Life Insights – Connecting as Friends – Austin TX

Dear friends and followers of my blog,

I believe each of us can make such a difference in this world simply by taking the time to get to know more people around us, and sharing in this thing we call “life.”   Beyond social media, beyond Twitter and text messages, actually MEETING and talking to others is so important.  We do occasional book studies, sometimes watch an interesting video or TED talk and discuss, go out to dinner as a group, and invite interesting guest speakers who talk to us about ways they are making this world and community a better place.  All are invited. Always free to attend. 


Contact me () to let me know you’re coming!  You are welcome to bring a spouse/partner!  Anyone’s invited! 🙂

What’s Next:

All sessions below are at my studio at 11740 Jollyville Rd. Suite 400 Austin, TX

Typical meeting start time is 7pm or as posted.  Depending on the topic, we either end at 8:30pm or 9pm (never past 9pm).

Monday July 8th and 15th  Break
due to Summer  Rocky Mountain Workshops
Monday July 22 7pm  Video – Watch and Discuss
REPLAY of: “The Call to Courage” by Brene Brown (Netflix special)
We did this before but we liked it so much, we’re going to do it again!
Here’s the trailer for it on youtube:
Research professor and best-selling author Dr. Brené Brown challenges you to show up, step into the arena and answer the call to courage
Monday July 29 7pm
Break?  t.b.d.
Monday August 5th  7pm
(optional: Bring light snacks – finger food)
Guest Speaker
Kelly Jones, founder of Unbridled Connection – Creating Connections Between Horses and Humans
Unbridled Connection is an equine therapy 501(c) nonprofit organization that supports military and first responders, and their families, by providing a safe, confidential, therapeutic environment that promotes healing through deeper connections and improved relationships.
Monday August 12th  7pm
(Potluck dinner at 6:30pm.  Bring food if you can, but if you can’t, come anyway!)
Guest Speaker
Bill Schoening, Radio Voice of the San Antonio Spurs
Bill will talk to us about various ways he is choosing to make a difference in this world to make it a better place.   He has done some wonderful work with a remarkable faith-based group called Kairos that goes into prisons offering hope and forgiveness to inmates. Bill also is the guest speaker at the Youth Leadership Conference that one of our previous guest speakers, Darius Pettway, is organizing.
Monday August 19th Break
Monday August 26th 7pm
(Potluck dinner at 6:30pm.  Bring food if you can, but if you can’t, come anyway!)
Guest Speaker
Nichola Cotto,
Photographer and founder of an amazing organization: 
We Are Not Broken
This is a 501(c)3 charitable organization that provides photography for women and girls who have physical scars.

Shame and covering up, isolation, hiding, and feeling depressed. These are words that are often used in relation to scars, especially for women and girls. They have fought the ultimate battle of life and death and come out victorious. Yet all too often they find themselves in a mental and emotional battle because of the devastation left on the their body. Our mission is to change that. We want to encourage and enable women and girls to proudly show their battle scars by redefining beauty. If you have scars from some kind of abuse, cancer, life-saving surgery, combat, car accidents, or any other type of life or death situation, please contact us. These are your hard-earned victory marks and we want to give you a platform to show the world your true beauty. You are courageous, precious, victorious, and made for more! You are BEAUTIFUL.  MORE INFO

Monday  September 2nd Labor Day t.b.d.

Monday September 9 Dinner Outing!  Location t.b.d.

Monday September 16 Break – Fall Rocky Mountain Workshops
Monday September 23 Break – Fall Rocky Mountain Workshops
Monday September 30th, 7pm
(Potluck dinner at 6:30pm.  Bring food if you can, but if you can’t, come anyway!)

Guest Speaker Deborah Cole, MSF, LUT
Author of Forthcoming Book: “Letting Go: How Less Becomes More”

The Heart and Soul of Cuba: The People
Through occupation by foreign governments, revolution, communism, blockades and hardships, the Cuban people have survived. Their passion for life, love of home and family and incredible resilience have sustained them through it all. As they become more connected to the outside world through the internet they continue to retain all of the heartfelt values which make the people of Cuba an example for “loving what is” through heart and soul. As a street photographer I have had the privilege to interact with the Cuban people of Havana and the Oriente capturing the beauty of their faces and their everyday lives.

We are shifting this book discussion to a later date:
“Broken Open – How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow”
by Elizabeth Lesser
You can get it here on Amazon:
In the more than twenty-five years since she co-founded Omega Institute—now the world’s largest center for spiritual retreat and personal growth—Elizabeth Lesser has been an intimate witness to the ways in which people weather change and transition. In a beautifully crafted blend of moving stories, humorous insights, practical guidance, and personal memoir, she offers tools to help us make the choice we all face in times of challenge: Will we be broken down and defeated, or broken open and transformed? Lesser shares tales of ordinary people who have risen from the ashes of illness, divorce, loss of a job or a loved one—stronger, wiser, and more in touch with their purpose and passion. And she draws on the world’s great spiritual and psychological traditions to support us as we too learn to break open and blossom into who we were meant to be.

