Small yet mighty lessons learned

from endangered squirrel monkeys
Sanguine Element 4: Resilience

In honor of Endangered Species Day, I want to share this story about one of my favorite land mammals, the endangered grey crowned squirrel monkey.


squirrel monkey costa ricaLiving in the jungle here in Costa Rica, I get to experience Mother Nature first hand and up close. And while I never interact with the animals [even when they’re literally running by my feet or hanging out on my sheets that were hung up to dry], I do still feel responsible for their well-being.

And when an endangered grey crowned squirrel monkey fell out of a tree at my house, I went into action mode. Of course, I had no idea what to do but that didn’t matter. All I knew was that a helpless animal was hurt and I needed to do whatever I could to help it.

Here is what I learned from the experience.

Life Lesson #1: We must protect what we love. We must consider, every day, how our actions and choices impact the lives of others.  Human or non-human. We are all ONE.

Life Lesson #2: We must make our presence known, even if we cannot help. There was nothing this monkey’s troop members could do for it other than be present and let the injured monkey know they were still there, in the treetops. They did not leave him. Not even when their predator, the white face monkeys, arrived.

Life Lesson #3: When bad things happen, it’s okay to be a little shaken up. It’s okay to take a moment to catch our breath and just sit with what’s happened.  Whether it’s falling out of a tree or losing your job, it’s okay to not step right into action.  At some point, you have to do something.  But when the loss or injury first occurs, it’s okay to just take a deep breath and sit quietly to assess the situation.

Life Lesson #4: Life is a gift and every life is precious. Yes this was an endangered species but even if it had been a common iguana or kiskadee, I would have afforded it the same love, kindness and attention because every life is precious.

endangered squirrel monkey costa rica

PS. The monkey survived. A friend who is a professional guide came over to assess the situation and we noticed it had moved to a more safe location when the white face monkeys arrived. From there, it eventually joined its troop again.

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Now over to you… 

Which of the 4 life lessons will you apply to your life, the next time you [figuratively] fall out of a tree? g


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chrissy gruningerChrissy Gruninger is an author and mindset coach. She mentors people on how to live their ONE beautiful life, wherever they may be. Her latest book, Lost and Found in the Land of Mañana explores her life in Costa Rica and both the challenges of working and living abroad as well as the beautiful life we can create from those experiences.

She loves her rainforest beach shack in Costa Rica, the sunshine and the rain and passionately believes that through intentional actions we create more happiness, health and harmony in the world. 

Her goal: to empower others to thrive in an imperfect world.