Hi, I'm Ryan Fix!
The PUREPROJECT is a manifestation of my personal journeys and experiences in life. Several years back I began to identify this journey as my PUREFIX, which was a play on my last name and the notion that my happiness was directly related to the level of 'purity' that manifested in my being. In a sense, I could 'fix' myself by living a 'pure' life or could get my 'fix' through indulging in a 'pure' lifestyle. Through this lens of contemplation, I have ultimately come to define 'pure' as a state of being where 'we are all one.' Eventually I realized that I was already 'pure' or whole and it wasn't about 'fixing' anything, but rather, my happiness was defined by the choices I made about how I wanted to live my life. It seemed to me that happiness was not a destination or something to attain or obtain, but rather a decision or a state of being which exists within me (and all of us) and is always accessible by choice. But it also seemed that unearthing or tapping into this positive energy that is sourced within all of us often requires a significant level of presence and consciousness. I guess this is why so many philosophers and spiritual practices value the idea of 'being in the moment or the now.' For me, it seems like this is a key universal truth about life. While this idea seems to make perfect sense, it has been my experience in life that it’s increasingly more challenging for me to tap into this 'source energy' through becoming more present, aware, and ultimately conscious. My life had become so complex, painful and full of noise that I had built up a series of coping mechanisms that allowed me to disassociate and disconnect from my reality. It wasn't that my life was so bad. On the contrary, on the face of things, everything was quite shiny and rosy. At the time I was realizing all this, I had a pleasant life, loving partner, successful career, more money than I needed and professional recognition. Yet, I felt unfulfilled, and to some extent, I was unhappy. I kept asking myself, is this it? How am I going to find this happiness that I so much desired? I clearly was not finding it outside of myself. Eventually, I realized that I needed a purpose that gave meaning to my life. This is another profound truth that I have discovered in my life. That is, for me, life has no meaning except for the meaning that I choose to give to my life. But how was I to find this meaning? Clearly, I needed to tap deep into my being and essence to truly discover the meaning I wanted to give to my life. This is the beginning of the story about my PUREFIX.
It all started at Burning Man! If I couldn't find happiness in the 'real' world, maybe I would find it in the middle of the desert with a bunch of 'new-age hippies.' It actually starts a bit further back. As a kid, I always loved taking things apart, putting things back together, building things and generally making ideas happen. I grew up in an entrepreneurial environment, with my mother as my primary role model. I always admired her ability to rise above adversity to make things happen, with the driver being the well-being of her three children. Naturally, these feelings were not as clear then as they are now, but they were there. I guess I was a talented kid. While I had some challenges with school, I was a successful and aspiring Olympic gymnast. And by 5th grade, I had all the girl's attention! It was great! And then, in an instant, this all changed! By the end of 5th grade, I began to get massive migraine headaches and I could no longer keep a consistent attendance in class. Several doctors later, I was diagnosed with having a massive brain tumor. It didn't look good! At the time, this orange-sized tumor was sitting in an in-operable section of my brain. Lucky me, there were some experiments being done on the use of lasers to perform surgeries on the brain. While risky, this seemed to be my only shot. Going into this experimental surgery, my mom was told there was a significant chance that if I was to make it through the surgery, I would most likely not be able to swallow without the support of medical devices or move the left side of my body again. The doctor told my mom that she needed to explain this to me so I would be prepared for this potential outcome. While it was quite tough to see my mom so sad, I simply could not wrap my head around this potentiality. I was at the top of my game and I was going to the Olympics! This was the perceived reality that drove my thoughts. Well, to make a long story short, I never made it to the Olympics (yet), but I did defy adversity to awake from surgery with all of my bodily functions intact. After years of hard work, today I have nearly perfect health! I am convinced that it was my mental state going into surgery that was one of the driving factors that enabled me to rise above the odds and make a full recovery. I now had proof in my own life to support the notion of 'mind over matter.' This would become a driving principle that would define how I would move through my life.
Recovery was tough! I was 12, walked funny, looked cross-eyed, the works. Kids were mean. It wasn't easy being social, so I retreated into myself and limited those that would get close to me. I did a lot of reflecting. While I was young, I felt very grown up and was contemplating some serious stuff. My mom had a significant role in all of this, as we had very mature conversations from a very young age. In all of my thoughts, something interesting happened. While I did have some natural anger and frustration, I felt very fortunate and ultimately, I began to develop a huge compassion towards all those 'mean' kids. This led to a greater compassion for all people. This is where it all seemed to come together. By around the age of 14 I had decided what I was going to do with my life. I was going to be an investor! Not because I cared a bit about money, but because I wanted to put my skills to use helping all those around me achieve their dreams. It was clear that this was my 'calling.' But I needed to make a bunch of cash, and fast, so I could fulfill my dream. Well, this decision came to define the next 15 years of my life. It was set. I would make a bunch of money, retire young, and then get on with helping others make their dreams a reality. I ended up going to American University to study International Relations and Diplomacy. I was really interested in what led to international conflicts and resolutions. While I didn't quite understand my feelings at the time, it seemed perplexing that if 'we are all one,' why would humanity go to such effort to hurt one another. While my studies had a profound impact on refining my commitment to helping others, it became increasingly clear to me that while my passion for helping others might be supported by the role of government, the change that I wanted to create in the world would have to originate outside of the walls of government. I needed to make some money! So, I went to where money was 'made;' Wall Street. Well, that didn't last long! Money can provide for some really wonderful things, but I learned quickly that it can also be the source of a lot of evil. Money still on my mind, I moved on to the next most lucrative career in NYC; Real Estate. While I got to meet some really lovely (and interesting) people and see some truly amazing apartments, I was again faced with the dark-side of money. After a short interlude in the dot-com start-up world, I decided to start a Real Estate company with some friends. I figured I could create my own rules about how I would interact in this crazy world of NYC Real Estate, help people find homes, and make some money along the way. I was at the top of my game, yet I remained unfulfilled. After multiple short-lived, albeit successful, careers it was clear that something had to give. It was time to get on with my dreams. So I did what any rational person would do; I went to Burning Man!
