A few weeks ago, the staff received amazing personalized gift baskets from past and current volunteers as a gesture of support following the emotionally challenging times with the now-failed integration attempts of the two groups of chimpanzees. These surprise gifts were incredible and generous.
Along with the gift baskets was a jar filled with pieces of paper that had typed messages. Many were from interns and volunteers we haven’t seen in years. Some were particularly touching messages from blog readers that had been copied and included with the words from volunteers. Kelsi immediately dubbed it “The Feelings Jar.”
I was pretty overwhelmed by the gesture and could not keep my composure to read the messages that day, or the next day, or the day after that. My composure seemed to be rather elusive, truth be told.
This past weekend, after having the jar at home for over a week, I finally sat down by myself on my couch, tissues nearby, and read each message. My composure disappeared after reading the first words on the first piece of paper and didn’t return until I had finished all of them.
Chimpanzees are known for their resilience.
We see it every day at the sanctuary. It’s easy to forget what the ten chimpanzees at CSNW have been through in their pasts when watching them independently explore the outdoor habitat, wrestle with each other while sporting huge play-faces, or get out-of-their-minds excited about what would appear to be a run-of-the-mill meal. They have each been through a lot of negative experiences, but they carry on with the here-and-now with a determined focus on the good things they can get out of each day.
I can’t say that I always share this same quality with them. I am rather skilled at directing my attention either on all of my errors in the past or the doom that is sure to come in the future.
I’ve heard that one way to improve resilience is to have a support system. These last few months have been some of the most difficult, but I’ve also never felt so bolstered by others. Thank you.
I haven’t been very focused on my main job, fundraising, these last few months, and seeing year-end donations come in the mail and online also provides me with the knowledge that you believe in what the sanctuary is doing and you want to be a part of it’s future.
You know that there is much work to be done to help more chimpanzees. For them, I thank you for helping us humans feel like we can move forward while also focusing on the positives of today.
Which brings me to today!
It’s a bright, sunny day in Cle Elum, and we decided it was perfect timing for Burrito, who was with Jamie and Jody, to get outside on Young’s Hill for the first time since his surgery.
As though this were not enough of a positive to focus on, I found Mave inside this morning being very playful:
Happy Christmas Eve, Happy Hanukkah, or Happy Tuesday. Whether you are celebrating or not, I hope you too found some positive things in your day today. Maybe it was this blog post!