The swaying pendulum is a metaphor for how emotions and habits distract us away from a faith focus. Picture the pendulum below:
Emotions and habits work like a swaying pendulum in the mind. Painful emotions on one side represent the grief, anxiety, depression, anger and other habits we have accumulated along our life journey. Family situations and relationships become triggers of emotions. Christmas time often brings us into close contact with relationships and their past memories, thus making triggers more intense and frequent.
When pain is triggered, we naturally seek relief. When we are overcome with negative emotions, we gravitate toward a comfort zone. This natural tendency represents the urge to avoid through multiple habits. When we avoid painful emotions this starts the pendulum swinging.
Avoidance is like trying to hold the pendulum up on the left side (see comfort zone above). The more intensely we try to avoid, the higher we hold the pendulum in the zone of comfort. However, this zone is not reality, it can not be maintained. When we let go, the pendulum swings toward pain. The longer and harder we try to avoid reality, the further and more frequent the pendulum swings back into the pain zone. Avoidance of painful emotions brings about this type of instability in the mind. It’s like the pendulum above.