Like many Catholic grade-schoolers in the 1960s, I dreamed of one day becoming a nun.
My dilemma was that I also wanted to be a go-go dancer on American Bandstand.
I explored my evolving passions and concerns and professed love for Michael, a blond upperclassman, in handcrafted books of illustrated poetry and prose. At the privacy of my bedroom desk overlooking our family’s tree-canopied yard, I wrote to assuage my fear for boys a few years older than my brother, Bill, drafted to fight in the political Vietnam War.
In my book on peace, I prayed for misled soldiers on externally manipulated “sides” and for the Vietnamese citizens and their beloved homeland. Would journalistic explorations into the truth and reality of oneness help save us?
I continued to journal in the 1970s when I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in magazine communications at Temple University. Four days after my last class, it thrilled me to launch my career as a reporter for The Princeton Packet newspaper, where my investigative journalism on collaborative land management would be recognized by the New Jersey Press Association. I was recruited to serve as a social editor and, loving all of it, also wrote monthly magazine articles and occasional opinion columns.
To help realize my vision of creating original communications, I completed the Radcliffe College postgraduate publishing program now held at the Columbia Journalism School in New York. From Radcliffe, I was recruited to help European Travel & Life magazine in New York launch an advertising section, which exceeded ROI expectations from our first monthly issue.
Before I launched Aggie Perilli Communications International (APCI) in 1990, I learned more about publishing and communication at a national trade publication in New York and also in technical publications production at AT&T in New Jersey.
A publishing colleague recommended me to Pfizer in New York to write and produce a global news magazine that would promote its values-driven vision to become a leading pharmaceutical company. The executive who hired me had just completed a management conference that urged “three” leadership priorities: communication, communication, communication!
I assembled a team and wrote and produced an award-winning quarterly that led to other award-winning publications that effectively launched APCI. Each issue of the 10-year publication that promoted innovation, community and similarly unifying values involved up to 35 interviews and articles, photoshoots in New York, original and digital illustrations, development, and print production.
Our publications grew word-of-mouth into integrated full-service communications, advertising, and multimedia campaigns for diverse clients, including nonprofits and spokespeople.
Go-Go Nun Turns Mystic
Throughout APCI’s nearly 30 years in business, I have also practiced spiritually motivated yoga, Reiki, and complementary forms of natural healing. As 13th-century Islamic mystic poet Rumi had advised, I have “let the beauty of what I love be what I do.”
In 2009, I also married the brilliantly empathetic, younger Michael Evans and became proud stepmother to similarly health- and fitness-conscious, Justin, who last year became an osteopathic Emergency Room doctor.
While completing his medical residency last year, Justin responded to the results of today’s destructive war against Mother Nature as she nears her breaking point in mitigating cataclysmic devastation worldwide. Justin interned in the emergency room of a hospital near Camp Fire, California, during the state’s reportedly deadliest and most destructive wildfire. Ashy air and acrid fumes caused ER visits, especially among asthmatics, the elderly, and children.
I write this post after this year’s additional climate-related deaths, mass displacements and billions of dollars in losses or necessary repairs elsewhere.
For the love of all children, this post begins my new series Communicate! When Push Comes to Love scheduled to be posted through 2020.
I will explore the power of reflection in forward-thinking communications. Included will be the meaning and purpose of communication to empathize and share understanding.
With ongoing journalistic explorations undermined by present political and financial conflicts of interest, even accomplished communicators claim to have little idea how to unify acrimonious or frightened and acquiescent audiences around the immediate mitigation of climate catastrophe. Equally urgent crises include devastating wars and gun violence; racism and family separation and caging; and the probable carcinogens and carbon-releasing poisons in our food, tap water, and sundry products and processes yet to be independently tested for health and safety.
You, the reader, are needed to communicate to assure shared bliss and potential the perfectly imperfect way the only way you can.
Become Like Children.
Gratefully and prophetically, more than one child is leading us in insisting on responsiveness across governments and industries today, instead of a future time when it is too late.
Most of us have watched or heard 16-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden speak on humanity’s closing window of opportunity to abate catastrophic droughts and fires, elevated sea levels and floods, and bee die-offs in the Earth’s sixth mass extinction of a million species ominously underway. In September, Greta rallied millions of people from 185 countries to fill their streets and demand all sectors of our societies save our planet.
To end and prevent gun violence, last February, after a shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killed 17 people and injured 17, survivors joined other students and the families of victims and supporters in insisting lawmakers pass new gun regulations. A tribute to their faithful communications, 67 gun-restriction laws have been enacted by both Republican and Democratic legislators in 26 states and Washington, DC, according to last year’s year-end report by the Giffords Law Center established to Prevent Gun Violence.
To succeed with universal safety and well-being across all areas, communication is essential, as my dad, Gus Perilli, stated when he was a teenager.
It is my fervent hope that my upcoming series Communicate! When Push Comes to Love helps us all become as faithful to oneness and love as children.
Even though communication is my calling as much as it is my career, I find it as challenging as most people to empathetically communicate in trying circumstances or where inclusivity, equality, and other common-good values are threatened or compromised. I have vacillated between harsh arguments and enabling acquiescence when, in hindsight, I wish I had healthfully maintained trust-building boundaries.
Subsequent posts in this series will explore ways to use our passions and abilities to communicate to assure the only real and lasting power of love with ourselves, all beings and the regenerative organic environment that so majestically awes and sustains us.