RITUALS

Manisha Anjali

06 / 01 / 22

"I feel alive in those big turning points in life, those crossroads, when one reality ends and another begins. I feel alive when I am in awe of nature. When I am driving alone down a highway watching a lunar eclipse take place. When I plunge myself in the warm ocean and feel reborn... I am biting into this sacred and precarious world with everything that I have."

Manisha Anjali

LESSE rituals manisha anjali

Manisha Anjali

I am a writer, artist and the founder of Neptune, a research and documentation platform for dreams, visions and hallucinations.

I was born in Suva, Fiji. I had a dreamy tropical childhood in the archipelago. It was a world where the living and the dead, dreams and reality were entwined. I then moved to Aotearoa New Zealand, with my family. I have now planted myself in Melbourne, Australia, on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people. My love for these lands and waters is euphoric and eternal. 

I come from a line of a relatively unknown group of peoples. I am a descendent of the girmityas, Indians who were indentured on sugar colonies in Fiji between 1879-1916. There are only a few hundred thousand Indo-Fijians in the world, so we rarely see our faces and stories represented. Representation means everything to me. It is key in de-centralizing certain stories and validating, inviting and valuing voices from the margins. There is no single narrative.

Those who have shaped me most are the people who have literally given me shape – my eyes, lips, cheeks, hands, my imagination and my curiosity for life – all these shapes and nuances belong to my mother and father. My hair and bones are full of stories from all those who came before me. No part of me is original. Only my memories are my own.

LESSE rituals manisha anjali

Art has been the core of my growth and survival in this world, and I do believe that in the honest offerings of others, we find our own shapes. I work with stories through writing, performing, editing and teaching. I work with people of all ages, from all walks of life. I run a mystery school called School of Dreams, where I facilitate sessions about pulling and playing with symbols and narratives from our dreams for creative potential, psychological illumination and means to access our hidden selves.

I am simple and monastic in my ways. Days when I can watch the sun rise and set are the most fulfilling. Mornings feel most ritualistic for me. I try to wake up early and fit in yoga, coffee and writing before anything else. I practice Ayurvedic rituals for beauty passed down to me from my mother. We eat fruit with the skin on to celebrate in the exuberance of the earth, which expresses its light in our skin.

"Representation means everything to me. It is key in de-centralizing certain stories and validating, inviting and valuing voices from the margins. There is no single narrative."
LESSE rituals manisha anjali

 

LESSE rituals manisha anjali

I believe beauty belongs to everyone. It is found everywhere. Over time, my concept of beauty has evolved to embrace death. It is the impermanence of it all that makes us so beautiful. I look forward to one day being 80, with long white hair that comes down to the floor.

I feel most beautiful when I make people laugh. Everyone is so beautiful when they laugh. Laughter has been scarce over the last two years. I hope we can spend the rest of our lives laughing.

I feel most alive in the sun. I love tropical heat and I love desert heat. Something in my DNA awakens and I am my best reptilian self in the sun. I feel alive in those big turning points in life, those crossroads, when one reality ends and another begins. I feel alive when I am in awe of nature. When I am driving alone down a highway watching a lunar eclipse take place. When I plunge myself in the warm ocean and feel reborn. When I fall in love. These moments are a kind of ego-death. I am biting into this sacred and precarious world with everything that I have.

I am currently calling in love and truth. I am letting go of so much that used to trouble me before. My sense of identity feels wavy right now. My skin is shedding. I am not sure what lies at the end of this metamorphosis. But I am here with an open mind and an open heart. 

The greatest lesson I have learned so far is to trust in the flow of life. I used to run from serendipity, and now I am trusting it. A wise friend told me recently to be like water, not the rocks. Go with the flow. 

 

MANISHA ANJALI with THE TOWEL, photographed by CLAUDIA SMITH.