We had the good fortune of connecting with Christy Cole and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christy, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Connection/putting people first is my jam. I aim to “leave people better than I found them”. This goes from small interpersonal interactions, all the way to superseding umbrella ideas of things to accomplish down the road. I am a woman of passion. I like to get my hands dirty. I wear my heart on my sleeve. Love is my anthem. I believe that there is nothing more beautiful than someone following their “spark”, their heart, their “true north”. So I seek to inspire, to empower. I work with my hands. I put pen to paper. I create sculptures. I handcraft cards. I give away little pieces of my heart. I smile at strangers. I compliment what I like. I refer to people in terms of endearment. I say “thank you” and genuinely mean it. I believe that what you put out into the world comes back to you. Kindness is magic, and grace is contagious. In order to positively impact in someone’s life, you don’t have to have all the answers. You don’t need fame, fortune or followers— you just have to care. I believe that it costs nothing to dream, and everything not to. I am not afraid of doing the work— leaning into the uneasiness, opening myself up for potential “failure”. Rather, I am afraid of not trying— of looking back and thinking “what if”. I am not a victim of circumstance, I choose the life that I lead. I may not be able to choose the cards that I am dealt, but I can choose to make the most of them. I will not allow autoimmune disorders, heartbreakers, liars, cheaters, or thieves steal my joy. I will not let the world make me hard. I am the author of my story, the CEO of my life, the artist of my canvas— and I am going to create an effing masterpiece. The only person that I am destined to become is the person I decide to be. So… I eat slowly, sing loudly, hug tightly, and breathe deeply. I rock messy buns, hats, scarves, layers, and the quasi-frequent F-bomb. I celebrate the “wins” — big ones, small ones, and everything in-between. I embrace my old soul, waking before the sun peeks its head out, and often going to bed soon after it sets. I am a work in progress. I am an optimist. I am soft. I am vulnerable. My heart is easily broken. But there is strength in my fragility. I am a Lover. Dreamer. Wife. Friend. HealthNut. OutdoorEnthusiast. Yogini. Nerd. Optimist. Vegan. Upcycler. RegisteredNurse. YogaTeacher.. Artist. I am @urban.veggie and I am yoga. #IAmHer
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I began my “career” in health/wellness as an itty bitty highschool student– volunteering for a local search and rescue team. This blossomed into an interest in healthcare– cue Christy going to nursing school at The University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, and graduating with her BSN. I then started working in the hospital setting in direct patient care (initially on a medical/surgical/oncology unit, and then ultimately on a Postpartum Unit in Women’s Services ***taking care of Mom’s, Babies, and Women status post surgical procedures). While I was working in the hospital, I noticed that stress is highly prevalent (some would say inherent) to healthcare— from dealing with challenging scenarios, life and death decisions, difficult patients, staffing shortages, heavy workloads, workplace violence (1 in 4 nurses, 25% have been physically assaulted at work by a patient or patient’s family member)… caregivers are bound to feel overwhelmed at times. And while nurses, doctors, techs, and supplemental staff are skilled and knowledgeable when it comes to caring for others— they seem to struggle when it comes to personal implementation. This leads to a myriad of issues including: exhaustion, cynicism, detachment, physical injury, medical errors, and high attrition rates (as high as 25% for first year employees). With this information in mind, I went to my division manager, and applied for a grant to go to yoga teacher training so that I could implement a yoga program at our facility. ***Compared with controls, healthcare employees that participated in on-site yoga programs reported a 28% reduction in stress levels, 19% reduction in pain, and 20% improvement in sleep quality. Healthier/Happier employees = better patient outcomes. Since obtaining my yoga teaching certificate, I have had the lovely opportunity of fostering relationships with many businesses throughout our community: The Olympic Training Center, Athleta,and local establishments (Springs Climbing Center, Rock Ledge Ranch, Garden of the Gods, AR Workshop, Labor Day Liftoff, The City of Colorado Springs, Café Red Point, Sprig, The Shops at Briargate, Merkalpa Mala, Mod Pizza, etc.) While COVID-19 has currently put our onsite/live classes on pause, I have been fortunate enough to be able to continue the “good vibes” via online classes, daily affirmations on social media, and biweekly emails. