We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Lunardini and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Melissa, how does your business help the community?
Social impact is bringing a positive change to a challenge. Grief, loss, and trauma are challenges that underpin the fabric of lives yet we rarely talk about it or seek support for it; in fact, many of us just absorb it. At what cost though? The cost in fact is high. It can cost us our relationships, mental health, physical health, jobs, and actual revenue loss in our businesses. Research shows that we can mitigate these costs by becoming more informed and by applying various supportive strategies. Radical Grief Consulting provides customized trainings, program development & design, resources, and more to agencies and institutions across the globe so that we can elevate the support for those who experience grief, loss, and trauma.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Radical Grief Consulting supports businesses, agencies, and institutions with grief, loss, and trauma challenges. This is done by providing education via training, developing or creating programming, or curating a list of resources that can be utilized. What sets us apart from others is our practical approach. We believe that people want the meaty stuff and don’t have time for the fluff. Our services are easy to integrate and operate. We are most proud of being able to cast a wide supportive net to grievers. Every professional, agency, or group that we train or develop programs for can then in turn adequately support an exponential amount of grievers. This macro-strategy was developed from years of running a center for grieving families. I felt privileged to provide supportive services to our local community however I would receive calls from rural communities with limited resources asking how they can provide services to their community. There was the challenge (how to get resources and programs to the most rural and underprivileged areas that are cost-conscious, practical, and culturally-sensitive). I created Radical Grief Consulting as the solution (many of my trainings, resources, and guides are online for users to download from all parts of the globe). Was it easy? Absolutely not. I am constantly creating material based on the gaps that I hear about. There are days or months that I don’t bring in a single dime and I wonder if this is needed but then I get an email that talks about how someone or some community is devastated by grief, loss, or trauma and feeling lost because they can’t find resources or they don’t know how to help. I am reminded instantly, that grievers everywhere should have access to resources and grief-sensitive and grief-aware people, so I press on even on days when I question everything. I have learned that you have to be passionate in your pursuit to create social change. I have to remember that I don’t get to see the lives that have changed because someone or some agency has become more grief-informed but to rather trust the process and know that macro-strategies aren’t always visible at first, if ever, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t working. I want people to know that Radical Grief is a movement, it is choosing to recognize that grief, loss, and trauma are all around us and if we really want to help then our first move is to get informed and then learn grief-sensitive ways to support. I want you to know that we are grief activists and that every day we fight for the weak, weary, and voiceless in hopes that they will get the support that they deserve.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
San Diego, where you easy access to the ocean, the mountains, and the desert. Day 1: Grab a coffee from Java Garden in Mission Village and a BLT breakfast bagel from Nomad’s Donut in North Park, then head to the street market in Little Italy. For lunch, go to Tom Hamm’s Lighthouse and enjoy an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet while overlooking the harbor. Next, take a drive to Point Loma to check out the Cabrillo National Park and the go from some drinks and people watching in Ocean Beach, end your night up at Sunset Cliffs for the sunset. Day 2: Beach day, grab breakfast at Bread and Cie bakery, and head up the coast to La Jolla shores, where you can jump on a kayak and explore the La Jolla Caves. For dinner, you can check out Jakes. Day 3: Need an ocean respite? Day trip to Julian! Grab some apple pie and walk the town looking at the shops. An alternative to Julian is Idyllwild, an equally cute mountain town. The fresh mountain air is a sure-fire mindset reset. Day 4: Feeling like you need to walk off some of those calories you’ve been taking in? Explore some of these hiking trails or parks (Torrey Pines State Reserve, Cowles Mountain Trailhead, Tecolocate Canyon Natural Park or check out the Zoo or Safari Park), grab an Everbowl and some water beforehand and end with a drink at any beach facing bar. Day 5: Needing some desert? Roadtrip over to Palm Springs for the weekend. Check out $5 bottomless mimosas at Pinocchios, killer Mexican food at Las Consuelos, chill at a pool party, and walk the strip at night enjoying the nightlife. Day 6: Head to the Tram to see a 360 view of the Coachella Valley and enjoy some hiking. For the evening head to Palm Desert and go to the Nest for some great food and live piano entertainment. Stay past 9 pm and the dance floor gets packed! Day 7: The trip is coming to an end but you’re seeking some spiritual integration, head over to the Self-Realization Fellowship in Encinitas and enjoy walking the grounds and finding little places for meditation, prayer, or sitting in silence. Then head over to Carlsbad Village for some good food, live music, and drink options.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Over the years, I have had the privilege to learn from some of the best in the grief and loss industry. Some of the organizations, books, and people who inspired my journey are listed below: Organizations: -The National Alliance for Grieving Children -National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization -STARR Commonwealth -International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Books: -Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert -The 4-hour Workweek by Tim Ferris -Fear is My Homeboy by Judi Holler -The Deepest Well by Nadine Burke Harris -Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown -The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel Siegal & Tina Bryson People: My entire tribe. Each of them plays a role in my journey.

Website: www.radicalgrief.org

Instagram: @Radical.Grief

Linkedin: Melissa Lunardini

Twitter: @GriefRadical

Facebook: Radicalgrief

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNxn7SJd_I605abd3K9Zjgw

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