Life Insights – Connecting as Friends – Austin TX

LifeInsights is a place of:  Connecting – Community – Love

Want to know more about our LifeInsights Group?
Otherwise, read on to learn about what’s coming next.
This isn’t a photography class. This is about LIFE and it’s FREE!

All are invited. Always FREE to attend. 

Is the uncertainty and stress of this pandemic getting to you?


Contact me () if you’d like to be added to our email group so you can keep up-to-date with future activities and know how to connect to our Zoom sessions.

NEW – Recipe Sharing!

We just started something new! Recipe Sharing!
Share some of your favorite recipes! Then we challenge others in the group to MAKE the recipe and post your results and send a photo!
Click here to scroll down to the Recipe Sharing section.

— What’s Next —

Monday September 28, 2020 7pm CDT
Topic: Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator – Tim Urban

TED TALK video watch party and discussion via Zoom video conferencing.
Viewed more than 41 million times online, this is one of the funniest TED talks of all time. Tim Urban knows that procrastination doesn’t make sense, but he’s never been able to shake his habit of waiting until the last minute to get things done. In this hilarious and insightful talk, Urban takes us on a journey through YouTube binges, Wikipedia rabbit holes and bouts of staring out the window — and encourages us to think harder about what we’re really procrastinating on, before we run out of time.

Contact Kevin () to get the link to the Zoom session.

Monday October 5, 2020 7:00pm
Topic: Life Recovery
Guest Speaker Ellen Mainiero
and others via Zoom video conferencing

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How are you coping with everything happening in our world today?
Are you finding that spending so much time at home, being isolated from family, friends, and the work environment, is making you feel stressed? Are your relationships suffering? Are you feeling depressed? Anxious? Out-of-control?
Are you turning to unhealthy ways of coping? Maybe instead of one drink, you have 3 or 4, or maybe you’re spending hours and hours at your computer, on social media, playing games, shopping… maybe even visiting websites that you don’t want anyone to know about?
We live in a broken world, and many of us have developed coping strategies that have led to dependencies and addictions, such as alcohol, drugs, nicotine, food/overeating, shopping, social media, gaming, gambling, codependency, pornography…the list goes on. And we can experience anxiety, depression, anger, and fear as well. These things, relationships and coping strategies we turn to for relief from life’s pain and brokenness may help us feel good for a short time, but won’t satisfy in the long run or help us to live our best life.

Recovery groups can provide community, guidance and support in dealing with these dependencies and addictions. For more information about recovery, either for yourself, someone you love, or just for general knowledge, please join us for a Zoom discussion . We’ll share more about what recovery is, give a bit of its history, and touch on a few of the 200+ secular and faith-based programs available today. You will also have an opportunity to hear stories and experiences from a few who have been through a recovery program. We look forward to having you join us…

Contact Kevin () to get the link to the Zoom session.

About LifeInsights

Welcome!  Our LifeInsights group is something we started in 2018 with the vision that we can make our world a better place if we intentionally take a little time to get to know more people around us, and sharing in this thing we call “life.”

Sometimes social media these days is trending to be quite anti-social, often fostering polarization and discord.   That is not what the world needs right now.  We don’t need more polarization.  So we started this group called LifeInsights as a place where anyone can join us as we explore insights about life, learn together, share our own perspectives, listen to others’ perspectives, hear from people whose life experiences are different from our own, while doing so in a place where we agree to honor mutual respect of one another.

In a sense, our goal is simply to love our neighbors. 
Our “neighbors” are the people we encounter in our life, the people next door, the people in our city, our coworkers, our friends, and this includes the people who may or may not be like us at all.  What a world this would be if we could all do more to love our neighbors.  We are trying to do our part, at least in a small way.

We initially started out meeting in person at my business, a photography studio in NW Austin.  We started with a book study of The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. From there, we decided to continue with more book discussions, and then we expanded our activities to include watch parties for TED Talks and documentaries followed by discussion time, and then we started also inviting a wide range of fascinating guest speakers including people who are striving to make our community better in some way, or are sharing from their life experiences with various disabilities and challenges.  We also occasionally hosted pot luck dinners or outings to area restaurants and occasional breakfast get-togethers.

When this COVID-19 crisis turned our world upside down, we didn’t let that stop us!  We switched to doing online meetings using Zoom video conferencing, just scheduling programs week to week.

By the way, what does this have to do with photography?  I mean, we are 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 (even though, for the time being, we are only meeting online).  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!  This group is for anyone / everyone!

