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Soul Friends
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About the Author

Stephen Cope is the Senior Scholar-in-Residence at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He is a Western-trained psychotherapist who writes and teaches about the relationship between Western psychological paradigms and the Eastern contemplative traditions, and is the best-selling author of such books as The Great Work of Your Life and Yoga and the Quest for the True Self. Stephen holds degrees from Amherst College and Boston College. He completed graduate and postgraduate training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy in the Boston area, where he practiced for many years before joining the staff at Kripalu. In its 25th anniversary edition, Yoga Journal named him one of the most important innovators in the developing field of American yoga. He lives in Albany, New York.

Reviews

"Soul Friends grabbed me from the very first sentence. I couldn't put it down. I wanted to devour it in one sitting. Not only is it beautifully written in a way that nourishes the soul, it is also historically fascinating. You don't want to miss this one."
-- Christiane Northrup, M.D., New York Times best-selling author of Goddesses Never Age and Making Life Easy

"Stephen Cope's Soul Friends is destined to be a classic. It is a beautiful and moving examination of the rich possibilities of deep friendship that are right under our noses--possibilities which we all too seldom see or mine fully. Cope makes us want to risk making real, intentional human connections--and makes us long to celebrate them, and to allow them to transform us into fully-conscious and fully-alive human beings."
-- Geneen Roth, New York Times best-selling author of Women, Food and God and Lost and Found "Lovingly crafted, deep, richly engaging, and wise, Soul Friends is a beautiful work. It will inspire your friendships, expand your understanding, and uplift your heart."
-- Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart "For centuries, writers interested in the soul have reflected on friendship as the foundation of all love. Stephen Cope's contribution is penetrating, subtle, and beautiful. He tells his own extended stories and those of remarkable people who have found meaning in friendship. He sorts out what it means to be a friend and presents his rich imagination of it in the fluent language of a novelist. A very special book."
-- Thomas Moore, New York Times best-selling author of Care of the Soul "With Soul Friends, Stephen Cope offers a fresh and powerful way to deepen our connection to those who support us in being who we truly are. He skillfully guides us to better understand and enjoy the rich tapestry of our lives. Soul Friends is sure to remain an important resource for people for many years to come."
-- Sharon Salzberg, New York Times best-selling author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness "I've been waiting for this book! There are a plethora of books--from memoirs to self-help--for people navigating the mysterious minefield of romantic relationship, but few that offer insight into friendship. And for me, the friends I have from childhood on have colored my life with just as much brightness and darkness as lovers and husbands. With honesty, humor, and wisdom, Stephen Cope uses his own friendships, and the 'soul friendships' between people known and unknown, to explore the sometimes difficult and always powerful landscape of love between friends. Reading the book has reawakened memories of my own soul friendships across a lifetime, and has enriched the friendships that fill my life today. Thank you, Stephen."
-- Elizabeth Lesser, co-founder, Omega Institute; author of Marrow and the New York Times bestseller Broken Open "Soul Friends is written for those who want to deepen their journey into authentic, conscious loving. In this brilliant and utterly engaging book, Stephen Cope invites us into a fascinating and life-changing inquiry: What is the nature and potential of our friendships? Please give yourself wholeheartedly to this inquiry. With Stephen's expert and inspired guidance, your capacity to be intimate and fully alive in relationships will flourish!"
-- Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge "This is a glorious book about human connections, and it's one that should be read by anyone interested in the human mind and soul. Stephen Cope's beautiful language and ideas guide us into the infinite mystery of human attunement. Using his own life story, that of some of his favorite writers, and knowledge gained from depth psychology, Cope shows us how people who truly see us and meet us on our deepest level shape who we fundamentally become. Soul Friends gives voice to the very foundation of human existence, and shows us how attuned relationships shape and expand our individual selves to help us become infinitely larger."
-- Bessel VanderKolk, New York Times best-selling author of The Body Keeps the Score "Soul Friends is a marvelous book beautifully written and filled with hard-earned wisdom and profound grounded inspiration. Nothing is more important in our frightening time than cultivating our deepest relationships, so that we can be supported and sustained in the grueling work ahead to preserve and restore our world."
-- Andrew Harvey, award-winning author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism and Return to Joy "We are profoundly shaped by our most intense relationships. This is a central tenet of depth psychology. Through his beautiful prose and engrossing examples, Stephen Cope brings this insight to life better than anything else I have read on this crucial topic. The examples from his own life and those of people like Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud are fascinating and illuminating. You will learn a great deal about the psychodynamics of friendships, but more importantly you'll learn how you got to be the way you are."
-- Richard C. Schwartz, Ph.D., founder of the Center for Self Leadership, creator of Internal Family Systems therapy, and author of You Are the One You've Been Waiting For "With a storyteller's warmth and a sage's wisdom, Stephen Cope illuminates the self-affirming, challenging, life-changing friendships that make us who we are. What a gift--from his soul to ours."
