Sunny Dawn Johnson of Arizona began seeing spirits when she was 13-years-old and her fascination with the phenomenon has led to a rewarding career in the metaphysical field.
“Spirituality was very much something that was within me,” she said. “I started seeing spirits around or feeling energies that I wasn’t quite sure what they were.”
Unable to understand what she saw and felt, she turned to her mother for answers.
“I talked to my mom about them, and then she gave me guidance and direction at that point but she never said, ‘This the way you need to look at things,’” said Sunny adding that her mother “supported me along my way.”
Sunny was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming and later raised a “metaphysical household” in Salt Lake City, Utah. Some folks refer to Utah as the Mormon State and it was certainly a huge part of her parent’s lives when they were young. Fortunately for Sunny, they both soon left the church. However, on the urging of other family members, she did attend the church a couple of times.
“You know, I went to church a few times when I was young and I literally would get sick,” she said. It just did not feel right to me.”
Sunny explained that her mother explored a variety of religions when she was young but never settled on any one in particular. Because of that, “she never really pushed anything on me. However, growing up in a state where the majority of people are Mormon, that religion was “very much forced” on her at school. Because of that, she could not share her personal experiences with other students.
“I found that as long as I kept it to myself, things were fine but when I would tell other people, not so good. I didn’t fit in, in many ways. When I started sharing that we had a ghost in our house and I would talk to her, everyone would just roll their eyes and think I was crazy. So I learned how to keep quiet and I learned how to try to blend in.”
At the same time, Sunny said she learned “a lot about judgment and tolerance.” Her experiences also taught her plenty about the need for strength and courage. As a result she said, “I just stepped out of that and just said, ‘this is who I am and this is the way it is.’ But it took me 15 years to do that.”
Sunny now uses her spiritual gifts to help others.
“I am clairsentient, which means that I get the majority of my messages from spirit through the sense of feeling,” she noted. “For these past 15 years, I have been a full-time psychic medium, spiritual teacher, author and minister.”
But before she jumped into a metaphysical career with both feet, she was not sure it was something she wanted or could even handle.
“In the beginning of my career, I wanted no part of mediumship,” she explained. “The connection was difficult and the feelings were sad. I felt too sensitive to do this kind of psychic work.”
Sunny said she struggled with her “human emotions” when connecting her clients with their deceased loved ones and often chose to ignore the spirits’ messages. The reason, she noted was, “Even my earliest memories and lessons around death had taught me that fear, emptiness, grief and struggle were what was to be expected when a physical life ends.”
“It was depressing and painful to share them with the person I was receiving them for, and I myself would often times get physically sick during the process. I literally couldn’t stomach some of the experiences.”
However, she knew that mediumship was her true calling and she could not ignore it.
“Despite those painful experiences, I also felt pulled to do mediumship work. I had an innate knowing that I was meant to do this work and was continually guided to it… I knew that I had to be a voice for those that had transitioned, and help those left behind with their pain and grief.”
On her web site, she noted that during those first years as a medium, her life profoundly changed.
“ I had no way of knowing that I would experience a comforting sense of peace that could be an anchor in the most difficult of losses. I had not fully recognized the opportunities I would have to continue to build my communication skills with those in the spirit world.”
The most rewarding part of her work is not just connecting people with loved ones who have crossed over but also to see them “grow within and find that trust within themselves, that self-worth,” she said. Once they learn to go within to find the answers “that little light bulb goes on and their life starts to change from that moment on. That is the greatest gift.”
Sunny has now published a book entitled The Love Never Ends: Messages from the Other Side in which she introduces readers to “ideas and concepts” designed to “shift their perception of death.” With this shift, she said, it is possible to “build that eternal connection to your loved ones.”
She also provides the tools needed to change the “experience of the death process by learning new ways of seeing and feeling it. I will teach you to focus on your loved one’s presence… instead of their absence.”