I was lost! I needed some inspiration to tap back into my life's purpose. I had some big ideas, but I had no plan. In Burning Man, I found an environment and community that exerted what seemed like limitless creativity. For me, Burning Man is a place that operates outside of a context of fear and scarcity that seems to dominate our world. Operating from a space of optimism, abundance and hyper-creativity, Burning Man provided me with the catalyst to physically and emotionally explore these concepts that at the time I only understood intellectually. Without knowing it, I was thrown into a spiritual journey that enabled me to feel and express what I have come to know as universal truths about life and humanity. Time and time again I realized that creativity was the driver for this process. By tapping into my own creative process and flow, I was able to establish a connection with deeper levels of consciousness that allowed me to explore these universal truths from a place of feeling verses a place of thinking. Through this connection and consciousness, I was able to tap into my deep compassion for humanity and all forms of life. Previous mental constructs around ideas of 'oneness' began to take on a more intimate and personal meaning based in an emotional intelligence. It became profoundly clear that tapping into one's creative flow was one of the most powerful access points into these deepened (or heightened) levels of consciousness. I became fascinated with this idea. I firmly believe that all humans are creative beings. As Sir Ken Robinson says, 'we are educating people out of their creativity.' While it may manifest differently in each of us, all humans have a capacity to tap into their own creativity. For me, I define creativity as the process of having original ideas that have value.
This was no longer about me and my PUREFIX! Once I was able to tap into this emotional intelligence to fully sense the meaning of these universal truths about humanity, I was determined to create environments where others could tap into these truths for themselves. My world was officially turned upside down. My previous life and reality was no longer comfortable or familiar to me. I knew now was the time to take action. While I didn't have a big bank account to start investing in others, I had some great experiences and skills that provided me with a base to explore these ideas further. I decided to sell my interest in the Real Estate company we had created to my partners and move away from NYC to build a plan. After four months of meditation and yoga interwoven with copious amounts of contemplation and writing, I decided to return to NYC to implement my ideas. I was interested in creating spaces and platforms for others to tap into their own creative flow. As I had experienced for myself, I was confident that this idea had huge potential to transform humanity. I figured that if through the creative process one could tap into the feeling of 'oneness,' our relationship to all life and humanity itself would transform to emanate from a place of compassion.
The PUREPROJECT was born! I owe the name to the incredibly talented design thinker Emilie Baltz, who nailed the idea upon telling my story. The PUREPROJECT was intended to be a platform to support any project which used creativity to promote a common good in the world. As I had no formal experience to support others, the only way I knew to get started was to engage others to start building some of our own projects that fulfilled this mission. The idea was that this would provide a vehicle by which I could better understand how I could help others, create a beacon by which to attract other projects, and to become financially sustainable so that I could begin supporting others with their projects.
My plan worked better than expected! Within no time at all, I was being contacted by all kinds of people asking if I might be able to help them with their 'pure projects.' What was interesting here was that I had never thought of a 'pure project' as a kind of project, but rather as the name of the organization. I began to contemplate what it meant to be a 'pure project.' While this remains an evolving concept, I developed a series of principles that might be embodied in a 'pure project.' Simply put, a 'pure project' uses creativity to promote a common good in the world. Since January 2007, I have supported others in the incubation and activation of countless 'pure projects.' This work as been a true gift and has enriched my life tremendously. As I move deeper into this work, it has become increasingly clear that there is a massive demand for support of these kinds of projects. There is a huge opportunity to support the connection between people, projects, and resources that promote a common good in the world. For the past several years, I have done significant research by navigating the landscape around these ideas. More than ever before, I believe mankind is at a place in our evolution where more and more people resonate with these values and are committed to supporting efforts that promote a common good in the world.
I am committed to supporting a world of PUREPROJECTS. To do this, I will support the creation of PURE spaces where we are all one. These spaces may manifest online, through events, physical locations and beyond. Through nurturing an environment based in the spirit of 'oneness,' these interconnected PURE spaces will support the connection between people, projects and resources that promote a common good in the world. We will develop, nurture and support a PURECOMMUNITY of individuals and organizations that operate from a place of 'oneness' and seek to support a world of PUREPROJECTS. This community will connect with one another via the various PURE spaces online and in the physical world.
So, what's your PUREPROJECT?
Time to get PURE!
And here is a interview summarizing above...