remembering who we were at our core, before being taught by others what we are supposed to think and who we are supposed to be.
“You are trying hard to be, that you forgot you are,” he adds.
He advises couples to follow the five stages of a relationship in this order:
First comes the attraction, which is a matching game where you get to know each other. After some time, should come the discernment stage when you might want to have some space to think about the relationship a little deeper. These two are crucial stages. Then, the exclusivity stage comes, followed by the engagement. The last stage is the marriage and only after, intimacy should take place. Atho is convinced many relationships fail because the intimacy comes often in stage two or even stage one.
But no worries! If you are guilty of jumping stages and you still want to mend your relationship, follow the practice of Wabi Sabi love, the Japanese term for an imperfect art, like the art of fixing broken things to make them new instead of throwing them away.
“The challenge in any relationship is to love a person with their imperfections. Free will is the name of that game,” explains Atho.
The love coach also enlightens us about the old belief that we all have to find our soul mates in order to be happy. “There is a difference between soulmates and twin flames. The soulmate is a teacher who will bring you a lot of hard times so you can learn from it. A twin flame is the one, when no words are needed and everything falls into place,” he teaches us.
Atho provides marriage counselling as well as personal therapy. You can find him every Sunday at 5 p.m. in front of Le Soleil for a sunset meditation, as long as it is not raining. If you feel you could benefit from a support group, you can join his 7 p.m. meeting every Tuesday. The venue may vary so it is best to contact him first via mobile at (+63 917) 162 9800 or via Facebook: Atho de la CruzTgv.
“Tgv stands for The Greatest Version of myself, to remind me of my potential,” he ends in a burst of laughter.