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead. Together, we can: create, heal inspire.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh my goodness– this is a tricky one! I guess that my favorite spaces (outside of hanging out on my back porch with a fresh cup of coffee after doing some yoga) would include the following: ANY hiking, snowshoeing, snowboarding or being outside under Mister Sun are a GREAT start in my book (I am blessed with soooo many options with Garden of The Gods, Pikes Peak, Red Rocks, Gold Camp, Cheyenne Canyon… and SOOOOO much more in my backyard!) ***but as far as businesses/establishments go… I love that the following places are within biking distance of my house! Coffee: Loyal Coffee, Urban Steam, Kairos Coffee House, Wild Goose Meeting House Smoothies: Cafe Red Point, Ola Juice Lunch: Monse’s Pupuseria, Santana’s Vegan Grill, Wooglin’s Deli, Mountain Momma Foods Dinner: Rabbit Hole, Burrowing Owl, Poor Richards, Bakery/Sweets: Sweet Elizabeth’s Organics, Ten Thousand Cookies, Four Cookie Dudes, Frozen Gold Night Life: COATI Uprise, Ivywild, Phantom Canyon, Axe and Oak, Bar at Almagre, Red Leg, Goat Patch Places to stay: Kinship Landing Caaayyyyuuuute Shops: Urbane Collective, Eclectic, Yobel Make and Take Art: AR Workshop Indoor Movement: (because sometimes the weather is a bummer!) Skate City, SkyZone I am sure that I am missing some WONDERFUL establishments– so please help a sista’ out, and show me some other lovely spaces in my backyard!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Yoga is growth. Yoga is love. Love for ourselves, love for one another. Yoga isn’t about making every situation light, bright, or carefree— but rather, bringing the light of our perception, and the fortitude of our spirit, into the dark places. It is about acknowledging our strength, and encouraging the beauty of our grace. Yoga is observing, accepting, and embracing the struggle— the highs, the lows, the scars, the scratches, the chaos, the stillness; the poetic vignettes of our cosmic fairytale… Yoga is recognizing that your spark of magic is worthwhile. That your glowing ember deserves to be loved, supported, and nourished— By you. Your tribe. Your community. Yoga is surrounding yourself with those who fan your flame— encouraging you to grow, to reach, to stretch. Yoga is love. Love is why I yoga. __________________________________________________________________________________________________There was a time not too many moons ago that I would have looked at the aforementioned vignette and scoffed— “well that all sounds nice, but it’s JUST stretching”. Contextually, at that point in time I had tried a few yoga classes, and felt like they were a “waste” of my time when I could be doing a “real” workout… You know— running, CrossFit, conquering 14’ers… As you may have guessed, I tend to be a “Type A” personality by nature— Often finding myself over-committing, and attempting to tackle an ever-elongating checklist of things to accomplish. While I feel very proud of all that I achieve in any given day, there is validity to the statement that there can be “too much of a good thing”, and I would be lying if I didn’t acknowledge the fact that pretending to be “Superwoman” didn’t result in excess stress. As I am sure many caregivers can relate to, we do an excellent job looking after others— but don’t always excel at taking care of ourselves. Although I frequently encourage others to relax, to take time for themselves— I often struggle with applying my own advice in this arena. Personally, I have found that I am able to meet the “checkbox criteria” of health (I eat well, I exercise, I go to the doctor, I clean with natural products), but I don’t always take the time to focus on my emotional needs— to breathe, to meditate, to center… I have SLOWLY come to realize that health is an all-encompassing harmonious balance between spirit, mind, and body. IT IS NOT A CHECKLIST. It is an ever-evolving entity that touches every aspect of our lives. It is our relationships, our jobs, our friendships, our workout routines, our diet, our body composition, our genes, our religion, our physical habitats, our hobbies, our sleep habits, our stress levels, our relaxation techniques, our experiences, our attitudes, and ultimately our outlook on life. So a few years later, steadied with a new mindset, fantastic yoga instructors, and the support of the “peanut butter to my apples” (my amazing husband), I have been catapulted into the “yogi” lifestyle— a life that is free of the “guilt” or “shame” associated with self-care, or self-love. It is pretty incredible how a few deep breaths can center your thoughts, calm your body, and bring focus to your entire life.It has transformed me into the woman I am today.
Grace Gatto Photography Alex Cole Photography Bex Williams Photography