02/09/2011 06:38 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Start a Local Sanity Salon

So much is happening simultaneously in today's globalized world that it's hard to make sense of it all.

Everyone on our planet is now being affected by the economic, political, social, psychological and environmental consequences of the profound imbalance between resources and need. At stake is not only the continued survival of humans, but also many other species.

How can we deal constructively with challenges of this enormity?

A friend and I have been thinking about the idea of creating a local Salon ( a Sanity Salon?) to offer a safe place for people to process their feelings and thoughts about what actions we may feel called to take, in light of current circumstances.

Of immediate concern to many people is the unstable economy. Making ends meet at personal and local levels, as well as at national and global macro-levels, is an increasing challenge -- one that many of us don't really understand in any depth.

Eco-economist Herman Daly offers one explanation for our current unsustainable situation: "The economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the environment."

The dysfunction in the relationship between overpopulating humans and our life support systems is now affecting not only the rest of nature, but also the opportunity for most human beings to live a decent life. An economy based on unlimited extraction of nonrenewable planetary resources and "outsourcing" of climate-affecting waste is becoming more and more unstable, pushing billions around the planet and at home into deprivation and suffering.

We know from our own personal finances that it's unwise to live on principal rather than interest, but that's exactly what we're doing with our individual and collective resources.

Dealing with these realities can feel overwhelming. How can we help those in need? How can we even take good care of our loved ones, friends and neighbors? How can we stop the collective madness? What is our part in the solution? Is there a solution?

The good news is that at this moment in time environmental, psychological, political, social and economic issues are converging, as the true nature of our collective challenges becomes clear. The time seems right for small groups to come together in many different places to support each other, both in coming to a deeper and more wholistic understanding of what's really happening, and also in taking small or large steps towards creating a harmonious, equitable future for all living beings.

How about starting a local Sanity Salon in your area?