Andrew Keegan and his “Full Circle” to Enlightenment
In a world filled with hate, inequality and violence, peace seems like a distant future. And though society may still reject the idea of a communal “oneness” among all humans, there are global communities promoting peace and love everyday. At the heart of Los Angeles’ legendary Venice Beach is a group of kindred spirits on a mission to build a new framework for their community. And it wouldn’t be LA, if the torchbearer himself weren’t a recognizable actor. Andrew Keegan, 35, has urbanized his wisdom with Full Circle Venice.
While many may remember Andrew as “Joey ‘Eat Me’ Donner” from 90s flick 10 Things I Hate About You, he’s made a full transformation to devote his life to a movement he values as more authentic and meaningful than the life of fame and fortune Hollywood has to offer.
The Dawn of Full Circle Venice
Full Circle Venice is a non-discriminatory, non-profit community-based center that offers people a space to expand social relations with other members of their community as well as develop their own ideas on spirituality.
Vice Media recently depicted Full Circle as a type of religious cult, but Andrew assures MiLLENNiAL “there’s a much more genuine story than what’s been put out there so far.” Instead of providing lists of ways people should act, Full Circle is focused on cultivating culture in Venice Beach and doing productive activities as community-shared experiences.
Andrew gets right to the point: “Everybody’s been talking about peace. Well, that requires actual work.” And a lot of it. Fortunately, Full Circle has a congregation of people who are willing to put forth that work. The movement has already seen a significant amount of progress since the team first officially came together this year on May 28th. In just five months, Full Circle Venice has blossomed into a vibrant reality.
The center offers yoga, meditation, and dance classes as well as live music events, community cleanses and more. For a start up organization to make such progress in such a small amount of time, Andrew asserts, “This project is no joke. We’re just doing what we care about and we’re happy to be doing it.”
Born From The Counterculture Movement
Full Circle was originally founded in Ojai, CA by Robert Goddard during his quest for enlightenment in the late 1960s. In 1980, Goddard partnered with like-minded individuals and formally established the community known today as Full Circle Farm.
Goddard’s intention was to “make energetic progress” and gain a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of all living things. Earlier this year, Goddard’s son, Gunnar, came together with Andrew to form the peaceful community center that is Full Circle Venice.
The Vision Behind the Actor
Andrew Keegan put into perspective that the goal of Full Circle Venice is not to be the biggest, most sought-after spiritual community. Rather, Full Circle simply understands the importance of having a sacred space available for people without dogma.
“It’s important to meditate. It’s important to be in a good state of peace within,” Andrew says. However, it’s also essential to see the bigger picture behind these positive ways of life. Thus, Andrew highlights the importance of “doing something beautiful every moment. If we all took the time to actually consider our footprints in this life — whether it is physical, emotional, or spiritual — everything matters. That’s the kind of time that we live in.” We must work toward implementing positive changes to our own characters in order to progress. Actions like donating to charity become much less meaningful if a genuine level of understanding, empathy and good intent are lacking.
Andrew started realizing his philosophies on spirituality after his first juice cleanse 10 years ago. Once he experienced the detoxification process, his life moved in a much more conscientious direction. “There’s two ways to live life: in a place of fear…or live in a place of love,” he adds. The Full Circle community bases its decisions and life practices from a place of loving one another and loving the environment. Andrew emphasizes, “we must allow ourselves to see a more beautiful world in these tumultuous times.”
It seems that humans have lost sight of humanity. We live in a society where it’s out of the ordinary to turn on the news without hearing the media cover another story about war or violence. Constantly hearing these reports of man versus man almost seems ridiculous when Andrew brings us back to the realization that “it’s just one universe and one gigantic experience.”
A notable signifier of Andrew Keegan is his innate character embedded in the way he signs his name: “In Service.” Andrew explains, “‘In Service’ is a check of the ego. We can be in service of anything or anyone…we are here to push this vision forward and we’re willing to do anything.”
Although Andrew is offering his own services for nothing in return, he refuses to let the support and effort of others go unnoticed. He is appreciative of “everybody that’s opened up and believes in this, and everyone who has shared their time and energy volunteering or committing to the organization.” Without the willingness of others to get involved in communities like Full Circle Venice, the journey toward a more loving and peaceful world would be much more out of reach.
Since Full Circle Venice is such a new project, Goddard says, “We really view this as an open conversation and experiment.” Full Circle motivates people to explore the frontiers of their own lives through various types of events and educational programs. “If we can help someone connect to a higher purpose in their life, that’s a successful result for us.”
A simple vision of peace, acceptance and happiness may seem far-reaching for some. But for others like Andrew Keegan, Robert Goddard, and the Full Circle community, it’s a very tangible feat. Consider the ways in which you, too, can be “in service” to your communities at large. You might just be surprised to see what comes from it.
Kelly Tatera is an aspiring journalist at Syracuse University who dreams that one day her writing will shed light upon the injustice that occurs worldwide every day. Kelly grew up in various European countries, which she strongly believes contributed to her worldly outlook on life. It also helped her develop decent fluency in French, which she loves to speak to her friends because they have no idea what she’s saying. Her tips for success are: travel as much as you can, respect cultural differences, venture outside of the tourist traps, keep a Dream Journal, become a documentary buff, and always save room for dessert.