Life Insights – Connecting as Friends – Austin TX


We 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, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and text messages, actually MEETING and talking to others is so important.   

The world would be a better place if
we all took more time to “love our neighbors”
so we are simply going about the business
of doing just that!

PURPOSE:  The primary purpose of the LifeInsights group is simply to offer a place where people can meet, share our life insights and hear the insights of others, not only from people within the group, but also people in the community who are making a positive difference in the world.

We are a place of Connecting – Community – Love

OUR ACTIVITIES:  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.  Ironically we have had to suspend all of our in-person meetings for the time being, and are using the Internet to stay connected through weekly video conferences.

All are invited. Always FREE to attend. 

RSVP:

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

Curious?


What’s Next:

Our Monday night sessions typically met at my studio at 11740 Jollyville Rd. Suite 400 Austin, TX unless stated otherwise (like dinner outings etc.)  BUT due to the current COVID-19  Crisis, we are not meeting at my studio for an indefinite period of time. We have gone ONLINE to meet using Zoom teleconferencing!  It is very easy to use from a desktop computer (Windows or Mac), notebook, iPad, smartphone, iPhone!  It is a great way to virtually connect with others!  Anyone is invited to join us.

Contact Kevin () if you’d like to participate and we’ll add you to our email group!  We send further instructions for connecting through Zoom on our email group. 

Monday March 30 7pm “Virtual Happy Hour” BYOB 😉
Online Virtual Meeting using Zoom
– Simply to connect with each other to share how we’re all making it through this crisis.
We will send info to our email group with the details on how to connect.  If you are not in our email group, but want to be, just let me know.

Monday April 6 7pm “Virtual Happy Hour” BYOB 😉
Online Virtual Meeting using Zoom
– Simply to connect with each other to share how we’re all making it through this crisis.
We will send info to our email group with the details on how to connect.  If you are not in our email group, but want to be, just let me know.

Monday April 13 7pm
Online Virtual Meeting using Zoom

Book Discussion: Wonder” by RJ Palacio
We will send info to our email group with the details on how to connect.  If you are not in our email group, but want to be, just let me know.
From Goodreads: “August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.”
**This book is written for children, but has a great message.
Even if you don’t have a chance to read, participate on the 13th anyway!   In addition to the book, there’s a movie! The movie “Wonder” is included on Amazon Prime Video if you’d like to watch the movie beforehand.

POSTPONED TO A LATER DATE
(to be determined)

Who’s My Neighbor . . . Who Am I? 
Career/Passions Share Time

As a way to get to know our group members better, we would like to take a day for sharing about our careers or passions. Each person will have approximately ten minutes to talk (depending on how many attends that night).  You can talk about your career, and how/why you ended up there, or you can talk about your passion/hobbies, and your growth journey there.  To get you started, here is a “cheat sheet” (click here) for you to think about what you might want to share. You do not have to fill this out; nor do you need to talk about everything on the form. This is just for you to organize your thoughts and to jog your memory of things you might mention. 

In addition to our Monday Night Meetings:
BREAKFAST ANYONE?
No agenda.  Just have breakfast. Talk.  Socialize.

Contact Kevin () if you’d like to join us in the future

Stay tuned… we have more activities in the works!

Once we have a better understanding of the impact of the COVID-19 Virus Pandemic, we will resume activities.  Keep in touch via social media and email in the mean time!


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 …

  • “I enjoyed listening and sharing our opinions about a particular book among the group. The group is very non-threatening, open, and kind.”
  • “I’ve enjoyed getting to know many new people through this group, through book or video discussions, field trips, and dinners. It’s a great group of kind people who can talk about their differing perspectives on a variety of topics.”
  • “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!”
  • “I’ve enjoyed getting to know many new people through this group, through book or video discussions, field trips, and dinners. It’s a great group of kind people who can talk about their differing perspectives on a variety of topics.”
  • “I’ve only been to two of them due to my travel schedule but enjoyed both the dinner and the discussion group.”
  • Experience new things! “Doug and I had never been to a drum circle before and had never heard of Community First Village. We enjoyed the lights and the movie there and enjoyed the drum circle too.”
  • “I have always enjoyed events when I have attended. The people have always been welcoming and open to all ideas. It is a great group of people.”

We had a fun time at our Drum Circle and Picnic Around a Campfire at South Wind Equestrian Center in Leander!

Our Dinner outing at CraigO’s Pizza and Pastaria
Next door to CraigO’s Pizza, we checked out Cinthya’s (member of our group) new location for Cinful Sweets (https://cinfulsweets.com/) under construction.  CAN’T WAIT FOR IT TO OPEN!!

Here are previous activities we’ve done:

  • Monday March 23 Online Virtual Meeting using Zoom – Simply to connect with each other to share how we’re all making it through this crisis.
  • MondayMarch 9th 7pm: Perspectives on Growing Up BLIND
    Guest Speaker: Ann Foxworth 
  • Monday March 2, 2020 6:30pm Dinner Outing!  CraigO’s Pizza and Pastaria 5501 Balcones Dr. in Austin http://craigositalian.com/Balcones/
  • February 3, 10, 17, 24  4  Book Discussion
    “The Road Back to You”  Led by licensed professional counselors Lisa Blackwood and Sherri Woodworth
  • Thursday February 6th 7am Breakfast at Kerbey Lane Cafe
  • Monday January 27th  7pm Documentary Watch Party
    With potluck food.  CBS News Story: “Photo Finish – Kodachrome” – National Geographic Documentary: “The Last Roll of Kodachrome”
  • Breakfast Get-Together Wednesday January 22nd 7am at Jim’s Restaurant.
  • Monday January 6th, 2020  Movie Night!  Kodachrome (the movie)
  • December 16, 2019 Guest Speaker David Dauber – Accessibility Specialist in the Civil Rights Department of the State of Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) in Austin, Texas. and co-producer, performer, writer and promoter of The Gene and Dave Show
  • Potluck Dinner and Guest Speaker Kaylee Lartigue
    Kaylee progressively lost her hearing as a young child but never let that hold her back.   She’s an activist advocating for the Deaf community. More info: Click Here
  • December 7th 2019 Community First! Village of Lights and Movie Night
  • December 2nd Happy Holidays Party!
  • Special Program –  We Are Not Broken – Volunteers Info Meeting
  • Guest Speaker Matt Freeman – Spiritual Director for Mobile Loaves & Fishes – Community First! Village
  • November 1st FUN EVENING – Drum Circle and Picnic Around Campfire at South Wind Equestrian Center in Leander
  • Dinner Outing:  Mandola’s Italian Kitchen, Cedar Park
  • Book Discussion: “Broken Open – How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow”  by Elizabeth Lesser
  • Guest Speaker: Deborah Cole, MSF, LUT
    Author of Forthcoming Book: “Letting Go: How Less Becomes More”
    Topic: “The Heart and Soul of Cuba: The People”
  • Guest Speaker: Nichola Cotto, Photographer and founder of an amazing organization:  We Are Not Broken
  • Guest Speaker: Bill Schoening, Radio Voice of the San Antonio Spurs helping make a positive impact on men incarcerated in Texas prisons.
  • Guest Speaker: Kelly Jones, founder of Unbridled Connection – Creating Connections Between Horses and Humans which supports military and first responders, and their families, by providing a safe, confidential, therapeutic environment that promotes healing through deeper connections and improved relationships.
  • Stories and photos from our Rocky Mountain Photography Workshop – Kevin Gourley
  • Documentary – Watch and Discuss
    Brene Brown: “The Call to Courage”
 
    (we watched it a 2nd time, it was so good!!)
  • 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“.

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