And Sunny makes one thing clear: “This book is not a book about death. Instead, it is a book about love. Love can heal our pain, perceptions and experiences of death.”
In essence she noted, the book will open readers up to the possibility that, “Love Never Ends.”
Sunny has now undertaken an Afterlife Study to determine how people today feel about the transition that we will all experience one day. She decided to begin the study after she had written her book, The Love Never Ends: Messages from the Other Side.
“I realized that so many people were struggling with death,” Sunny said. “In my research for the book, I discovered that people really struggled with what to say when someone has died, how to deal with the grief, how to heal from the loss and how to connect with the afterlife – if they even believed in one. I thought it would be interesting to create a study where we asked some very basic questions to get an overall idea of how people perceive death.”
She noted that during the 70’s and 80’s while growing up in Salt Lake City, “there was a lot of fear around death. I wondered, do people still feel that way or is there more of an understanding around it now? This study aims to answer that question and more.”
Asked how she personally felt about death, Sunny replied, “Well, first of all, I believe that we can, if we choose, change our perception of death so that it doesn’t have to be so hard. My goal is to help people release the fear of death… by sharing how our deceased loved ones ARE still with us… showing us signs, loving us unconditionally and sometimes even telling us what to do.”
She also shared her own feelings about the existence (or not) of an afterlife.
“The Afterlife, in my opinion, absolutely exists. I have consciously experienced the spirit world daily for most of the past 30 years in some form or another. I began seeing spirits as a young teenager, have felt the presence of angels throughout my life, heard my loved ones’ messages of guidance and direction as an audible voice, or had dreams where murder victims have come through with information about the crime. All of these experiences have taught me that the spirit world exists and that we can, if we want to, connect with our loved ones on the other side.”
When asked what she thought the afterlife might be like, she responded by saying, “I believe that we create our experience in the afterlife. We are continually expanding souls and the spirit world is a mental world based on thought and vibration. I believe that what many call ‘heaven’ or ‘hell’ is the same thing that I call the afterlife. And it is of our own belief and creation.”
As a psychic medium who connects her clients to their loved ones on the other side, Sunny had to stare death right in the face to meet the challenge of helping people. She also volunteers with Find Me, a non-profit group that works with police as well as search and rescue teams that need to solve missing person cases so the families can find closure. She has also, like everyone else, experienced great personal losses of family and friends in her own life.
“Death… it is the one journey we will ALL walk,” she said adding that if she can make that walk easier, then she has fulfilled her primary purpose.
The Afterlife Study is just over a month old and Sunny hopes to reach 10,000 participants by the end of 2014. However, she did send along some early results. When participants were asked if they were fascinated with the spirit world, afterlife and the paranormal, and if they wanted to learn more, 95 percent of respondents answered ‘yes.’ And when asked if they had a fear of death, loss and/or the pain” associated with dying, 23 percent said ‘yes.’
While these percentages could change significantly as more people take part in the study, these early results appear to indicate that the vast majority of people today would not only like to learn more about the afterlife but also have no fear of death – a huge change from how people felt just 30 or 40 years ago. It is quite likely due to the fact that there are many more books, television shows and films, as well as Internet articles and videos that discuss this issue and/or provide the experiences of folks who have had near death experiences.
An even more interesting aspect of the Afterlife Study is revealed by the comments people shared, Sunny said. One person expressed an inability to help people who have suffered the loss of a loved one but added that a new understanding is beginning to take place. Even so, this person said personal losses are still painful.
Another responded noted: “I have experienced contact with my father and brother, in addition to other family members who have passed. They offer me guidance and love. It’s hard to explain my belief. I just know there is an afterlife.”
Sunny hopes that many more folks will sign up for the Afterlife Study. You can do that HERE. The study will continue for two more months. The questionnaire is very short and should not take more than a couple of minutes to complete. All those who participate can download a free copy of Answers about the Afterlife.
Those who would like to join a conversation about the study and the afterlife, can do so HERE.