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Singer's fight song comes in the form of "Aggressive Positivity"

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Limore is a Toronto-based singer and author, who adopted forgiveness and positive thinking to cope with cancer | Photo: Courtesy

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“Right now, people need a way up, not a way out of their challenges,” says singer Limore Twena Zisckind.

 Limore, who prefers to be known exclusively by her first name, is the Toronto author of Aggressive Positivity, part autobiography, part self-help, and part philosophy. The book details Limore’s personal diagnosis with breast cancer, a mastectomy, and chemotherapy. It also outlines her practice of what she calls aggressive positivity as a means of dealing with life’s challenges.

“Aggressive positivity is the idea that when you are slapped in the face by a huge difficulty, go through all the phases of anger and fear and acceptance, but then flip your mind around your challenge,” explains Limore. “The larger the challenge, the easier the flip state of mind.”

 “I would tell myself, ‘I’m not sick, I’m healing.’ When I felt fear in my heart, I would ask myself what I could do to prevent my heart from dipping. The answer became what I call ‘aggressive actions of love.’” These are activities that support a positive mindset.

 “Find an activity that brings you so much joy that (it) requires you to be high on life. Schedule that activity before and after any stressful event, to make its impact fade,” adds Limore.

Her aggressive actions of love included four hours of recording a new song the day before her mastectomy. Just four days following her surgery, she hid her surgical drains in order to perform.

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“Whatever makes you feel most alive is exactly what you should do when you are facing one of life’s big challenges,” she says. “It helps you to deflect negativity.”

 The book is a short but intense read, especially for those who have recovered from, or are in the midst of, cancer treatments. Limore does not shy away from touching upon the emotional highs and lows that led to her adoption of aggressive positivity. In one vignette, she jokes with a fellow patient wearing a hijab:

“What’s the best part about having breast cancer as a Muslim?” asks Limore.

The woman shrugs.

“No one knows (you have it in your case)!” Limore retorts, pointing to her own bald head.

The two share belly laughs while receiving their infusions.

 Moments like these bring to mind It’s Always Something, comedienne Gilda Radner’s book about her breast cancer journey. The belly laughs in Limore’s book, though, are immediately followed by tearful moments. One of the requirements of aggressive positivity is that its adopters must process and forgive everyone who has hurt or wronged them. The process releases any associated negativity one might still be bearing. As Limore notes, it is impossible to carry extra emotional burdens, while dealing with life’s huge challenges, like cancer.

 In another anecdote, a near-miss fire and a miraculously unburnt loaf of challah takes the reader through every possible emotion on one page.

Limore’s autobiography, Aggressive Positivity, is a bittersweet look at how she dealt with life’s problems and what she advises to others in the same situation | Photo: Courtesy

The book reflects the intensity of the experience. The complexity of that experience is so deeply realistic that it may be painful for some cancer survivors to relive. Aggressive Positivity is not for everyone, Limore cautions.

 “It’s one way forward,” she says. “If my experience can help people deal with huge challenges, then it is important for me to share it. Learning to flip your mind around challenges and to engage in aggressive actions of love for yourself is (something I find) helpful.”

 Limore credits her remarkable family members for exemplifying the philosophy long before she herself embraced and shared it with others. Her parents accompanied her to every chemotherapy appointment: Limore’s grandfather Henry Melnick was a Shoah survivor, and Limore and her cousin Michael Melnick captured his resilience and courage in By My Mother’s Hand. Limore’s grandmother, Pnina Twena, suffered from Multiple Sclerosis for much of her life, but viewed visits with her grandchildren as her own aggressive acts of love.

 I would definitely prescribe Aggressive Positivity as recommended reading for cancer patients and others experiencing significant life challenges. The self-help portions of the book highlight the power of us all to control our mindsets even during chaotic and challenging times, while the autobiographical elements illuminate how and why one might adopt the philosophy. Limore’s own story of cancer and recovery is an inspiration.

Kate Baggott is a mother, author, research consultant.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

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Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

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