-- James S. Gordon, M.D., author of Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey out of Depression and Founder and Executive Director of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine "Stephen Cope has done it again. He's written a book that makes you catch your breath, that can't help but crack what is closed in you. The deep investigation in Soul Friends is not only Cope's journey into authenticity through human connection, it is also ours. Expect to be challenged and changed by this book. Expect to wake up. I will be giving this book to every person who is important in my life, so that they can be on the journey of ultimate self-discovery with me. This is not just a book, but an experience, one that will change your life. I recommend it to every student and colleague. I recommend it to you."
-- Amy Weintraub, author of Yoga for Depression and Yoga Skills for Therapists and founder of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute "Stephen Cope's visionary new book Soul Friends is a tour de force on human relationships. In his trademark brilliant and accessible style, Cope empowers us to follow the trajectory of our own friendships, to see afresh how these connections have fundamentally shaped us and made us who we are. I found myself seeing every significant relationship I have had through a deeper, more complex, and more refined lens. Especially revelatory was Stephen's writing on difficult friendships, how important they are in our development and how to make meaning from this adversity. So generous and so transparent is the author's own story of the joys and sorrows of authentic human connection that he emboldens me to see my own story in more honest and penetrating ways. When I finished Soul Friends I felt vibrantly alive, more awake and compassionate towards the human condition."
-- Gail Straub, best-selling author of Returning to My Mother's House and co-founder of The Empowerment Institute "Soul Friends is a tour de force of wisdom, humor, and psychological insight. By delicately dissecting friendships--personal and historical--Cope makes the subtle clear, and the invisible visible, illuminating the roles of friendships around us, and he does this so eloquently that we wish him to be our own wisest friend. Here is the psychology teacher you wish you'd had, and the literature guide you longed for, and the life coach who asks you the best questions--questions that will first make you lean back, and then leap forward."
-- Diane Cameron, award-winning columnist, writer, and speaker; author of Never Leave Your Dead and Out of the Woods "Stephen Cope's tender, literate voice touches our profound yearning and helps us unlock our heart's desire: to feel and provide nourishing human connection, to come home and come to life. A gem."
-- Joseph Bobrow Roshi, Ph.D., Zen master, psychoanalyst, and author of Zen and Psychotherapy, Partners in Liberation; Waking Up from War: A Better Way Home for Veterans and Nations; and After Midnight: Poems of Love and Death "Eight billion of us are hurtling through space circumnavigating the sun at 1000 mph, at times feeling so alone and at times feeling desperately crowded and impinged upon. We transmit signals through the dark, both hoping to find another and fearing what we may find. I am here. I hear you. I want to meet you. And, as we encounter another, in that meeting we complete ourselves--or not. In Soul Friends, Stephen Cope urges us to explore the wonder of those we have loved and who have loved us in return, as well as those with whom we have collided, and who, through those collisions, have altered us in significant ways. This book will move you. It will make you go deep. You read it and discover your heart. You will laugh and cry. By revealing his own experience, Cope opens yours to those you have treasured and who have treasured you. In this exploration you will come to life more fully than you ever imagined."
-- Alex N. Sabo, M.D., Distinguished Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association; Past President, Massachusetts Psychiatric Society, co-editor and author with soul friend Les Havens of The Real World Guide to Psychotherapy Practice "Stephen Cope's elegant and masterful Soul Friends is nothing short of a profoundly revolutionary view of true friendship and human connection. The author weaves together his extensive background in psychology and contemplative studies, the latest developments in neuroscience, and deeply personal stories of transformational friendship in his own life and the lives of others. We leave this remarkable book with a deeper understanding of (and longing for) the all too rare lightning-bolt moments of awareness of the connection with another person as a turning point in life. If we are lucky, those moments signal the beginning of a relationship that leaves us in an entirely new orientation, standing on new ground. This book lets us understand why and how."
-- Barbara Bonner, author of Inspiring Generosity and Inspiring Courage "In Soul Friends Stephen Cope invites us to resonate with the warmth of his spirit as he guides us through a deeply personal journey about human connection. His integrative approach effortlessly weaves together wise scholarship with heartfelt experience. Going to the very heart of the relational nature of humankind, Cope reminds us that 'in order to be fully alive, we must create around ourselves a vital surround of relationship.' This is a book with timely and bracing wisdom; it will be an inspiration and a guide for all seeking to enrich their lives."
-- Anna L. Stothart, Psy.D., LMHC "Soul Friends is a profoundly insightful, personal, and historical account of the transformative potential of deep human connection. Stephen Cope's brilliantly written book exemplifies his depth of understanding of the human psyche and illuminates the immeasurable importance of secure relationships as catalysts for health and healing. All those seeking to enhance their understanding of the developmental significance of social bonds across the lifespan will treasure this book!"
-- B Grace Bullock, Ph.D., author of Mindful Relationships

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