wonder, awe, beauty, justice...


what makes you come alive?

Hi! I’m Rev. Mariela (she/her)

I’m a Cuban-American writer, speaker, and UU minister passionate about liberation and freedom of expression. My teachings and ministry focus on oppression, repression, authenticity, belonging, awe, wonder, and emotional intelligence.

My life’s journey with struggle and liberation informs my work.

On one hand, I was lucky to be born in the Caribbean, in a culture that celebrates and savors life, and so I have known much joy, vitality, and aliveness throughout my life. I was also born deeply curious, with a voracious hunger for life, and have experienced intimately the deliciousness, the expansiveness, the creativity, the generosity of life…

On the other hand, because of living under multiple intersecting oppressions throughout my life (from a dictatorship to poverty to racism) I have also experienced the pain, the rage, the sadness, the collapse, and the erosion that oppression causes in the human body, soul, and psyche; not to mention the existential challenges that that brings.


My work gives voice to both, the existential agonies and the existential ecstasies of the human experience.

Spirituality and Depression

“When you’ve lost your way, colors start to fade.”

Did you know there’s a link between depression and spirituality?
My work is currently focusing on how oppression and the loss of meaning in life are contributing factors to the various degrees of existential depression in our society today.

Existential depression (or existential sadness) arises when we confront issues of existence, such as:

  • meaninglessness: “what’s the point of life?”
  • isolation: “no matter how close I get to another person, I always feel so alone inside.”
  • purposelessness: “who am I? what am I doing? where am I going?”


The lack of satisfying answers to these questions often lead to the loss of appetite for life; it keeps us from finding the little joys that make life worth living.

How can we find meaning

(and beauty and awe and wonder)

in “the ruthless furnace of the world”?

That’s what my works explores.


(*from a Jack Gilbert poem).