Pema Chodron talks about contemplative practice as working sip by sip. What she means, I think, is that we can't and don't do everything at once. Instead, we notice things about ourselves a little at a time.
We notice something, work with it, knead it like dough, turn it over in our minds. And after a time, something that bothered us, that triggered us, becomes a friend, just one more part of this thing we call self. And in becoming a friend, it becomes less of a trigger.
Like a friend, it is not without fault, but we accept it and love it just the same.
And then something else arises. We notice ourselves getting caught in a different way.
And so on.
Our practice can be seen as taking an entire lifetime or more of noticing and working. Sip by sip.
And yet from another perspective, we only have right now. And there can't possibly be a path or a practice.
There is only what this moment presents to us. And the next.
Sip by sip.