The WANT Women: Jacki Carr + Mary Beth LaRue On Curiosity, Belonging, and Rocking Your Bliss
It’s not happiness. It’s not enjoyment. It’s BLISS. Just reading the word is an experience itself, loaded with thoughts and feelings you sense more than see.I wonder if people centuries ago were as concerned with “bliss” as we are today – we seem to have evolved into a society that craves to feel even if we don’t quite know what feeling we’re after. A summer day laying on the grass. A bite of peppermint ice cream so good you don’t even care about the brain freeze. Your partner’s arm that unexpectedly drifts around you. Bliss is at home, at work, working for a brand or going off on your own.
Jacki Carr and Mary Beth LaRue have experienced both of the latter and everything in between. Each of these women, in their own ways, moved through the steps that life expects of us – the glossy job, the security, the benefits – and each had their own realization that they wanted something more. Something that resonated and shook them open. They were after that powerful, pounding feeling of living life on their own terms; had an inkling their through line and purpose were something more, and didn’t live at a desk from nine to five.
The result? Rock Your Bliss: a mash-up of intricate goal coaching, highly personalized life design, and yoga both on and off the mat. It’s got you covered whether you’re looking to create or build your brand, lack certainty in your life’s trajectory, or simply want to get to know yourself a little better than you did yesterday – through workshops, retreats, events, and one-on-one jam sessions hell bent on unearthing the ways you can shine. Bliss, Jacki and Mary Beth argue, isn’t about following a formula or predetermined set of rules, it’s about finding what speaks to you on a soul level and then letting that steer the way.
I absolutely love both of these two women – mainly because (well, no, that’s not true, I love them ’cause they’re rad all-around) they were such an inspiration to me when I was beginning to conceptualize WANT and my own mission. I’d met MB through a fitness studio I used to work at and only knew Jacki through the six-degrees-of-separation that is the wellness community in Los Angeles, but watching them from afar build their brand and act on their vision, in a way that was so in line with who they were out in the world, was a constant reminder to me that passion grows from the inside out, and when that passion becomes too powerful and huge to remain in your head-heart-guts, it is your duty as a human being to let that sucker out in the open and LIVE.
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I’m so thrilled to be introducing you to these ladies, and hope they help you rock your bliss, too.
WANT Jacki and Mary Beth.
Names: Jacki Carr + Mary Beth LaRue
How you’d know me:
JC: Goal Coach, Brand Consultant, Co-Founder of Rock Your Bliss
MBLR: Yoga Teacher, Coach and Co-Founder of Rock Your Bliss
What I love about myself (and why):
JC: I love my confidence, the creative chaos and my current curiosity in love. Pretty outspoken as a human being, I love the confidence part because it allows me to be wholly and unapologetically me. I wear neon and karaoke – that is just a fun life. The creative chaos part, my brain has a lot of tabs open. I love to read, I love to explore nature, I love to be energized. I don’t do boring well, the whole idle hands thing and sitting still is boring to me. I am learning to embrace a mindful chaos that allows me to be crazy and creative at the same time. Where I found that I was trying to slow down, meditate and be yogic in a more socially acceptable way, it doesn’t really work like that for me. See neon and karaoke above. Finally, I love being curious in love because it allows me to always be learning about myself, my husband, and relationships. I am a newlywed, so getting curious is probably the best way to explore this radical commitment and be in inquiry versus judgment.
MBLR: My willingness to get vulnerable. How much I love to laugh and play. My creativity.
What is your definition of “positivity?”
JC: My definition of positivity is the ability to see all angles and perspectives – I am talking the rainbow colored glasses and the reality check. From there, being positive is choosing the thought/action that calls in joy. Period.
MBLR: Choosing thoughts, perspectives and ways of being that lift my energy rather than deplete it.
When did you start to love yourself – did you have a self-love “turning point?”