Interested?  Let’s talk.  🙂

Here’s what participants are saying …

  • “Thank you for continuing to facilitate the LifeInsights group. Scheduling, setting up topics, speakers, communicating with members, etc. in a regular setting takes a lot of effort but during a pandemic it is extraordinary. I’ve enjoyed every meeting/class both in person and virtual.”
  • “The discussion last night about the powerful TED talk was great.”
  • “What you do ABSOLUTELY makes a difference! You provide a safe space for us to have a courageous conversation about race in America. And not only race, but other issues as well that stimulate and challenges our way of thinking about ourselves, each other and the world. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a place to go and voice their thoughts out loud in a safe place.”
  • “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.”
  • “I have loved 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.”

Here was our first group when we started this at my studio:

We have done a bunch of different book studies:

… and a wide range of TED Talk “watch parties” and discussions

… and discussions about various documentaries

We have had some absolutely wonderful guest speakers:

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

We’ve eaten together, pot lucks, dinner outings to area restaurants

We had a fantastic study of the book “The Road Back to You” led by two licensed professional counselors,
Lisa Blackwood and Sherri Woodworth.

Here are more details about our previous activities:

  • Monday September 21, 2020 – BREAK – No class!
  • Monday September 14, 2020 7:00pm Topic: Surprising Lessons in Facing Rejection – Youtube Video Discussion
  • Monday August 31, 2020 7:00pm Virtual Happy Hour
  • Monday August 24, 2020 7:00pm Well-Being During COVID-19
  • Monday August 10th and 17th, 2020 – BREAK – No class!
  • Monday August 3, 2020 7pm CDT Watch Party
    “The Truth About the Confederacy in the United States” – Jeffery Robinson Video Discussion regarding this YouTube Talk: (click here)
  • Monday July 27th, 2020 7pm CDT – Watch Party TED Talk
    To This Day … for the bullied and the beautiful” – Shane Koyczan
  • Monday July 20th 7pm MORE Thought Provoking Questions – Open Discussion
  • Monday July 13th 7pm Thought Provoking Questions – Open Discussion – An Informal Discussion – Just a time to get together and pick a couple of questions from this website and discuss.
  • Monday July 6th TED Talk Discussion “Why I, as a black man, attend KKK rallies” – Daryl Davis
  • Monday June 22nd 7pm CDT – Book Discussion
    Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens.
  • June 20, 2020 “A Conversation of Understanding – Race Relations in America” – A special video conference we collaborated to put together with Darius Pettway (
    If you missed out, we recorded it! You can view it here!
  • June 8, 2020 8pm Just Mercy – Movie Watch and Discussion
    A powerful and thought-provoking true story following lawyer Bryan Stevenson and his history-making battle for justice against racial prejudice and oppression.
  • Monday June 1, 2020 7pm Online Happy Hour
  • Monday May 18, 2020 7pm
    Online TED Talk Watch Party
    “The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage” by Susan David
  • Monday May 11, 2020  7pm
    Online Brené Brown Talk Watch Party
    “Why Your Critics Aren’t The Ones Who Count”
  • Monday April 27, 2020  7pm
    Online TED Talk Watch Party
    “How the Worst Moments in Our Lives Make Us Who We Are”
    by Andrew Solomon
  • Monday April 20, 2020 7pm
    Online Virtual Meeting using ZoomWho’s My Neighbor . . . Who Am I? 
    Career/Passions Share Time
  • Monday April 13, 2020 7pm
    Online Virtual Meeting using Zoom
    Book Discussion: “Wonder” by RJ Palacio
  • Monday April 6, 2020 7pm “Virtual Happy Hour” BYOB 😉
    Online Virtual Meeting using Zoom
  • Monday March 30, 2020 7pm “Virtual Happy Hour” BYOB 😉
    Online Virtual Meeting using Zoom
  • Monday March 23, 2020 Online Virtual Meeting using Zoom – Simply to connect with each other to share how we’re all making it through this crisis.
  • Monday March 9th, 2020 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
  • February 3, 10, 17, 24  4, 2020  Book Discussion
    “The Road Back to You”  Led by licensed professional counselors Lisa Blackwood and Sherri Woodworth
  • Thursday February 6th, 2020 7am Breakfast at Kerbey Lane Cafe
  • Monday January 27th, 2020  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, 2020 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

LifeInsights Recipe Sharing!

Share some of your favorite recipes! Then we challenge others in the group to MAKE the recipe and post your results and send a photo!

“If we focus our attention on what we have lost, we lose sight of what we have, and in doing so, we have lost even more.”

Kevin Gourley


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