On the Line with Andrew Keegan

Though he originally made a name for himself in the entertainment industry, Andrew Keegan’s main focus these days is Full Circle Venice. The official website describes Full Circle as “an open source spiritual community center that offers regular yoga and growth-oriented workshops”. Founded in 2014, it is housed in a one hundred and ten year old temple. People of all beliefs and backgrounds are welcome to come and reach their true potential. Keegan is proud of what he has done so far and is excited to move forward with the development of Full Circle through embracing innovation, enlightenment and creativity. We had a very uplifting discussion about Full Circle, the power of music, being around Heath Ledger and Zach Braff, breaking ground through film and more.

What has been going on throughout the month of October over at Full Circle?

The month of October’s dinner been our busiest month so far. We actually did two of our first weddings. We had a really beautiful ceremony for an activist celebrity who is having and dealing with terminal illness and so they’re just taking the opportunity to celebrate life with friends and family. That was so amazing. The music that we have happening, which we like to refer to as spirit music, has been a big component to our events and even crossing over to some more of the ceremonial type of events. Some of the artists we worked with in the past are Nahko Bear, Trevor Hall, Samuel J and Ryan Whitewolf. We did a Cacao Ceremony, which is a sacred chocolate that they brought in. Suns of the Earth were the performers that night. It’s kind of all over the place, if you haven’t picked up on yet. We do literally every kind of event that we feel is sacred.

How does music help shape the whole experience at Full Circle?

We really believe in the importance of sound and how healing it is. It’s really the great communicative transmitter, whether it’s positive or negative. We use sound in many ways. Sound is actually being done in a healing way; we happen to have a combination event of meditation and sound healing called Future Self Meditation. That is paired up with one of our premier sound healers who goes by the name of Torkom. It is essentially looking into the future at where you see yourself being in a year from now and working through the obstacles that prevent you from being there. It’s really taking the opportunity to have that vision and then really infusing it with the sound. He works with four hundred and thirty two hertz frequency, it’s the frequency of healing. Between the two of those, it’s amazing. One of the really interesting things about the event is that in Back to the Future, the date in the future is actually October 21, 2015. We find it pretty synchronistic that we would have a future medication landing on that very date. It’s a lot of things like that that happen in the space, very synchronistic connectedness between everybody that either works here or comes through the space. Everybody’s super fascinated with how well things do work.

Where do you see yourself one year from now with all that you’re doing?

We have quite a few things that are circulating. We really have been able to start to focus on our community initiatives. We really feel it’s important to function at a level of influence. I have been referring to it more recently as recognizing systems exist, it’s just a question of how they are being directed and whether or not they have a connection to the spirit. As humans, we are all very enspirited and I think we recognize organizations are lacking in that area. It’s all about the bottom line with money. For us, it’s about the triple bottom line. It has to be in balance. A year from now, I see us focusing on some of the things that we started now. We’re working in some capacities with other larger organizations in an effort to support them and the people that work in the organizations. That’s something that’s just about to be contracted and that’s one department. We just recently worked with the Westside Coalition, they represent sixty different agencies that deal with homelessness in our area and the greater L.A. area. We hosted a dinner just a few weeks ago. There’s actually a breakfast that’s being hosted by our councilman, Councilman Bonin. It is called the Celebrating Success Breakfast. The idea is really inspiring and encouraging for the solution. That’s really what we align with here, focusing on the solution. In this particular fundraiser, these are twenty five previously homeless folks that have persevered through bad experience and were matched up with agencies. The agencies nominated them and now they are living successful lives off the streets. And that’s really what we have been most focused on here. We have had a couple very serious incidents this year, three different specific shootings in which homeless people were lost. It really was close to home for us. One was literally on our street and another was maybe just a couple blocks away. We believe in the preservation of life. There’s many issues around it, but we really want to get to the core. We look to help people and inspire people to get to a place in life where they’re safe and comfortable. That’s really what we’re focusing on.

I’ve seen through photos and videos that people from all different walks of life, young and old, are present at Full Circle. How do you view the importance of “come as you are”?

There is a general idea of being present and being who you are. I think we have an utmost respect for our space and we do encourage people to come within a place of love. We have experienced it long enough now to know that the space itself has an effect on people to be their better versions. We do deal with every kind of personality and every kind of an experience. As far as the idea of welcoming people, we’re open to the experience of being an available resource for people to have a meditation experience, we have yoga, we have educational workshops. We do a lot of different programming and we see a lot of different people, depending on the program.

Is the vision to make everyone feel that they are on the same level and that nobody is above anyone else?

We really follow the Co-Creator’s Handbook, which is about that. That’s the significance of the circle. Everybody has a talent and skill and so it’s just a question of where it fits. I think as a developing organization, there’s some realities for what it takes to function and that just comes into our own particular experience and design. We’re providing experiences and education for people who come in. The key things are authenticity, balance and being really centered in a place of love. And making decisions from a place of love. To me, it’s the idea that people are in their heads and they need to be in their hearts. That is the message of the shift, acknowledge the love within and be in the space as much as you can. Thoughts and ideas are in your head and I think in balance is what people struggle with.

When walking around Venice, what do you take out of people watching?

We do live in the homeless capital of the world and we have a lot of people that are struggling. It goes back to mental health and a chemically altered state of mind, so there are some occasional really out there kind of characters. (laughs) But as far as the movers and shakers in our community, there’s a lot of tech companies that have moved in. Venice really does provide a breeding ground for everybody.

Outside of Full Circle, how has music been there for you and helped to shape you?

