All Is Well, All Shall Be Well

Arranger: Penelope Salinger
Composer: Penelope Salinger
Lyricist: (inspired by) Julian of Norwich

All Is Well, All Shall Be Well 20220919

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Submitter Comments

I wrote this in 2018 at a songwriting camp held at Camp Ocean Pines in Cambria, CA. The assignment for the session, facilitated by Tom Prasada-Rao (the recording engineer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer for my last 4 CDs), was to create a song that used as few words as possible. This, of course, meant that it would include a lot of repetition. I went for a walking meditation in the pine grove, repeating one of my favorite phrases by the 14-Century mystic Julian of Norwich as an affirmation, and this song emerged.

I am in the habit of singing my affirmations, and initially I viewed this song simply as a chant I would use for personal purposes. It didn’t occur to me to share it with anyone else until Kate Munger invited me to contribute something to the Zoom concert she organized at the beginning of the pandemic shutdown to raise funds for the World Central Kitchen. After the online concert, I received a number of emails from Threshold Choir members asking permission to learn it and use it in various ways. So I wrote the notation for it, added harmony parts, and sent it to those who had requested it. I was very touched by the feedback I received. I felt particularly moved when Julia Clare, a choir member from the U. K., told me that she’d taught the song to her friend Jacinta, who lives in Norwich and often sits and prays in the reconstructed cell, or “anchorhold,” where Julian lived.

These responses prompted me to include “All Is Well, All Shall Be Well” on the CD I was working on—“To Remember Who We Are,” which is a collection of my inspirational songs. At that time I still wasn’t planning to add it to the Threshold Choir repertoire, since I didn’t think of it as a bedside song. Then, when TC put out a call for songs and spoken word pieces that could be used for an online Summer Solstice celebration, I decided to make a video to accompany it. I used images from the “I Madonnari” chalk drawing festival that takes place at the Santa Barbara Mission every Memorial Day weekend. When I started sharing the video in the TC Sunday Zoom Sings, people assumed that the song was already in the repertoire. So that gave me the impetus to add it to the website. I still marvel at the way this simple walking meditation chant took on a life of its own out in the world.

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All is well. All things shall be well.
All manner of thing shall be well.

This I know, this I know, this I know.
This I know, this I know.

My heart shall be well,
My home shall be well.
All manner of thing shall be well.

The earth shall be well,
All creatures be well.
All manner of thing shall be well.

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