Sophie Benshitta Maven
6 min readDec 8, 2023


We all live in a ditch-like space that gets deeper and maybe even narrower as we go along.

A ditch is like a tunnel except that it is open to the sky.

People don’t know they live in a ditch. Why? Because all they know is the ditch. It becomes everything because the only thing that would distinguish the ditch is ‘not-ditch’. But because a person in a ditch can only see what is in the ditch and the dirt that is its wall, ditch can’t be distinguished from the inside of it.

My job, in this article, is to cause you to SEE, aka distinguish your ditch so you can have more than just that in your life.

I remember a few years ago a person shared that doing the Landmark Forum allowed her to experience more elbow room. Because in a narrow ditch even turning around is hazardous: you may scrape your elbow.

And there is definitely no room to dance, no room for fun. One part of fun is that free to be feeling… But with bloody elbows… Not that much fun.

The ditch is made by a binary moment in life.

I was not wanted as a child, for reasons outside of myself. I lived on borrowed time, at least that was my feeling. Not real.

So everything was life or death for me, and I made wild turns, and I made life hellish. I fell out of trees, got mowed down by cars, taken out to deep sea by the undertow… I played with death. Death was the wall of that ditch… and I hate to realize, but in some way it is still there… it is just not as close, not as enclosing as it used to be.

I was an outlaw… prepared for death to come for me at any time.

This phenomenon, the ditch, is actually part of the human condition, and you can’t escape it.

I call it the pendulum… It is an unfortunate name, because you may confuse it with Roy Williams’ Pendulum, but I came up with the name way before Roy’s book.

‘My’ pendulum is an oscillating structure. The two end points are something and its opposite. I’ll use for now mine: allowed to live/has to die.

This pendulum doesn’t have a cycle, doesn’t have inner stages as Roy’s. It swings wildly from one extreme to the other: two mutually exclusive futures. Either/or. Never the two shall meet.

The pendulum, with its constant swinging creates the ditch. A deep wound carved into earth… Life is outside of it, the only things that can be inside are things that have relevance to the ditch… nothing else.

You don’t know what isn’t there, because you cannot even think outside of the ditch. For you there is no outside…

I remember the moment when I found out that there is such a thing as fun. I didn’t know what fun was. Yes, I saw people behave silly, or get drunk, or do insane things, but I didn’t see any of it as fun… I myself had never had fun. It was 1988.

I could not say it was missing… it was more missing that it was missing… It was my first ‘I didn’t know that I didn’t know’ moment. And then, four years later, as I was asking my five questions, one person said that what she liked about me that I was fun. WHAT?! How could I be fun? I had never had fun. And between you and me, don’t tell anyone, I still don’t know how to have fun although I catch myself laughing, giggling… and it is probably fun.

But with those two instances, someone asking me what fun was, and someone telling me that I was fun, something happened to my pendulum.

Suddenly the swinging of the pendulum visited this ‘fun thing’ ever time it went to the other side. Like a 3-point swing.

Over time more such points modified the path of my pendulum. Integrity, authenticity, freedom, points like these. When I look back I see that I started to have more and more elbow room. The main swing is still this life/death theme, but it is not as restrictive, not as restrictive to my view of life… I can see a lot more of the world than I saw before.

On some hunch-level I can see that Roy’s pendulum is the 20,000 feet view of all the individual pendulums in some weird way… won’t go deep into it, just one aspect I have been pondering since yesterday.

Yesterday I had a long private call with a client.

I have noticed, that on every call, there is a point where I HAVE TO share something personal that looks and sound really selfish and out of order, but turns out to be the missing piece…

So on yesterday’s call I shared that none of my neighbors have any sympathy, none of my neighbors care to offer help or support in activities that my obvious frailty hinders me in doing, like dragging industrial size garbage can every Tuesday to the curb. It’s a heart failure waiting to happen for someone like me.

This ‘rant’ pointed out a distinction: do you care about people? Is your heart at the right place? Do you ‘vote’ for principles or do you ‘vote’ for people?

I meant it the kind of wake-up question for my client. The kind of question like the ‘what is fun?’ was for me back in 1988.

The easiest way to start DISTINGUISHING that concept:’ the heart at the right place’ through listening to politicians. Because an elected politician is always either for people, or for ideals. A pendulum itself… you are either on one extreme or the other.

One extreme calls the other ‘bleeding heart liberals’ if I am not mistaken. Calls for honoring the idea of life over actual life of actual people, as in the case of abortion laws. It’s OK to kill a girl, a woman, because idea is more important than people.

Or in the case of Islam: it’s OK, no! it’s a duty and an honor to kill billions of infidels for the idea of god. Killing people for ideas.

I’ve been crying every day since November 7. When my people have to kill other people so they can survive my heart breaks.

But when you still live in your ditch, none of these questions come up.

You have your answers given to you, and you wouldn’t even know that you could look. I didn’t know to look if I can recognize fun… I didn’t know it existed beyond a word in books.

Roy’s pendulum swings from ideas to people. We are nearly at the peak of the ideas phase of the 80-year cycle and if you look people don’t seem to matter to anyone. When I look, even so-called bleeding heart people have hardly any room to care about people… NO ROOM TO CARE! NO ROOM TO CHOOSE LIFE.

If someone chooses to ‘care’ because it is the right thing to do, what chose, really, is the idea. Not the person. No energy in the ‘heart’… only the head is speaking.

And yet, when you create a 3-point path to your personal pendulum, the more elbow room the more breathing room is given to you and life become bigger. And more fun. Whatever fun is…

I recommend taking on the exercise I asked my client to take on: listen to hear if people ‘preach’ from the head or the heart. If their heart is at the right place. And don’t call it right or wrong… call it heart or call it head. Don’t forget: they are people too! That will put your heart to the right place and you’ll feel better about yourself, regardless of what they are doing. What they push for. You’ll feel YOUR heart. And that will make all the difference.

PS: The people in your life don’t see you as a person. If you manage, in turn to see them as a person, you’ll experience warmth, compassion, and maybe even love. I guarantee it.

PPS: another possible name for the ditch is The Valley of The Shadow of Death…

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Sophie Benshitta Maven

Publish at Raise your vibration true empath, coach, publisher, mad scientist, living a life that is worth living