Full Circle – What is a Full Circle Moment?

What is a Full Circle Moment?
Meaning exists, in the Eye of the Beholder.

Whether by coincidence or by providence, a profound life moment is uniquely personal.

What is a Full Circle Moment?

What is a Full Circle Moment? The answer can vary greatly because it depends on the person who experiences it. Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder, as they say. SHOW ME

There are many different words and phrases used in popular culture to describe it …

  • An Epiphany
  • To Come Full Circle
  • An Aha! Moment
  • A Revelation
  • A Defining Moment
  • A Catalyst

Each of these terms can have different meaning as well. That’s one of the great things about full circle moments. They are uniquely personal to each of us.

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For many, it is all about faith, providence, and divine inspiration. Others take a psychological point of view, accepting it as a natural progression of human growth. Some see it as merely a coincidental intersection of casual life events.

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Full Circle – A Definition

Eye of the Beholder - Full Circle - Definition
Epiphany. A sudden and striking realization of something.

Merriam-Webster describes full circle as;

a series of developments that lead back to the original source, position, or situation.

Collins says, “that after a long series of events or changes, the same situation that you started with still exists.

Idioms suggests, “If something has come full circle it is now exactly the same as it used to be, although there has been a long period of changes.

For example …

  • We’ve come full circle and dark-blue jeans are once again the height of style.
  • Her life has now turned full circle and she is back where she started, alone and miserable.

For me, a full circle moment is what happens when life provides a moment of clarity about something from the past. Understanding why a certain thing happened the way it did, or why I crossed paths with a certain person. I had no answers at the time, but finally found some meaning later in life.

Has this happened to you? I’m In Search Of stories like this. Please take a look at Inspire Me – TOM. It’s what inspired me to create Eye of the Beholder.

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The Origins

What are the origins of the phrase full circle?

Where did it come from?

It could be much older than you think.

Some contend that Shakespeare originated the expression in his 1606 work, King Lear (Act 5, Scene 3). In the play, the character Edmund describes how his own treachery against the king has come back around to confront him …

The wheel is come full circle. I am here.

Resembling something like karma, Edmund experienced a moment of fate as he faced the consequences of his actions.

Eye of the Beholder - Full Circle - Origins
Littell’s Living Age, 1868

An early known use of the phrase in modern literature is by Eliakim Littel.

Eliakim published Littell’s Living Age, a weekly literary periodical that was in print from 1844–1941.

It was a magazine comprised of selections from various British and American magazines and newspapers.

In Volume 103 from October-December 1869, Littel described his view of the evolution of literature since the 4th century BC, Herodotus and Thucydides

The wheel has gone its full circle, and we are again as we were in the infancy of literature and art.

Popular opinion today offers some credit to Oprah Winfrey as a source for the phrase, albeit slightly altered as an aha! moment. The reference can be found in various episodes of her television show and in many of her own published personal experiences.

Oprah Winfrey discusses how you can have an aha! moment.

In the final episode of the Oprah Winfrey show she describes how she started the show holding on to the personal shame of being sexually abused. In the 25 years of personal growth during the show she experienced a full circle moment and learned how to release that shame, emerging as a powerful inspiration for others to do the same.

When did you hear the phrase for the first time? Did it mean something personal to you?

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A Coincidence

Eye of the Beholder - Full Circle - Coincidence
A feather in the wind floats randomly, or does it?

Wikipedia describes a coincidence as, “A remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances that have no apparent causal connection with one another.

What makes a coincidence remarkable is that the events are not planned or arranged, but seems like they are.

An example would be a chance meeting with a co-worker at the mall, or spotting a neighbor on vacation at the same Florida beach. Depending on one’s perspective, this kind of casual event could evoke a minor response from the beholder, such as, “how about that?

This can certainly be true if the person doesn’t subscribe to the notion of providence or other deep meaning. With a shoulder shrug or a smirk of amusement, such an occurrence might seem like nothing more than a weird validation that it really is a small world after all.

Hollywood lore gives us Forrest Gump pondering the accidental on a breeze explanation of it.

Maybe it’s both, happening at the same time …

Have you ever experienced a strange coincidence that turned out to be something more?

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Full Circle – The Psychology

Eye of the Beholder - Full Circle - Psychology
The ripples of a full circle moment can last years, or a lifetime.

Full circle moments can offer profound, life impacting meaning to those who experience them.

Psychology Today explores the nature of the epiphany.

Elise Ballard observes, “It’s been very interesting to notice that every single person I’ve talked to, whether the person has spiritual beliefs or not, speaks of these kinds of moments with a sense of reverence.

This point of view seems to be one of introspection. The Inspire Conversation blog reminds us that, “When we take time to reflect on who we are, where we are, what we are doing and where we are going; we regain our center.

Eye of the Beholder - Full Circle - Psychology
Sometimes the most elusive information is knowledge of self.

For most of us, life events prompt us to evaluate our life journey within a specific context.

The context could be our career path, family life, a romantic relationship, or any number of human dynamics that we experience in our daily growth.

As a result, our perspective defines the context and its impact upon us.

It’s been said that every so often, we need to take stock of where we are, what we are doing, and see if it aligns with our true intent. I suspect Oprah did this. The view of her own self-worth over the 25-year history of her show was surely altered drastically. During those years her personal growth was realized in small steps along the way until one day she experienced that aha! moment, where she felt a profound shift in her own psychology. She realized the incredible value she could finally see in herself and how far she had come.

Eye of the Beholder - Full Circle - Psychology
Oprah makes her national television debut on September 9, 1986.
Eye of the Beholder - Full Circle - Psychology
Oprah waves goodbye during her final show on May 24, 2011.

Do you see your value? Psalm 139:13–14

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A Spiritual Meaning

Eye of the Beholder - Full Circle - Spiritual Meaning
Truth is illuminated in moments of epiphany.

Believing in a higher power that molds and shapes our journey through the life choices we make adds a spiritual layer of meaning to a full circle moment.

In most religions the ideas of destiny, fate, free will, and karma are among the core tenets of faith. Islam offers Qadar, meaning fate, or predestination. Hinduism emphasizes Karma, where the cause and effect of our deeds produce certain divine effects in our lives.

Eye of the Beholder - Full Circle - Spiritual Meaning
Truth can be discovered in the word, but life experience brings it full circle.

For Christians, there are many scriptural anchors for it. Here are a few common ones …

  • Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for good
  • Psalm 138:8, “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me
  • Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord

The Compelling Truth Newsletter tells us that that the word epiphany comes from a Greek word epiphainein, which means reveal. It’s an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure of a revealing scene or moment. God often uses such moments of illumination to bring people closer to the knowledge of Himself. This illumination, or epiphany, is one of the central aspects of Christianity, for without God’s intervention, none of us would see the truth.

What life moments has God used to reveal something to you? Ephesians 2:10

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So, what’s your point of view? Are you accidental on a breeze? Maybe you are deeply moved by faith? Have you landed somewhere in between? Do you agree this is a uniquely personal thing?

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I choose to take it by faith.

In short, I believe firmly in the underpinnings of Romans 8:28, that everything happens for a reason, even if I can’t explain it.

The idea of a meaningless coincidence rings hollow for me. I assert that even the smallest coincidence is not casual at all. People and circumstances come in and out of our lives, impacting our next step on the path of life for a divine purpose.

Full Circle Moment - Path of Life
Wonders await on the path of life. Psalm 16:11

Learning the reason why a certain thing happened may take years, or a lifetime. Sometimes we finish this life never finding the answer. Those are the things that shape us through life and in our faith.

It’s the journey, not the destination.


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Steve Coryell