I certainly always steer towards things that are inspiring. In more recent years, Nahko Bear and Trevor Hall. It also crosses over a little bit. I think what I’ve come to discover is just the way that music really does have a profound effect on your experience in life. That’s why all the movies are so good if the soundtrack’s good. My musical tastes are across the board. But if it’s good, it’s good. That’s my take on it. People always find a lot of identity in the kind of music that they listen to, that can clearly be seen a lot. I can go from a rock concert to a metal concert to a rap concert. Spirit music is what we do the most here. To me, that feels the best. That’d be my preference. I experience how much of a role this music has played in my life all the time. It’s really literally healing; you literally feel better. To me, that is valuable time spent. It’s an important acknowledgment for people, whatever you’re listening to is directly having an effect on your experience. If you’re listening to somebody singing rap and doing whatever about guns, violence, this or that, it’s gonna permeate your experience and you may perhaps find yourself being affected by it. I think it’s important to really consider what you’re taking in.

I wanted to briefly touch on your acting career, but also tie in with everything that we’ve been talking about. You worked with a bunch of actors and actresses and there has the potential to be this aura, a vibe, when you meet a particular person and work with them. That tends to lead to a bond on and off set that cannot be broken. Did you feel that way around the late Heath Ledger?

Heath was magical. Anybody that you speak to who knew him would say the same thing. In hindsight, you kind of understand the story. He really was just an out of this world person, he could do anything. Musically, he was talented. Obviously talented as an actor. I remember he was making t-shirts, he was making other films, just such a creator. That spirit was inspiring in a lot of ways. I did a play some years back and it wasn’t too long after he passed. It was a great part of my influence do it, to break that limitation of being on stage during that particular period of time because it was so close to the tragic loss. He’s still a spirit and he’s still with us in a sense. It depends on what everyone believes in, but that’s what we believe. It was really profound to have had such time with him over the years. After we shot 10 Things, we spent a lot of time together. That was a really awesome experience.

Shortly following 10 Things I Hate About You, you had a role in The Broken Hearts Club. Judging from the way you’ve spoken about it in the past, you seem to be very proud of that experience. It was certainly different from the role you took on in 10 Things I Hate About You. What did that all mean to you?

There’s clearly different kinds of movies, 10 Things is a comedy based on Shakespeare. In that category, there’s very few movies that can really compare. What was unique about The Broken Hearts Club was this was a personal story, obviously still comedy, but there’s more drama elements. Levity’s always important in a film. And it was a personal story for Greg Berlanti and his coming out. And coming out at that time, to make it a movie when the culture wasn’t really there yet. It was in those communities, but we’ve really come a long way since then. I took in the experience of working with Greg and really being able to understand, on a very deep and emotional level, what that was like. And as an actor, I was able to stretch into an area that was very uncomfortable. I’m a straight man and I was playing a character that is obviously not. (laughs) I got to be a part of a pivotal movie, especially with seeing what’s happening now with the recent Supreme Court decision. Beyond the movie, it’s like being part of a movement. I’m so honored that I had that experience. The actors who were in the film were just so great to work with and now to see where they’re at with their success, it’s a really great experience.

So Zach Braff was one of your co-stars in the film and the year following the film’s release, he started his role on Scrubs. That was undoubtedly a massive success for him. But prior to all that, do you have any particular memories from working with him?

There was a period of time after the film that he was not working much. I remember seeing him working at a restaurant. He ended up having great success on the show and as a filmmaker. Just another super creative guy. It’s always nice to know when good people are able to find the path in this business because like I said, many talented people are working at restaurants and they are very capable actors and creators. It’s a challenging business, there’s nothing like working in the entertainment business. I’m happy that I got to work with him early on.

Before we wrap up, I have to ask the almighty question. What is the meaning of life?

I think that we are very clearly humans here and it’s how we can get as close to center. In the center, there’s love. It’s what keeps us all going. That’s what we all strive for and it’s what movies are made about. And there’s obviously the golden rule concept. The meaning of life is being happy and being good to one another. I think we’ve got a great opportunity in these times to really define what our culture is going towards. I think there’s a millenial movement, it’s beginning and merging. It really has the great ability to do something that no other generation has. That’s really what we feel most compelled to support, the young people who have a great challenge and what’s been presented to them. You should be able to be good with yourself and get into a good space. Then you can go after the world and do good things.

In closing, what does the recent future hold for Full Circle?

One of the things that we have been dealing with, we’ve had a really hard time with some of the media. We’ve most recently had to take a stand. I personally have had to deal with a lot of negative press. We just decided to be proactive and we are stepping into a litigation. The real issue is the damages that are done when things are said that are not appropriate or true. We’re really taking that position and it’s an added element to everything else that we’re doing, but it’s important. There have been some really unfortunate effects that cause damage not only to myself, but the organization of course and other people that are in our community. It was a very difficult process to step into, but what we’re looking at is a great opportunity to see that there’s a solution in all of it. I think we really consent that people want good, healthy information. They don’t want inaccurate information or systems that just prey on public figures. That’s what has been happening on some levels with the media. That’s a big undertaking that we’re just stepping into. Really what is most important to us, of course, is providing a space to the community. That’s ceremonies, music events, educational workshops. It’s a space where people can come and be their most loving selves. That is what we’ll be doing all throughout the next year and for years to come.

I am hoping that things will work out for the best for you and Full Circle. I would love to thank you so much for your time and for filling me in on everything.

Absolutely! Thank you for your time.

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Official Website for Andrew Keegan
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Photo Credit: Amir Magal

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