My Bardo With Jabba the Hutt

What if the afterlife were a sort of bardo (limbo) where your image is the very worst concept of how you see yourself and you are constantly tortured in a way befitting the thing you craved most and never achieved?

I know I would sit atop my grave similar to a first cousin of Jabba the Hutt with a bit more style – perhaps a hat – and a flair for the dramatic. My gelatinous, lumpy body heaving with each breath, barely able to move. I imagine being covered with hundreds of mouths constantly being filled by as many hands shoveling McDonald’s sausage and cheese biscuits into each inflamed set of lips.

“Strange, isn’t it? To have dedicated one’s life to a certain venture, neglecting other aspects of one’s life, only to have that venture, in the end, amount to nothing at all, the products of one’s labors utterly forgotten?” ~ George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo

My torment would be watching the living accomplish all the dreams and ideas I held inside, never finding the strength to begin and never developing the energy to commit.

Lincoln in the Bardo has left me with these images and one question: “How have you lived your life?”

I don’t know if anything will change, but I want to focus on the  ‘good’ and ‘better’ parts of myself because trying to address the ‘negative’ usually results in heightening my awareness of the ‘bad.’

“We must see God not as a Him (some linear rewarding fellow) but an IT, a great beast beyond our understanding, who wants something from us, and we must give it, and all we may control is the spirit in which we give it and the ultimate end which the giving serves.” ~ George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo



“I Give Up Too.”

I can feel the air leaving my body as I stretch to tie the laces of my shoes. Keeping the laces straight is the priority because the sideway-sitting bow is a signature of the overweight. This morning ritual is just one of many where my breathing is labored, the chest heavies, and mortality whispers its goodbye.

I seem to lack the strength to sustain the changes needed to build towards a longer life. I cling to the refuge of faith to keep me safe, hiding and ignoring my responsibilities to honor a body that, through 40 years of abuse is finally saying, “Fuck you! I give up too.”

If a stroke did not motivate, what will?