07/08/2013 12:13 pm ET Updated Sep 07, 2013

We Are What We Become

"Lord! We know what we are, but know not what we may be." -- William Shakespeare

When we say things like, "I am what I am" or in Paula Deen's case, "I is what I is," what we're saying really is that what you see is what you get, like it or not, which sounds like a pretty done deal to me.

I'm not as interested in who we are as I am in who we can "become" because that's where we have the opportunity to be the kind of "I am what I am" or "I is what I is" to be proud of, and raise our head high because of it. But in order to do that we have to be willing to become more evolved, and not stay stuck in our limited or narrow minded "am-ness" or "is-ness" because that's when ignorance can rear its ugly head, and offensive and insensitive comments can spew out of our mouth, revealing that who we are may not be so nice after all.

So how do we continue to "become" more evolved and conscious rather then stay stuck in ignorance, which unless dealt with head on, and stopped like a runaway train, can be passed down from generation to generation, which seems to be the case with Ms. Dean.

Here are some questions to find out what's lurking beneath the surface of your "am-ness" or "is-ness."

1. Do you have any prejudices?
2. If you do, ask yourself why?
3. Do you think it's okay to call anyone a racist name?
4. If you do, why do you think so?
5. Has anyone ever called you a degrading or derogatory name?
6. If so, how did it make you feel?
7. Were your parents or relatives prejudiced when you were growing up?
8. If so, did you take on their beliefs as your own?
9. If you heard someone using a racial slur, would you confront them?
10. Do you have any friends who are prejudiced?
11. If you do, are you comfortable knowing that about them?
12. Could you work for someone who is prejudiced?
13. Do you think you can make a difference in helping stop prejudice and racism?
14. If you do, how?

What we become can transcend the limitations of what we have been, but we must change our thinking in order for that to happen.

Instead of declaring "I am what I am" or "I is what I is" perhaps we should consider saying "I am becoming better than who I once was."

I believe that Paula Deen can "become" more aware and evolved than her "is-ness" has allowed her to be. She just has to be willing to try.

For more by Ora Nadrich, click here.

For more on mindfulness, click here.