Justin Hartery has dedicated his life to the study and practice of behavior change based on our direct experiences as human beings. It is through this work as a psychotherapist as well as his background in filmmaking that he has created an event aimed to "break our collective paralysis and move people to action from a place of wholeness and inspiration rather than fear or anger." Hartery's initiative, The I Am Project, hosts its first event in Santa Fe on Sunday Dec. 15 at The Swan Theater from 6-9 pm (1213 Parkway Drive, 466-3353). The community rally and fundraiser, dubbed "Earth in Action," includes meditation, performances and presentations to inspire action based in environmental, social justice and mental health issues. SFR asked Hartery to tell us more.

In your description of the event you say that in order to overcome the "complacency that holds us back from creating the world we want," we must ask ourselves this question: "What becomes possible when we identify not just with the Earth, but as the earth itself?" How would you begin to answer this question?

The notion that "I am the Earth" is ancient wisdom, but as the survival of our species comes more into question every day, the emerging collective awareness of our connection with the universe can no longer be denied. If we recognize that we are not just on the Earth but also of the Earth it would instill in us a greater sense of responsibility and a greater investment in this place we inhabit. By connecting to the source of where we are from and taking action from a sense of wholeness, rather than insecurity, we develop the agency we need to address our fears that hold us back from fulfilling our destiny and becoming who we are meant to be.

What can we expect to experience?

I designed the arc of the event to loosely parallel the arc or model of transformation that I work with when I work with my clients one-on-one as a psychotherapist. In my background of somatic psychology, we recognize that in order for any new behaviors or change to emerge there needs to be a balance between safety and curiosity. At the event we'll start with a meditation to help give the audience the experience of connecting with something greater, followed by musical and dance performances. After establishing this deep sense of connection and wonder, we will have presentations from Mark Nelson, an expert in sustainability, and from Allegra Love, founder of the Santa Fe Dreamers Project.

Besides attending this event and fundraiser, what are some simple steps our community can take to remain part of this ongoing conversation and remain active allies? 

I would suggest downloading the meditation from my website (theiamproject.one) to get familiar with the perspective that we are not separate from our environment. If we can live from this perspective, we'll naturally be making decisions for our highest benefit and the benefit of all beings.