JC: Wow, brilliant question. I had a best friend in high school, Zoe who taught me about self love. Probably Junior year, so age 17, we both were uber athletes, she played soccer and I play volleyball and softball. She was more in the cool crowd and I was figuring it all out with puberty, ego, wanting straight As while juggling sports and family. We both had a muscular builds – like, cereal-box type bodies (and yes, I am talking square shape and pretty flat. Late bloomers. Really late) – with really muscular thighs, and I will be real: we could eat a lot of food. Like, an embarrassing amount. Considering we were both doing two-a-day workouts, we were burning calories like whoa.
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When we became best friends that year – you know that moment, like in Step Brothers, ‘Did we just become best friends?’, yes that moment – we named ourselves Team Hauss. Keep in mind, this was way before CrossFit came around with their tagline, ‘Strong is the new skinny’ – we were WAY out of the norm from the ’90s string-bean model ideals. And for me, there was a moment there of radiant acceptance of myself, my body shape, my actions, my ability to eat a lot of food and not feel bad about it, and my athleticism in that connection. Though we looked different than the magazine and a lot of our friends, we were ourselves. I am so grateful to have been a member of Team Hauss, it was a gamechanger for me.
MBLR: The summer I moved to NYC to work at JANE Magazine. I’d struggled with body image and eating disorders for years and that summer I gave myself permission to fall in love with life, and in turn myself, again. Rather than restricting and beating myself up I allowed myself whatever I wanted and however much I wanted. Some days it was a big crunchy salad and a green juice and other days a grilled cheese and a beer. As I explored the city I found some many new facets to myself and started to really truly grow into the woman I am today.
How/where negative talk shows up in my life:
JC: Negative self talk shows up the most in my relationship with money and in my career. I own my own businesses and the common questions, ‘Am I doing it right?’, “Am I doing enough?”, “Do people like me?” circle my brain all too often. I am unraveling a pattern of self worth and dollar bills. The other area would be in physical appearance. My body has changed with age, word on the street is this is pretty par for the course of life. The negative self talks comes with skin issues, being hard on myself with a workout ritual that I enjoy and moving with the ebb and flow of time. Where I used to dig power yoga in my 20s, now I crave yin yoga in my 30’s. Who knew?
MBLR: Anytime comparing comes into play. I keep that on a pretty short leash these days and honestly deal with it very little.
When I talk negatively about myself, it’s usually…
JC: …really mean, almost a bully-like nature. It is like there is this perfectionist gremlin that sneaks in criticizing everything and makes fun of me. A total jerk of a voice.
MBLR: My body.
When others talk negatively about themselves…
JC: …I remind them that our language creates our reality. Be aware and uber selective with language you speak inwards and outwards.
MBLR: …it makes me really sad because those words start to take root, even if you think you are just doing it in jest.
It baffles me that women still…
JC: …have to fight for a voice to be heard in society. I know it has and is continuing to shift, however, what a creative and beautiful wealth of knowledge being stifled by old school ways of thinking, patterns that run deep and societal pressures of what it means to be female. And I am not pointing fingers; this is an internal and external game in all of us. Myself, included.
MBLR: …gossip. Body shame. Diet (big difference between dieting and eating healthily.)
I wish that more women…
JC: …knew that we are all in this together.
MBLR: …celebrated themselves AND other women.
The coolest thing about women is…
JC: Many, many cool factors going on here. However, the fact that women can be in a powerful conversation with another human being, be it at work in the boardroom, on an adventure in nature or with ourselves in a bathtub and simultaneously be creating life within our own bodies over the course of 9 months. This literally blows my mind and I have yet to even do it. Women rule.
MBLR: our ability to nurture and create.
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My favorite way to shift a negative into a positive:
JC: I do love making shift happen and I have a go-to list to do so depending on the situation. My favorite example is a pact I made with my husband when we are arguing or annoyed with one another is to call a make out session. We have to just go for it, French kiss and all, when anyone calls it. There is something in the human connection that releases the fight or flight armor and we can get real, get loved and have an actual conversation.
