Today is the fourth anniversary of my unexpected induction into The Ninja Network. Today there will be celebration. I expect happy weeping. Perhaps some gleeful screaming. Conceivably, a chance of giddy fainting. Celebration. Maybe a cupcake. Four. Four is fab. Four is a good long time.

Way back a long time ago (1965 to be precise) there was happy weeping and gleeful screaming. Giddy fainting and packed performances. The occasion was fans finding another Fab Four anthem for a culture built on community.  The Beatles’ song “Help!” hit the airwaves, and became instantly chart-topping popular.  (Click here to hear the song and view the Fab Four being 1965-esque adorable.)

I couldn’t have cared a whit or a fiddle. The Beatles weren’t my cup of tea back in 1965. Not because they weren’t adorable and talented and compelling, but because I was so much younger then; a newborn actually. I expect I was more interested in sleeping. And eating. And sleeping some more. I bet I rocked “Rock-a-Bye Baby”, back in the day.

When I was a bit older – somewhere between the childhood moment of standing for my first unassisted steps and the many years later when my illusions that I could handle it all by myself came crashing down – I built a fortress of self-assurance. And isolation.

Not the super-swell fort you make when you’re look-at-me-I’m-four-years-old out of all the couch cushions dragged together, under a blanket, where you snuggle in and browse your beloved comic book while enjoying a juice box and the leftover Halloween candy. No, not that one. The super-sucky fort you make when you’re when-did-I-get-to-be-forty out of all the crappy bad self-talk, under the dining room table, where you isolate and lurk on Facebook while weeping over a box of cheap wine and the leftover mashed potatoes.

“I got this,” I told myself over and over. “I’m a grown-up. I got this.”  But the older I got, the more I found the world big, fast, overwhelming, intimidating, and lonely.

Then one day I got it. We aren’t intended to be isolated. A Ninja came and got me. Four years ago today. I let go of being alone, grabbed the hand held out for help, and haven’t looked back.

It was like a door opening to a new panorama, that day I peeked out from my fortress of isolation.

What is a Ninja? From my perspective, Ninjas are not stealthy mercenaries robed in inky-black and sneaking up behind your back to dispatch you to sweet oblivion. Ninjas are the people we know and rely on to take our hand and pull us from the wreckage of our illusions and our isolation. The people we trust who honor us by helping craft the anthem of a mighty and awesome community.

“Life needs to be lived in community, because we’re all at different stages.
We’re not meant to do this alone.”
~ Blessed Mari of the Margaritas, from the book The Ninja Network

The Beatles’ song “Help!” crossed my consciousness today, and I took a minute to look up the lyrics:

The Beatles ... Help!

“Ninja Invasion” – A rarely seen interpretation of the back cover of The Beatles’ album “Help!”

Help, I need somebody,
Help, not just anybody,
Help, you know I need someone, help.

When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody’s help in any way.
But now those days are gone, I’m not so self-assured,
Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors.

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ‘round.
Help me get my feet back on the ground,
Won’t you please, please help me.

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways,
My independence seems to vanish in the haze.
But every now and then I feel so insecure,
I know that I just need you like I’ve never done before.

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ‘round.
Help me get my feet back on the ground,
Won’t you please, please help me.
Won’t you please, please help me, help me, help me, oh.

Seems like a good anthem for today.

an·them noun ˈan(t)-thəm
Definition of ANTHEM
: a usually rousing popular song that typifies or is identified with a particular subculture, movement, or point of view

I need somebody. Not just anybody. I need NINJAS!

Who helps you get your feet back on the ground?  Who do you appreciate being ’round?  Who are your NINJAS?  Make a list.  No really.  Go get a pen.  I’ll wait. … Got it?  Good.  First, write the names of your Ninjas.  Next, program their names into your speed dial.  Now, call each one and let them know that YOU NEED NINJAS!  

To mine I happily, gleefully, giddily shout out: THANK YOU NINJAS!  (I love you more than cupcakes!!!)

If we were all in London, I’d take you to Crumbs and Doilies for these adorable Beatles cupcakes!


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