The seeds for Listening were planted in 1995 when Dedie King, a Five Element acupuncturist in private practice, began visualizing a way to bring to the larger community the theory of Chinese medicine with its emphasis on living in harmony with the seasons. Dedie began by writing about her vision. Then she began talking with Dave Davis, family practitioner, and Mick Huppert, Director of Community Education at U Mass Medical Center. The three began meeting in person to discuss various forms and locations. After analyzing options, and grappling with the inherent difficulties, and different priorities, the project lost steam.
Not wanting to let go of her vision of a center dedicated to the idea of partnership with practitioner and client, the idea of self-care on all levels of physical, emotional and spiritual, and the concept of discovering one’s own wisdom and connection with nature, Dedie kept writing and talking with people about the vision. In 1998 Dr. Bruce Lockhart moved to the area and was interested in the concept. Bruce and Dedie both wanted the Center to be located in Barre in order to be near the Insight Meditation Society.
The following spring, Bruce and Dedie reconnected with Elizabeth Coe who on her own was also interested in the idea of an integrated health center in Barre. Elizabeth’s generous resourcefulness and excitement about the project were the spark that ignited the mission into reality.
The beautiful Houghton House just off the common in Barre Center was purchased in the summer of 1999. Renovations were made to include changing the garage in the back lot into a beautiful yoga studio. Extra treatment rooms were created in the main house, as well as a classroom, a porch, and with generous help from the Davis’s, a ramp and accessible bathroom were added. Elizabeth acted as chief designer and contractor. Richard Shaw, with help from John Tomasi, were the master carpenters. The small core of practitioners quickly swelled to 12 talented and experienced health care people and Listening was ready to open its doors. In the early days, Listening had a yoga studio for classes, a bookstore with books about health, and spirituality, a small vegetarian restaurant open to the community, and a wide variety of practitioners from yoga teachers to therapists, chiropractic, massage therapy and acupuncture. There were workshops and community space available. Residents from U Mass Medical came to observe as part of their internships in complementary care. Practitioners gave talks at the Barre Family Health Center. As part of its mission, Listening provided educational free workshops and networked with other non-profits.
Listening opened on January 15, 2000, and has continued its growth and response to community needs to the present.
We also welcome tax-deductible grants to be used for community health education. You can call the Center at (978) 355-3501.