My top female role models:
JC: My Mother, Marti Carr, all the way, Brene Brown, and Susanne Conrad
MBLR: Drew Barrymore, Elena Brower, Kathryn Budig, Byron Katie
Men can help women crush their negative talk patterns by…
JC: …again, knowing we are all in this together. I am talking the mentality of teamwork, high fives and head nods. Team Human Beings: we all belong.
MBLR: …compassionately catching it and helping us flip it around.
Favorite negativity-busting activity:
JC: A run. The accessibility of running really makes it so brilliant for the shift. Any time, anywhere, move your legs, sweat out that lame story you keep replaying your head, preferably in some sweet Nike kicks. Go.
MBLR: Dance party.
Fave self-love ritual:
JC: Roaming where the WiFi is weak in nature, on a mountain, in a trucker hat.
MBLR: Bubble bath.
Favorite feel-good food(s):
JC: Peanut Butter out of the container with any utensil. One ice cold beer in a koozie in the sunshine. String Cheese any time. A s’more via campfire.
MBLR: A massive salad and a Lemon Ginger juice. Less healthy: nachos (I fucking love nachos!)
My feel-good playlist:
John Mellencamp, Jack & Diane
Michael Jackson, Man in the Mirror
Alexi Murdoch, Orange Sky
Steve Winwood, Higher Love
Chaka Khan, I’m Every Woman
Des’ree, You Gotta Be
Journey, Don’t Stop Believing
Ben Howard, Old Pine
Garth Brooks, Standing Outside the Fire (LIVE in Ireland)
Motown all the way
Advice I would give my…
…4 year old self:
JC: Go outside and play barefoot. Stomp in the puddles!
…14 year-old self:
JC: Padded bras, not necessary. I pinky promise.
MBLR: Be gentle
…24 year old self:
JC: You belong, stop proving already. Side hugs are lame, go all in.
MBLR: The world is your oyster
5 Things, personal or professional, on my bucket list:
JC: Visit every US National Park with my husband, Chris. Celebrate a 50 Year Wedding Anniversary (with my husband, obvi). Pay for my little sister’s college (she is 17, coming in hot). Write a book. Buy an A-frame pop-up camper for summer road trips with my (future) kiddos!
MBLR: Travel to Bali. Road trip from Vancouver to Baja with my husband, our bulldog and our baby. Work full-time for Rock Your Bliss with Jacki Carr. Live in Sayulita a few months out of the year.
My best tip on self love:
JC: First things first, define what self love means to you. It is different for every single human being. Now, put it on the calendar. Seriously, schedule YOU in your own calendar and commit fully to that space/time/moment. This week, I have yin yoga, a reading date with myself and string cheese in the fridge for the off-the-calendar type of self love.
MBLR: Unlearn bad patterns of speaking to yourself and learn to speak to yourself from a space of compassion, spaciousness and ease.
When I truly love all of myself…
JC: That song Alicia Keys sings, “This Girl is on Fire.” That is my theme song when I am all in love of the Self.
MBLR: …everything is easy.
Right now, I am most excited about…
JC: …creating a future I and we love with my husband. Something about marriage has me really focused on our future, our family, our saving account, our ability to be present in the moment and our connection to one another. It feels exciting to get curious about love and all the possibilities, be it how we speak our goals, how we fuel our bodies, how we raise the dogs…all of it. I am all in and super stoked.
MBLR: …my family. And Rock Your Bliss.
My body is:
JC: HOME. A space to live in, listen to, learn from, connect deeper and show up to the World.
Three words to describe me:
JC: Confident. Connector. Vibrant.
MBLR: Creative. All heart.
JC: I belong, now. And now. And now.
MBLR: Happiness Equals Reality Minus Expectations.
Loved Jacki and MB’s answers to this one, so now I want to hear from you in the comments…
What is YOUR definition of “positivity?”
photo credits: Danielle Doby, Rock Your Bliss