Want stay up-to-date with the group’s activities?
Send me an email () and I can add you to a new google group we set up to keep in touch with each other. .

What is this LifeInsights group all about?

I have opened up my photography studio as a place to connect with each other beyond “just photography” and get to know each other more and share in this experience we call “life.”

Community leaders (such as Austin’s Mayor Steve Adler) have been saying we should do more to get to know our neighbors, to connect with one another in the community, and engage in dialogue and friendship.  So I decided to do my part, and with the help of  friends, we started a book discussion group at my studio in NW Austin.  After our first book discussion, we enjoyed it so much we started talking about doing another book study, as well as going out to dinner as a group to celebrate completion of our first book study.

We have since done more book studies and discussions and plan to continue, mostly on Monday evenings (but not every Monday Evening)!  You can check our current schedule on this web page!

If you think you’d like to join us, just send me an email (and I can add you to a new google group we set up to keep in touch with each other. .

Our little group is called “LifeInsights” since that is what we are doing, exploring and sharing about meaningful life insights.

By the way, what does this have to do with photography?  I mean, I am doing this at my photography studio, so what’s the connection? Well, my studio just seemed like a good place as any to do this since it has a classroom space. But yes there is a connection to photography. The images we create are influenced tremendously by how we see the world around us. In fact how we see the world around us influences our photography way more than the particular make and model of camera we own.  So why not spend some time exploring meaningful insights about life?  It might just affect your photography, and you will likely make some new friends along the way. And if you are not a photographer, you are definitely welcome to join us also!

Interested?  Let’s talk.  🙂

Here’s what participants are saying they have enjoyed about the group:

  • “Meeting new people and being able to discuss things in a non-critical way.”
  • “Getting to know new people and sharing insights.”
  • “I’ve enjoyed meeting all these people. It’s fun getting to know and try to understand each person’s quest to learn and be involved with these very different books.”
  • “I have enjoyed the fellowship and connection with our group of ‘neighbors.’ I like hearing others’ points of view and gain more understanding of whatever we’re discussing. I look forward to visiting with this group of friends now, whatever the activity.”
  • “I really like everyone too.  They feel like family!”

Here are some previous activities we’ve done:

  • Dinner Outing:  Ike’s Love and Sandwich in Cedar Park
  • TED Talk Watch and Discuss: 
    “Say Your Truths and Seek Them in Others” – Elizabeth Lesser
  • “The Kindness Diaries”   We’ll watch an episode and discuss.
  • TED Talk Watch and Discuss 
    “What Makes a Good Life: Study on Happiness” Robert Waldinger
  • TED Talk Discussion with Fiona McInally
    “The Missing Connections in the Fight Against Poverty” 
  • Documentary – Watch and Discuss
    Brene Brown: “The Call to Courage”
  • “Meet the Author” Session and Potluck Dinner with Author Darius Pettway
  • Book Discussion of “A Chance To…” by Darius Pettway
    Darius is working to restore opportunity to young adults by providing them with tools of leadership, self-empowerment and conflict resolution. 
  • TED Talk Discussion Forum
    • “We Need to Talk About an Injustice” – Bryan Stevenson 
    • “My Stroke of Insight” – Jill Bolte Taylor 
  • Dinner at Nancy’s Sky Garden (Cedar Park)
  • Book Discussion: Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habitsby Gretchen Rubin
  • Dinner at Almarah Mediterranean Cuisine (620/Lake Creek Parkway)
  • Dinner at Kerbey Lane (Anderson Mill/183)
    6pm Monday December 3, 2018
  • TED Talks – Discussion Forum
    • Do Schools Kill Creativity? Sir Ken Robinson
    • Bring On the Learning Revolution Sir Ken Robinson
  • Book Discussion: The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life  by Erwin McManus
  • Documentary and Discussion: Finding Vivian Maier
  • TED Talks – Discussion Forum
    • The Power of Introverts – Susan Cain
    • The Surprising Science of Happiness – Dan Gilbert
    • Your Elusive Creative Genius – Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Book Discussion: “29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life” by Cami Walker
  • Dinner at Kerbey Lane
  • Book Discussion: The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are” by Brene Brown


And I was recently reflecting on my life as a photographer and instructor.  I am very grateful to know all of you.   Read my blog post to see my “Reflections of an Old Photographer“.


Kevin Gourley Photography Workshops, Austin, TX – Austin Photography Classes