She believes in play for self-empowerment
Nikki Muller is a TV presenter and communications trainer. She volunteers as our Ambassador of Fun, where she advocates play as a character-building practice. Through play, one can learn to trust, adapt and connect better. Oh, and play is absolutely fun too, of course!
Why Play Matters
Volunteering as Dayspring’s Ambassador of Fun, Nikki plans crazy adventures for the girls, so that they can have completely new life experiences.
“I want to honour the unique, brave and loving spirit of these young women, who, you know, are kids! Well, we are all kids inside of us. And kids should have fun – especially when the going gets tough,” says Nikki.
“Learning trust, feeling pure joy, connecting with one another – there’s no better way to do all that than through play, right?”
The ideas that Nikki has can certainly be out of this world! Take for example the flying excursion she coordinated, where the girls got to be pilots for a day. Nikki had contacted a friend to charter a private aircraft at Seletar Airport. It turned out to be a community effort, where the airport also waived the landing fees.
“Many of the girls had never been on a plane. It was just memorable seeing their faces light up. These are really wonderful moments to treasure.”
“There was a girl who tried to steer and land the plane with an instructor beside her. She took to it like she had been doing it her whole life! Watching her being confident, trying something new, was memorable – she flew a plane!”
Indeed, Nikki believes that play is self-empowering: it exposes us to diverse events and people while training us to be mentally flexible.
“Through the lens of play or curiosity, we can seek out people who are both similar to and different from us. Those similar will support us. Those different will teach us something new.”
“Flexibility is also a great trait in these times, where we have no idea of what’s going to happen. When we take that fuzzy route and adapt along the way, we can have opportunities that wouldn’t exist if we remained in our comfort zone.”
Heritage of Women Warriors
Nikki grew up in a family comprising four generations of independent women: her great grandmother, grandmother, mother and aunts, and then herself.
“You could say my life is filled with estrogen! I’ve been surrounded by many fierce women warriors, all of them strong-willed, charismatic and dynamic, so it was a unique way of growing up. My understanding of womanhood, from an early age, is that of resilience, tenacity and firmness.”
In her own journey as a woman, Nikki has kept these roots of strength and courage close to her heart.
“It isn’t that I’m fearless. It’s that I’ve seen the women in my life take risks, so I feel okay with that too, I feel okay to make mistakes.”
Third Culture Kid
Apart from family influence, Nikki’s approach to play, risk and adventure also stems from her third culture kid experience. She is Swiss-Filipino.
“When I was young, I moved around a lot with my parents, so that’s what third culture kids are about. We live in places not of our parents’ homelands. We’re adaptable like chameleons while having a degree of rootlessness.”
Being a third culture kid has made her very open-minded about change: she has constantly embraced new homes, countries and friends. About 10 years ago, she arrived in Singapore with just two suitcases. As much as it was a challenge (she had neither a job nor a home back then!), it was also a brand new adventure.
“Thanks to all the different adventures in my life, I’ve been given a phenomenal wealth of experience. This has helped in my confidence-building – I believe I can up and go, start afresh and build from nothing.”
Knowing and Loving Oneself
Tackling a life of change means Nikki has to be clear of who she is deep down. It is an adventure too, but one where she explores her inner world instead. To connect with herself, she has a daily routine of reiki, prayer, practicing gratitude and eating and exercising well.
“When surrounded by different changes, different people, it’s important to ask ourselves daily: ‘What am I doing for me?’”
After all, a women’s true strength also lies within: in her intuition and ability to love herself.
“In my own journey, I’ve learnt to trust myself, to trust my intuition. A woman’s intuition is strong and usually never wrong. We often don’t trust it because we don’t always like what it says. But we know deeply that it is telling us the right thing.”
“Finally, nobody’s love is gonna be as important, valuable and enriching as the love we have for ourselves. It’s irreplaceable. Part of the human condition is to feel unworthy, but there is also the human will to overcome that and root for ourselves.”