A Love Supreme
Originally published on Amani Resources website, May 29, 2013
A Love Supreme was written by dear friend to Amani Resources, Tasneem Grace Tewogbola, co-founder of SOUL STORY, a communications company that uses the art of conversation, technology and storytelling to invite the soul, or inner meaning, of a project to shine. This story is based on a series of interviews and conversations with Amani Resources founder, Panya Walker, and her husband Harule Stokes.
Amani Resources Founder, Panya Walker met her husband, Harule Stokes nearly eight years ago on the C-train. It was crowded — crazy-morning-rush-hour crowded — when she saw him. And he saw her. It took many months for their daily glance to become a greeting. Slowly, they became subway acquaintances, the kind who exchange smiles, names, chit-chat and not much else. But time delivered opportunity and connection. They came to rely on those lingering looks, laughter and conversation. They disentangled themselves from dead-end relationships and chose — together — to open the door to possibility. And each other.
This month they celebrate six years of marriage and good loving. They are not the same C-train couple they once were. They are calmer, wiser and better. Together they learn to lean into life, to not let problems bring panic and to rejoice in this love that cradles everything.
Panya and Harule love to talk about their union and below are the reflections they shared separately about their relationship, which brings them joy, peace and growth.
What about Harule caught your eye?
Panya: I remember thinking he was very attractive to me. In New York City there are so many people. Why did I notice him? His eyes. He’s got these deep, soulful, heavily-lidded eyes.
What attracted you to Panya?
Harule: She stood out, she was very professional and very feminine — as though she was saying, ‘I’m a woman, I’m not trying to be manly.’ She had the balance.
What has six years of marriage taught you about love that you didn’t know before?
Harule: Love now for me is less about there being this huge attraction to somebody, now it’s about wanting to be with that person, not needing to but wanting to. That’s the difference for me now. Six years ago, there was this intense feeling that we had to be together all the time. The truth now is we don’t have to be on top of each other, it’s cool if I do my own thing and she does her own thing. I have to know that she’s fine, she’s alright, she’s well taken care of.
Now it’s less about that intense lust and about looking at her and thinking, ‘You’re fantastic.’ This is love, not obsession. For me the shift was very gradual, very slight. It’s like watching your fingernails grow.
What has changed about your marriage?
Panya: In the past, it was about doing, doing, doing. Now it’s about being at peace with the other person. Now it’s about answering, ‘Who are we?’ not just, ‘What are we doing?’
Now it feels more tender. We can focus on intimacy. We moved from intense physical attraction to wanting to be truly intimate, relishing a touch. We do a lot of touch, we always have, but now I feel like we truly know intimacy with each other.
What does Harule teach you?
Panya: What real manhood looks like. He is so dependable, so steady, so grounded. He is a rock. He is my rock. I didn’t have that in the past. I had volatility. I didn’t understand that at first — that being steady meant passion.
Being with him has helped me realize true manhood is about a man who truly honors and respects his partner and the relationship. It’s not just about providing financially, money, it’s about being a stable, whole person. He shows up whenever I need him. There is nothing to us that is a greater priority than each other.
How has Panya changed you?
Harule: She’s a pusher. When she wants to get her way, she’s motivated, a powerful personality. I am a lot more laid back, more likely to go around the wall than knock down the w all. With my obstinacy, and my ability to be bullheaded, she would run into my wall. I would shut down and she would push. She learned that pushing doesn’t work at all times. I learned not to shut down and to receive what’s being communicated.
People have always seen me as a relaxed, peaceful guy. Now that I’m with her, the projection is on the inside as well as the outside. There is no mask, no effort. It just is; we have peace.