In Loving Memory

IN LOVING MEMORY

A Tribute to Barbara Jarvis by Algienne Amrita

barbara-jarvisWhen I first arrived on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai in 1979, I thought to join some sort of class as an opportunity to meet people. I signed up for t’ai chi — I’d never heard of it, but it sounded interesting. The teacher was a woman named Barbara Jarvis. As the unfolding energies of martial arts began to change my body, mind, and life, Barbara and I began an amazing adventure. She introduced me to eastern philosophy and meditation, and gave me my first books by realized masters of our time. This inspired me to travel to India and to visit several ashrams. Barbara also encouraged me to stand up for myself as a woman and to do whatever was required to get rid of old, rigid concepts. She was the quintessential free thinker, and was indeed my first spiritual teacher.

In 1982, together with families and another close friend, we realized a dream to live as neighbors on a beautiful thirteen-acre farm on Kauai’s east side. In the aftermath of Hurricane Iwa we began to transform the land and ourselves. We began to build. There were all the challenges of family life and group living, and all the triumphs and good times too. There was another devastating hurricane, Iniki. Our island was reduced to broken trees and houses and lives. There were quarrels and clashes of lifestyle, leadership disputes, and endless weeds. Throughout it all, Barbara never lost sight of our original vision.

Harmony Farms” recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. None would argue that it was Barbara’s love for the land and for all of us that has kept us together. She had the ability to inspire, and she encourages me even now. I can hear her voice: “Wow! That’s a great idea! Go for it!”

In the year 2000 I began another series of trips to India and Tibet. I have had the blessings of meeting many high Buddhist lamas, jewels of Tibet’s spiritual heritage to the world. I became involved in several exciting building projects including the construction of the new nunnery at Tilokpur in Himachal Pradesh.

Parallel to this, Barbara was building a lovely new home on the land on Kauai, planting trees and flowers, and creating both a sanctuary and a gathering place. She matured into an accomplished artist and educator. She also began to lose her health. Courage is not lack of fear, it is facing one’s fears every day. Barbara died in November of 2005. Her special gift was to bring people together, and from that first t’ai chi class to the last pot luck dinner in her living room, old and new friends connected with each other in her presence.